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Yellow and white cakes

Dessert

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#1 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 08:48 AM

Has anyone found the perfect recipe for either of these? I use them only for wedding cake orders, which is my main concern for posting this.

They fall into one of those 'have to make' items that I secretly cringe inside over because I still don't have a recipe to brag about. I do have a decent scratch white cake but in taste tests everyone still picks the mix over the scratch cake.

And YELLOW cake has lately been my cake from hell flavor. I like a butter cake, but lets face it it's not the texture people rave about in a wedding cake. They want moist and fluffy.
I've don't mind yellow chiffon cakes but they don't hold up well in shape for wedding cakes.

I've made countless versions of both cakes and don't lack for more recipes to try. Instead I'm looking for recipe help from someone who's mastered these, anyone?

Edited by Sinclair, 18 August 2003 - 08:50 AM.


#2 PastryLady

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 09:42 AM

I don't have a recipe, but have you tried using sponge cakes? You can make them moist with the addition of simple syrup and Layer with buttercream, then you have your butter taste/feel with the moist factor.
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#3 KAPDADDY

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 05:14 PM

Yellow cakes are my favorite cakes so maybe I can help you. This is the recipe my mother uses when I request a special cake for my birthday. Even though it's two layers, she always makes two whole cakes; one for me and one for the rest of the family. :biggrin:

Yummy Yellow Cake

4 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups white sugar
5 large egg yolks, beaten
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk

Directions

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter two 8 inch round cake pans then line with parchment paper.
2 Sift flour with baking powder and salt and set aside.
3 Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and add vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Stir batter until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans.
4 Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Let cakes set in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost as desired.

Makes 2 -8 inch round cake layers

#4 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 05:14 PM

I do make sponge cakes but I haven't found one that fits the bill of a yellow cake. You have to cut thinner layers to do that nicely and unforunately that requires more time then a 2 layer wedding cake which is what this clients wants.

I'm competing with cake mixes (which is what the customer knows). I've done some taste tests as I think I mentioned before and the final color seems to also influence the votes. My white cake isn't snow white as the mixes (which by the way is what most bakeries pass on as "scratch") and it's denser then a mix.

What are you using for your cakes Steve? Sponge, chiffon,etc.......?

#5 mudbug

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 08:17 PM

Here's Alton Brown's recipe: Yellow Cake

#6 nightscotsman

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 08:19 PM

for a white cake I highly recommend the White Chocolate Whisper Cake from the "Cake Bible". The cocoa butter adds a slightly richer, more complex flavor without making the cake dense.

#7 torakris

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 08:24 PM

my favorite white cake (and actually the only cake I make anymore) is the white cake from The Best Recipe (Cook's Illustrated).

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#8 KAPDADDY

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 10:05 PM

I found this excellent webpage that focuses mainly on angel food cakes, but also discusses chiffon and sponge cakes. Looks like something you might wanna check out.

Joan's Angel Food Cake Primer

Edited by KAPDADDY, 18 August 2003 - 10:06 PM.


#9 claire797

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 05:39 AM

for a white cake I highly recommend the White Chocolate Whisper Cake from the "Cake Bible". The cocoa butter adds a slightly richer, more complex flavor without making the cake dense.

Last month I cooked about 5 different yellow cake recipes which ranged from dry (1-2-3-4 Cake) to overly moist and icky (Martha Stewart's Yellow Cake). The best of the bunch was a Cake Mix Doctor cake -- The White Chocolate Whisper cake. I took it to an event and people actually came up to me and said it was the best cake they'd ever eaten.

I do like the look of KAPDADDY's yellow cake, though. Maybe I'll give it a shot.

#10 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 07:20 AM

I've found the same results Claire, people pick the cake mix based cakes over scratch ones. That's the reason for this thread, I'd prefer to beat the mixes. When your working as a pc it's aukward to tell the chef you need him to buy you cake mixes!

Unlike many people I've had alot of success with Martha recipes (current ones). I tried her yellow cake. I didn't find it too moist (that would have been a good thing), it just was o.k.. 1234 cakes become way to firm after a couple days of refridgeration.
That's a big factor: how the cakes hold up under refridgeration because I'm using them in wedding cakes that I have to hold over night. I find cakes using all butter or all shortening get too firm. Altons with butter flavored crisco scares me. Cakes that contain oil remain soft which is why I looked to chiffon cakes.

