I am exhausted. Drained. Beat. Just baked a cake: Golden Yellow with Fudge Frosting, Grandma’s Fudge Frosting. It’s the antithesis of a Cordon Bleu creation: sloppy, uneven, crumbly as hell. I slapped on the frosting, which was decadently swimming in way too much butter. It slipped and skidded along the crevices and craters left on my imperfect cake.
Here’s the best part: the secret of all secrets – is that I was thrilled baking this cake, happy stirring its batter, goop flying out in between conversations with Daniela and Jonathan, who watched and helped along the way. Eggs were cracked and dribbled, flour was stirred and spilled, and somewhere along the line even an entire glass of red wine was dropped and shattered. But that’s okay. Wine and glass got cleaned up and a new one poured. And baking continued, right up to its messy end where I placed the whole concoction in the refrigerator (to let Grandma’s Fudge set a bit)- smearing and dripping fudge bits on the side of the fridge along the way.
In ten minutes we will sample our Golden Cake and I bet it will be good…so good…way better than any praline or mousse or Opera I made with panic to detail, precision and fancy fussing. This one here’s a homemade messy mess, like the wine, like the conversations, like our lives: all the tastier, all the better!
Golden Cake with Grandma's Fudge Frosting
(from Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book: Recipes From An American Childhood)
2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) butter at room temperature
1 ¼ cup sugar
8 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup milk
Grandma’s Fudge Frosting
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, knock out excess flour.
Sift cake flour, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
In a large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat until blended. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until pale yellow, 2-3 minutes. In 3 increments, beat in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk.
Pour into prepared pans, smooth tops, and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
Meanwhile make the frosting:
In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and cream. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate, butter and vanilla, continuing to stir until the chocolate and butter melt. Pour into a bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate, stirring frequently until thickened to a good spreading consistency
Place one layer, upside down, on serving plate and spread with 1 ¼ cups of the frosting. Place the second layer on top, right side up, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate to set the frosting, but serve at room temperature.