Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yay, It's Wednesday Cake! Cake

I used a cookie cutter like a stencil to do the sprinkle flowers. And I used a horrible squeezy fondant frosting pen for the writing, although whipped cream cheese in a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off works well too. Also? Feel free to omit the word "cake" from your cake, if it doesn't especially warm your heart. Because you're made of stone.
Years ago, a FamilyFun reader shared an idea that I loved. I think we’d put out a call for—what? Ideas to make everyday life more fun, maybe? Or 50 great ways to keep weekdays from sucking? I can’t remember. But my favorite entry was this idea for a cake. And my very favorite thing about it was that when I wrote to ask for a photograph, it turned out that it was not a “Yay, It’s Wednesday!” cake, like I had imagined. It was a “Yay, It’s Wednesday Cake!” cake, which was, like, a thousand times even more charming and delightful. Others did not quite share my enthusiasm for the whole thing, and we did not end up running the idea. But it’s brilliant.

Because: Wednesday! I’m not going to stop you from making a mean or ironic “Yay, It’s Monday Cake!” cake. Or a redundantly ecstatic “Yay, it’s Friday Cake!” cake. But Wednesday really seems like a day that can stand to be both mildly celebrated and shored up. Thursday seems like another good candidate, although by Thursday I’m pretty much in full-on celebration mode, so I don’t so much need the cake. And Tuesday feels, well, a little soon. Wednesday, though. Just this afternoon, from upstairs, I heard Birdy walk in the door and cry, “Oh! Yay! It’s a Yay It’s Wednesday Cake cake!” And this was not a person who was overly happy leaving the house this morning. And by not “overly happy,” I mean, I checked my hair for flames after her fire-breathing departure for school. So.

And also? Should you crazily not want to celebrate any weekday in particular? This is just a great, easy cake. No butter to cream. Nothing fussy. Tasty and predictable and quick and small. Plus, not to boast, but the frosting is one of my best-ever recipes: creamy and chocolaty without that butteriness, which I don’t like in frosting, no offense buttercream lovers.

Plus, now it's almost *Thursday*!
Almost-Instant Vanilla Cake
If you double this recipe, bake it in a 9- by 13-inch pan, or two cake pans. Or make cupcakes. Just be sure to double the frosting too!

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup milk or buttermilk (buttermilk will make it more tender and tangy, but milk is fine)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)

Heat the oven to 350 and grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or the equivalent. (I use an 11- by 7-inch rectangular dish.)

Beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until they are nice and thick, about a minute. Add the liquid ingredients and beat for a couple of seconds, then add the dry ingredients (it would probably make sense to whisk these together first, but I seem not to) and mix just until combined.

Pour the batter in to the pan and bake until the top is golden, puffed, and firm (20-30 minutes). Let cool before frosting.

Whipped Chocolate Frosting
This is basically whipped ganache, but it’s good at any point in the making. You can skip the whipping and just pour the frosting on, if you prefer.  Trader Joe’s shelf-stable heavy cream is great for this, if that’s something you happen to keep around.

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Put the chocolate chips and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.
2. Put the cream in a small pot over medium-high heat and bring it just to a boil.
3. Carefully pour the cream over the chocolate, add the vanilla, and let it stand for 10 minutes without stirring.
4. Whisk until it’s smooth and shiny.
5. If it’s still warm, let the ganache cool to room temperature (5 to 10 minutes).
6. Beat it with an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Use right away.

Makes 1 cup


  1. This is PERFECT for our family's "Happy Thursday" tradition---I'll be making it tomorrow!

  2. I'm making this tonight!

  3. I have lurked on this blog for years and I just want to speak up and say that this exactly fits my sense of humor, and now I consider you My People. Well, I think I always have, but this solidifies it.

  4. There is nothing I love more in this world than a "just because" cake that actually celebrates itself in a frosting font.

  5. There is nothing I love more in this world than a "just because" cake that actually celebrates itself in a frosting font.

  6. Ah, I love this idea! Although, I was just thinking about your Donut Cake the other day, so we might just make a "Yay, it's Wednesday Donut Cake!" cake!

  7. Allyson3:02 AM

    Oh, I know those fire-breathing departures. Aren't teens (and almost teens) fun? I am so making this cake next week. Or possibly Thursday, if I can get to the store for heavy cream. And I'm totally going to write "Yay it's Wednesday [or Thursday] Cake!" on it. My kids will love it.

  8. annette8:38 AM

    Love this. Cant wait for next wednesday.... Plus what a great simple cake for the kids to whip up when they need a second dessert after their after-dinner dinner-snack.

  9. Your posts bring me such joy - you crack me up

  10. Betsy3:58 PM

    I might need to make a "Sorry the doctor made you stay home on the day of the last DI practice, but we want to keep you well for tomorrow's tournament" cake. Thank you for helping us find the good in sucky things.

  11. Colleen8:46 PM

    Thanks for the smile on my face right now! I might need you to do a daily post!

  12. Anonymous9:09 AM

    That is so sweet. And also funny because I made brownies yesterday (Thursday) to do something fun. I did not have the cute sprinkles and frosting, but my daughter and I did have brownies!

  13. This might be why I like you best. (And yes, no thank you buttercream frosting. You are not delicious).

  14. That last pic just made me catch my breath a little. They continue to become more and more angular and grown and are SO NOT babies. Neither are mine, and while I know that? It catches my breath at times, too.

  15. How did I not comment on this. hmm. I wanted to do something special for leap day and did nothing due to lack of sleep. Now I need to make this cake and pretend it's leap day again. As always, love your posts, you and your lovely family. <3

  16. The "because you're made of stone" made me spit my water out. We do that a lot. Zoe (14) didn't cry at the end of "We Bought A Zoo" and I asked her if she could still feel her teeny tiny heart beating while I wiped the snot off my face. (I wanted to cry she said.. I just didn't. Ok then Miss Teenager.. be gone)

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  18. Anonymous1:11 PM

    This looks so much like the cake I made for a party for my daughters Bangladeshi first food ceremony. The cookie cutter flower sprinkle stencil!

  19. This chocolate cake is really looking beautiful! I love such awesome cakes. My brother is going to book an event space in Florida for celebrating our parent’s 30th wedding anniversary. Going to have a similar cake there.

  20. Catherine, can you list this in the recipe index as "'It's Wednesday Cake' Cake," too? That's how I looked for it the first time. Then I searched for it and found the whole post with the recipe. The "Wednesday Cake" name is SO memorable!! :)

  21. Excellent recipe! So delicious and so easy! I think my household is in a sugar coma right now…..thanks for sharing, this one’s definitely a keeper.

  22. Anonymous6:29 AM

    I baked this tonight. Thank you so much. In our house it was an "I can't believe no one has an activity tonight" cake. ;)

  23. Today this is our "happy asynchronous learning day when we got a lot of snow!"