Cakes · Desserts

Ty’s 20th Birthday Cake!

When people think of a birthday cake, they might imagine a tall, decorated cake with beautiful layers of thick, sweet frosting. Ty’s birthday was this past Monday, and I was so excited to bake him a birthday cake. Ty loves cake, but he doesn’t like frosting. For the past two years when I’ve asked Ty what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he has responded with “Yellow cake, no frosting”. This makes his birthday cake not very exciting for me to make. Baking any kind of cake is a fun time for me, but I was hoping that Ty would try and challenge me. I was hoping that he would pull random criteria out of the air and leave it to me to make the coolest cake ever. 

 
Tyrus did give me one special criteria: it had to be a “funfetti” yellow cake. It blew his mind that I could simply throw sprinkles into a cake batter to make it a “funfetti” cake. He demanded that there be sprinkles in his yellow birthday cake, with no frosting…but what is that deliciously glossy and gooey substance flowing over that piece of yellow funfetti cake? That, my friends, is ganache, a seemingly intimidating but truly simple addition to any cake… 
Does anyone else see a face on the thick streak of ganache to the left?
I started this cake with a yellow cake recipe from SmittenKitchen.com. I tried making it a few months ago, and it was delicious. It tastes like a boxed cake mix, but is so much more fulfilling since it’s made from scratch! 
 
I started with cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt sifted together in a large bowl.
In my mixer, I creamed softened butter and sugar together…
…until it was pale and fluffy.
Then, I added in 4 eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after I added each egg. When all of the eggs had been added, I poured in the vanilla and buttermilk. Buttermilk is a great addition in cakes because it makes the cake super moist and creamy.
When the wet batter was mixed, I added in the dry ingredients in three parts, mixing after each addition.
Next came the fun part, the sprinkles!…
…I made sure to put in plenty for Ty. Then, I mixed it up…
…and poured all of the thick batter into a 9 by 13 inch pan.
I baked that for about 50 minutes in the 350 degree oven. I pulled the cake out when the top was a dark golden brown and a knife inserted into the center came out clean. Then I let it cool for a good couple of hours, and when everyone was about to come over to celebrate Ty’s birthday, (the poor guy had to work until 11 p.m. on his birthday, so it was a surprise for him when all of our friends were gathered in our apartment) I started making a ganache to go with the yellow cake. Even though Ty didn’t want any frosting on his cake, I decided that there should be some kind of topping for the people who did want it. Plus, it made the cake making a little more interesting for me…
 
Ganache is one of those chocolate things that sounds really out-there and hard to make, but it really isn’t. I started with some semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler. I originally thought about making a white chocolate ganache because that is Ty’s favorite chocolate, but I didn’t have any. I’m pretty sure that Ty has taken to eating the white chocolate in my baking cupboard, so it’s his own fault that I was out…
When the chocolate started to melt, I  added some heavy whipping cream (another good reason to have heavy cream on hand! Quick and fancy ganache!) and stirred them together so that they melt together. I like using a whisk to stir chocolate and cream together to ensure that everything really does get mixed around.
 
When Ty came home from work, everyone in our apartment let out some form of happy birthday acknowledgement. For some, it meant the nodding of a head when they could not tear their eyes away from Street Fighter 4. For others, it meant a high-fave or a bro-hug. For me, it meant tackling Ty with birthday hugs and dragging him into the kitchen for his birthday cake…
Tyrus loved his birthday cake, it was everything he wanted. It was sweet, moist, filled with sprinkles and tasted great when accompanied by a tall glass of milk. I served everyone their pieces of cake and poured some of the warm ganache over each piece. The semisweet chocolate was the perfect addition to this yellow cake. The dark flavors from the chocolate mellowed out with the cream, but it still had that incredible dark richness. It tasted amazing when combined with the soft and creamy cake. Ty already has his birthday cake order in for next year: This same yellow funfetti cake, but with white chocolate ganache. No surprise there…


The recipe for the Yellow Cake is available on SmittenKitchen.com.


Recipe for Chocolate Ganache


Your preferred type of chocolate ( 1-2 cups)
Heavy Whipping Cream (1/2-1/3 cup)


Chop chocolate or use chocolate chips and melt in a double boiler. Add heavy cream and whisk together. Can be served warm or at room temperature.



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