Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Search for the Perfect Yellow Cake: Part 6

Don't forget to sign up for the GIVEAWAY! The deadline is Monday, July 5th!
I think we found THE cake so far. The recipe comes from the baker at Cake Love, Warren Brown.You may have seen him a long time ago on Food Network's Sugar Rush.

This cake was easy to put together. I made three modifications based on previous cakes: 1) I used 1 egg yolk plus 3 eggs instead of 4 whole eggs; and 2) I used 6 oz of all-purpose flour with 3 oz of cake flour (9oz total) instead of 7oz of AP with 2 oz of potato starch (9oz total).

We plan to try out more yellow cake recipes, but so far, this one is my favorite. Lydia thought I had put oil in it, but it doesn't have a lick of oil in it. The batter is AMAZING. I would give the batter a 10 because I kept licking the beater and ended up licking the bowl and spoon once everything was in the oven, and I have never done that with any of these yellow cakes.

THE GOOD:
The texture of the cake is soft, light and fluffy, yet it is sturdy enough to be used in a strawberry shortcake cake or something requiring a wet or moist filling. It tastes close to, but better than a cake-mix cake in my opinion. It isn't spongy or oily. I would not call it moist; however, I wouldn't call it dry either. It just has a perfect texture. You could easily eat it without frosting (like Warren Brown did in his video that I posted below). In fact, that is what I did with the fallen pieces of cake that didn't get frosted.

I would pair the chocolate frosting with a quick type of buttercream instead of the "gourmet" one that requires melted chocolate and 3 sticks of butter. I used the latter, and my friend, my mother (SHE'S IN TOWN!), and I agreed that the frosting was overwhelming and distracted you from the cake too much.

THE BAD:
I can't think of anything bad about the cake. My mom couldn't either. That doesn't mean it was perfect, though; it was just really good.

THE UGLY (aka ratings): (ratings in bold because they were not present in the original post)
Memoria: 9/10 (C1: 6.5/C2: 5/C3: 0/Cake-Mix(C4): 8/C5: 7.5)
Lydia: 9/10 (C1: 5/C2: 5/C3: 0/Cake-Mix(C4): 9.5/C5: 7.5)
Memoria's Mom (new rater!): 8/10
Lydia's Husband: 10/10 (C1: 8.5/C2: 9/C3: 4/Cake-Mix(C4): 9/C5: 7)
My Neighbor: 9.5/10 (C1: 8.5/C2: 9/C3: N/A/Cake-Mix(C4): 9/C5: 7.5) He said the cake was moist and fluffy. He loved it.

Like I said, we will be looking at other recipes to see if there is something better out there, but so far, this is my favorite and is the winner . . . for now.


Yellow Butter Cake

6 oz (3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
14 oz (1 3/4 cup) superfine or regular granulated sugar (I used regular)
3 large, whole eggs (room temperature)
1 egg yolk (room temperature)
6 oz AP flour
3 oz cake flour
1 tsp salt (I used kosher)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup half-n-half
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
(Warren Brown also used 2 Tbsp of brandy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (335 degrees if using a convection oven). Prepare your 8" or 9" cake pans (I used Baker's Joy).

Cream the butter and sugar for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the eggs one at time, making sure the batter is well-blended before adding another egg.
I love how yellow this batter is after adding the eggs!

In a separate bowl, whisk or sieve the flours, salt, and baking powder. In a (2-cup/16oz) liquid measuring cup, mix the half-n-half and extract. Pour in a 1/3rd of the dry and a 1/3rd of the wet ingredients and continue to alternate, ending with the flour mixture. The batter should be thick (and tasty).
No longer yellow but still very delicious!

Pour batter into cake pans, and bounce them on the counter to remove air bubbles and to make the batter even. Bake the batter for 30-35 minutes, or based on your own oven, which I'm sure functions better than my oven.

For the "gourmet" chocolate buttercream I used, go here. For the simple chocolate buttercream I recommend for this cake, look below.

"Cheaper" & "Simpler", Yet Still Tasty Chocolate Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar, to taste
3/4-1 cup cocoa powder, to taste
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4-5 Tbsp milk, to desired consistency

Blend the butter on high for about 1-2 minutes. On LOW, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add the cocoa powder. Once mixed well, add the vanilla extract and milk until desired consistency.

