Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Best Of: Butter Cake

Dessert

  • Please log in to reply
105 replies to this topic

#1 Wendy DeBord

Wendy DeBord
  • legacy participant
  • 3,653 posts

Posted 25 July 2005 - 08:52 AM

"Maybe we should start a "Best Of" search for the perfect butter cake recipe. Anyone up for it?

For those of you that aren't familar with our format for beginning and writing to "best of" threads please read the following:

The concept is for one person to begin the thread offering up their very best tried/researched recipe for all participants to try. Then, if someone has a recipe that they firmly believe is better then the one offered, they should post their recipe. At that time, we'll do our best to test that new competing recipe and all testers will post their results of that recipe..........and so on. We all bake the same recipe, with-out making ANY adjustments to the orginial recipe. We do this until we clearly have an recipe that the majority thinks is "the best".

Please do NOT offer up any butter cake recipes that you have NOT already tried. Only offer up recipes that you think are great, please."
: this qoute comes from this thread.

So here I am starting a new "Best of" thread. I hope everyone will find this fun and interesting.

Sarah feels confidient that her butter cake recipe is the "best of" so how about we start with her recipe? Those of us that wish to participate...........please give Sarahs recipe a try. Let us know what you think of it, how it turned out for you. THEN if you've ever made a better butter cake, please offer up that recipe as a challenge........and we will as a group then test the newest challenger. Stopping when we get a majority opinion.....

#2 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 25 July 2005 - 09:53 AM

Here's the recipe:

The Ultimate (Yellow) Butter Cake Recipe
Makes 2, 9-inch cakes.

Recipe By :Sarah Phillips, Baking 9-1-1, Simon and Schuster, c 2003

I created the Ultimate Butter Cake to be a rich, moist and tender treat because I was tired of eating dry, flavorless cakes. It has a fine to medium crumb in texture and is somewhat dense, but much lighter than a pound cake. Many brides have selected this for use in a wedding cake because it can be made in so many flavors (and is quite flavorful) and doesn't need a lot of trimming. It can be easily filled and frosted with many types of recipes and decorated or served plain with fruit. It's now my family's favorite all-occasion cake!

The cake is a good keeper, keeping several days at room temperature well-wrapped in plastic wrap or frozen for up to two or three months, wrapped in plastic and then placed in an airtight bag or container.

Ingredients:

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour -- spoon into measuring cup and level to top
3 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature )
2 cups sugar -- or superfine sugar
3 large eggs -- (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature )
1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature)
1 tbsp vanilla extract with 1/2 tsp almond extract or 1 teaspoon orange or lemon extract or 1 tablespoon grated orange or 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon peel or 1/4 teaspoon citrus oil

NOTE: Cake is mixed using a 325 watt KitchenAid Mixer. If you are using a more powerful one, adjust the mixing times downward or use the descriptions rather than mixing times with the instructions, otherwise the baked cake will fall apart and/or crumble or dome in the middle from overmixing.

Instructions:

Position the oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease two 9-inch, preferably light colored pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set
aside.

Beat the butter with a stand mixer low until softened. (If the butter is cold, it will warm quickly from the beaters). Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes until light yellow and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.

With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time and beat for 20 seconds after each addition. After the eggs have been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the mixture for 2 minutes. (If the eggs are cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together as the batter warms from the beaters. ) Set the kitchen timer to help you keep track of the time. The mixture will become fluffy and aerated.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the milk in 2 equal portions, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the flour and liquid ingredients in increments quickly; do not wait in between additions too long as you don't want to overmix the batter. (If the milk is cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together when you add the flour.)

Add in extracts and beat for 1 minute or until smooth. The batter should be thick and fluffy.

Divide the batter in the prepared baking pans (should fill 1/2 full) and lighty smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top feels firm and gives slightly when touched and will shrink sslightly from the side of the pan. The cake will be slightly browned. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter. The cakes will have a slight dome and small cracks on top right when it comes from the oven, but as the cakes cool, they will flatten on top and the tiny cracks will disappear.

Remove cakes to cool on wire racks for 10 minutes and then unmold onto wire cake racks to cool throughly. Be careful, the cakes are delicate when warm.

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 25 July 2005 - 12:45 PM.

