On the heels of George Washington's birthday, several of you wrote asking for a good made-from-scratch layer cake recipe for your own family's birthdays. Although I have a cache of recipes, in all kinds of flavors and sizes, you were pretty specific about the kind of cake you were looking for. Most of you were after something fairly simple to bake, with readily available ingredients and minimal instruction. The greatest number of requests was for yellow butter cake, with chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, coming in second. Nearly every request was accompanied by the words "fluffy" or "moist," sometimes both. This sounds like a pretty easy assignment, but truly, as any avid baker will tell you, finding that perfect "go-to" cake recipe, can be elusive. Some search years for a homemade yellow layer cake that hits the mark. We want it rich and buttery, tender and downy. So, too, do we have expectations about our chocolate cakes. Here we want a dark, rich and moist cake, with a creamy, intensely chocolate frosting to go along with it. In my own quest to capture these qualities, I've made hundreds of cakes through decades of birthdays, holidays and more before deciding on the cakes presented here. For now, these are my "go-to" cakes, unless, of course, something easier, fluffier, moister or more chocolaty comes along. I suppose that could happen, but I'm kind of hoping it doesn't. It's good to finally find what you've been searching for, especially when it's cake.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.