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Wendy DeBord

Yellow and white cakes

236 posts in this topic

I'm barely a professional and have not worked in France, but it's my understanding that this type of cake--a butter cake as opposed to a foam or sponge cake (like a genoise)--is unique to America. I think most Europeans find our yellow cakes and pound cakes and chocolate layer cakes too sweet, dense and dry. They are used to genoise and sponges that are soaked in liqueurs and syrups and filled with (relatively) thick layers of filling. Admittedly, I haven't taken that many classes, but none of my European instructors ever had any comments to make on the standard American butter cake. I think they consider it an ugly stepsister!

That being said, I think Rose Beranbaum has a white genoise in her Cake Bible, which I've never made, but which might give you some guidance as to a Europeanized version of the white cake.


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What a revelation. It's true, no where do we find really good nice tasting, white cake with heft and crumb, and beauty, which is not just a sponge to sop up liquers or a brick to support a filling, but a real honest to goodness cake. I am going to take this for the opportunity that it is. I am going to introduce the white cake to FRANCE! :laugh::laugh::laugh:

My kitchen will be the recipe test lab. :biggrin:

I don't remember where I read it, I think in Julia Child's MA where she recounts that for a certain cake containing fruit, it was necessary to advise the reader NOT to use cake flour because if you do, everything will sink to the bottom, due to the batter not being able to hold it. I am considering that as part of the reason why my tests did not turn out so well, considering the properties of the local flour here, and also doing some research. Thank you.

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mkfradin -- what's the difference in your white cake recipe that results from the change in technique? I ask because I'm a fan of Dede Wilson and I actually made her white cake last night as a test run for a wedding cake I'm baking.

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OK, I finally managed to do some white cake testing. I made mkfradin's, as so many others seemed to find it superior, and the recipe I posted. there is no contest. mkfradin's cake is most definitely the best. I give it a 4.5 - great texture, great flavor. It was too sweet for me, but pretty much all cakes are too sweet for me without drastic sugar reduction, and I wanted to do the recipe as written.

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mkfradin -- what's the difference in your white cake recipe that results from the change in technique?  I ask because I'm a fan of Dede Wilson and I actually made her white cake last night as a test run for a wedding cake I'm baking.

Since I've never made Dede Wilson's white cake according to her recipe, I don't know what the difference is! Initially, I used RLB's high ratio mixing method, since it is easier than the creaming method (fewer dirty bowls), and now I've moved on to the method in my recipe, since it eliminates a further step by mixing all the wet ingredients together instead of mixing 1/4 of the liquid into the eggs and vanilla. I've always been so pleased with the results that there didn't seem to be a reason to try Wilson's recipe as it was written.

I am also a big fan of hers--her flavors and textures are great, and she's not afraid to depart from convention if it creates a superior product.


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Hi all, I've been knee deep in banana cakes and now I'm trying to catch up with white cake testing developments.

What I've gleaned from re-reading this thread:

Samaki and KThull both like the mkFradin's version of Dede Wilson's cake better than their recipes. Is this correct?

What about TrishCT's cake? Has anyone tested it against the mkFradin cake?

Right now I am planning on making the mkFradin cake, TrishCT's cake and my own recipe. Are there any others in the running?


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Hi all, I've been knee deep in banana cakes and now I'm trying to catch up with white cake testing developments.

Saw your banana cake review...it's fantastic! I'm looking forward to your white cake review.

I can just imagine how full your freezer will be at the end of all these testings! Would like to know how long well-wrapped cakes can last in the freezer? I've only kept them for 3 weeks max before finding an occasion to use them.


Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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After all the testing I've done on the banana cakes, I'm wondering if the recipe I submitted for Snow White Cake would be better with cake flour substituted for AP.... I haven't gotten to testing the white cakes myself, still working on banana... Just some food for thought. :biggrin:

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:angry: I used to love the recipes in the Houston Chronicle food section. Not too long ago the food editor, Anne Criswell, retired and the food section has really gone downhill. I tried a recipe using a white cake mix (brand unspecified) with the addition of boysenberry yoghurt (fruit on the bottom recommended) to make cupcakes. The result was so awful that I threw the whole lot in the trash, an action which those of you who know me will recognize as very uncharacteristic.