#11 Lesley C

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 07:31 AM

I have a sponge cake recipe that uses a -- ahem -- chemical emulsifier (Tandem). If you have some on hand, I'll post the recipe. It makes a large batch and holds up well for wedding cakes.

#12 mpav

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 08:16 AM

I sometimes people like cake mix best because they may have eaten more cakes of that type over the course of their lifetimes.

I have two recipes I like: this one is sort of a sponge cake. This is the base for a sheet cake version of Tasteycake Tandy Cakes, and appeared in Gourmet about 6 years ago.
It's not good for all purposes, but I like it for some things. It makes a good base for a Boston Cream Pie.

http://www.epicuriou...tandy cake moss

The other one I like is here:

http://cake.allrecip...emonFilling.asp


Just the layers. I usually frost with butter cream.

#13 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 06:55 AM

I'd love the recipe Lesley. It might take me a while to get the emulsifier but I'm women with a mission!
Thanks

#14 claire797

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 11:44 AM

I think I've finally found the perfect scratch yellow cake. Granted, it's not an exciting recipe -- after all, it's just yellow cake. But as far as yellow cakes go, this one is moist without being heavy and has a fine crumb. Here's the recipe. It's based on a 2 part method described by Chris Kimball from Cook's Illustrated.

#15 Ling

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 10:11 PM

Thanks Claire, I'll try it.

It's not yellow or white, but I was very pleased with a chocolate cake I made the other day from Marthas everyday cooking magazine. The cover photo is of chocolate cupcakes, she also uses this recipe for cakes. It's very dark in chocolate flavor (almost too much, but I like that in the right torte) but I really liked the crumb, it was perfect.

I think I know which recipe you're talking about. It's one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes too!

#16 middydd

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 10:24 PM

Was it this recipe?

http://www.marthaste...55&site=&page=1

I'm always looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

#17 Ling

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 11:54 PM

Here's the Martha Stewart recipe. It's not on her website--I wonder why? I think I copied it down when I was watching her show. I'm not 100% sure I'm allowed to post this, but I've made some changes to the recipe (noted) so I think it should be OK.

Chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting

Ingredients (for cake):
-1 cup cocoa powder
-3/4 cup strong coffee
-1 cup warm milk
-2 and 3/4 cup sifted cake flour (not the self-raising kind)
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 and a 1/2 cup
unsalted butter
-2 and a 1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 tbsp vanilla extract
-4 large eggs

You also need:
-2 eight-inch cake pans, at least 2" deep
-parchment paper (or wax paper)
-extra butter for greasing the pans

Steps:
1. Trace a circle on the parchment paper using the bottom of your cake pan. Cut it out and place in pan. Butter the parchment paper and sides of pan.

2. Whisk cocoa, hot strong coffee, and milk in a large bowl. Let the mixture cool. (You can stick it in the fridge while you assemble the dry ingredients.)

3. In a separate bowl, sift together cake flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

4. Cream together softened butter, sugar, vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time while continuing to stir. Pour in cooled cocoa mix. Add dry ingredients and mix until it no longer looks grainy.

5. Divide batter between cake pans. Smooth top. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, rotate pans and bake another 20 minutes or until cake top springs back when lightly pressed.

6. Invert pans for 15 minutes, then let cool on racks for an hour.

7. Peel away parchment, and frost layers.

Ingredients (for chocolate frosting):

-1/2 cup unsalted butter
-3/4 cup confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
-1 cup cocoa powder (again, not the presweetened stuff)
-1/4 cup milk
-2 tsps. vanilla extract

1. Cream all the ingredients together until combined.

2. Place one cake layer on a cake stand (or plate).

3. Spread frosting on layer, and place the 2nd layer on top of frosting.

4. Frost the top of the cake and sides.

************
The original recipe called for a baking time of only 35 minutes, and 1/2 cup of milk in the frosting.

#18 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 08:46 AM

I was refering to the recipe which middy gave a link to. I was using recipes that included sour cream then hot liquid (h20 or coffee) in the end. I used Elizabeths recipe (which is posted here) several times and it's pretty good. But I liked this one from Martha the most (so far).