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#3 JeAnneS

JeAnneS
  • participating member
  • 53 posts
  • Location:Bayonne NJ

Posted 25 July 2005 - 11:16 AM

I have made Sarah's recipe several times over the past year since I discovered it and it is by far my favorite. It has become my "standard" for die hard yellow cake birthday fans :D

It is incredibly tender with a great crumb and bakes up very evenly. As a point of comparison, my favorite prior to finding this recipe was a recipe from Martha Stewart. However IMO Martha Stewart's is much denser and comes off more "pound cake" like.

JeAnne
Xander: How exactly do you make cereal?

Buffy: Ah. You put the box near the milk. I saw it on the Food Channel.

-BtVS

#4 kdl1221

kdl1221
  • participating member
  • 42 posts
  • Location:Fort Benning, GA

Posted 25 July 2005 - 02:28 PM

Yea! I am so excited. I have been wanting to do this. However, I do not have a recipe of my own for butter cakes. I have tried many, and disliked them all.
Since I have many neighbors, I may make this a couple times, and get votes from my neighbors as well. I can't imagine any of us army wives turning down free cake... or a really great recipe in the end!

Thanks Wendy!

I'll try and do pictures... but my camera has poor quality... so don't be to harsh :raz:
~K


Thank you as well for the conversational haitus. I generally refrain from speach during gustation. There are those who attempt both at the same time. I find it coarse and vulgar.

Big Dan Teague
O Brother, Where Art Thou?

#5 Fernwood

Fernwood
  • participating member
  • 168 posts
  • Location:Connecticut

Posted 25 July 2005 - 02:33 PM

Sarah,
I have grown so fond of my kitchen scale that I will convert all reasonable measurements. Should I assume (per your link in the conversion charts thread) that these are 4 oz cups of flour?
Thanks, Fern

#6 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 25 July 2005 - 02:45 PM

Sarah,
I have grown so fond of my kitchen scale that I will convert all reasonable measurements.  Should I assume (per your link in the conversion charts thread) that these are 4 oz cups of flour? 
Thanks,  Fern

View Post


Fern, My digital scale is broken and I re-weighed the flour using my old-fashioned one...but, yes,

1 CUP unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into measuring cup and level to top) = 4 ounces.

(Someone can double check with their digital scale for me if they so desire!!)

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 25 July 2005 - 02:51 PM.

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#7 ruthcooks

ruthcooks
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,107 posts

Posted 25 July 2005 - 04:57 PM

Just what distinguishes a butter cake from a yellow cake or a pound cake?
Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

#8 Ling

Ling
  • participating member
  • 4,946 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA

Posted 25 July 2005 - 05:56 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but "Butter cake" is merely a cake category that involves creaming butter and sugar, beating in eggs, and then adding dry ingredients (alternating with milk). Yellow cakes and pound cakes are therefore examples of butter cakes.

#9 Wendy DeBord

Wendy DeBord
  • legacy participant
  • 3,653 posts

Posted 25 July 2005 - 06:28 PM

I just re-read something that I want to single out to everyone. Sarah's recipe calls for unbleached all purpose flour. I personally find there to be a noticable difference in taste between cakes made with bleached verses unbleached flour. So please stay true to the recipe and use unbleached flour.

Also........if it's not too late I think we should go with only one extract or flavoring for now. If we have some people using the vanilla/almond and others using orange or lemon those flavors it will add some confusion into our testing. How about we go with vanilla extract only, for now?

I'm not sure that I've ever read clearly defined definitions between butter, yellow and pound cakes. I have assumptions in my head for how I define the differences yellow, butter and pound cakes. But I'd rather see what someone else (an authority figure) has written to define the differences so we don't have any debates on the definitions. Hopefully someone will post some good definitions while we're waiting for people to bake the first recipe.......

With those comments I think we probably should outline ahead of time what we think the perfect butter cake should be like.

For me, I've found some pretty good butter cake recipes. But the one thing that does allude me is a butter cake that tastes as good after it's been chilled as it did when it first was baked. In my experience, the texture of the cake becomes so much heavier once you refridgerate a butter cake verses one thats it never been refridgerated. I've tried subbing out some of the butter and used oil as a replacement.........but I haven't found that to really make a strong enough difference. It's looses a little taste and still changes upon refridgeration too much to my likings.

