My son, that is. My baby, a baby no longer. Sunday was his 5th birthday and, to make up for missing all the fun that Memorial Day weekend he was born, he now gets 2-3 parties every year. Not a bad a trade-off.
To end the birthday weekend festivities, I baked him a cake. I gave myself a huge pat on the back, seeing as I never make layer cakes, for taking on the task. But I quickly was deflated when I discovered that–lo and behold!–I had actually adapted the same recipe before. For my mother-in-law’s birthday last year. And at that time, I made suggestions for tweaking the recipe that I did not follow, seeing as I did not recall making the same recipe until after it was already in the oven. Oops!
On the upside, the adaptations I made this time around seem to have corrected the blahness I claimed was present last year. Rich, tender, and fluffy, this was about the perfect yellow cake. If I didn’t know any better, I might have thought it came from a box! (I know, GASP! It’s still the measure of cake success for me, though…) If you refrigerate it, give it a chance to come back to room temperature; the flavor is far less impressive when cold and the texture is definitely drier.
The Chocolate Malt Buttercream was the essence of easy. You may want to double it if you like thick layers of frosting; I had only just enough to cover it all and would have liked some more, but I didn’t have enough cocoa powder left. Darnit! It’s probably for the best, as I surely would have taken up to eating any leftovers with a spoon. Every time I walked past the fridge. Until it ran out. Which could be pretty quickly, under those circumstances.
Happy 5th Birthday to my little man! He’ll be a teenager before I know it…
- 1 cup (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
- 1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1¾ cups vanilla sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups whole milk
- ¼ cup sprinkles of your choice (I used ones shaped like turtles and dolphins)
- ½ cup (8 Tablespoons) salted Kerrygold butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup malted milk powder
- 5+/- Tablespoons whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter, then cut out parchment circles to place into the bottom of each. Sprinkle about a Tablespoon of all purpose flour into each of the pans and rotate the pans to cover them evenly with flour. Tap out the excess.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Alternate pouring the milk and dry ingredients into the stand mixer bowl in 3 portions each, beating until just incorporated.
- Add the sprinkles and stir them in gently.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Remove when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs.
- Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge of the pans to loosen up the cakes. Gently dump the cakes out onto the wire racks, flipping them over so they’re right side up.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the sea salt, cocoa powder, and malted milk powder, beating until well-incorporated.
- On medium-low speed, add the milk one Tablespoon at a time, stopping when you’ve reached desired consistency.