Thursday’s Dish: Birthday Cake, Part I

This seems to be the season of birthdays. I must know 20 people whose birthdays are between now and mid-September, including my own. I guess all our parents did a lot of, um, snuggling during the cold winter nights. I can’t really talk, though, since my daughter’s birthday is in here, too.

At any rate, it’s the time of year I find myself making cake all over the place. Today, I’m going to share a recipe from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2006 that I recently made. It’s lower in fat, although it still has plenty of sugar, so certainly don’t think of it as “diet.” Still, it’s nice to cut when you can, especially for an adult’s birthday, although the frosting does taste like chocolate milk. That was our favorite part about it. My daughter “cleaned” the beaters spotless!

I made a few alterations when I made it, although I’ve included the original recipe below. I used half the butter called for in the cake because I had about half regular sour cream and half fat-free sour cream. You could even sub plain or vanilla yogurt for the sour cream. I happened to have egg substitute on hand, but if you don’t, use 2 large eggs. I also had low-fat (instead of fat-free) cream cheese on hand, so that’s what I used in the frosting, plus I subbed 2% milk for the fat-free evaporated milk. Also, if you’re going to serve it in squares from the pan, rather than removing the whole cake, you can skip the wax paper step and just spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray.

It’s a sheet cake, but we cut it in half to make a layer cake. I put one half on a plate and spread raspberry fruit spread as the filling, then topped it with the other half, trimmed the corners to match, and frosted the whole rectangle. My daughter sprinkled chocolate sprinkles over the top and helped me outline the rectangle in fresh raspberries. Yum and pretty!

Yellow Sheet Cake with Chocolate Frosting


Cooking spray

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 carton (8-ounces) fat-free sour cream

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup egg substitute

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon saltAdvertisement
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk


1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1-2 tablespoons evaporated fat-free milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups powdered sugar, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. To prepare cake, coat bottom of a 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pan); line bottom of pan with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Set aside.

3. Combine 1/2 cup butter and sour cream in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until well blended. Add egg substitute; beat 2 minutes or until well blended.

4. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sharply tap pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Carefully peel off wax paper; cool completely on wire rack.

5. To prepare frosting, place cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add cocoa, milk and 1/8 teaspoon salt; beat at low speed until well blended. Gradually add  1 1/2 cups powdered sugar; beat at low speed until creamy. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Place cake on a serving platter. Spread frosting on sides and top of cake. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

Written by: Shannon Oelrich

3 Comments on Thursday’s Dish: Birthday Cake, Part I

  1. mmm….we are celebrating my mom’s birthday this weekend. this is definitely in contention (she loves carrot cake but frosting that tastes like chocolate milk!?!? yum!)

  2. Nicole, the frosting is great. If you want a shortcut, just use a boxed cake mix (chocolate would be delish!) and make the frosting from scratch. It makes a ton — I have leftover frosting in the fridge that I’m thinking of using for the inside of chocolate truffles. Yum!

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