I'm curious what others look for in their ideal butter cake? Maybe we should come to an agreement on what were seeking upfront (which we failed to do in other Best Of's).

#10 BROWNSUGA

BROWNSUGA
  • participating member
  • 119 posts

Posted 25 July 2005 - 07:18 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but "Butter cake" is merely a cake category that involves creaming butter and sugar, beating in eggs, and then adding dry ingredients (alternating with milk). Yellow cakes and pound cakes are therefore examples of butter cakes.

View Post



From my understanding, this describes the mixing method (i.e. creaming method). I dont have the book, but RLB has "butter cakes" in her book that are mixed using a method other than creaming the butter and sugar (i.e. two-stage method).




I went on a little hunt! :wub:

According to Joy of Baking's Website:

" Butter cakes consist of taking the most basic of ingredients butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and a leavening agent (baking powder or baking soda) and transforming them into a baked good with a wonderful taste and texture.

There are three methods used in making butter cakes and the goal of each method is to incorporate the maximum amount of air into the batter (produces the volume and texture of the cake), to restrict the development of gluten in the flour (provides tenderness, texture and volume), and to have a uniform batter."

1) Creaming Method

2) One Bowl, Quick or Blending Method

3) Combination Method

Also...

Formula for regular butter cake:

- Weight of sugar is equal or less than weight of flour

- Weight of eggs is equal or greater than weight of fat

- Weight of liquids (egg and milk) is equal to weight of flour

Formula for high ratio butter cake:

- Weight of sugar is equal or greater than weight of flour

- Weight of eggs is greater than weight of fat

- Weight of liquid (egg and milk) is equal or greater than weight of sugar

Leavening: (This is a general guideline as the other ingredients used in a recipe also affect the amount of baking powder/baking soda used.)

1 - 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder for each cup of flour

or

1/4 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of flour

Edited by BROWNSUGA, 25 July 2005 - 07:35 PM.


#11 Ling

Ling
  • participating member
  • 4,946 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA

Posted 25 July 2005 - 07:50 PM

Very interesting! That's for digging that up! :smile:

#12 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 25 July 2005 - 08:35 PM

Just what distinguishes a butter cake from a yellow cake or a pound cake?

View Post


The ratio of ingredients distinguishs a butter from a pound cake. Pound cakes are more dense than a butter cake. American butter cakes are thought to have derived from British pound loaf yellow cakes. (I hope I said that in the right order!)

I like to use Rose Levy Beranbaum's definition of a butter cake, Cake Bible, page 23:
"The American butter cake contains 6 to 12 percent solid butter (not including the liquid and milk solids in the butter) or other shortening, 18 to 36 percent liquid (usually milk or water), 27 percent flour or a combination of flour and cocoa, 27 to 40 percent sugar, 5 to 10 percent egg, and a small amount of flavoring, and leavening such as baking powder and/or baking soda."

She also has a chart in The Cake Bible in the Section on understanding cakes which RLB tells you to "some degree what the cake will be like. She doesn;t take into account the large ranges she describes above, though:

PERCENTAGES OF MAJOR INGREDIENTS IN BASIC CAKE TYPES: (Cake, Bible, page 470)
CAKE TYPE: % LIQUID % EGG % FLOUR % SUGAR % FAT *
Basic Butter 24 10 27 27 12
Pound 12 22 22 22 22
*(total fat exclusive of the milk solids and water contained in the butter.
RLB considers butter to have 81% fat and 15.5 % liquid.)

It's late in NY, so I'll give you a BRIEF description of a yellow vs white cake: yellow cake contains whole eggs and/or egg yolks while a white cake contains egg whites. Egg whites are drying, thus a white cake is usually drier than a yellow cake. Egg yolks contain fat = more flavor. Tomorrow, I'll do more research on the topic, if necessary....Good night! :wink:

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 25 July 2005 - 08:42 PM.

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#13 Dee

Dee
  • participating member
  • 49 posts

Posted 26 July 2005 - 10:44 AM

Yesterday I made the Sarah Phillips recipe but I didn't have great results unfortunately. I'm not sure what exactly happened and I wish I had photos to show. But, the cakes came out looking beautiful, nicely domed on top and golden in colour and with a toothpick coming out clean. But, upon rising, the cakes just sort of sunk in on themselves so now they're sunken in the center and really heavy and dense in texture, yet when cut a bit on the crumbly side. In a taste test, my recipe won. That's not to say mine is the greatest recipe... it's the best I've found so far but I'm definitely still open to a better one if one exists.

