Obsession with cake at the age of five

Fifth birthday party
My cousins, brother and I (partly obscured) entranced by cake at my fifth birthday party.

At my fifth birthday party I clearly remember having two cakes: one for the adults (a yellow cake with chocolate, fudgy frosting) and a cake for the kids (some kind of white layer cake). I remember coveting that yellow cake but as you can tell from the photo above, I succumbed to the white cake as it was being cut.

Years later. In the days leading up to my birthday, I started making a miniature yellow cake to Paul’s chagrin (he was planning to handcraft me a special cake). The recipe is from Small-Batch Baking, a cookbook dedicated to smaller desserts for one of two people. I thought it would be a good solution for my household since there are only two of us.

Minature yellow cake

Making cakes from the book is like making doll food. The largest measurement I’ve had to deal with so far when making cakes is a half a cup. In addition, I can do it all in my toaster oven.

But even three yellow cakes later, Paul still baked me a birthday cake: a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, recipes straight out of the book. And rather than posting a photo of the cake which he specifically told me not to do (it turned out fugly — PH), I’ll instead post the necklace he gave me.

And yes, that is a squirrel.

Squirrel pendant

Old-Fashioned Yellow Cake

Unsalted butter, at room temperature for greasing the pans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for flour for the pans
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Yolk of 1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pans required: two 14- or 14.5 ounce cake pans

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.

Grease the insides of the pans and lightly dust them with flour, tapping out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet for easier handling and set aside.

Place the buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl and whisk until the baking soda is dissolved. Add the egg yolk, vanilla and melted butter and whisk to combine.

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the buttermilk mixture and whisk just until blended and smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Quick Fudge Frosting

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combined the butter and chocolate in small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Stir in the sugar and salt; then gradually whisk in the cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is hot and smooth but do not let it boil.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the chocolate mixture cool until it thickens to the the consistency of frosting. Spread on cooled cake.

21 thoughts on “Obsession with cake at the age of five

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  1. That is a cute cake. Makes me think of the Easy Bake Oven…but in a real-cake sense; if that makes any sense at all. Hope you had a lovely b-day.

  2. Happy birthday!Ooooh…I have got to check out that cookbook!Do you have a thing for squirrels? Check out Alby, isn't he cute… (That's my alma mater.)

  3. I LOVE yellow cake, ESPECIALLY with fudge frosting! I'm going to make this for the 4th festivities today. Have a Happy 4th of July!

  4. Anonymous, Diane and Mrs. Wong –Thanks!Cara Mia–Thanks too. And I do love squirrels and chipmunks and any small animal but squirrels are up there. Alby is so cute!Veggie Mom–Enjoy the cake. Have a happy and safe 4th!

  5. Happy birthday! And I'm soooo checking out that cookbook, although my co-workers will be sad that they can't have the fruits of my baking labor. 😉

  6. That squirrel is so neat, and that book looks amazing! I would definitely cook more if I could cook on a smaller scale. Thank you so so much for sharing!

  7. It's like vultures circling the dead (the picture). Funny stuff. Hope you had a happy birthday then and now.

  8. Nanette, Cindy, Migoto Chou and Kathy–Thanks again. I recommend the book if you want something small for two people but don't want to make a lot.

  9. Happy Belated Birthday! I simply ADORE that necklace! I have a bit of a squirrel obsession. That cook book would come in handy in my house too. If I cooked. Oh well.

  10. As promised, I made the cake for the 4th. The fudge frosting was a particular hit! BTW, I'm hosting a Giveaway, starting tomorrow–please drop on by!

  11. I'm totally late but happy birthday!That cake and squirrel necklace are totally cute!And I should totally get that book. Thanks for the rec.

  12. Jodi–Thanks! I love the necklace. Check eBay!Veggie Mom-Hurrah! The recipe was good for you too! I'll drop by your site later.Geefunk–Thanks! I think the book has some nice recipes if you need something sweet but not a whole cake to gorge on.

  13. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is the best desert in the world. If I ever owned a restaurant yellow cake with chocolate frosting and a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be my house desert!

  14. Hey, happy bday! I love the idea of tiny baking for two. It would definitely be helpful to keep me from eating twice as many (ok, five times as many) cookies as I should when I bake a batch.

  15. The John–No complaints here!Foodette–Thanks! Hopefully this book will save my waistline whenever I have a sweet tooth.

  16. Happy birthday Darlene! I love the sound of that cookbook – it sounds like you could probably make the recipes in an Easy Bake oven if you had one! Hope you had a good one, and kudos to Paul for baking you cake, even if it was "fugly" (which I am sure it was not!)

  17. Alice Q.–Thanks! The cake by Paul, although not perfect to his standards, was still sweet and delicious all the same.

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