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Yellow and white cakes

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#91 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 08:54 AM

WOW! I have a huge smile on my face....another wonderful, highly detailed review from mktye. Thank-you sooooo MUCH!!

Ha, good ole Betty Crocker strikes again. You can never judge where a good recipe might come from. They are everywhere, needles in a hay stack for us to find.

#92 bleudauvergne

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 09:04 AM

Tortured my family and friends with white cakes this weekend.

Thanks so much for doing that!

And the recipe with weights.

:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

#93 mktye

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 09:36 AM

Ha, good ole Betty Crocker strikes again. 

Personal opinion here -- I feel that for basic dessert building blocks, some of the really old cookbooks are the best. IMO, it is because a lot of people baked and ate homemade desserts with regularity back then (without fear of eggs, butter and sugar) and good taste/texture was more important than quick, easy or healthy.

My old Betty Crocker was my grandmother's (it includes her notes in the margins so it is extra special) and contains 30 pages (!) of just the american-style cakes (i.e. not sponge). I don't think I've ever used this cookbook for anything other than sweets & breads, but the other sections are quite amusing to read. For example: "The clever wife has a simple appetizing cocktail (cold in summer, hot in winter) ready for her weary husband when he comes home at night." :laugh:

You can never judge where a good recipe might come from.  They are everywhere, needles in a hay stack for us to find.

And that is the fun part!

Once again, thank you Sinclair for starting these threads. And also to everyone else -- I usually am all alone in my kitchen when I get into a find-the-best-recipe frenzy and it is great to be part of a group effort.

#94 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 04:53 AM

I couldn't agree with you more Mktye...I have quite a collection of older baking books many of them from Pillsbury and other "homemaker' type baking books. I find alot of jems in these books. Also on ocasion I believe I see where a current author/chef has originally gotten their ideas from these older books. I see that lot in Gale Gands work, she definately looks and studies older books too.


I will bake you best white asap then compare it to my best white.....see if I can beat it. Others should do the same......if you can beat this recipe-thats the goal...find the best of the best.

#95 mktye

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 07:52 AM

Has anyone tried the Elegant White Cake recipe from "King Aurthur Flour Baker's Companion"? It looks like it could be a contender.

Unfortunately, due to the current husband-imposed, house-wide, cake baking ban and an upcoming trip to California, I won't be able make it until sometime after mid-June.

Sinclair -- would it be okay to post the recipe here even though the ingredients would be verbatim (but I'd write the method part out in my own words)? If not, I can PM/email the recipe to those interested.

Of course, Baker's Companion is a great book if you just want to buy it. I've not made many items from it yet (probably only a half dozen), but everything I have made has been quite good and no problems with the recipes. It also just won James Beard's Cookbook of the Year. Here is an eG link to it on Amazon.

#96 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 09:19 PM

Yes you can post the recipe ingredient list as published because you can't copyright that part of a recipe, the ingredients or the amounts. But you have to put the methods of how you make the recipe in your own words, because copying those words exactly will infringe on copyright.

We always like to give credit to the authors too. You can also post a link to the recipe if it's posted some place legitimate......but not from a site where someone just took the info. and pasted it with-out regard to following proper respect to copyright. Steve or Neil can elaborate more on this if anyone needs it?

#97 mktye

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 06:05 AM

Thanks for the clarification Sinclair!

KA Flour's Elegant White Cake

8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 oz.) butter, softened
1/2 cup (3-1/4 oz.) vegetable shortening
1 tablespoons (1/2 oz.) baking powder
1-3/4 cups (12-1/4 ounces) superfine or granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

-- Cream together until light. 5 min. or more.

5 large egg whites (6 to 7 oz.)

-- Add egg whites one at a time and beat well after each addition.

2-3/4 cups (11 oz.) cake flour
1 cup (8 oz.) milk

-- Stir in flour and milk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour. (i.e. 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour)

-- Pour into pans (2 9-in. round or one 9x13-in) and bake at 350. 25-35 minutes or until done.