Wendy, I know what you mean about the butter cakes getting too firm once in the fridge. I think that is just the way it is with with butter cakes due to the fact of the butter content. I just know to serve butter cakes at room temp. and advise my clients to do the same for best flavour. And since I usually pair the butter cakes with either a ganache or a buttercream filing, they work great since the buttercream and ganache are best a room temp. also. I find after the cakes have been in the fridge and come back to room temp. they're fine again and not too firm anymore.

I'd like to offer up my recipe as a challenger:

This is based on Margaret Braun' butter cake but with some of my own alterations which I felt improved upon it.

Vanilla Butter Cake

1 ½ lbs./ 24 oz. Cake flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt

2 c./1 lb. Unsalted Butter, softened
2 lbs. Sugar
6 large Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 c. Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F; Grease pans, line with parchment on the bottom of pans.

Sift dry ingredients together.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, being careful to keep the sides and bottom of the bowl scraped down.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Scrape down bowl again and stir in vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, again making sure bowl is scraped down so that mixture is homogenous.

Scrape batter into pans and bake until set and cake tester comes out clean (approx. 50 min.)

NOTE: I can get two 12”x 2” cakes out of this recipe, so as a test run, you can half this recipe easily with no adverse affects and probably get two 9” cakes instead.

#14 BROWNSUGA

BROWNSUGA
  • participating member
  • 119 posts

Posted 26 July 2005 - 11:20 AM

I had an experience this past weekend. I made a butter cake using a method where I folded the whipped whites into the batter. The cake was delicious when I made it. I frosted it and put it in the refrigerator overnight. I allowed it to come to room temperature before eating. It just did not taste the same. It wasnt as moist as it was initially. And I used a little simple syrup. I have made this same cake in the past. Last time, I did not refrigerate it at all and did not run into this problem. This is what has led me on the hunt to find the perfect (yellow) butter cake.

Now that I think about it, I am going to try that cake again. Part of the problem could have come from the icing. The buttercream inside the cake (IMBC w/ white chocolate added to it) was still cold and firm and had not come to room temperature, even after being out at room temperature for a while. Perhaps, that could have had an effect on why my cake didnt quite come to room temperature even after being out for a while. I dunno.

Edited by BROWNSUGA, 26 July 2005 - 11:33 AM.


#15 lovkel

lovkel
  • participating member
  • 34 posts
  • Location:United States

Posted 26 July 2005 - 11:54 AM

Yesterday I made the Sarah Phillips recipe but I didn't have great results unfortunately. I'm not sure what exactly happened and I wish I had photos to show. But, the cakes came out looking beautiful, nicely domed on top and golden in colour and with a toothpick coming out clean. But, upon rising, the cakes just sort of sunk in on themselves so now they're sunken in the center and really heavy and dense in texture, yet when cut a bit on the crumbly side.

View Post


I just made a batch and had nearly identical results. The cakes seemed rather flat and heavy. The flavor was good, but the texture seemed to resemble more cornbread than cake. It wasn't bad, just ... different. I figured I had screwed up somethin', and maybe I have. Any ideas? I weighed my flour 4.5 oz per cup.

#16 RuthWells

RuthWells
  • participating member
  • 674 posts

Posted 26 July 2005 - 02:14 PM

Yesterday I made the Sarah Phillips recipe but I didn't have great results unfortunately. I'm not sure what exactly happened and I wish I had photos to show. But, the cakes came out looking beautiful, nicely domed on top and golden in colour and with a toothpick coming out clean. But, upon rising, the cakes just sort of sunk in on themselves so now they're sunken in the center and really heavy and dense in texture, yet when cut a bit on the crumbly side.

View Post


I just made a batch and had nearly identical results. The cakes seemed rather flat and heavy. The flavor was good, but the texture seemed to resemble more cornbread than cake. It wasn't bad, just ... different. I figured I had screwed up somethin', and maybe I have. Any ideas? I weighed my flour 4.5 oz per cup.

View Post


Somewhere upthread Sarah says that the flour should measure at 4oz per cup (spoon-and-sweep method). Using 4.5 oz per cup would add an extra 1/2 cup of flour (2oz) -- I'm guessing that's what caused your problem.

