Yellow Cake. Double Chocolate Frosting. Enough Said.

Life has been so hectic of late that it's hard not to take up a lot of blog space talking about it. But, this busy-ness has replaced a year of solitude and contemplation and is very, very welcome. Last February, when we moved to San Diego for real (we went back and forth between LA, SF and SD for about 9 months before settling here), I was a bit overdone from a year and a half of moving around. My friendships here have been slower in coming than they were in Virginia (where we were for only 8 months before the LA-SF-SD craziness began) and my confidence at making new friends has been, at times, shaky. There are, though, a couple of people who've made becoming friends so easy, it feels like we've known each other forever. Candice is one such person.

The first time I met Candice was in the sand box outside our daughters' classroom and I swear I looked up and saw the most beautiful brunette muse. She turned out to be the friendliest person I'd met in San Diego so far and one who has included my sometimes-shy family in everything from trick-or-treating to a beachside New Year's Eve celebration.

Candice is kind of like the little sister I never had - a little sister who's got it a lot more together than I do! She's an incredible hostess and entertainer who holds down a director-level job like it's no big deal. I mean, this woman can make a ridiculously impressive cheese platter and she'll just show up at a kids' play date after working all day with everything from gorgonzola to honeycomb. She's also a doting but firm Italian mama to two of the cutest, kindest towheads you'll ever meet. If that weren't enough, she's married to a gentle and funny surfer dude and, at her rawther young age, they've been an item for almost 20 years.

When I found out Candice's birthday was last week, well, you know what I did. I took out my favorite baking books and in Julie Richardson's Vintage Cakes (I know. You're thinking that I should just be blogging about baking all of her recipes because you see so many of them here. But, TRUST me. This book is solid!) found something I hoped would please parents and children.

We met "the Candices", as my husband and I call them, and our other favorite friends at Korean BBQ and after a feast of kimchee and steak, dived into these cupcakes like there was no tomorrow. The buttery, soft crumb was so surprising because these babies are pretty sturdy and traveled pretty well in the car. My made-up frosting (Julie's was a bit too ambitious for the time I had available) worked out well enough to share with you. Silky and creamy, the frosting definitely tastes of chocolate and cream, which, funny enough, is exactly what it's made from. Hehe.

Anyhow, I'm not sure if yellow cake and chocolate frosting is Candice's favorite, but it sure made our taste buds happy and made us all feel more connected. Which, really, is what this baking thing is all about.

Happy Birthday, Candice!



Yellow Cake.
Makes 24 cupcakes or (3) 9" layers
1-1/3 C sifted cake flour
3/4 C plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
6 T unsalted butter, at room temp
2 C sugar
1/2 C canola oil
1 T pure vanilla extract
4 egg yolks, at room temp
3 eggs, at room temp
1/2 C buttermilk, at room temp
1/2 C heavy cream, cold

Line 24 muffin tins with pretty cupcake papers. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350.

1. In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt then whisk to ensure ingredients are well combined.
2. Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high until light in color and texture, about 5 minutes.
3. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the oil and vanilla and mix.
4. Add in the yolks and whole eggs one at a time, scraping down your bowl between each addition.
5. With the mixer on low, add in the flour mixture in three parts and the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the bowl after each addition and don't overmix.
6. In a separate bowl (preferably chilled and stainless steel, but anything will do), whip the cream until soft peaks form.
7. Carefully fold the cream into the batter.
8. If you have one of those giant ice cream scoops, you can use that to scoop the perfect amount of batter into each cup. If not, use two spoons or one ladle to fill each cup 3/4 full.
9. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes. They'll be a bit browned on the edges.
10. Set aside to cool until room temperature.

Double Chocolate Frosting.
4 oz. milk chocolate
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 C cream, hot
5 C powdered sugar
1/2 C butter, at room temp
2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt

1. Heat the cream to hot but not boiling.
2. While the cream is on the stove top, break your chocolate into tiny bits and place them in a glass bowl.
3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit 2 minutes, then whisk until combined.
4. Sift the sugar and salt into your stand mixer.
5. With your mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture, butter and vanilla. Once it's all combined, turn the power up and whip until light and spreadable. If it's too thick, add a tablespoon at a time of cream. If it's runny, add 1/4 C powdered sugar at a time until it's spreadable.

You can either pipe or spread the frosting on. Sprinkles are optional but so much fun!


  1. omg yellow cake with choc frosting is my FAV cake combo and I have yet to find a really great recipe. the only one i've ever really liked is stuff made with Duncan Hines and I refuse to put that stuff into my vessel anymore ha ha ha. Oh I did make an ok version from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook, have you seen that one?? I have seen that Vintage Cakes book floating around and always wondered about it - that seems like a Melissa book that I should have! Anyway, these look delightful and I will be pinning and making for next cupcake event. I don't know what a cupcake event is, but I'll make one up if I have too :)

    1. Yes, Melissa, I have made so many great things from Magnolia Bakery books. Their cupcake recipe with self-rising flour was my go to for years. Please, please, please try this - either as a layer cake or cupcakes. It far exceeded my expectations and I'm kinda looking for a reason to make it again!
      Also, yes you would LOVE the Vintage Cakes book and I can tell you that every single cake I've baked in that book turns out. I LOVE COOK BOOK WRITERS WHO TEST THEIR RECIPES. Super delicious and turns out every time.


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