Recipe from "The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion"

#98 TrishCT

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Posted 01 June 2004 - 12:17 PM

Just checking, do we still have people interested and working on this topic (besides me)?

I just made MK's Rich White Cake this weekend (as the base for a Boston Cream Pie) and will post (with pics) in a day or so. I thought I might try the King Arthur one this week for a contrast.

#99 skyflyer3

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 08:51 PM

I made the Rich White Cake recipe about two weeks ago as well, and remember that mostly the texture was indescribably good, but the flavor was not that great. Maybe my cake flour was bad. I used Softasilk, with a little bit of White Lily because I ran out - what does everyone else use? Can I use all White Lily?

#100 TrishCT

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 06:50 AM

I made MK's Rich White Cake and King Arthur's Elegant White Cake.

First up was Rich White Cake.
Posted Image
I made it in a 10 inch springform pan which could be why it cracked. But that didn't matter because....

It became the base for Boston Cream Pie
Posted Image

Next I made the King Arthur Elegant White Cake
Posted Image
in 2 9-inch round pans

Here is a slice of Elegant White Cake. The picture doesn't do justice to the soft, fluffy texture.
Posted Image

Both cakes are very good, but there was a definite preference by my family and friends for the King Arthur Elegant White Cake. Comments about the King Arthur included -- "Soft as velvet," "If a marshmallow was a cake this would be it," "Delicious flavor, yum."

Rich White Cake had a nice texture, but was a little dryer than KA's, it scored slightly lower on taste as well. Both cakes are relatively easy to make, the KA requires more mixing time and a stand mixer makes a simple task of it.

Rich White Cake- 4.0
King Arthur Elegant Cake - 5.0

Edited by TrishCT, 10 June 2004 - 06:54 AM.


#101 Reap

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:09 AM

Wow was I excited when I saw this thread! I had been on my own quest for the best white cake (with-out much luck!) when I found eGullet aka Heaven!

So far I have found that the few cakes I've been able to make taste very similar. However, I've been a bit dissapointed in the density of them. They all seem a little heavy. Do I admit that I'm hoping to find a recipe that makes a lighter cake similar to that of a cake mix?

I was wondering if out of all the recipes tested was there one that stood out as being light?
Unfortunately I do not have time to try all the recipes (two kids, one five months old- Doesn't allow for alot of baking time- She's actually starting to lose it while I'm trying to write this post! :blink: While my oldest is bugging me to show her the Smilie Faces)

Also, is cake flour an absolute and would that be the problem to having cakes that are a bit denser? ( Did try omitting 2Tbs of all purpose per cup and adding 2Tbs cornstarch)

Any info and advice would be greatly appreciated!!

#102 mktye

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:34 AM

Reap -- Welcome to eGullet!

I was wondering if out of all the recipes tested was there one that stood out as being light?

TrishCT's cake was the lightest of all the cakes I baked. The other cake I made from an old Betty Crocker recipe (which was very similar to Trish's recipe) was also pretty light, so I think the separately beaten egg whites are the key to the lightness.

However, I did use cake flour in all the recipes, so I cannot say how they'd be with AP flour.

TrishCT -- Glad the KA cake came out well for you. After your positive review, I am definitely making it later this week.

skyflyer3 -- I use Softasilk cake flour.

#103 TrishCT

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 01:17 PM

MK...I know you have made (many more than) your fair share of cakes lately!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

The King Arthur White is really good... and I think it would satisfy Reap's request for a light cake.... (though not as light as angel food, which is the ultimate light white cake...)

Cake flour definitely makes for a finer, softer texture. I would use cake flour for these white cake recipes.

#104 mktye

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 05:06 AM

I finally got around to making the King Arthur Flour's Elegant White Cake and taste tested it against some defrosted Betty Crocker's Rich White Cake. I did make a couple of changes to the original Elegant White Cake recipe:

1. Used 3 tsp. of vanilla instead of vanilla and almond so the flavoring would be consistent between the cakes tasted.
2. Used 1 cup (8 oz) of butter intead of butter and shortening. (For health reasons, I no longer use hydrogenated oils.)