#17 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 26 July 2005 - 02:49 PM

Somewhere upthread Sarah says that the flour should measure at 4oz per cup (spoon-and-sweep method).  Using 4.5 oz per cup would add an extra 1/2 cup of flour (2oz) -- I'm guessing that's what caused your problem.

View Post


Thank you, Ruth, you're right! Any mis-measurement in flour will cause a problem in any cake recipe. If you add too much flour to a recipe, then you would get results such as flat and heavy.
Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#18 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 26 July 2005 - 03:04 PM

Yesterday I made the Sarah Phillips recipe but I didn't have great results unfortunately. I'm not sure what exactly happened and I wish I had photos to show. But, the cakes came out looking beautiful, nicely domed on top and golden in colour and with a toothpick coming out clean. But, upon rising, the cakes just sort of sunk in on themselves so now they're sunken in the center and really heavy and dense in texture, yet when cut a bit on the crumbly side. In a taste test, my recipe won. That's not to say mine is the greatest recipe... it's the best I've found so far but I'm definitely still open to a better one if one exists.

View Post


Dee,

Thanks for trying my cake recipe. Sorry it didn't turn out for you.

The way you describe the cake's outcome sounds like a problem with the type of flour used (are you in the United States and did you use all-purpose unbleached flour?) and/or a measuring issue.....But, it sounds like the gluten-development in the cake didn't develope or over-developed somehow......

Sinking means that there was a measuring or mixing problem, the cake wasn't baked enough, or the protein level of the flour wasn't high enough Crumbly means that there was a problem with the protein level of the flour, there was a measuring and mixing problem. But, since you are an experienced baker, I have a feeling that there is a problem with the flour perhaps or a mixing problem!???

Also, what kind of mixer are you using? I know that if you don't use a home mixer or one that I specified in the recipe, the cake will crumble and fall apart as you described....See the recipe and there's a note right before the beginning of the instructions about mixing....."NOTE: Cake is mixed using a 325 watt KitchenAid Mixer. If you are using a more powerful one, adjust the mixing times downward or use the descriptions rather than mixing times with the instructions, otherwise the baked cake will fall apart and/or crumble or dome in the middle from overmixing."
More powerful mixers will create problems with recipes intended for home bakers. I had a professional baker email me that my cake recipe worked fine for her in her home mixer, but when she made it in the professional, more powerful mixer at work (in her bakery), she described that the cake crumbled. I told her that she had to adjust the mixing times downward and the cake turned out fine....It's because of the type of flour used in the recipe...read on...

P.S. Then, you may point out the Margret Braun's recipe you posted a few threads up works for you....The reason Margaret Braun's recipe works in the same mixer is that her recipe uses bleached cake flour versus my recipe which uses unbleached all-purpose flour. Cake flour is bleached giving it a higher mixing tolerance (bleaching improves baking performance) ...meaning it can be overmixed and not effect the recipe. All-purpose UNBLEACHED flour cannot, thus it is more sensitive to overmixing....So, I bet you used a more powerful mixer when you made my cake than one I specifed in the recipe causing mine to rise and fall, and then crumble when cut...I'm just taking a guess......

The reason I developed my Ultimate Butter Cake Recipe using all-purpose flour (and milk) is that it is a readily available ingredient..... bleached cake flour and buttermilk are not......

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 26 July 2005 - 03:29 PM.

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#19 Dee

Dee
  • participating member
  • 49 posts

Posted 26 July 2005 - 05:01 PM

Sarah, thanks for your reply... yes, I actually do think it may have been the flour I used, not because it was the wrong type but because I'm in Canada and I'd heard that Canadian AP is different then US AP flour. I have a bread machine and in the manual it gives specific differences in recipes to take into account whether it's American or Canadian AP flour. Not sure what the equivalent of US flour here would be??
But it was unbleached I used. Interesting. As far as the mixer, I used my Kitchenaid Pro which is 350W, not that much more power and I made sure not to overmix all the same.

I'll be interested to see how it works out for others in the US.. maybe it's just me. It's kind of a tricky test, isn't it when people have different ingredients, different pans, different countries, etc. Perhaps I'll give it another go with different flour??

