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Wendy DeBord

Yellow and white cakes

236 posts in this topic

I agree that the CI recipe is too sugary. It almost forms a sugar crust on top.

The doctored cake mix doesn't get rid of the artificial cake mix taste.

I tried all of RBL's cakes (the major ones) a long time ago against the recipe in The Bakers Dozen. I like all the recipes in the bakers dozen far more.

That's good to know. I'll have to get it out of the library again so I can try them and add it to my list to buy.


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Soooooooooo to update what I've been baking........

Sarahs Buttercake: this got good reviews from my tasters.......but it's dense as buttercakes are. Can't label this a yellow cake.

...

SueB yellow cake by CookieMonster: I loved how simple this mixing method is. It placed second by my tasters. Again, it's a butter cake in texture......can't be called a yellow cake.

What do you consider to be the differences between a "butter cake" and a "yellow cake?" Do you mean a "butter cake" is more like a pound cake? I would like to find a great layer cake recipe but am a bit confused here about these differences. Thanks.

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Soooooooooo to update what I've been baking........

Hi Wendy,

You didn't mention it in this post, but I was wondering whether you'd had a chance to try the Whimsical Bakehouse recipes, and if so, what you thought of them?

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A good recipe. good crumb, flavor, and density. Appropriate for layering. This comes from Yoder Kansas, an Amish community. I know it has a weird name - but I was informed that just means "Butter'.

Butyrum Cake

3 cups cake flour

1 TBL baking pwd

1/8 tsp baking soda (just a pinch, really)

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter (room temp) (about 65 degrees is good)

2 cups granulated sugar

5 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream is okay)

1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. I like to preheat for about 30 min prior to baking. And I use an oven thermometer.

Grease, ( I like to use butter) and line with parchment, two 8 X 2 inch round pans. You can use waxed paper, but remove the cakes from the pans after 10 minutes of cooling if you do.

Cream butter until softened and light and fluffy in mixer (approx 4-5 minutes)

Add sugar in 1/2 cup increments, beating well after each addition.

Sift together remaining dry ingredients in a medium bowl - set aside.

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

Add vanilla, heavy cream, and sour cream to buttermilk, whisking until blended.

Add liquids, alternating with dry ingredients in two stages. Mix only enough to incorporate ingredients fully - then beat one more minute at medium speed. Do not overbeat this batter.

Spoon into pans.

To keep air bubbles out - gently lift and tap pan bottoms on counter a few times. I also gently spin my cake pans to push some of the batter to the edges which helps keep the centers from mounding.

Bake for approx 50 minutes, until cakes test done with toothpick. It will be a beautiful light golden-brown. Cool cakes in pans and run sharp knife around edges to remove. You must have lined with parchment for this step.

Note - Don't open your oven door for at least the first thirty minutes. The change in temp when the batter is still rising can cause the cake to fall. I try not to open it until just before the minimum baking time, unless I feel the cake is baking too quickly.

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Butyrum Cake

3 cups cake flour

1 TBL baking pwd

1/8 tsp baking soda (just a pinch, really)

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter (room temp) (about 65 degrees is good)

2 cups granulated sugar

5 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream is okay)

1/4 cup sour cream

I've been wondering if buttermilk or sourcream might be the key to the "best" yellow cake. I don't have time for more yellow cake testing right now but I will keep it in mind for future testing.


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Every year my husband's birthday cake is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The best recipe I have found comes from a back issue of Gourmet magazine in an article called "Great American Cakes" by Barbara Kafka. The recipe could also be in one of her cookbooks. She leads into the recipe by saying it's what the cake mix people try to imitate, but can't get right.

2 1/2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 tsp double acting baking powder

1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs room temperature

3/4 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla

makes 2-- 8 inch layers.

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...I remember in my first baking class back at J&W a million years ago, I tasted the cake batter for a scratch yellow cake we were making and found it YUCKY!  I asked the instructor why it tasted so bad and he said I was probably not used to tasting all those raw egg yolks.  Well--I think now that it was those weird leaveners I was missing :blink:

I really like the Betty Crocker Creamy White frosting in the can, too.  I find it less sweet, more 'buttery'tasting" than buttercream made with powdered sugar and butter.  And that stuff they include with the canned refrigerator cinnamon rolls... :rolleyes:     *sigh*   :wink:...

Wow! I'm just the opposite. I make a delicious scratch butter cake and I swoon over the batter. I just love it. A cake mix batter can't compare. Plus I hate opening the box of cake mixes because I can smell the chemicals. It makes me slightly nauseous.