What a waste of 3 perfectly good egg whites, not to mention the carton of yoghurt!!

The recipes here look wonderful, thanks!

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I made the mkfradin white cake and it was really really good - I think it had a very similar texture to the recipe in the Best Recipe that I mentioned earlier on this thread, but slightly oily tasting and oily feeling compared to it, but also slightly more tender. It was milkier tasting though, which I did like. A friend of mine said it "tasted like condensed milk, but in cake form."

There was something missing though - I think it needs a touch of almond extract for the classic white cake flavor. I would give it a 4 - I still think the one in the Best Recipe is better in texture. However, now I think the Best Recipe one needs to change a little, to add a little more of that milky flavor that I really liked. I think I'm going to experiment more with the Best Recipe recipe and see if I can make it with the best of both worlds before I post my version. (unless somebody wants it as it is now)

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I've incorporated MKFradin's recipe in my list of favs. I'm doing it again today, with a mixture of type 55 and type 45 to see if I can improve the stability.


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There was something missing though -

I made the mkFradin cake and agree with lorea's comments. It tasted very nice, but a bit flat to me. Possibly the lack of salt? I almost threw in a 1/2 teaspoon, but decided to make the recipe first as written.

Also, the cake came out a littler more dense than I expected. Very fine crumb and tender, but not as light as most of the banana cake recipes (for comparison) from the other thread. Hmm, maybe my baking powder is kaput. :hmmm:

Edited by mktye (log)

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Tortured my family and friends with white cakes this weekend. Now they are sorry they complained about the banana cakes! Detecting the differences between the white cakes was much more difficult (and tedious).

Cakes tasted:

1. mkFradin’s cake from Dede Wilson’s “Wedding Cake” (as written)

2. mkFradin’s cake from Dede Wilson’s “Wedding Cake” (with addition of ½ tsp. salt)

3. Delicious White Cake from “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book”, First Edition, Fifth Printing, 1950 (recipe uses whipped egg whites)

4. TrishCT’s Snow White Cake (substituted 1 cup and 2 Tbsp cake flour for each cup of AP flour, omitted the almond extract and used an equal amount of additional vanilla)

5. Rich White Cake adapted from recipe in “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book”, First Edition, Fifth Printing, 1950 (recipe at end of post)

Tasting Notes:

Blind tasting.

Five tasters.

All the cakes were unfrosted.

Did not include almond extract in any of the recipes because, IMO, it seemed like comparing apples and oranges.

Points based on :

1st place vote = 5 points

2nd place vote = 4 points

3rd place vote = 3 points

4th place vote = 2 points

5th place vote = 1 point


(The differences in cake heights are due to different pan sizes)


1. mkFradin’s cake (as written, without salt)


6 Points – One 4th place vote and four 5th place votes. While definitely a good cake, tasters felt it tasted a little flat and one even said that it was not sweet enough(!).

2. mkFradin’s cake (with addition of ½ tsp. salt)


(This picture is of a slice taken from the layer that was a bit underdone – note the dark streak near the top. However, the fully cooked layer was the one tasted.)

15 Points -- Two 2nd place votes, one 3rd place vote and two 4th place votes. This recipe was liked much better with the addition of salt. However, both of the cakes using this recipe (with and without salt) came out a bit more dense than I expected and closer in texture to pound cake. Some tasters really liked the texture, while others did not.

3. Delicious White Cake from “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book"


16 Points – One 2nd place vote, and four 3rd place votes. This cake was very similar in both taste and texture to TrishCT’s cake and most of the tasters had a difficult time telling the difference between them. This makes sense since the recipes are almost identical (except this recipe called for less butter).

4. TrishCT’s Snow White Cake (made with cake flour and no almond ext.)


14 Points -- One 1st place vote, one 2nd place vote, two 4th place votes and one 5th place vote. Also a good cake. Like the above cake, it came down more to if the tasters liked a lighter cake or a more dense cake.

