Liam Turns Three: Yellow Birthday Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Ganache Frosting

My young friend Liam just turned three years old, and just as I always bake a birthday cake for his older brother Alexander, I offered to supply the baked goods for Liam's birthday party. Interestingly, the two boys are a world apart when it comes to desserts. Alexander is not particularly a fan of chocolate, frosting, cake, or dessert in general; the only type of cake he truly enjoys is carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Liam, on the other hand, is fairly indiscriminate when it comes to sweets and I have yet to come across a cake he didn't like.

Liam's mother Dorothy told him that he could request any type of cake he wanted from me. Upon learning this information, Alexander (who turns six next month and is wise beyond his years) launched a propaganda campaign promoting carrot cake, emphasizing the wonders of cream cheese frosting. So it was not surprising that Liam in fact subsequently asked for a carrot cake. Dorothy asked Liam if he was sure, and mentioned that I had suggested yellow cake with chocolate frosting as a possibility. Liam was sold at "chocolate frosting" and had an instant change of heart.

I made Joanne Chang's "Yellow Birthday Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Ganache Frosting." The method for making this cake is pretty standard; you cream together butter and sugar, add in eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla, and then alternately incorporate the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and buttermilk. You divide the batter between two 8-inch pans and bake. You frost the cakes with a frosting made by beating butter with powdered sugar, vanilla, and cooled chocolate ganache.

This frosting was a little on the soft side, but as a consequence, it was very easy to spread to a smooth finish. I had plenty of frosting left to pipe a border along the top and bottom edge. Since my cake writing skills are terrible, I decorated the top with plastic animals and matching candles.

This cake is fantastic. Moist, dense, and rich, with an intensely chocolate and yet virtually weightless frosting. There's a reason that yellow cake and chocolate frosting are such a classic combination; they are perfect together. Liam thoroughly enjoyed his piece of cake. Even though Alexander politely declined to even try a bite, I think this might be the perfect birthday cake.

Recipe: "Yellow Birthday Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Ganache Frosting" from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe, by Joanne Chang.

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Louise said…
LOL It looks great to me, but it must have looked pretty nasty to Alexander.