In the original Braun recipe it calls for AP flour but I substituted cake flour to achieve a nicer crumb... maybe that wouldn't be necessary in the US? Hmmm.

#20 lovkel

lovkel
  • participating member
  • 34 posts
  • Location:United States

Posted 26 July 2005 - 06:17 PM

I have a question about Sarah Phillip's recipe. I already know I added excess flour, BUT to be sure that my next attempt comes out right I would like some clarification on mixing to get just the right amount of gluten development.

The recipe is a bit vague about how long to mix while alternating dry and wet ingredients. I added the next as soon as the previous appeared to be MOSTLY incorporated. If there was a spot or two that wasn't yet mixed in I went ahead and added the next ingredient. The recipe made me paranoid :unsure: about how long I should let it mix. Also, when it says to 'beat for 1 minute after adding flavoring' what speed is that? low or medium?

Thanks

#21 Wendy DeBord

Wendy DeBord
  • legacy participant
  • 3,653 posts

Posted 26 July 2005 - 07:04 PM

I just wanted to add: if you can add a photo or two to your post I think that really helps. What your batter looked like before you baked your cake, then after it's baked gives tons of clues.........besides being all around helpful to all.

#22 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:23 AM

I have a question about Sarah Phillip's recipe. I already know I added excess flour, BUT to be sure that my next attempt comes out right I would like some clarification on mixing to get just the right amount of gluten development.

The recipe is a bit vague about how long to mix while alternating dry and wet ingredients. I added the next as soon as the previous appeared to be MOSTLY incorporated. If there was a spot or two that wasn't yet mixed in I went ahead and added the next ingredient. The recipe made me paranoid :unsure: about how long I should let it mix. Also, when it says to 'beat for 1 minute after adding flavoring' what speed is that? low or medium?

Thanks

View Post



I edited the recipe to include how long to mix the batter after the flour is added. See below where the recipe has been edited with: ADDED>>>WITH THE MIXER STILL ON LOW<<<<, add in extracts and beat for ADDED>>>30 seconds<<<< to 1 minute or until smooth. The batter should be thick and fluffy. ADDED>>Stop the mixer, and remove the bowl. With a large rubber spatula, give the batter ONE or TWO quick folds to incorporate any stray flour or milk left at the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then, STOP! <<<<<


I know it's intimidating making a recipe, but the only way to learn is to make mistakes and to practice. What I always suggest is to make the cake and bake it. See what happens...I hate to sound wasteful, but that's the only way to learn...The cake won't "blow up".... I can't tell you how many cake inventions I have made have ended up becoming something else because I made a mistake .....Cake mistakes have turned into trifles, Petits Fours, "cake bites", snacks, "cake fixing paste" etc. I don't throw the cake out, unless it's so disgusting that my own dogs won't eat it (they've become picky over the years), but I reinvent it into another dessert!

Here's the edited recipe:

The Ultimate (Yellow) Butter Cake Recipe
Makes 2, 9-inch cakes.

Recipe By :Sarah Phillips, Baking 9-1-1, Simon and Schuster, c 2003

I created the Ultimate Butter Cake to be a rich, moist and tender treat because I was tired of eating dry, flavorless cakes. It has a fine to medium crumb in texture and is somewhat dense, but much lighter than a pound cake. Many brides have selected this for use in a wedding cake because it can be made in so many flavors (and is quite flavorful) and doesn't need a lot of trimming. It can be easily filled and frosted with many types of recipes and decorated or served plain with fruit. It's now my family's favorite all-occasion cake!

The cake is a good keeper, keeping several days at room temperature well-wrapped in plastic wrap or frozen for up to two or three months, wrapped in plastic and then placed in an airtight bag or container.

Ingredients:

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour -- spoon into measuring cup and level to top
3 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature )
2 cups sugar -- or superfine sugar
3 large eggs -- (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature )
1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature)
1 tbsp vanilla extract with 1/2 tsp almond extract or 1 teaspoon orange or lemon extract or 1 tablespoon grated orange or 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon peel or 1/4 teaspoon citrus oil

NOTE: Cake is mixed using a 325 watt KitchenAid Mixer. If you are using a more powerful one, adjust the mixing times downward or use the descriptions rather than mixing times with the instructions, otherwise the baked cake will fall apart and/or crumble or dome in the middle from overmixing.

