What is a birthday party without a birthday cake? A disappointing celebration, that's what. Any dessert can be appropriate for a birthday if you stick a candle on top, but a lovely cake doesn't need candles to be appropriate - especially if the birthday boy/girl doesn't want to think about how many candles should be topping of that cake. This cake recipe is from Cooking Light and is a lovely, easy-to-make layer cake.
The cake itself is light and moist, and the frosting is fantastic. The brown sugar mix melts in your mouth and develops a slight crunch on the outside as it sets. I had to double the original recipe to make enough frosting to cover the cake and a tiny bit left over that was a great dip for some pretzel sticks. I would make the icing alone again and serve dipped pretzels as a salty-sweet snack food, but I wouldn't hesitate to make the whole cake again, either. I just need another occasion.
You can use an 8-inch or a 9-inch round cake pan for this recipe. A cake baked in an 8-inch pan may need an additional two or three minutes in the oven before it is done.
Buttermilk Cake with Praline Icing
(from Cooking Light)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the top of the parchment paper, too.
Combine the sugar and butter in a large bowl, and cream together with an elextric mixer until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Beat in the eggs and egg white, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the 1/3 of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir well, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Add in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the buttermilk and the last of the flour. Stir only until no streaks of flour remain.
Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Bake at 350° for 22-26 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Carefully peel off parchment paper, and cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
2 cups brown sugar, packed (light, dark or golden)
12 tbsp low-fat milk
2 tbsp corn syrup (light or dark)
1 tbsp butter
dash of salt (1/8-1/4 tsp)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the brown sugar, milk, corn syrup, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Pour syrup mixture into a large bowl and let stand for about one minute. Add powdered sugar and the vanilla, then beat with a mixer at medium/high speed until smooth. Cool for 2-3 minutes (icing will be thin but thickens as it cools) before frosting.
Frost the cake:
Place 1 cake layer on a plate, and spoon about 1/2 cup icing onto the cake layer, spreading to cover. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. Let stand at room temperature until ready to serve.
[All Photos by Nicole Weston]