Guys. This cake did not turn out the way I anticipated. For one thing, it is so ugly.
For another thing, it didn't taste like yellow cake. I love that tangy yellow-cake-from-a-box-mix flavor, and this cake just didn't have it. It was delicious, don't get me wrong; it just wasn't what I expected. Fortunately, the frosting provided enough tang to satisfy my craving.
But that brings up the frosting issue. I tried adapting a recipe I found online to suit my taste, and evidently my taste is too-runny frosting. Again, delicious, but not sturdy enough to hold up well on a layer cake. I would definitely use more powdered sugar next time so my top layer doesn't go all slip-sliding off the bottom one like this cake threatened to do.
Even so, it was pretty tasty for your basic "just because I want it" cake.
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line
with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately,
you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour
to speed this process up.)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium
bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl
with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat
in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the
bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just
combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three
batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then drop pan on the counter a few times from
two inches up to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a
wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40
minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge
of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely,
about 1 hour.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting*
adapted from Cookie Madness
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli this time)
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3-4 cups powdered sugar
Beat together butter, cocoa powder, and milk until combined. Add sour cream and 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Continue adding powdered sugar a little at a time (mostly to avoid a big sugar dust cloud) until desired consistency is reached. (Go thicker than you think you should, especially if using for a layer cake. It's not so much an issue for, say, a cake baked in a 9x13 pan.)
*I will be testing this frosting recipe again and will update it if I have better success next time.