The Best Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Homemade Moist Yellow Cake
Yankee food editor Amy Traverso’s favorite yellow cake recipe, plus a new chocolate fudge frosting recipe that’ll make any home baker look like an expert.
My sister-in-law’s birthday is this weekend and I volunteered to make the cake. I went with my standard yellow cake recipe, which came from a friend and is most likely adapted from a cookbook, though I can’t say which one. It always comes out reliably well (see the recipe below), but when it comes to frosting the thing, I haven’t yet landed on a recipe that I really love. Until today!
It’s Rose’s Fudge Frosting from Rosie’s All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg. Who wouldn’t love a book with a name like that? I’m a fan of Judy’s bakeries in the Boston area and the book is full of recipes for all her classics, like peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and chocolate delirium cake. I chose this recipe on a whim because I had never heard of a frosting made with evaporated milk, or one that’s quite so easy to make. There are three ingredients: unsweetened chocolate, evaporated milk, and sugar. That’s it! It has no added fat, other than the cocoa butter in the chocolate. Here’s the recipe:
Rosie’s Fudge Frosting
This recipe couldn’t be easier. Just two caveats: You have to make it in a blender. Nothing else works. And you have to plan ahead because the frosting needs a few hours to set up once it’s mixed.
Total time: 12 minutes; plus at least 2 hours resting time; hands-on time: 12 minutes
Yield: 1 3/4 cups
Ingredients for Fudge Frosting
- 6 ounces (6 squares) unsweetened chocolate
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Method for Fudge Frosting
1. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler placed over simmering water. Let cool slightly.
2. Place the evaporated milk in a blender, then add the sugar. Blend on medium speed for 2 seconds. Add the chocolate to the sugar mixture and blend on high speed until the frosting is thick and shiny, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
3. Spoon the frosting into a bowl and allow it to set a room temperature for 30 minutes. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the frosting to set until firm, anywhere from several hours to overnight, depending on the weather (my frosting took about 2 hours to set on a cool fall day). Do not refrigerate the frosting, even if you don’t plan to use it for a few days. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
The frosting is so gorgeous and glossy and spreads beautifully. “You’re making me look good,” I thought as I spread it on my cake.
Incidentally, I was curious to know more about evaporated milk frosting, and I haven’t yet found much about them. But I did learn that the first canned milk was produced in this country by Gail Borden, who first began producing sweetened condensed milk in 1857 at a factory in Burrville, Connecticut. Evaporated milk, which doesn’t contain sugar, came later.
Moist Yellow Cake
Total time: 1 hour; hands-on time: 25 minutes
Yellow cake is a favorite in my home, and this recipe has become my go-to choice for both layer cakes, sheet cakes, and cupcakes.
Ingredients for Yellow Cake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 1 1/4 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
- 1 cup milk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350° and set a rack to the middle position. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch cake pans.
Using a standing or hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and very fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and mix on low until combined. Add half the milk and stir. Repeat. Add the remaining third of the flour mixture and stir just until smooth.
Divide the batter equally among the two prepared pans, then bang the pans on your counter to remove any air bubbles. Transfer to the middle rack of your oven and bake until the cakes are golden brown and just beginning to pull away from the sides, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire racks, covering the cakes with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Once cool, you are ready to assemble the cake. Yield: 2 cake layers.