Last time I looked, it was years since I made a cake “just because.”
It was always too decadent and dangerous to have at home, considering my fondness for layer cakes. But recently I had to use up a large amount of buttermilk. I could have gone the easy route and whipped up a batch of buttermilk pancakes but that seemed too easy of a solution. Instead, I went the baking-intensive route and wanted to bake my favorite: yellow cake complete with frosting. Sour cream frosting to be exact.
I did some research and found two recipes fitting my criteria, from dependable Epicurious and the wonderful Smitten Kitchen, and adapted the recipes based on how much work I wanted to do. Turns out, there really is no shortcut. Once you’ve settled in to bake a cake, there’s really no turning back. I bought appropriate cake pans (shocking that I didn’t already own a proper set), brought ingredients to room temperature (especially important for the butter, eggs and sour cream), and preheated the oven.
Once baked and assembled, the cake is irresistible. Fluffy mounds of tangy chocolate frosting frame layers of moist, rich butter cake. It’s an old-fashioned cake that I used to long for as a kid.
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line two 9-inch round cake pans with circles of parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at until fluffy and well combined. Beat in vanilla and add eggs one at a time.
Add buttermilk until combined. Slowly add flour mixture in small batches until throughly mixed.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool cake for 10 minutes, remove parchment and cool on a rack until completely cool.
Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
13 ounces semisweet/milk chocolate bar, chopped (do not use chips!)
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt chocolate and coffee using a double boiler. (You can use a microwave but I’ve never tried nor do I own a microwave.)
Remove from heat when chocolate is completely melted and coffee granules are throughly combined in the mixture. Cool for 20 min. until barely warm.
Mix sour cream, corn syrup and vanilla extract.
Slowly add the chocolate to sour cream mixture. Add more corn syrup if needed to adjust sweetness. (Sourness of the frosting is slightly reduced after the cake is assembled.)
Cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until the frosting is slightly firm and can be easily spread on cake.