Happy 4th of July to all who observe this holiday!

UPDATE:
One of the readers of this blog asked about my reasons behind my changes to the recipe. I actually addressed them on previous posts about the yellow cake, but for sake of simplicity, I answered her questions in the comments section, but I thought it'd be helpful to post my reasons here.

1. 1 yolk + 3 eggs instead of 4 whole eggs: To make the batter/cake more yellow and less eggy-tasting. It didn't make the batter look more yellow but before adding the flour and half-n-half, it looked yellow (look at the next to last photo above). Also, we had another cake that called for 4 eggs, and it tasted eggy.

2. Cake flour instead of Potato Starch: I didn't have potato starch and felt it unnecessary to purchase it for a cake. I also wanted a recipe where most ingredients are accessible and usually found in most homes. Even though not everyone has cake flour, I believe it is more present in homes than potato starch. Since Warren Brown of Cake Love said that the protein amount for the cake flour was different from that of potato starch, I adjusted the ratio of AP vs. cake flour. The cake flour makes the cake lighter, and the all-purpose makes it a bit more dense.

39 comments:

  1. You have stamina! Now, I forget why you are on this search?

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  2. Hah! Sarah, it all started out with my friend. She is looking for a cake for her birthday, and I have just always wanted to find a good yellow cake to use in recipes calling for the box variety as a basis. That is how it all started. I'm glad I can stop searching for now.

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  3. Memoria,
    The cocoa powder is missing from the buttercream recipe.

    6 cakes, and you are super!!! I tried 4 recipes for Chinese White Honeycomb cake and people already call me crazy, but you did 6!!! Hahahaha. Really salute you man!!!!

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  4. Hi, Memoria

    I don't know how this cake compares with your other yellow cakes, but I really enjoyed this cake, especially the frosting (I love chocolate, don'tcha know?) It is good to be here with you again, and I am salivating and rubbing my hands in glee as I look forward to all the delectable treats you have up your sleeve--I am such a blessed mom! Hahahaha

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  5. Otra receta estupenda, me gustan todas. Saludos

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  6. Yum, this looks delicious! You've saved me so much time because now I don't have to go an a quest for the perfect cake recipe (like the quest I am on now for the perfect brownies).

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  7. The whole time I was reading your post I was going, "mmmmmmmmmmm", which lead to weird looks from Babygirl. lol

    Happy 4th!
    ~ingrid

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  8. Yay! I've been searching for a yellow cake from scratch that taste like the cake mixes but better!! I have to try this!!

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  9. This looks delicious! :) I have a yellow cake recipe very close to this that is my go-to.. except it uses oil instead of butter.. your finished product looks wonderful!!

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  10. Someone just recommended this recipe to me the other day. Good to hear it's a winner!

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  11. Yay! I'm so glad you are close to finding the yellow cake! This one actually looks really delicious!

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  12. Olá, Mamória,

    Cheguei aqui através do TasteSpotting e gostei muito do seu blog. Parabéns pelas receitas e fotos.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Desculpe, digitei errado: Memoria!

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  14. Could you post the recipe for the orginal frosting you used? It looks like it would be good on another cake I am going to bake. Also, what prompted your changes to the original recipe? Was it just because you had the ingredients on hand?

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  15. Nevermind about the original frosting recipe...I see where you included it in the blog.

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  16. Angelynn, great questions! I actually addressed them on previous posts about the yellow cake, but for sake of simplicity, I will answer your questions here:

    1. 1 yolk + 3 eggs instead of 4 whole eggs: To make the batter/cake more yellow and less eggy-tasting. We had another cake that called for 4 eggs, and it tasted eggy.

    2. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract instead of 1-2 tsp: The first cake recipe we tried called for 2 1/2 Tbsp of vanilla, and my partner-in-crime really liked the vaniilla flaor, so I compromised by using 1 Tbsp.

    3. Cake flour instead of Potato Starch: I didn't have potato starch and felt it unnecessary to purchase it for a cake. I also wanted a recipe where most ingredients are accessible and usually found in most homes. Even though not everyone has cake flour, I believe it is more present in homes than potato starch. Since Warren Brown of Cake Love said that the protein amount for the cake flour was different from that of potato starch, I adjusted the ratio of AP vs. cake flour.

