I love my baked goods, but I’m pretty picky about cakes and frosting. You know those sheet cakes from Costco/Walmart/wherever that many people get for every event and celebration? I’m really not a fan. I mean, I don’t complain when one is served to me, because hey, it’s cake, and any cake is usually better than no cake. Cake from a mix? Also not a big fan. They’re usually a bit to fluffy and boring and dry for my liking. I prefer my cake dense and rich and moist. The cakes I like to make all come from my mom’s old Betty Crocker Cookbook. One is called Bonnie Butter Cake, one is called Dinette Cake, and one is called Deep, Dark, Chocolate Cake. When my sister-in-law made our wedding cake, I asked her to use those recipes because I wanted the wedding cake to be something really good!
As for frosting, I detest buttercream. Pretty much the only frosting I ever make is cream cheese (or chocolate cream cheese). It’s rich and smooth and I could pretty much just eat it by the bowl, and it tastes good on any cake, not just the traditional carrot cake. (I also asked for cream cheese frosting on our wedding cake.)
So, a few months back, I was intrigued by a blog post titled “The Best Frosting Ever.” I looked it over and decided it looked interesting enough to try, but I had no cake-baking plans at the time, so I saved it on Pinterest to return to later.
Last weekend, we had a get together with some friends in honor of my brother-in-law’s birthday, and I was asked to bring a cake. Having recently perused my collection of recipes on Pinterest, this frosting was fresh in my mind and I knew this would be a perfect opportunity to test it.
Let me forewarn you: it’s more work than your average throw-butter-and-sugar-and-stuff-in-a-bowl-and mix type of frosting. Due to needing time to cool and set up at 2 different stages, it takes a good chunk of the day from start-to-finish. But oh boy, was it worth it!
First, the evidence:
You mix together sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt and milk, then cook it over medium heat till it boils and thickens. Then you have to let it cool down, which is why it takes a while. You could probably put it in the fridge to hasten things along, but then it needs to come to room temperature. See, the next step is whipping in the butter, which won’t work properly if it’s cold. You whip it really well for about 5 minutes and it takes on the consistency of whipped cream. It’s so smooth and silky and rich tasting…I loved it. Then you’re supposed to let it set up for another hour or so before frosting the cake. I stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes since I was short on time, and that worked just fine.
Here it’s going on the cake:
This was all that I brought home from the party:
Notice how there’s a big glut of frosting in the middle. That’s because my cake fell. Seriously, I have never had a cake fall on me, and I’m not sure why it happened this time. I’ve heard that opening your oven door too much can cause a cake to fall, but I never opened it once. I didn’t do anything remarkable, really; just followed the recipe. I was kind of annoyed by this development, but the end result was a big pocket to fill with frosting in the middle. So, I guess it wasn’t all bad!
I’ve made you wait through all those mouth-watering photos; it’s only fair that I now give you the link to the recipe! And her photos are even more delicious-looking than mine…anyways, you can find it here at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
As a side note, she mentions that it’s best to use the frosting the same time you make it, without refrigerating. That’s probably true, but I did refrigerate my leftover slice of cake and had no problem with the frosting the next day. It was fairly firm when I took it out of the refrigerator, but it softened up after a few minutes at room temperature and tasted just as good as before!
If you’re interested, here is my recipe for chocolate cake:
Deep, Dark, Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients except boiling water; beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Remove from mixer; stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch or three 8-inch layer pans or one 9×13″ pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes for layers, 35-40 minutes for 9×13 pan, or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on rack before removing from pans to cool completely. Frost.