#19 claire797

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 08:50 AM

I was refering to the recipe which middy gave a link to. I was using recipes that included sour cream then hot liquid (h20 or coffee) in the end. I used Elizabeths recipe (which is posted here) several times and it's pretty good. But I liked this one from Martha the most (so far).

Wow! Does it really only have 3/4 cup of flour?

#20 lorea

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 06:58 PM

I didn't realize the white cake from the Best Recipe cookbook by America's Test Kitchen was that good....I guess it's time for me to try it!

Does anybody have a favorite frosting to go with it? It doesn't necessarily have to hold up longer than a couple of days (because I'm going to eat it all) :biggrin:

#21 lorea

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 03:21 PM

Just wanted to report that I made the white cake from the Cook's Illustrated book, The Best Recipe, and it is simply delicious.

Wendy, it's the closest scratch cake I've tasted to a cake mix (which is what you're looking for, right?) - light, fine crumb, moist.

I'm still looking for a better frosting though....something lighter, less sweet, and fluffier.

#22 claire797

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 04:02 PM

Just wanted to report that I made the white cake from the Cook's Illustrated book, The Best Recipe, and it is simply delicious. 

Wendy, it's the closest scratch cake I've tasted to a cake mix (which is what you're looking for, right?) - light, fine crumb, moist.

I'm still looking for a better frosting though....something lighter, less sweet, and fluffier.

Is the one you baked the one I posted? The two-step method?

#23 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 09:57 PM

Do you mean a lighter buttercream or any frosting Lorea? I know this will sound hard for some to believe but adding melted white chocolate to you buttercream makes it taste less rich/sweet. Not sure what you mean by "lighter": in calories, more air-iated (just whip it more). Have you tried 7 minute frostings and classic butter creams?

Yes-I'm trying to match a cake mix in taste and texture-except be better at both.

P.S. Thanks for reporting back!

#24 lorea

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 12:56 AM

claire797 - No, I actually baked the white cake, whereas you posted the recipe for the yellow cake. But the method is still the same. Since you seemed to like the yellow cake, I think that's the next cake I'll try.

Sinclair - I meant a lighter frosting (not necessarily buttercream) that is more aerated and less sweet. Your melted white chocolate tip is really interesting....do you have more information regarding proportions?

I haven't tried any 7 minute frostings - how is the taste/texture different? From some of the recipes I see, it looks pretty fluffy.

#25 claire797

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 07:08 AM

claire797 - No, I actually baked the white cake, whereas you posted the recipe for the yellow cake.  But the method is still the same.  Since you seemed to like the yellow cake, I think that's the next cake I'll try.

Sinclair - I meant a lighter frosting (not necessarily buttercream) that is more aerated and less sweet.  Your melted white chocolate tip is really interesting....do you have more information regarding proportions? 

I haven't tried any 7 minute frostings - how is the taste/texture different?  From some of the recipes I see, it looks pretty fluffy.

I wouldn't recommend a 7 Minute frosting on a yellow or white cake. Seven Minute icing is *very* light and sweet and you said you didn't want a super-sweet icing, anyway. I think Seven Minute is generally used on angel Food and chiffon type cakes. I'd go with a simple whipped buttercream if I were you -- not a true buttercream with egg yolks, but a basic butter/vanilla/sugar icing that you've whipped a lot of air into. If you have a KitchenAid, it's pretty easy.


Basic Whipped Buttercream

1 cup butter (European Style is best)
1 tsp. vanilla extract or a different extract if you prefer (orange?)
4 cups (approximately 1 pound) sifted confectioners' sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk

Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add sugar one cup at a time beating well. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. When all sugar has been mixed in, add milk and continue to beat until fluffy.

Store frosting in refrigerator. Keeps for up to two weeks in refrigerator in a airtight container. Rewhip before using.

Makes 1 1/2 cups frosting.

Another one you could try is this one. It is very light in texture, not fluffy and stiff but creamy.

Whipped Cream Icing

1 small size box instant French Vanilla pudding
Milk (about a cup)
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Prepare pudding using half the milk called for on the box (I think it's one cup).
In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream.
Fold pudding and whipped cream together.
Add vanilla and sugar. Stir well.