The King Arthur cake was excellent. Good flavor and a lighter texture (similar to TrishCT's cake) than the Rich White Cake. One taster still preferred the Rich White Cake with the denser, more pound-cake like texture, but the other two of us liked the Elegant White Cake better. I found the flavor of the two to be almost identical with the only real difference being the density.

I have a picture to post, but ImageGullet is down, so I'll have to post it later.

MK...I know you have made (many more than) your fair share of cakes lately!!!

My hubbie came home the other day, scowled and said: "Honey, that is not another white cake is it?!?" I was happy to answer him: "No, that is another banana cake -- I'm baking the white cake tomorrow!" :laugh:

Edited by mktye, 21 June 2004 - 05:11 AM.


#105 Reap

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 06:18 AM

I used frozen egg whites when I tried the rich white cake recipe. Would that make a difference?


I plan on making the KA elegant white cake this weekend. I'm pretty hopeful that itwill be the texture and density I'm looking for. Especially since I have the proper flour!

Mktye thank you again for all your help and info! (I'm in awe of all the cakes you've made!)

Edited by Reap, 22 June 2004 - 06:33 AM.


#106 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 06:27 AM

The differences would be minute- frozen whites work well.

Mktye-give it a day or two and photo's will work just fine again-we had a big system upgrade this past weekend that takes some time to finish.

#107 mktye

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 07:32 AM

Here is the pic of the KA Elegant White Cake:

Posted Image

Just thought I'd drop in and say I'm yearning for a nice home made white cake.  :sad:

:sad: You have not had any luck in finding a recipe that works well with French flour?

You can always hop on a plane to D.C. -- I have plenty of cake to share! :smile:

#108 TrishCT

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 12:04 PM

Nice pic MK it captures the essence much better than mine...I hope I can figure out how to make my pics actually look good and not distorted because it does the food extreme disservice.... :wink:

Anyway...just slightly off topic... but Bleau is it true that the French also don't know how to make chocolate chip cookies and that they are a highly prized delicacy?

#109 mktye

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 06:36 AM

Nice pic MK it captures the essence much better than mine...I hope I can figure out how to make my pics actually look good and not distorted because it does the food extreme disservice.... :wink:

Thanks Trish, although I feel this pic did not come out as well as the other white cake pictures I took previously. :hmmm: Not quite sure why. Since the cakes are so white, I have not been able to use the flash (too much reflection) which leads to a bit of blurriness.

Do you have a photo editing program? I'd be lost without mine. On the above pic, I used the program to sharpen the picture up a bit and increased the lightness about 25% to compensate for the lack of flash and to achieve real-life color.

Also, if you have not seen it, there is a thread here on the eG Site Tips and Techniques forum where they've been discussing food photography at length.

#110 bleudauvergne

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 07:53 AM

Just thought I'd drop in and say I'm yearning for a nice home made white cake.   :sad:

:sad: You have not had any luck in finding a recipe that works well with French flour?

The second time I mixed flours and it turned out rather well. But then my cake testing days were put to an end, due to necessity to go on a diet. :laugh: :laugh:

Anyway...just slightly off topic... but Bleau is it true that the French also don't know how to make chocolate chip cookies and that they are a highly prized delicacy?


It's true, and they think I'm a goddess every time I toss a batch of toll house cookies together, (I have to chop up baking chocolate due to a void of chips in this country) it's bizarre, another mystery of the French.

mktye's photos sure are making me hungry for some cake, though.

Edited by bleudauvergne, 24 June 2004 - 07:54 AM.


#111 claire797

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 09:30 AM

MK,

I think that's the best looking white cake I've ever seen! Wow!

(The KA cake, that is!)

Edited by claire797, 24 June 2004 - 09:32 AM.


#112 TrishCT

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 05:06 PM

MK,

I think that's the best looking white cake I've ever seen! Wow!

