For the last five years or so, I have been a full-fledged, card-carrying member of the Cupcakes-Are-Easier club. Obviously, the small size — perfect for portion control (unless, of course, you eat several of them instead of just one), perfect for little hands, etc, etc …
But you know what? After making a cake for the first time in close to a decade, I recant. Cupcakes are cute, for sure, but they are not easier. All those little tins to fill with liners and batter. It’s a lot of work. Seriously. But cakes? Cakes are pretty simple.
You start by baking the cake and letting it cool completely. This one was a chocolate one, from a boxed mix. Sometimes I bake from scratch, other times I don’t. In this case, since I was working on the frosting recipe for Tablespoon, the cake wasn’t my primary focus so using the boxed mix let me focus right where I needed to.
Then, you level the cakes. And yes, this is a must-do. Basically, leveling the cakes is nothing more than cutting off the bulge on top of the cake, so that both layers have a flat top. Save the remnants — they are perfect for making trifles. You can even freeze them for later use.
Next, you fill and frost the cake. You can use a pastry bag or go ultra simple with a plain ol’ storage bag with a corner cut off. I have a few pastry tips that I use, though I only use one for any given project, so fancy decorating? Not here. In any case, it takes all of 10 minutes to level, fill and frost a cake in a rush, if that. And there is something so inviting, so decadent about a layer cake.
Color me a convert. Forget cupcakes — I am all for the full-on cake.
How about you? Are you still mad for cupcakes, or are you ready for a return to the real-deal cakes?
What about the frosting? This is a super easy, perfectly sweetened cream cheese frosting. Use it on whatever cake you like – carrot, pumpkin, chocolate, whatever. I prefer it served chilled.
- 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine the cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Use immediately on a fully cooled cake.