I love making birthday cakes for my friends and family. Even though making cakes for events can really be stressful when you’re trying to make sure everyone loves the cake and that nothing goes wrong at the last minute (haha), it’s such a joy to be able to make the people you love feel special. I’ve made cakes we’ve enjoyed while camping, made cakes that got sat on (repeatedly), made cakes that were elegant and make cakes that were…..
This cake, inspired by an Alton Brown recipe, turned out quite well and was a special treat for my mom’s birthday. I added some berries within the cake layer and on top to break up the thick cream cheese frosting and to contrast the cocoa of the cake. Here’s a fresh twist on a classic cake sure to bring everyone together!
For the cake:
- 5 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces cake flour
- 1/2 ounce natural cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, room temperature (if you can’t find buttermilk, add one tablespoon lemon juice to a cup of regular milk and wait 5 minutes then use your milk mixture immediately)
- 1 fluid ounce red liquid food coloring
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 whole eggs, room temperature
- 1 package raspberries, washed and dried
- 1 package blueberries, washed and dried
For the icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch kosher salt
1. Make sure you have a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Prep two 9-inch cake pans by spraying the interior of the pans with nonstick spray and cutting parchment paper rounds that fit into the bottom of the pan. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray and sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the round. Set pans aside to get cracking on your cake!
2. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt together.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the buttermilk (or lemon juice/milk mixture) together with the food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
5. On low speed, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to your butter and sugar combo.Try to take at least four turns adding each so that you don’t add too much of either at a time. Once all ingredients are incorporated, mix until smooth.
6. Divide the batter evenly between your prepped pans. Place pans in oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a serrated knife inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean.
7. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.
8. While cakes are cooling, whip up your icing! Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large (preferably steep sided) bowl and blend until well mixed. Add vanilla and salt and blend well. CAREFULLY and slowly add the powdered sugar little by little. If you add it too quickly you will end up wearing the sugar and cleaning your kitchen for an hour. Taste frequently while adding the sugar to make sure the frosting is to your liking (twist my arm!). Once sugar is fully incorporated, cover and refrigerate icing for 15 minutes.
9. Once cakes are cool and the icing has been refrigerated for 15 minutes, you’re ready to ice your cake and bask in the glory of a gorgeous baked creation! Using a little less than half of your icing, completely the sides and top of your first cake. Top this with 1/3 of the raspberries and blueberries and gently place the second cake on top of the berries. Ice the sides and top of the second cake, doing your best not to leave gaps between the two cake layers.