#26 Dee

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 08:29 AM

I, too, have been dreaming of the perfect white/yellow cake recipe. I use a butter cake currently and while it does taste delicious, especially straight out of the oven, it is a pretty firm cake when it is cool. When I use this cake for a wedding cake, I make sure it will be served at room temperature. I know what you mean about cake mixes having that moist and fluffy texture that people like. But even so, there is that cake mix aftertaste which ruins it.

Speaking of the "2-step method", that looks alot like the method Rose Levy Beranbaum uses in The Cake Bible for her butter cakes. I used to use the recipe for the All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake and I forget why I stopped using it but yes, it was quite fluffy.

As far as a light, not too sweet frosting, I think either an Italian or Swiss Meringue buttercream is best. I've never had a "too sweet" complaint.

#27 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 02:32 PM

Lorea, still feel like testing recipes for white cakes?


This is the best one I've got to date (although I don't have the one you like-and I'm wondering if you'd share it thru PM? please). I happen to like it alot, but in taste tests with family and neighbors it still lost to a cake mix. But it was the best of the scratch whites I came across. It freezes alright and didn't get too firm after refridgeration like a butter cake does. It's not quite as stark white as ideal but.......it's got yolks so-thats what you get.

White cake:

1c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar

Cream together. Then add:

4 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Fold in these dry ingredients:

2 2/3 c. cake flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

After you have that batter -you alternate folding in whipped egg white with milk to finish the cake.

4 egg whites whipped firm (BUT NOT TOO STIFF or dry)
1 c. whole milk

Makes 2 9" round cakes. Bake in a 350f oven. I use pan spray and line my pans.

Some people like to add a little almond extract to get the cake mix flavor... but if you hate the way mixes taste artifical this won't help.

I came across another white cake I liked also but it came in second over the one posted above. I can't post that later if wanted.

It's like I never get far enough experimenting. I think I'm ready to stay with this one and tweek it (which I usually don't do-instead I try another recipe). I've had this discussion before with others at another site. When I make a mix I doctor it with instant pudding (which are better then buying mixes that already have the pudding in them). BUT the point I'm trying to lead to is I beleive that adding a instant pudding mix or instant ready whip (in the box) might help the texture of a scratch cake.

Claire, when I do a whip cream frosting like yours I do:
1 qt, heavy cream
1 sm pkg instant pudding
3/4 c. sugar
splash vanilla

Just thought I'd mention it because it would save the hassle of cooking the pudding. Although this version tastes more like whip cream.

#28 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 30 April 2004 - 05:45 AM

This will really be a challenge, I've spent years looking for this perfect recipe and I can't match a cake mix on this.

Does anyone have one that they know is great? If so will you post it?

If no one has a recipe they think is great maybe we should mention which recipes we've already made from which books or people and what our results were in the past.??? What do you think, will that help us narrow down the search before we begin baking?

Any chance Karen is reading????? Can you get us started with the things you've learned from the bakers dozen? Did you guys find a 'best of' for this?...if so, any chance you'd post it here?

#29 kthull

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Posted 30 April 2004 - 06:43 AM

Ok, I'll start. This one comes partially from another forum, resulting from a similar "in search of..." threads and also using much of the technique from the May 1995 Cooks Illustrated issue (that said, I don't know if it's legal to put in the eGRA). Not sure it's "the best" but it has wowed anyone who's had it. Sorry it's not in weights.

1 cup whole milk, room temp
6 egg whites, room temp
2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together and set aside.

3 cups sifted cake flour (never tested with AP)
2 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

In mixer, mix dry ingredients to combine. Add butter and beat at low speed until resembles moist crumbs. Then add all but half cup of liquid ingredients and beat a medium for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining liqued and beat another 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat another 20 seconds. (The timing is specifically from Cooks Illustrated and I've never varied from it.)

Bake in 2 9" pans at 350.

#30 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 30 April 2004 - 06:58 AM

That looks interesting Kevin........I've often thought the pudding would help in a scratch white cake, but I didn't know how to work it into a recipe like this. My Mother used to use cake mixes and instant pudding way back before anyone knew about this combo. My best 'mix' white cake version is white cake mix and instant dream whip combo, I got from her. I've never had dream whip alone to know how it varies from pudding. But the reason I mention this is doesn't the yellow color from the pudding effect the cakes finished color? If so maybe the dream whip would be a good replacement? just guessing.......


I'm excited to try this out, thanks Kevin!





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