The Perfect Birthday Cake Recipe

Hi friends! I've been a busy bee this weekend so unfortunately Monday's blog post got pushed to the back-burner. Most of my day on Saturday was spent making my dad's birthday cake that I told you all about on Friday and running some errands. Then Sunday was full of some more errands in the early afternoon and then celebrating my dad's birthday (which is actually today, Happy birthday, Daddio!) with my family. After posting the picture of the cake I made on Instagram and Facebook I decided I would share the cake recipe I used with you guys! 

I think that there's something so special about homemade food. It may be the old soul in me, but I think baking/cooking for your loved ones is one of the best things in the world. Bottom line, food brings family and friends together, and I love that.

In my opinion, cake is just like those sugar cookies I posted about last week - it should be the real deal and it's meant to be enjoyed. When it's your birthday you should celebrate with cake (if you want to, but I don't think I know anyone who doesn't!), and not feel even an ounce guilty about it! I'll save you my rant on balance for the 4,000th time because you guys already know. PS: I promise I won't keep posting these delicious sweet treats every week on the blog. I know they're all too tempting to make ;P Stay tuned for some healthy recipes coming your way ASAP!

birthday-cake

Like I said on Instagram, I have a whole new appreciation for talented cake decorators. Man, piping some words onto a cake seemed like it would be so easy, but I was so wrong. The cake didn't turn out the way I wanted it to looks-wise, but it sure was tasty! This was actually the first birthday in my family that we decided on making a cake rather than buying one (we haven't been super impressed by the past few birthday cakes from local bakeries), and I think we'll continue on with making one! 

So, without further ado, let's get into the recipe! 

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature 
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 - 5 tbsp half and half
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions for the cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 9-inch round baking pans. Line pans with circular parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Lightly dust your pans with flour and shake out the excess. Set your pans to the side for now. 
  • Sift all-purpose flour and cake flour into a mixing bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk for 20 seconds. Set aside. 
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. If you're not using a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes the bowl make sure you stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Next, blend in your vegetable oil. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then add in the yolks. Mix in the vanilla. Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture then mix just until combined, then add in 1/2 of the buttermilk and blend until combined. Repeat the process once more then finish by mixing in remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. 
  • Divide your batter among prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans several minutes, run knife around edge to make sure they are loose, then invert on wire racks to cool. Once the cakes are fully cool, frost with chocolate buttercream. Store in an airtight container to ensure the cake doesn't dry out. 

Directions for the frosting:

  • In a bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter on moderately high speed until very pale and fluffy. Sift in cocoa power, then add in powdered sugar, 3 tbsp half and half, and the vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in additional 2 tbsp of half and half to thin as needed. Increase mixer to medium-high speed and whip until fluffy.

The directions and ingredient list for this cake makes it look much more complicated and lengthy than it really is. Next time a birthday comes around in your family, give this recipe a try! It's so much fun being able to bake your own cake for your loved one's birthday rather than just buying one, even if it doesn't turn out the way you pictured it :)

Happy Monday! And a big Happy Birthday to the best guy around...love you, Daddio!

Weekend Recap

Goooood morning, friends! That weekend flew by, didn't it? And so did the month of July, can you guys believe it's already August 1st?! It's Sunday afternoon as I'm writing this, and it's been a slow morning/early afternoon so far. As I mentioned in my Friday blog post, my older sister Alie was here for the weekend. The weekend went by too fast, and I need more sister time (cough, Alie move closer, cough)! Did you keep up with me over the weekend on Instagram? I shared some pictures of what I was up to. Make sure to follow me if you aren't already! My username is joyfullyjenna. If you didn't follow along, let's backtrack to Friday to give you a little recap of what I was up to this weekend... 

My sister got to our house around 4PM on Friday and as soon she got here we ran out to Trader Joe's to get some super important supplies: cheese, prosciutto, a baguette, pickles, grapes and other delicious foods to make a charcuterie board! I don't know about you guys, but I'm a BIG cheese fan and I love to pair it with a good wine, usually a chardonnay. This is where leading a balanced lifestyle comes in. As I've briefly chatted about before on the blog, I'm a firm believer in a balanced lifestyle, not restricting yourself, and that everything is okay in moderation. So, while I can't eat cheese, prosciutto, and bread and drink wine everyday (serious bummer), it's A-OK in my book to indulge in it here and there, or once per week. See, if I told myself that cheese and wine were not okay to eat/drink it would end up backfiring, for me personally at least. I would end up feeling like I was on a diet and would feel like I couldn't eat/drink some of my favorite foods or beverages, and friends, that just is not the way I want to live. Life is too short. Enjoy and indulge in that charcuterie board and wine! 

While we chatted, enjoyed the charcuterie board, and drank wine, my dad fired up the grill to make the burgers that my sister requested, while Alie made some corn on the cob. After we sat down to eat dinner together, which was super nice, I brought out the chocolate cake I had made. As you can tell, this entire weekend was full of indulgences - treat yoself, people!

I have to say that I was pretttty happy with the way this chocolate cake turned out. If you LOVE chocolate like I do, this cake is definitely a keeper. I have some tweaks I want to make to the recipe, but let me guys know if you want the recipe for this delicious and rich chocolate cake and I'll post it soon! See, I told ya guys there would be the occasional, not-so-healthy recipe on the blog :) 

After eating cake, all of us (my dad, mom, sister, the two pups, and I) just relaxed and watched some TV before heading to bed. 

The next morning after waking up, eating breakfast, and getting ready, my mom, Alie, and I headed to Ulta for some girl time. We browsed a lot, tried out probably 50 different lipsticks (sorry to the annoyed Ulta employees, oops), and just played around with some of the products. While looking around and trying different things, I stumbled upon the Perricone MD skincare line. My close friends and family know that I have the unfortunate habit of gravitating towards the most expensive clothes, electronics, accessories, pretty much anything, and this skincare line is no exception unfortunately (it's a curse, I tell ya). I ended up trying out their Face Finishing Moisturizing Tint and really, really liked it (of course I did, it's expensive). It reminded me of a tinted moisturizer, but better. You apply it exactly as you would a regular moisturizer and it actually felt like it was working into my skin, not just sitting on top of it (which has been my experience with the tinted moisturizers I've tried). Once it hits your skin, it kind of balances out the red spots or any unevenness you have (magic!!!). I think it's the perfect product for the days that you don't feel like wearing heavier foundation, especially in the summer! The downside is that it's $75 (ouch), so I'm going to try to look out for a similar product.

After we left Ulta we ran a few more errands and then headed home. It's been so, so humid and sticky out around here so being outside wasn't the most pleasant option, so we hung inside with the two dogs. We had ordered crabs earlier and went to pick them up around 4:30. I haven't had any crabs this summer, so it was a really nice treat to have them for dinner on Saturday night! 

I used to go crabbing with my pop-pop when I was younger, so eating crabs brings back some good memories! After getting all cleaned up after dinner, the four of us went out shopping for a bridal shower gift, and then hung at home for the rest of the night. This morning I made some healthy and yummy waffles for everyone (click HERE for the recipe) and then Alie headed back to her and Mike's place shortly after. Now, I'm writing up a grocery list for the week and I'll be fitting in some cardio at some point today!

I hope that you guys had a fun, safe, and relaxing weekend! Thank you so much for reading this post today, it means a lot! I hope that you'll keep coming back to the blog. Please subscribe if you haven't already so you can get the blog posts sent right your email inbox daily. Also, if there's any topics you would like me to talk about, please shoot me an email (joyfullyjennablog@gmail.com) I would love to hear from you!

I'll chat with you all tomorrow! Have an awesome and productive Monday!

Jenna