- 18 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- 8 oz sour cream, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- zest of one lemon
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch (interestingly, I found a non-genetically-modified version in Publix)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- With an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- On medium speed, add the eggs, one or two at a time; then add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest.
- Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Do not overmix. Finish mixing by hand.
- Pour batter into a highly-buttered and well-floured 12x18 sheet cake pan (this butter and flouring step is crucial to be sure the cake will turn out of the pan without sticking).
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick or blade of a knife comes out clean.
- Cool cake in the pan for 5-15 minutes, until top is room temperature to the touch, but not yet fully cooled. Loosen edges of cake with a knife and place a cake board (or piece of plywood) over the top. Turn over, pat bottom of pan all over, pray mightily, and lift the cake pan off. If all went well, the cake should be sitting on the cake board now. If pieces of cake are still stuck in pan, pull them out and lay them like puzzle-pieces on the cake where they should be, and remember that icing can cover a multitude of sins.
CHOCOLATE FROSTING (from Barefoot Contessa, makes enough to cover one layer of the cake)
- 24 oz semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 Tbs light corn syrup (I used brown rice syrup instead and was tickled to death with it)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
- In a double boiler (or the microwave), heat the chocolate chips and cream, stirring occasionally, until chips are completely melted.
- Remove from heat and add the corn syrup and vanilla.
- In an electric mixer, whisk the chocolate mixture and the butter on medium speed until thickened, 2 or 3 minutes.
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (from Gale Gand, one batch will cover one layer of 12x18 cake; two batches will cover sides and top of two-layer 12x18 cake)
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 to 5 Tbs heavy cream
- In an electric mixer, whisk the sugar and butter on low speed until blended. This takes about 5 minutes and is a bit nerve-wracking. My advice is to walk away. If you stand and watch, honest to goodness, you will be sure it is never going to look like frosting.
- Increase speed to medium and beat for another minute or two.
- Add vanilla and 2 Tbs cream; beat on medium speed for one minute.
- Add cream by the tablespoonful until desired consistency is reached. A thinner consistency is needed for frosting purposes. If making a third batch for decorative purposes, a slightly thicker consistency will be needed.
SARAH'S BIG FAMILY CAKE FORMULA
- The cake recipe is for one layer. Make two separate batches for a two-layer cake, which I think is necessary for a beautiful birthday cake.
- I used one batch of the chocolate frosting between the two layers. Alternatively, you could use one batch of the buttercream between layers as well., but where is the fun in that?
- If making a two-layer cake, it will take two batches of the buttercream frosting to cover the sides and top of the cake. One batch would suffice to frost the top of a single layer cake. I would not try to mix more than one batch of buttercream at a time. It's just too stressful on the mixer, the chef, and any other people within shouting distance.
- It took an additional (third) batch of buttercream to do the decorations shown in the picture above. My sister-in-law mixed small amounts with food coloring in individual bowls and used a pastry bag with all sorts of complicated torture implements to "star" the dinosaur. Good luck with all that.