5. Rich White Cake adapted from a recipe in “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book”


24 Points – Four 1st place votes and one 2nd place vote. This cake had a texture somewhat between the whipped egg white cakes and mkFradin’s cake. What really set it apart was its flavor. Not quite sure why it tasted better… the biggest difference is that this recipe uses ½ milk and ½ water for the liquid. It also has the most salt (1 tsp.) of any of the recipes.

As the person making the cakes, I liked the ease of the cakes that do not require whipping the egg whites. Less bowls to wash.

Overall, all of the cakes were excellent. Fine crumb, moist and tender without rubberiness. My initial impression on tasting the cakes was that they were all surprisingly similar. With the addition of frosting and/or filling, I’m not sure one could easily tell them apart. I also prefer a touch of almond flavor in my cakes, but I feel that preference is quite subjective (in fact, my one taster hates the flavor of almonds).

There are two more recipes for white cake in my old Betty Crocker cookbook that I have yet to try out, but I’ve been threatened with dire consequences :shock: if I make another cake for at least a month!

Rich White Cake Recipe:

250 g (2½ cups) sifted cake flour

(340 g) 1½ cups sugar

¾ tsp. salt

3½ tsp. baking powder

175 g (¾ cup) unsalted butter

130 g (½ cup, 4 fl. oz.) milk

115 g (½ cup, 4 fl. oz.) water

1½ tsp. vanilla

128 g (½ cup or 4 large) egg whites

Mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix in butter. Pour in water, milk and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites and beat for 2 minutes. Pour into two 8” round pans or one 9” square pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until done. ( If anyone is interested, I also have the amounts for two 9” rounds, but only the volume measurements.)

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mktye! You are thorough! Thank you!

Methinks you may have to reach outside your family for further cake tastings. Please convey our gratitude to the willing/unwilling guinea pigs. :wub: BTW, I would love to have the recipe for 2 9"rounds, please. TIA!


Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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You are thorough!

Just a frustrated chemist. :smile:

I would love to have the recipe for 2 9"rounds, please. TIA!

3-1/3 cups sifted cake flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

5 tsp. baking powder

1 cup butter

1-1/3 cups water+milk (50/50 ratio)

2 tsp. vanilla

6 egg whites (3/4 cup), unbeaten

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix in butter. Pour in water, milk and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites and beat for 2 minutes. Pour into two 8” round pans or one 9” square pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until done.

My husband managed to survive the cake tasting ordeal, but he wants to know when we're going to start testing pies and/or puddings! :laugh:

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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.

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Tortured my family and friends with white cakes this weekend.

Thanks so much for doing that!

And the recipe with weights.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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"

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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.

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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?

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

First up was Rich White Cake.


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


Next I made the King Arthur Elegant White Cake


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.


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 (log)

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      David Ross lives in Spokane, but works a one-hour plane ride away. When he's not tending to his day job -- or commuting -- he writes about food and reviews restaurants. He is on the eGullet Society hosting team.
    • By JohnT
      I have been asked to make Chinese Bow Tie desserts for a function. However, I have never made them, but using Mr Google, there are a number of different recipes out there. Does anybody have a decent recipe which is tried and tested? - these are for deep-fried pastry which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
    • By Tennessee Cowboy
      I'd like help from anyone on making the best Pistachio Ice cream.  This forum is a continuation of a conversation I started in my "introduction" post, which you can see at 
      I recently made Pistachio ice cream using the Jeni's Ice Cream Cookbook.  I love Pistachio ice cream, so I've launched an experiment to find the best recipe.  I am going to try two basic approaches:  The Modernist Cookbook gelato, which uses no cream at all, and ice cream; I'm also experimenting with two brands of pistachio paste and starting with pistachios and no paste.  Lisa Shock and other People who commented on the earlier thread said that the key is to start with the best Pistachio Paste.    
      Any advice is appreciated.  Here is where I am now:  I purchased a brand of pistachio paste through nuts.com named "Love 'n Bake."  When it arrived, it was 1/2 pistachios and 1/2 sugar and olive oil.   I purchased a second batch through Amazon from FiddleyFarms; it is 100% pistachios.  I bought raw pistachios through nuts.com.  The only raw ones were from California.  If anyone has advice on using the MC recipe or on best approaches to ice cream with this ingredient I'd appreciate them.  I will report progress on my experiment in this forum.
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