Instructions:

Position the oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease two 9-inch, preferably light colored pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set
aside.

Beat the butter with a stand mixer low until softened. (If the butter is cold, it will warm quickly from the beaters). Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes until light yellow and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.

With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time and beat for 20 seconds after each addition. After the eggs have been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the mixture for 2 minutes. (If the eggs are cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together as the batter warms from the beaters. ) Set the kitchen timer to help you keep track of the time. The mixture will become fluffy and aerated.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the milk in 2 equal portions, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the flour and liquid ingredients in increments quickly; do not wait in between additions too long as you don't want to overmix the batter. (If the milk is cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together when you add the flour.)

ADDED>>>WITH THE MIXER STILL ON LOW<<<<, add in extracts and beat for ADDED>>>30 seconds<<<< to 1 minute or until smooth. The batter should be thick and fluffy. ADDED>>>Stop the mixer, and remove the bowl. With a large rubber spatula, give the batter ONE or TWO quick folds to incorporate any stray flour or milk left at the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then, STOP! <<<<<


Divide the batter in the prepared baking pans (should fill 1/2 full) and lighty smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top feels firm and gives slightly when touched and will shrink sslightly from the side of the pan. The cake will be slightly browned. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter. The cakes will have a slight dome and small cracks on top right when it comes from the oven, but as the cakes cool, they will flatten on top and the tiny cracks will disappear.

Remove cakes to cool on wire racks for 10 minutes and then unmold onto wire cake racks to cool throughly. Be careful, the cakes are delicate when warm.

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 27 July 2005 - 06:26 AM.

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#23 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:33 AM

Sarah, thanks for your reply... yes, I actually do think it may have been the flour I used, not because it was the wrong type but because I'm in Canada and I'd heard that Canadian AP is different then US AP flour. I have a bread machine and in the manual it gives specific differences in recipes to take into account whether it's American or Canadian AP flour. Not sure what the equivalent of US flour here would be??
But it was unbleached I used. Interesting. As far as the mixer, I used my Kitchenaid Pro which is 350W, not that much more power and I made sure not to overmix all the same.

I'll be interested to see how it works out for others in the US.. maybe it's just me. It's kind of a tricky test, isn't it when people have different ingredients, different pans, different countries, etc. Perhaps I'll give it another go with different flour??

In the original Braun recipe it calls for AP flour but I substituted cake flour to achieve a nicer crumb... maybe that wouldn't be necessary in the US? Hmmm.

View Post


Dee,

The differences in the protein content in flour will make a BIG difference in the outcome of th flour. When you baked my Ultimate Butter Cake, using Canadian All-purpose flour, which is different than US all-purpose flour, you could see the results....

National brands of US all-purpose (bleached and unbleached) flour have a protein content of about 12 % . http://www.baking911...lour,grains.htm Unfortunately, flour manufacturers don't always print the gluten protein percent on their packages. See if you can match the protein percent, then my recipe will have a better chance of succeeding.
Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#24 kdl1221

kdl1221
  • participating member
  • 42 posts
  • Location:Fort Benning, GA

Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:47 AM

Ok... I was all set to start baking away... but I have a problem.
I do not have access to unbleached flour. (I already have to drive almost 20 miles for Scharffen Berger chocolate).
I have tons of bleached flour, and bleached cake flour. If I do the first recipe offered.. the ultimate butter cake, how will this effect the outcome? Should I not even try... ?
Ok, just did some investigating.. Sarah, love the site! :)
But... so back to my question... how will this really effect taste, texture, and such?
~K


Thank you as well for the conversational haitus. I generally refrain from speach during gustation. There are those who attempt both at the same time. I find it coarse and vulgar.

Big Dan Teague
O Brother, Where Art Thou?

#25 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 27 July 2005 - 06:52 AM

Ok... I was all set to start baking away... but I have a problem.
I do not have access to unbleached flour. (I already have to drive almost 20 miles for Scharffen Berger chocolate).
I have tons of bleached flour, and bleached cake flour. If I do the first recipe offered.. the ultimate butter cake, how will this effect the outcome? Should I not even try... ?
Ok, just did some investigating.. Sarah, love the site! :)
But... so back to my question... how will this really effect taste, texture, and such?

View Post


Hi kdl1221,

I'm glad you took a look at my site...Thanks!

