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Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm back baby and bringing you my favorite birthday treat!

Hello after six months of being away! I started a new job at the end of January and I've been putting all my energy into that, so the blog was put on pause. Well what better time to restart things than by celebrating my birthday with one of my favorite desserts!

I'm not a huge cake fan. When I was younger I used to ask for a Papa John's pizza as my cake because it was the only time my parents would let me order Papa John's (they are Pizza Hut people). But the one cake I would and will always eat is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I just love the light and fluffy yellow cake with the super chocolatey frosting. I'm usually just fine with a boxed yellow cake and canned chocolate frosting (helped me get through the pandemic), but why not treat myself to a homemade cake to celebrate me.

I love America's Test Kitchen. Their recipes are so easy to follow and always turn out perfect. I have their Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook and it has about every recipe imaginable, including a scrumptious one for yellow cake and chocolate frosting. Let's get cooking (well, baking for this one)!

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting


  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (yes, use cake flour vs all purpose)

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

  • 1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 6 egg yolks plus 3 egg whites at room temperature


  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spay and place to the side. Combine flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, oil, vanilla and egg yolks.

Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer at medium-high speed until foamy (30 seconds). Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar gradually into the mixing bowl and continue to mix until stiff peaks form (about 30 to 60 seconds). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Put the flour mixture in the mixing bowl and start mixing at low speed. Start adding in the butter mixture and mix until almost smooth.

Fold the egg whites into the batter and incorporate fully. Then divide the batter into the two 9-inch pans. Put the pans into the oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Cool pans on a wire rack.

In either a food processor or blender, mix butter, sugar, cocoa and salt until smooth. Next add the corn syrup and vanilla and mix until combined. Once combined, add the milk chocolate until smooth.

Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand and spread some of the frosting on the top. Then place the second layer on top of the frosting and cover the rest of the cake with the remaining frosting. Feel free to add sprinkles or keep it simple and let the chocolate frosting be the star. Enjoy!

On a personal note, I share my birthday with two people that have left an indelible mark on this world - Walter Payton and Emmett Till. When I was little I would get a birthday gift from Walter (aka my mom) and I was always so excited! He was a kind soul who was a champion on and off the football field. He was diagnosed with a rare form of liver disease when he was only 44 and he spent the end of his life advocating for organ donation.

Emmett Till was an innocent child who was murdered by the lies of a white woman. One of the most meaningful moments of my life was visiting his casket at the National Museum of African American History. The words of women who look like me have been harming people of color for too long and it must stop.

I have two requests for my birthday: 1. Register to be an organ donor in honor of Walter Payton and 2. White people, especially white women, realize how your words can impact the safety and lives of others - especially people who have been marginalized - and instead use your voice to fight for a better world for all.

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