cake or cupcake?

all images taken from marthastewart.com

i'm not much of a baker. it's not exactly that i can't bake, it's just that if i do, i end up eating it all! my mother was a very good baker though, and there was rarely a meal where a dessert didn't follow. there was something very comforting about that. since having a child of my own, i've also found it to be a powerful weapon to coach picky toddlers through their meals.

doug's birthday is this wednesday. since he's been living on barely 500 calories a day for almost a week due to being sick, a birthday cake sounds a bit decadent. maybe cupcakes would be a better bet, but either way, i'm looking for recipe suggestions. i'd love to have a tried-and-true cake or cupcake recipe to add to my repertoire. oh, and he said his favorite cake is yellow with chocolate icing. any ideas?


  1. If you're looking for something to compensate for all the missed calories I made this Chocolate Peanut Butter cake for my husband's birthday and he LOVED it. All the guys I know seem to be pb junkies. But be warned it is seriously rich and ridiculous:

  2. Another Smitten Kitchen favorite of mine:


  3. I love the Joy of Cooking's butter cake recipe. Simple and easy, but also tried and true.
    I think this is it, but I can pull out my copy to make sure. http://www.thejoykitchen.com/recipe.lasso?recipe=1139&menu=one

    oh, and we love chocolate cream cheese frosting on it. yum!

  4. Ooh, just about anything from Smitten Kitchen, as the others have wisely suggested! That peanut butter chocolate creation looks like the bomb. I don't know what yellow cake is - I guess it's the American equivalent of Victoria sponge, though. Nigella Lawson is also great for baking recipes (her Domestic Goddess book is the one for cakes and, in fact, all things indulgent) but I think you guys have different types of flour from us so it's always a little bit risky (the same as vice versa!). Poor Doug, hope he gets well before his birthday!

  5. oh wow, these recipes look amazing - thanks so much for your help! i can't wait to do a little more baking and i think no matter which one doug picks, i'm going to want to try them all at some point. i had forgotten about smitten kitchen, so i'm glad i asked for help. doug's favorite thing in the world is peanut butter too, so it must be a guy thing.

    i was at the library and looked at the joy of cooking, but was too lazy to carry it back home. i did glance at the yellow cake recipes, and that looks like the same one. i can't wait to give it a try.

  6. oh, and i love nigella! i did cruise around her site last night for a bit, but couldn't choose, so i thought i'd ask for help instead. i'm better at just giving it a try for cooking, but when it comes to baking, i hesitate unless there's a recipe that comes highly recommended.

  7. check out the sky high cakes cookbook. i've made that chocolate peanut butter cake from smitten and it's great. but what i do is 1/3 most large cake recipes and bake them in 6" round pans and make mini cakes, that way you don't have a whole 10" or 12" cake to eat up between three people.