Bake

Grown-Up Birthday Cake

by:
September 23, 2010
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

I had already started to make my mom's go-to birthday cake—a yellow cake made with white wine that she cribbed from the Chicago Tribune eons ago--when I realized I didn't have the 1 cup of vegetable oil the recipe called for. So, hello olive oil substitute! I did worry that it would overwhelm the delicate taste, but it actually turned out beautifully—richer than the veg oil version and very moist. - Midge —Midge

Test Kitchen Notes

We've wanted to award this beauty a Wildcard win for some time but Jenny beat us to it: http://www.food52.com/blog.... Olive oil and wine make the cake fruity and complex (do use good ones, as you will taste all of their delicious nuances); the jam layer swings in with a little flash and tartness; and the thin coat of creamy chocolate icing seals the deal. It's altogether very grown-up, but with all the pleasure of a sweet, spongy cake. Tips: Line your cake pans with parchment circles to make sure the layers turn out without a hitch. And if you run into any trouble with lumps in the frosting, just whisk like mad till it smooths out. - A&M —The Editors

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves a birthday party
Ingredients
  • yellow cake
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 7 ounces raspberry jam, preferably homemade, but I used Bonne Maman
  • bittersweet chocolate buttercream icing
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. yellow cake
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. Butter and lightly flour 2 nine-inch cake pans.
  4. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  5. In a standing mixer, blend sugar and eggs on med-high for a minute. Slowly mix in vanilla, wine, and oil.
  6. Gently fold dry ingredients into cake batter until smooth.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.
  8. Spread jam on one layer; then top with the other. Frost top layer with icing (recipe below).
  1. bittersweet chocolate buttercream icing
  2. Blend butter and sugar. Fold in cocoa and gradually add milk until it starts to look like icing. Mix in vanilla.
Contest Entries

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sarah Elizabeth
    Sarah Elizabeth
  • Ken Flanagan
    Ken Flanagan
  • Sarah Donegan
    Sarah Donegan
  • Chelsea Tuthill
    Chelsea Tuthill
  • Pessy Haskelevich
    Pessy Haskelevich
Review
Midge

Recipe by: Midge

I’m a journalist who’s covered everything from illegal logging in Central America to merit pay for teachers, but these days I write mostly about travel. I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in some far-flung locales, where poking around markets and grocery stores is my favorite thing to do. Cooking, especially baking, is my way of winding down after a long day; there’s nothing like kneading bread dough to bring you back to earth.