Chocolate Frosted Yellow Cake

One of the reasons I discovered my passion for baking and started a food blog of my own is because of a certain special woman.

Deb, from Smitten Kitchen, inspired me to take out my baking pans and put them to good use. I discovered her gorgeous blog a year and a half ago and immediately spent the next three hours flipping through her recipes. At the time, I didn't really know what blogs were—much less that thousands existed about food—but I knew I was in love with what I saw. Little did I know this small discovery would alter the course of my life forever.

I made her recipes almost religiously for a few months as my food blog repertoire grew. She even inspired me to take out my camera and start snapping photos of my food. Even though I knew absolutely nothing about photography (much less how to properly photograph food), I wanted to learn. 

Now, a year and a half later, I changed careers, swapping my physics textbooks for a pair of oven mitts. I can finally call myself a real baker.

I honestly believe this is the best cake I've ever made and eaten. Trust me on this—I would never lie to you about something so delicious. The yellow cake is buttery, sweet, and so moist it will make you want to cry tears of jubilation. This cake bakes up perfectly every single time. Every single time. It will forever be my go-to recipe for yellow cake. When you have found perfection (and you are looking at it), there is no need to search further. I have found my yellow cake soul mate.

Now let's not forget about the chocolate frosting. This frosting is mildly sweet (and won't make your teeth feel as if they are about to fall out, which I find quite important in my frosting recipes). There is a lot of cocoa powder in this particular recipe so the frosting tastes deliciously of cocoa. It was very difficult not to eat this by the spoonful.

Best Yellow Layer Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yields 2 8-inch or 9-inch cake rounds

4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 8 or 9-inch round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the buttermilk until just combined. The mixture will look curdled. Add the flour mixture in three separate batches, beating just until each addition is fully incorporated.

Spread the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (if using 8 inch cake pans, add 5-10 minutes to the baking time but watch closely). Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan and invert onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting, about 1 hour.

Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from here

Yields enough frosting to cover a 2 layer 8 or 9-inch cake

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until it is smooth without lumps. Gradually add the powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Lastly, add the milk until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.