(The KA cake, that is!)

The King Arthur Cake reigns supreme. :smile:

#113 Reap

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Posted 25 June 2004 - 09:11 PM

Okay, I have just put my KA cake in the oven. I am very optimistic that it will turn out quite light!(I'm a bit fanatical at this point about trying to find a 'light' cake! :laugh: ) I can already tell the difference from this batter (using cake flour) and the other cakes I tried while using AP flour. This batter is MUCH lighter. Figure the end result will be as well.

While I was making this cake a couple of questions came up.
Before this cake, I had never used cake flour-I wasn't sure if I was supposed to sift it or not. I figured sifting would help with making for a lighter cake, so I did sift it.

Also, when a cake calls for two cups sifted flour does that mean to measure out two cups and then sift it or is it two cups AFTER sifting? For this cake I measured after I had sifted.

I noticed while I was measuring out my Vanilla that it was a bit cloudy. I had never noticed this before. Anyone know why this would be? Got me wondering if vanilla could go bad.

Okay, last question. Is there a real measurable difference between cake flours? I have seen Softsilk mentioned numerous times as being the choice brand. I went to my local grocery store which did not have Softsilk. I'm in Canada, is it even available here?

Thanks for putting up with me! I know that my questions give away the fact that I am a VERY novice baker :blush: , but I do love baking and have always done it for fun (and stress relief). Thanks again.

Kate

**Just checked on the cake-looking good! Five more minutes to go! :biggrin:

#114 mktye

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Posted 26 June 2004 - 06:57 AM

Okay, I have just put my KA cake in the oven.  I am very optimistic that it will turn out quite light!(I'm a bit fanatical at this point about trying to find a 'light' cake!  :laugh:  )  I can already tell the difference from this batter (using cake flour) and the other cakes I tried while using AP flour.  This batter is MUCH lighter.  Figure the end result will be as well.

And how did it turn out?

While I was making this cake a couple of questions came up.
Before this cake, I had never used cake flour-I wasn't sure if I was supposed to sift it or not. I figured sifting would help with making for a lighter cake, so I did sift it.

Also, when a cake calls for two cups sifted flour does that mean to measure out two cups and then sift it or is it two cups AFTER sifting?  For this cake I measured after I had sifted. 

I almost always sift cake flour since it tends to be so finely milled and clumps together.

As far as the measuring... it really depends on how the recipe is written and the practices of the author/cookbook.

For example:
1 cup flour, sifted = measure first, sift second
1 cup sifted flour = sift first, measure second

I just checked the KA "Baker's Companion" (where the recipe came from) and they don't even mention sifting in the recipe! :laugh:

However, for volumetric measurement of flour, they call for fluffing the flour, filling the measuring cup with a spoon and then leveling off the top. (As opposed to dipping the measuring cup into the flour and then leveling off).

Bottom line--it is much more accurate and easier to measure flour by weight rather than volume. That is what I did with this recipe. I sifted the cake flour into a bowl on my scale until I had the desired weight of flour. Here is the eG Kitchen Scale Manifesto that goes over the advantages of measuring by weight and dicusses various types of scales and their use.

I noticed while I was measuring out my Vanilla that it was a bit cloudy.  I had never noticed this before.  Anyone know why this would be?  Got me wondering if vanilla could go bad.

I have also noticed this, but do not know the cause. I don't think vanilla can really go "bad" (as in harmful to the health) because if its high alcohol content, but I imagine over time, or if it is kept in a hot environment, the flavor can change or just fade away.

Okay, last question.  Is there a real measurable difference between cake flours?  I have seen Softsilk mentioned numerous times as being the choice brand.  I went to my local grocery store which did not have Softsilk. I'm in Canada, is it even available here? 

That is a very good question. I've never done any side-by-side comparisons (hmmm... :biggrin:), so I personally have no idea. I suspect that one reason Softasilk is mentioned so much is that, in my experience, it is the most prevelant brand in the U.S..

