My friend Susan makes a vanilla layer cake – every time I eat it I check, just to make sure, that she’s using the boxed cake mix and hasn’t found the recipe I’m seeking. I want to make vanilla cake from scratch that I enjoy eating as much as boxed cake mix.
I’ve made several versions as I still cling to the belief (a belief that is almost always correct) that homemade is better. My most recent attempt was for my son’s first birthday cake. The frosted cake looked gorgeous and I used my standby chocolate frosting – but the cake itself left a lot to be desired (a fail from America’s Test Kitchen – they’re allowed one). I wanted it to be spongy sweet and oily like the box, whereas this was less sweet and too bread-y in consistency.
I looked at my pictures and was sad I couldn’t share a win with you, but then I realized something. Though boxed cake mix is fairly legit, canned frosting is not. Plus, if you have a food processor this frosting will take you exactly 90 seconds to make.
It’s light in texture, perfectly rich and chocolate-y, and glossy due to the corn syrup (which, by the way, is different than high fructose corn syrup). This was so soft I thought it would wilt at room temperature but it didn’t – it stayed perfectly in place. So go out, buy your cake mix, but please for everyone involved make the frosting yourself!
Best Chocolate Frosting
Makes enough for to frost 9 in. cake or 12 cupcakes
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
20 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/8 heaping tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 c. bittersweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled *
*To melt chocolate just microwave in a glass bowl from about 1 minute. Stir, and microwave in fifteen second increments, stirring in between until melted.
1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend, in two or three 30 second increments, scraping the sides of the bowl each time.
2. If too soft at first, store covered in the fridge for about twenty minutes. Frosted cake or cupcakes do not need to be refrigerated once frosted.