Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Triple Birthday Bash: My Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Cheesecake Hybrid

Ever since I was a little kid, there has only been one truly perfect cake in my sugar addled mind: yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Some of my favorite memories involve my mom handing me a giant pan filled with the glorious confection and a fork. Several hours later I would return the empty pan for cleaning. Since I started baking, I have yearned for the perfect opportunity to relive that childhood wonder. Quite fortuitously, September appears to have been a very romantic month for parents, allowing my house to throw a triple birthday spectacle for my June born self, along with roommate/food model Dennis and his Saint Arnold's brewing partner in crime Claire (aka the lemon loving Brit). We three truly awesome individuals deserved three separate and equally awesome cakes. Dennis sought to channel his German brewing roots with a German Chocolate Cake, while Claire chose her childhood staple cookie cake. Knowing that a standard yellow cake just wasn't exciting or fattening enough for the ridiculous night we had ahead of us, I employed the technique taught to me by my Black and White Cupcakes and my inner mad scientist abilities to make the eighth wonder of the world: The Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Cheesecake Hybrid!
Triple birthday goodies: my yellow cake, Dennis' German Chocolate cake and Claire's White Chocolate Macademia Nut Cookie Cake. Fortunately these were the only unhealthy things at the party...
Yellow Cake Cheesecake Hybrid
Adapted from The Joy of Baking and Food.com
Servings: 2 9" cakes
Time: 1 hour (plus cooling)
The yellow comes from the egg yolks. Mind=blown!

Yellow Cake
3 cups sifted cake flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/3 cups granulated white sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
8 oz milk chocolate chips

Chocolate Frosting
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract

The top looks fully cooked, so you can obviously just ignore the center!
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour two 9"x2" round cake pans.
  2. Prep the cheesecake filling. Start by beating the cream cheese until smooth. Next, mix in the egg and sugar using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Set aside for later.
  3. Start on the yellow cake component by whisking the cake flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Beat the butter until soft and creamy using a stand mixer on medium.
  5. Slowly add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
  6. Mix in the egg yolks in two batches, fully incorporating each time.
  7. Add in the vanilla extract.
  8. Alternate adding in the flour mixture and milk (flour->milk->flour->milk->flour) at low speed. Be sure to scrape down the sides after each addition and be careful not to overmix. 
  9. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Fill one of them with half of the cream cheese mixture and not the whole amount like I mistakenly did. Feel free to go nuts and put it in both layers.
  10. Smooth over the batters with a rubber spatula then bake for 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick test comes back clean (this will be tricky to tell with the cream cheese one).
  11. Let both cakes cool in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then invert and reinvert them on to greased plates to remove from their pans. If the cream cheese version is still a little on the gooey side, let it set in the fridge.
  12. Start the frosting by melting the chocolate over a double boiler.
  13. Beat the butter until smooth then add in the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  14. Mix in the vanilla extract and chocolate over low speed until incorporated then ramp it up to medium-high until smooth.
  15. Use the cheesecake as the bottom layer then spread on the frosting. Add the other layer and frost thoroughly, making fun swirly shapes with the back of a spoon.
The yellow cake by itself was fairly tasty but a little dry. This was likely more my fault from some over baking. Luckily, this was easily remedied by the delightful chocolate chip cheesecake filling (a prophecy foretold by the aforementioned black and white cupcakes). It was all brought together beautifully by the rich yet not overly sweet chocolate frosting. Thanks to my masterful party planning, these quickly turned into the strangest "cup" cakes ever as I was forced to serve them in solo cups. This allowed for nice mixing of the cream cheese filling to ensure every bite was deserving of eight year old me's sweet tooth. Fortunately, I've learned to share since then (and that my metabolism is nowhere near as absurd as it once was), so I reluctantly allowed my guests to partake in it as well.
Place your vote for best photobomber in the comments. Was it Vampire Dennis or the always sultry Matt?
My unorthodox cake proved to be a delicious start to the dessert filled festivities and not the crime against nature it could of been (we had pitchforks and torches at the ready just in case). The only problem was making sure the partygoers saved room for the remaining two cakes.  
One incredibly structurally sound cake that I definitely didn't use frosting to help put back together. 

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