As for frosting in the can, I think it's an abomination. Particularly vanilla. But I guess everyone has their own taste!


Edited by Kris (log)

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Has anyone tried the new cake's from the latest issue of Fine Cooking?  There is a yellow and a chocolate version with an Italian buttercream.

I just got this issue today. Have you had a chance to try it yet? I'm hoping too but it probably won't be for a month or so. I haven't closely compared the recipes yet but the flour/sugar ratio looks similar to the CI recipe.


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Soooooooooo to update what I've been baking........

Hi Wendy,

You didn't mention it in this post, but I was wondering whether you'd had a chance to try the Whimsical Bakehouse recipes, and if so, what you thought of them?

I'm sorry, I just saw this question.

I haven't baked any of the WB recipes, yet. I've read good reviews of them though.

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Soooooooooo to update what I've been baking........

Sarahs Buttercake: this got good reviews from my tasters.......but it's dense as buttercakes are. Can't label this a yellow cake.

...

SueB yellow cake by CookieMonster: I loved how simple this mixing method is. It placed second by my tasters. Again, it's a butter cake in texture......can't be called a yellow cake.

What do you consider to be the differences between a "butter cake" and a "yellow cake?" Do you mean a "butter cake" is more like a pound cake? I would like to find a great layer cake recipe but am a bit confused here about these differences. Thanks.

So the differences in crumb/texture and moisture I see between yellow, butter and pound cakes:

It's important for a yellow cake to be light, both in weight and texture/crumb. Ideally it's moist also. A yellow cake can be dry (a bad one) but it's still light/airy. They never become dense, regardless of freezing or refridgerating or even getting stale.

A butter cake is somewhat light while the cake is fresh. But once the butter in the cake cools down, the cake becomes heavier. When you refridgerate these, they become dense in texture....the butter returns to a solid (so to say). (We've tried replacing some of the butter in the cake with oil, so it wouldn't firm up when cold. But none have succeeded yet to my satisfaction.)

A pound cake is denser then a butter cake when fresh. When it cools down completely I'd say it remains equal to a butter cake in texture. It doesn't get firmer as is starts out when fresh.

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Has anyone tried the new cake's from the latest issue of Fine Cooking?  There is a yellow and a chocolate version with an Italian buttercream.

I just got this issue today. Have you had a chance to try it yet? I'm hoping too but it probably won't be for a month or so. I haven't closely compared the recipes yet but the flour/sugar ratio looks similar to the CI recipe.

I made the Fine Cooking butter cake this week. It was lovely, moist and bouncy right out of the oven, then got heavier and dryer the next day (without having been refrigerated). Typical butter cake behavior. It's good, but as I'm not serving it until tomorrow, I slathered it with simple syrup before filling it.

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This is the thread that brought me to eGullet, as I am obsessed with finding the perfect white cake, at least perfect to me. One that reminds me of those birthday cakes as a child (which the home cake maker my mom commissioned probably made her cakes from a mix, lol.) So now that I have posting privileges, I can add my three cents.

For me, the perfect cake is a light, fluffy melt in your mouth texture that is not overly sweet, but holds against a good buttercream. It should not leave you running for the milk carton, moisture is so important as well as an even crumb throughout, a pretty tough bill to fill actually. I looked far and wide, lots of tasting and lots of working out as a result.

So far, for me, nothing has beat the Cook's Illustrated White Layer Cake, which uses the pastry method of mixing. Perfect! Consequently their yellow cake is my favorite light yellow cake as well, again the pastry method. The dense yellow buttercake is a different category.

I tried the King Arthur White Cake recipe last week and I must admit it comes into a close second. I really like the look of it, nice high layers and really good flavor, although slightly more dense than the CI cake. The one thing I did notice was that as it sat, it continued to become moister. The first day I detected a slight dry crumb in the back of the throat, but this was completely void by the third day. I assume it was taking moisture from either the buttercream or the homemade jam in the center.

Someone above mentioned the Whimsical White Cake recipe. I have that on my list to try next. I have heard good things about it. The search continues...

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Would it be possible to use self-rising flour instead of cake flour? (what a travesty!) I can't find any at the local supermarket!

Minus "1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt" per cup of flour from the recipe.


May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Would it be possible to use self-rising flour instead of cake flour? (what a travesty!) I can't find any at the local supermarket!

Self-rising flour will give you a denser cake. You can easily make your own cake flour by adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 3/4 cup of all-purpose "bleached" (very important) flour for every 1 cup of self-rising.

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Every year my husband's birthday cake is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The best recipe I have found comes from a back issue of Gourmet magazine in an article called "Great American Cakes" by Barbara Kafka. The recipe could also be in one of her cookbooks. She leads into the recipe by saying it's what the cake mix people try to imitate, but can't get right.

