Saturday, December 13, 2008

Basic 1-2-3-4 Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Icing

Basic 1-2-3-4 Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Basic 1-2-3-4 Yellow Birthday Cake

I've already told ya'll that I'm not big on baking layer cakes, because well, I'm too much of a perfectionist and my cakes are always far from perfect looking - uneven layers, too much or too little filling between the layers, crumbs in the frosting,- though at least they (generally) all taste good.

As far as decorating? Pfffft. Faggetaboutit! While I envy those who can, I am totally uncoordinated and clueless on how to manipulate those tiny, little cake decorating tips to create all those pretty designs and have certainly never had the courage to attempt that on a birthday cake! Maybe one day I will just bake a cake for playing around with. I could use the practice both for cake making and cake decorating. Or maybe even take a class?!

Usually when birthdays roll around, there are often guests involved so certainly if you're a klutz like I am, it is so much more sensible and certainly easier to simply buy a cake from the deli that is totally expert and not really all that expensive and be done with it.

Well, it's The Cajun's birthday on Sunday and I sure could have done that and not felt the least bit guilty either, especially since I haven't been feeling all that well lately with this goofy weather. But, to be honest, we down south know that there is much truth to that old sayin' that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach and good ole home cookin' is a very primary way that we show our love.

So for an intimate birthday involving basically just him, me, our son, daughter in law, and grandson, it just seems so much more appropriate to make his cake from scratch. Now I don't object to boxed mixes at all - sure makes things easier - but, I often find them to be overly sweet and prefer to bake from scratch where I can control the ingredients and avoid things I don't want like preservatives and all. And hubs, while he could care less whether or not my cake looks perfect, I know that he appreciates knowing that his wife made him a fresh cake from scratch cuz I've heard him braggin' on them before. Now that'll bring a smile to a wife's face faster than most anything for sure! And honestly, in this economy I think that it's a good thing to sort of get back to the basics in cooking whenever we can. What better opportunity than your husband's birthday?

Last year I made him a chocolate on chocolate layer cake for his birthday so this year I thought I'd just do the yellow cake with chocolate frosting. This cake is called a 1-2-3-4 cake because the ingredients call for 1 - cup of butter, 2 - cups of sugar, 3 - cups of flour and 4 - eggs. Simple 1-2-3-4.

Recipe: Basic 1-2-3-4 Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 10 to 12 servings

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (not melted!)
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups sifted self-rising flour (White Lily recommended)
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Basic Chocolate frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans. Cream the butter by itself till fluffy and add the sugar, beating well for about 8 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mixing them in well before adding the next one. Start adding the flour and alternate adding in the flour and the milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Add the vanilla and mix well. Equally divide the batter among the three pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 to 30 minutes, shifting the pans from front to back halfway through. Cool in the pan for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from sides. Run a knife around the edges, place a cooling rack on top of the pan and invert, leaving on the cooling rack to cool completely. Apply frosting to each layer of the cooled cake and finish icing the sides and tops.

Bundt Pan: To make that in a bundt pan, thoroughly grease and flour the pan, shaking out excess flour. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a slight crumb to it. Cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minutes, gently loosen cake away from the edges before turning it out onto the rack. Let cool completely before serving.

Tip: This is going to sound funny and it's a little noisy, but -- level the batter by lifting the pans several inches off of the counter top and then dropping them. Do this several times. This will spread the batter out and bring air bubbles to the surface, which help to make your cake layers bake more level. I swear this works!


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on December 13, 2008

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  1. Oh my goodness. Yellow cake with chocolate icing is my all time favorite cake, no kiddin'. For my birthday growin' up, I always wanted mom to fix a yellow cake with chocolate icing. From your picture your cake looks perfect and I bet it tastes good too. Tell your husband 'Happy Birthday'.

  2. You betcha! Hubs thinks his birthday is like a national holiday or somethin' I swear ... he is a total hoot. For awhile there I didn't give much attention to my own birthdays but after seeing his delight on his big day, I have started trying to practice his theory of being king for a day. Well, queen for a day for me lol... guess we should all make a very big deal out of seeing another birthday ya know?

  3. Wooooo! That is my family's FAVORITE chocolate icing! My recipe is awful close to yours! But that recipe for the cake is all new to me and I HAVE TO TRY IT SOON!!!

    Thank you so much!!!! your cake looks PERFECT!
    Christy :)
    (at Southern Plate)

  4. Why thanks Christy! I have a feeling we probably have a lot of similar recipes since we are both from the south. I'm not a big fan of frosting honestly - its just too sweet for me. Me, I love the cake part best so I generally eat around the icing part! I swear I could eat 4 slices of cake and leave behind all the frosting though I do love my mama's buttercream frosting, oh and whipped cream and well cream cheese frostings are pretty darned good too LOL. Hubs likes it sweet so this recipe is an old and easy standby!

  5. Definitely going to try this recipe because your cake looks awsome and moist. I have tried several yellow cake recipe and they all seem to come out to dry. Can't wait to try it and let you know how it turns out.

    1. It's an old fashioned cake Tamika & I think you'll be very pleased!

  6. Does it have to be that brand of self-rising flour? Can't find it locally.

    1. If you don't have White Lily flour, or another Southern soft wheat flour available to you, any good self rising flour will work.

  7. Can you make cupcakes with this recipe?

    1. You sure could Jessica! Not sure how many but probably close to 2 dozen or so I'd think?

  8. Hello.....excited to try this recipe. Just came across your webpage.....Can I use cake flour?

    1. You could, but it would take some adjustments since you're missing the leavening from the self-rising flour, so add 3 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it's fresh!) and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the cake flour and that should do it!

  9. I have not bake a cake in such a long time. Tired of store cake! I am having right now a taste for a yellow bundt cake with chocolate icing. In Texa I have been seeing King Arthur self rising unbleached flour.Would that brand be Ok. Shall I go with Gold/Pillsbury. Thanks and have a Blessed Day!


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