Let them eat (homemade!) cake!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Growing up, we were always a box cake family. In college I took a cake decorating class. I thought it would be a fun way to earn a few credits and was very into being Martha Stewart-y at the time. I also thought there would be cake to eat. Sadly, I found that each class we decorated styrofoam cakes with crisco and sugar frosting. Yuck. I learned all the basics and by the end I was able to frost a beautiful cake, but we never learned to bake or in fact made any of our own cakes. Sorry, Martha.

These days, I am into making things from scratch. I mean, have you tried no-knead bread? The best. Also, these things are usually not that hard, more delicious and healthier in general. So, recently, I decided I needed to learn how to bake a cake. I was imagining it to be much more complicated, but this cake was super easy and turned out deliciously. Not my finest frosting job (and no piped border or shells! Why did I even take that dumb class?), but I love sprinkles, and its cake, so who really cares? 

If you are inclined to bake a cake from scratch (and I hope you try it at least once, just to see how easy it is), here is the recipe I recommend:

My recipe adapted from this recipe:

Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar ( I skimped and used 1 1/4c, and it turned out fine, I might even try 1c. next time)
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling coffee

1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two cake pans or one sheet pan by buttering and then dusting with flour. Set aside.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a standing mixer bowl. Mix until combined. Add milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed until well combined. Next add boiling coffee and beat on high for one minute to add air to the batter.
3. Pour mixture into two pans or one pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick/fork comes out clean.
4. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely. Then move on to making the frosting…

The frosting is an old family recipe (and also a basic buttercream frosting recipe). While we always bought boxed mix, we also always made our own frosting. Why? My family is full of dichotomies like this.

Buttercream frosting:
1 stick of butter (room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 milk
a pinch of salt

1. Mix all of this together. If it seems a bit runny, add some more sugar. If it seems a bit dry add some milk. It should be creamy and not runny.
2. Once cake is cool, frost away!
3. Add a generous amount of sprinkles.
4. Eat (homemade!) cake!

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