    I'm going to copy and paste this information in the post itself. Thanks, Angelynn!

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  17. You might give this a try... It's the best yellow cake with chocolate frosting I've ever made. Couple of notes: The frosting is a little on the intensive side and definitely add the rum for the cake batter. Also, you have to refrigerate the leftovers because of the buttercream, but if you microwave it for a few seconds after taking it out of the fridge it's like it just came out of the oven. Delicious!

    http://slowlikehoney.net/2008/12/18/goodbye-22-hello-23/

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  18. Glad you found a star! The batter and cake certainly look perfect from where I'm sitting.

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  19. What a fun search! There's a whole list of foods I'd like to try this process with ... cornbread, banana bread, mac'n'cheese. Glad you found one you like!

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  20. Love Warren! I went to his 1st ever shop in DC right when it opened and long, long before he was picked up on Food Network. He's great... Cakes are amazing! Good luck with the contest!

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  21. this looks wonderful, I'm going to have to try it! Thanks for experimenting with all those different cakes, I love getting a tried-and-true recipe.

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  22. hey! you're on a quest too! Have you tried the Cooks Illustrated recipes? I've always fallen back on those! I have my own little recipe quest going currently. Did you find this particular yellow cake easy to slice and frost? or crumbly?

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  23. I really like this cake Memoria...and I am glad we found a temporary one for now. This might be my bday cake....lol.
    un abrazo para ti y para tu ma!

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  24. Bravo! Now I know just what recipe to use for hubby's birthday cake later this month. Yellow cake is his absolute favorite. Thanks for all of your testing- it sounded like such fun!

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  25. Looks so moist...I was having a hard time scrolling away from the 1st photo:)

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  26. Cakebrain - No, I've never tried that particular recipe. I will try it out, though. This cake was very easy to slice and was not crumbly. The texture was very fluffy yet easy to pick up with the back of a fork. However, it didn't taste too moist or dense; it had a great texture to it. I hope you try it out and tell me what you think.

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  27. Yaay! I'm so glad you found the winning (for now) recipe! It really looks awesome. I know you guys didn't like the frosting but, hot dang! it looks good! I love a big fat slather of chocolate frosting on cake!

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  28. No. more. yellow. cake.

    I don't know how you made all those cakes and ate them and you're still at it!

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  29. I saw this and thought of you.
    http://vimeo.com/6023944

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  30. Angelynn, I saw this video a lonnnng time ago! It is nice to see it again. Thanks for thinking of me. :D

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  31. Cake looks good - my wife's mother recipe for Mocha frosting - which is the bomb w/ yellow cake is:
    Mocha Butter Frosting

    Measure 1 lb. or about 4 c. of sifted confectioners sugar.
    Sift with ¼ c. cocoa, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. instant coffee.
    Cream ½ c. butter.
    Add part of sugar mixture alternately with about 6 Tbsp. milk until creamy. Add ½ tsp. vanilla.
    Makes about 2 /12 cups.

    Profoundly good.

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  32. Hola!!!
    acabo de descubrir tu maravilloso blog y estoy totalmente maravillada!!!!
    Menudas recetas tan deliciosas tienes, lo malo es que no hablo ingles, pero intentaré buscar un traductor en internet para traducirlas!
    Esta tarta me ha encantado!!!

    Mil besos
    Cristina

    ReplyDelete
  33. AAAhh veo que tienes un tarductos aquí, estupendo.
    Gracias

    ReplyDelete
  34. fiquei apaixonada com as sobre mesas.

    ReplyDelete
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  36. I made this cake today. Delicious! Best recipe I've found for yellow cake.

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  37. Do you think this cake would keep for a couple of days? I want to make it on Friday but my friend's birthday is not until monday.

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  38. Yes, it would be fine. When the cakes cool. Wrap them well in cling wrap and foil. Place the cooled, wrapped cakes in the refrigerator or freezer until Monday. Take them out on Monday morning. Decorate the cake and serve a few hours later (if they were placed in the freezer). You can also make the frosting ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator (not the freezer). On Monday, whip the icing again and then frost the cake.

    ReplyDelete

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