Perfect Birthday Cake
Blog post by Nancy.
Today, July 15, is my blog’s 4th birthday – time for cake! In his book The Modern Baker, Nick Malgieri has a recipe he calls the “Perfect Birthday Cake” – yellow cake with chocolate frosting. That just so happens to be my favorite combination, a perfect way to celebrate my blogoversary.
– Some talented and dedicated bakers have been baking their way through Nick Malgieri’s book as part of an effort called the Modern Baker Challenge. I have, on rare occasions, joined them. This post is my contribution to the cake section of the Challenge. I started this blog in response to a different baking challenge – weekly baking of every recipe in Dorie Greenspan and her book, Baking From My Home to Yours with the original Tuesdays With Dorie group. The Modern Baker Challenge has given me a fun opportunity to dip, however sporadically, into another baking challenge. The Modern Bakers do not post the recipes, so if you’d like to bake this cake, you’ll have to find a copy of the book! It has come out in paperback, so you can pick it up for a reasonable price.
– Although I’m posting this cake in honor of my 4th blogoversary, I actually baked it for my book group’s 6th anniversary. Hence the “6” candle you can see in the picture below.
– I baked 1/2 recipe in my 6″ cake pans. I ended up with layers that were quite petite.
– Because there was so little batter in the small pans, the cake baked very quickly. In fact, I probably over-baked it by just the tiniest bit, which was totally annoying.
– The cake layers had firm structure and a fine, close crumb. There were some mysterious “swiss cheese” type holes in the cake but I have no idea why they were there.
– You can see from the frosting how my layers weren’t totally level. I didn’t want to trim them because the layers were already so small. So I just turned the top layer upside down, leaving a flat top and bottom, but a sizeable gap in the side, which I filled with frosting.
– Nick’s Perfect Birthday Cake combines yellow layers with a fudgy ganache frosting.
I was very surprised by this cake. It could not have been more different from the standard yellow box cakes of my previous baking life. The layers were improbably soft and tender, despite a possible minute too long in oven. The cake was light but not dense, dry but not sawdusty. The intense ganache frosting was a perfect complement. It took me until my second slice to figure out that I loved the cake