So, I have been working with Carole Walters’ Great Cakes cookbook recently. Her recipe for Absolutely the Best Yellow Cake was calling me. The recipe for this cake can be found on a number of blog sites, just type Absolutely the Best Yellow Cake into your search field to find it.
We were having company for brunch on Sunday. I thought it would be a good day to serve this cake. And it was my niece’s birthday two days later, so we could use it to celebrate.
The recipe calls for using a large angel food cake pan that holds 4 quarts. Since I don’t own one of those, and we were expecting 12 people, I decided to use my 9″ x 13′ rectangular pan instead. As I wasn’t sure if it would be too big or too small, I measured out 4 quarts of water and poured it into the pan. It came within 1/4″ of the top of the pan. I thought that would work.
I made one 9″ x 13″ cake on Tuesday. There were two things that happened: 1) as the cake was baking, there were a lot of bubbles forming on the surface of the cake, and 2) even though I buttered the baking pan, I could not easily unmold the cake. I had to push a spatula under the bottom to loosen the cake, and even then, I was unable to loosen all the cake. When I finally unmolded it, much of the top layer remained in the pan. I carefully scraped these pieces out and placed them on the cake, before turning the cake over. When the cake was cool, I wrapped it in wax paper and plastic wrap and then put it into a freezer bag. Into the freezer it went.
For the next two days I thought about what I was going to do with this cake. I decided to make a second layer, and fill the center of the cake with my homemade peach vanilla jam. The top would be frosted too and decorated some how. Since my niece likes chocolate, that would be the frosting flavor. Carole Walters has a Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting recipe in the Great Cakes books that states it is good with yellow cakes. Sounded good to me. (BTW, I found the recipe on Carole’s website. Here it is).
So I got started on making the second cake. First, I sprayed the 9″ x 13″ baking pan with non stick spray. Next I cut a parchment paper liner for the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. This I also sprayed with non stick spray.
Next I got together the ingredients.
Creamed the butter and sugar. I kept the butter out to get it to room temperature before creaming.
At this point, I was so busy baking that I forgot to take pictures. Oh well, you know how it goes…, add eggs and vanilla, add flour and milk in parts as per directions. Pour gently into baking pan.
Here is where I went wrong. As I mentioned when I made the cake initially, there were a lot of bubbles as the cake was baking. I thought I should avoid that by banging the filled baking pan on the counter a few times before baking. Well, that was not such a good idea. As you can see from the picture below, the cake that I banged, did not rise as high as the original cake. This is because the air bubbles in the batter were needed to help it rise. Duhhh!
But I did do well with the parchment paper liner. This second cake came out of the pan with ease. And it also was easy to move around with the liner underneath. When it cooled, I wrapped the cake in plastic wrap and put it into a freezer bag and then into the freezer for two days.
Saturday morning I defrosted both cakes. I got out my peach vanilla jam from the freezer. The recipe for the jam, which btw is really delicious, comes from Annie’s Eats. Later in the afternoon, I unwrapped the cakes and made the Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting. I took the first cake and turned it upside down on my baking sheet which had 4 strips of wax paper down to catch frosting drips. On top I spread 1/3 of the frosting followed by 1/2 my half-pint size jar of peach vanilla jam.
Then I put the second cake layer on top. I used the rest of the frosting to partially frost the top. But since I still had the sides to do, I needed more frosting. I made a double batch this time. Now I had enough to finish the top and sides. This worked out really well. I was not skimping on anything. The cake went into the refrigerator to set while I contemplated how to finish it.
The day before I purchase a can of marzipan. I have never used it but it looked easy. It is like Play-doh for bakers. Using the gel food colors I had I was able to make pink and yellow swirl flowers and green leaves. Here is how I made the flowers.
And when we added the 14 candles, they fit perfectly.
The cake was firm and the icing sweet. The jam layer was discernible through all that cake and frosting. But there was definitely a difference between the two layers. My guests commented that the cake was heavy. When I had them try both layers separately, they said it was the top layer (the one I “banged”) that was heavy.
I like the heaviness. And I liked eating the cake straight from the refrigerator and cutting the slice into little cubes. The firmness really worked there. I popped a cube in my mouth without worrying about crumbs.
The marzipan decorations were easy to remove, or to eat. Most people removed them.
This would be a great layer for a homemade ice cream cake. Especially the “banged” layer. That would really hold the ice cream well. I will have to try that one. Yum yum!