Perfect Cake Cupcake and Frosting Recipes | recipes | cake recipe

My daughter just celebrated her 8th birthday, and a few nights before the party, I was amazed that I was actually digging through cookbooks and around websites trying to find a good chocolate frosting.

My kids are 6 and 8 – which means I’ve now baked cakes for 14 parties (OK, maybe not quite – there was that year I might have decided it was a shame not to take advantage of my proximity to the legendary Riviera Bakehouse) You’d think by now I would have go-to recipes for vanilla and chocolate cake and frosting; instead I feel like I’ve tried a new one every time. The problem is two-fold: I’m picky about frosting recipes (I don’t like breaking out a double boiler to melt chocolate, for instance), and I am not very organized about keeping track of the ones that end up being successful – until now. This time I hunted around for earmarked pages in cookbooks, experimented a bit, and came up with the only four recipes (two cakes, two frostings) you’ll need as the base for whatever princess, baseball, puppy, Nemo, or Star Wars decoration you’re planning to place on top of it.


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    Vanilla Cake

    Anyone who has been to the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City knows that they make the definitive yellow cupcake. This recipe, slightly adapted from “Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake,” in The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, will work with cupcakes (2 dozen) or 1 three-layer 9-inch cake for your next party.

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Chocolate Cake

This cake comes out moist and fudgy every time. It’s like the airiest brownie you’ve ever eaten. Don’t let the cup of coffee in the ingredient list throw you – it gives the cake a subtle richness and dark fudge-like color, and might even qualify it for “mud cake.” The recipe makes one 9×13 sheet cake or 2 9-inch layers.

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Vanilla Frosting

I found this recipe in the Bake-a-Cake Birthday Party book, which, in addition to providing party-perfect frostings, also shows you how to throw a baking party, thereby outsourcing all the labor to willing party guests. Definitely worth a look.

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Chocolate Frosting

Again, another Bake-a-Cake Birthday Party recipe. I love it because it calls for cocoa instead of melted chocolate. For whatever reason, I hit a psychological roadblock when I have to heat up chocolate chips or bars in my makeshift double boiler (a mixing bowl set over a saucepan).

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