I hope the cake turned out well for you and it meets your expections! :smile:

#115 Reap

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Posted 28 June 2004 - 08:57 PM

Finally have a moment to post! :smile:

I have to say the flavour and texture of the cake was wonderful!! The only thing is, is I believe I overbaked it. :sad:

I checked the cake at 25 minutes (I didn't use a toothpick- I'm kicking myself now!) just did the finger touch, and it didn't spring back. So I gave it five more minutes- same thing. Five more minutes- springs back! I take it out of the oven and it seems heavenly!

Then it cools..... and I notice immediately that its VERY firm and know that is over-baked and going to be dry! :angry:

But that will not stop me!! I am going to make this cake again and use a toothpick to check when its done. (even dry it tasted SO good that the whole cake is gone! This finding the perfect white cake is BAD! :wink: )



Mktye-

I noticed that the recipe didn't mention sifting too. Figured to be safe and sifted. :smile:


Thanks all the help!! I adding scale to my wish list - trying to think of a reason (ie birthday -too far away- mom's day -just past and got an upright mixer- :biggrin: ) to ask for one!!

:laugh: Ack!! Hope flour comparison question doesn't cause you to go out of your way and do an actual comparison test!! Though I have to admit I can already see you posting results!


But seriously, thanks again for all the help. :smile:


Oh! Forgot to ask you. What kind of scale do you use?

Edited by Reap, 28 June 2004 - 08:59 PM.


#116 mktye

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 05:44 AM

Glad you were able to choke down the cake. :wink: That is what I found with trying the various white cake recipes in this thread--they all produced very excellent cakes that I was more than happy to eat!

I adding scale to my wish list - trying to think of a reason (ie birthday -too far away- mom's day -just past and got an upright mixer- :biggrin: )  to ask for one!!

A 4 of July present to celebrate independence from measuring flour by volume?!? :laugh:

I have an old (5+ years) Terraillon electronic scale. It easily switches from ounces to grams and has always worked well despite the abuse it gets.

#117 ChocoChris

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 09:51 AM

I know that it has been a while since anyone posted to this thread but since it was less than a month ago, I'll add my two cents. I baked the KA cake this morning. Mind you, this was before eating breakfast. I add that caveat because on my first tasting, after taking them out of the pans, came from a layer that was not fully cooled. I did try another piece later after it fully cooled.

I baked 2 9" cakes - one in a stainless steel pan and the other in a nonstick pan. I noticed that the nonstick finished a couple of minutes before the stainless steel which I would expect since the pan is dark gray. The stainless steel one could have used a few minutes so I think the center was a tad softer than the edges.

For some reason I obsess about height and use it, among other factors, to gauge success. These layers came in about 1 3/4" high. I am concerned that they should have been higher. I left my butter out over night and it got fairly soft but I don't think that it should have made a difference in height - or could it?

I also forgot to sift the flour. I used weight to measure out the ingredients.

The taste was pleasantly vanilla and while not too sweet, I did think it a bit on the sweet side. I'm wondering how it will taste with frosting.

I did have a slight doming but nothing too pronounced and no cracking. Tops were nice and smooth.

Here's a pic of cake from stainless pan.

Posted Image

#118 nventura

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 10:54 AM

Help I need gram weights!

Simple gram conversion...Write it on a piece of maskin tape and stick it to the back of your calculator: g x .035= oz. ...or... oz./ .035= g

#119 mignardise

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Posted 24 August 2004 - 07:31 PM

Hi There,
I have been noticing this thread. I wanted to bring it out of hiding. Is this the consensus.........the KA cake as the best so far? Has anyone had an opinion to Beranbaum's white velvet butter cake? That is one I have been using for some time. I like the mixing method.

I do have one from Chocolatier that might be a contender, if anyone's up for it.
This one folds whites at the end. I prefer to have less items to wash.

#120 Reap

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 07:44 AM

Mignardise,


I would definately be interested in trying both recipes!

I have to say out of all the ones I have tried the KA is the best one, but I am always willing to try something new. :smile:





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