2 1/2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 tsp double acting baking powder

1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs room temperature

3/4 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla

makes 2-- 8 inch layers.

I baked this recipe off tonight. I actually found it on another forum, someone highly recommended it. I give it a 6 out of 10. It was on the medium side of the moisture scale, not to moist, not to dry. The crumb was slightly crumbly and contained some uneven air pockets in the texture, course.

So far, I prefer the CI yellow cake, just right for me. Sarah's was more like a pound cake, and very buttery, a true "buttercake", but not a light "yellow cake." I am going to try the Whimsical Bakehouse cake next.

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One other cake recipe that everyone keeps recommending is Toba Garrett's Yellow Cake. I have her book, but have not tried the recipe yet.

I also want to try James McNair's Yellow Cake from his "Cakes" book. Recipe-wise, it looks interesting.

Has anyone tried either of these?

Toba Garrett's Yellow Cake recipe:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/109358

James McNair's Yellow Cake recipe:

http://www.familytime.com/asp/showRecipe.a...=&recipeID=4516

Edited to include recipes.


Edited by RodneyCk (log)

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rodney,

have you made either of those recipes yet? they both look promising, just trying to figue out which one i want to try first. :wink:

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rodney,

  have you made either of those recipes yet?  they both look promising, just trying to figue out which one i want to try first. :wink:

Yes, I made the James McNair yellow cake the other day. It was really good, moist. The only thing I did differently, was use the pastry method of mixing, adding dry ingredients, including sugar to the KA, mix for 30 seconds, then add in the butter 1 T at a time until cornmeal texture occures. I then mix all the wet ingredients including eggs into a bowl and add this in a stream to the KA, mix until well combined, but don't over mix.

This method gave me the perfectly even crumb. I try and use this method on all my cakes except chocolate or specialty cakes.

I also highly encourage you to try Toba's recipe. I have heard such good things about it. Good luck!!!

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that's good to hear! i'm gonna have to give it a try, as well as toba's. did you refriderate the cake, by any chance, because i'm looking for a cake that doesn't dry out after being in the fridge for a couple days. i do tiered cakes on occasion and i need to keep them cold so i can deliver them stacked. thanks! :smile:

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that's good to hear!  i'm gonna have to give it a try, as well as toba's.  did you refriderate the cake, by any chance, because i'm looking for a cake that doesn't dry out after being in the fridge for a couple days.  i do tiered cakes on occasion and i need to keep them cold so i can deliver them stacked.    thanks! :smile:

I did put it in the refrigerator because I made the best mango curd for the fillings. I added some spices to the yellow cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. I then covered it with a coconut glaze.

It was a bit dry after the second day, but I think you will get this with most cakes. Dede Wilson suggests that you use a good amount of moistening syrup on each layer for cakes you have to put in the fridge. The refrigerator extracts moisture, so you need to compensate.

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oh that sounds so good, i just made some lemon curd, but mango sounds awesome! i guess i'll have to experiment with simple syrups on my cakes to make sure they can stay moist in the fridge, thanks! :biggrin:

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i have several favorite white cake recipes but after they have been refriderated for a day or two they lose their moisture. i've tried doing a simple syrup...it helps somewhat but i'm still detecting some dryness. i like to deliver my tiered cakes stacked so i need to refriderate them overnight to ensure they are sturdy enough for the trip.

so, i was thinking, maybe if i used hi-ratio shortening instead of butter, or even partly, then maybe it will help keep my cakes moist? also, does anyone know why there are no white cake recipes that used oil? if there are, i surely cannot find them! i've done several searches and came up empty-handed. i read on another site where they were talking about bakeries using liquid shortening to get a nice, moist cake, the only thing i can find is liquid frying shortening, i'm assuming they are not the same thing?

does anyone have any suggestions or has anyone found a good solution to this problem? i'd really like to hear them, thanks :smile:

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Well Alton Brown has a yellow cake recipe, his favorite, where he uses shortening instead of butter, particularly the butter flavored shortening. He says that you actually get more of a butter taste than actual butter.

I know oil in muffins is reported to make them more moist and moister for longer. In my tests, the jury is out on this as it did not produce a very good muffin for me, but oil and shortening are different animals.

You can substitute shortening for butter in any cake recipe. You just have to remember that butter is 80% fat and usually 20% water/whey (American-type butter that is.) So if you do substitute, just figure out the 20% of the butter amount and add that portion as liquid to the rest of your liquid ingredients.

I hope that helps...

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