Birthday Celebrations chez Shafroth


Late August/early September is a busy birthday time for us. My mother-law turned 80 this year quickly followed by my husband and taking up the rear is my daughter who is turning 5 this week. Luckily, we have a favorite cake and cupcake recipe. 1,2,3,4 Cake is a classic yellow cake that we generously top with ganache. This 1,2,3,4 recipe is from a book I use a lot.  Living just over a mile high, it makes a big difference. I love it not only because it is incredibly well researched, but it offers great notes on classic recipes and offers some novel ones as well. This book is not just for mountain dwellers; each recipe was tested at sea level to as high as 10,000 feet.  It offers and explains all the adjustments a baker needs to make for higher altitudes.

Classic 1,2,3,4 Cake from Pie in the Sky by Susan Purdy, For 5,000 feet

3 Cups plus 1 Tbsp. Sifted AP Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. Salt
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Cups minus 1 Tbsp. sugar
5 Eggs at room temperature
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare cake pans, I used a 9×11 sheet cake pan, sprayed it and lined it with parchment paper.

Whisk together dry ingredients, except the sugar. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. With the mixer on the lowest speed, start adding the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk until all ingredients are well blended together. Beat for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour the battter into the prepared pan and bang the pan on the counter with both hands on either end, once. This will allow any air bubbles to rise. Bake for 30 to 33 minutes. remove from oven when done and allow to cool for 25 minutes, before you try and turn it out onto a platter.

 Chocolate Ganache

This recipe I have had for years and is still my favorite.

1 1/3 cups Heavy Cream
1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
6 Oz. unsweetened Chocolate
1 stick plus 2 Tlbs. unsalted sweet butter
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In a medium sauce pan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the liquid reduces slightly.  Place chocolate and butter into another bowl and pour hot  cream over. Add vanilla and salt and stir. Let stand, stirring occasionally until all the butter and chocolate are melted.

I like to keep this at room temperature as it makes for a nice consistency. Do not use as a frosting or glaze until your cake is completely cooled.


For the cupcakes, I use a recipe that I came accross back in 1988. I have always like the deep chocolate flavor and excellent crumb. This is a very moist cake and it’s even better the next day. The technique is what attracted me to this recipe in the first place. It does not rise like other cakes so the surface always stays flat. I happen to like this for cupcakes; it works equally well as a cake. I used to serve this as a large Ring Ding cake by filling the center with freshly whipped cream, then frosting with ganache and decorating with whipped cream.  This cake is ready after about 2 hours in the refrigerator. I did not make any adjustments for high altitude.  I know this also works at sea level.

Makes 24 cupcakes

2 Cups Flour, sifted
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups unsweetened Chocolate
6 Tlbs. Sweet Cream Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter, flour and line with parchment two 8×11/2 inch round cake pans or line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a large bowl and add chocate and butter and stir well. Allow to cool then add the vanilla extract.

Meanwhile sift together the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs into the cooled chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the dry ingredients and beat intil the batter is smooth. Pour into prepare pans – for cupcakes, do not fill any higher than 3/4 quarters full. Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes. Cakes take 25 minutes. Allow them to cool at least 2 minutes before removing from the pans.

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  1. Stealth Health Reasons to bake Gluten Free | Flavorista - September 18, 2009

    […] to try my own version.  I combined what I learned from her blog with my favorite recipe from Pie in the Sky by Susan Purdy and came up with the cake featured […]

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