Yes, I bake my own birthday cakes. This year it's layers of tender yellow cake glued together with sweetened condensed milk, and a generous coat of billowy, strawberry-flecked buttercream.
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What I can't give you: the sound. The crisp, glassine crinkle of Little Debbie's cello wrap crumpling between your fingers. The delicate, mournful song the wadded-up wrapper sings as it slowly unfurls in the trash bin, discarded after faithfully protecting your snack for so long. What I can give you: fluffy yellow cake, silky whipped filling, and a coating of chocolate resilient enough to let you carry the whole thing around in the palm of your hand.
Making this cake isn't hard at all, but describing the entire process makes it seem more daunting. Put simply: bake a cake. Make buttercream. Sandwich them together. Cut into shapes. Glaze. Put more obnoxiously, well, read on.
I've made a lot of fancy flavored birthday cakes for other people, but when my birthday rolls around, I prefer the same old-school, yellow cake that I remember my mom making for me. Hers was made from a boxed mix, but my version is homemade. This cake tastes how good yellow cake should; buttery, light, and moist. I use a soaker of simple syrup with real vanilla bean to ensure that the layers pack extra moisture and flavor.
Any cake can be transformed into a birthday cake with a round of "Happy Birthday to You" and a box of colorful candles, but nothing says birthday quite like a layered and frosted yellow cake. This recipe for the birthday classic from Joanne Chang's Flour refines the original ever so slightly, making for a cake that looks the part but tastes truly memorable.
Tender yellow cake with smooth chocolate frosting, this is birthday cake done right.