Anyway, you can substitute all-purpose unbleached flour with all-purpose bleached flour, one for one, but you will notice some slight differences in texture and, of course, the cake will be whiter. Don't use cake flour! ~ But, you can bake the cake using your bleached all-purpose flour..... :smile:
Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#26 RuthWells

RuthWells
  • participating member
  • 674 posts

Posted 27 July 2005 - 07:36 AM

Don't use cake flour! ~ But, you can bake the cake using your bleached all-purpose flour.....  :smile:

View Post


This is good to know, thanks, Sarah. I will also go this route when I get the time to try your recipe.

#27 Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips
  • participating member
  • 186 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:54 AM

Don't use cake flour! ~ But, you can bake the cake using your bleached all-purpose flour.....  :smile:

View Post


This is good to know, thanks, Sarah. I will also go this route when I get the time to try your recipe.

View Post


Ruth and kdl1221,

I've been thinking more about the bleached versus unbleached all-purpose flour substitution....

I am interesting in finding out the outcome you guys have when baking the recipe with bleached all-purpose flour because I don't get consistent results when substituting unbleached ap flour with bleached in ALL recipes..... Wendy noted the same in Post #11....Theoretically, the substitution should be fine "according to the substitution charts", but I wrote the recipe specifying unbleached ap flour.....I do know that cake flour will NOT work....

Hmmm..interesting......I will bake my Ultimate Butter Cake using bleached all-purpose flour and let you know my results, too... :wink:

Edited by Sarah Phillips, 27 July 2005 - 09:43 AM.

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

#28 Wendy DeBord

Wendy DeBord
  • legacy participant
  • 3,653 posts

Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:31 PM

It should work just fine with bleached flour. The bleached flour cake will have a finer crumb and the cake with unbleached flour will be courser. I find the biggest difference comes between the taste of a item baked with bleached verses non-bleached. AND you almost have to do a side by side taste test to notice. The differences aren't noticable in many/most items. But butter cakes (being a very simple flavored item) are the best example I know of where I can taste the difference between the two flours in a baked good. If I was going to prove a point between the two flours, I'd choose a butter cake recipe to show you.

The unbleached flour has more taste to it. I don't know if I'm tasteing "wheat" or exactly what or why, but unbleached flour in butter cakes tastes the best to me.

Thats not to say you can't bake a good butter cake with bleached or even cake flour..............preference really comes into play here because the different flours do change taste and texture. The extreme is the cake flour where the cake will have a nice fine grain, but the taste won't compare to the unbleached ap flour.

#29 chantal

chantal
  • participating member
  • 105 posts
  • Location:Montreal, QC

Posted 27 July 2005 - 08:43 PM

Hi guys. I am in canada (moved here not too long ago) and I just looked at my bags o' flour:
Ap unbleached, 120 g=14.4 g protein. WOW that's like 14g protein p/cup. Then the cake four 100g=11g protein. So what's a girl to do? Should I start baking cakes with cake flour when they call for AP?

It' s intersting because I tried out that whimsical bakehouse yellow cake from the other thread -- it uses cake flour-- and I thought it came out heavy and crumbly. I'm guessing to much protein in Canadian cake flour?? I thought it was the method (creaming) and my mixing. Guess it could be that too :wacko:

You guys are great. Thanks

#30 RuthWells

RuthWells
  • participating member
  • 674 posts

Posted 28 July 2005 - 06:20 AM

Hi guys. I am in canada (moved here not too long ago) and I just looked at my bags o' flour:
Ap unbleached,  120 g=14.4 g protein.  WOW that's like 14g protein p/cup.  Then the cake four 100g=11g protein.  So what's a girl to do?  Should I start baking cakes with cake flour when they call  for AP?

It' s intersting because I tried out that whimsical bakehouse yellow cake from the other thread -- it uses cake flour-- and I thought it came out heavy and crumbly.  I'm guessing to much protein in Canadian cake flour??  I thought it was the method (creaming) and my mixing. Guess it could be that too :wacko:   

You guys are great.  Thanks

View Post


Hi Chantal -- I use the Whimsical Bakehouse butter cake recipes a lot, and I'm betting you're right about the protein in the Canadian flour. When I make the WB butter cakes I never have a texture problem like you describe. Just out of curiosity, what altitude are you at?





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Dessert