Thursday, October 24, 2013

Golden Vanilla Cake

It's been a long while since I last posted.  During my absence, I moved from the Mile High City to America's Finest City (aka my hometown).  I look forward to baking without having to adjust for altitude. Today I'm testing out a yellow cake recipe.

I've been searching for the perfect homemade yellow cake and have tried several recipes over the last few years. I've been disappointed each time.  My last attempt went into the trash.  I'm not looking for a fluffy boxed cake mix cake.  Cakes from mixes are too gummy in texture and artificial tasting for me.

I'm looking for a dense cake but I don't want dry or crumbly and many of the recipes I've tried resulted in a dense, dry, and crumbly.  I want dense but also moist with a fine crumb.  It is the texture found in many bakery cakes.

Bakeries use the high ratio method that utilize special high ratio flours and shortening. The problem with high ratio cakes are they tend to be too sweet and lack flavor.  This is because high ratio cakes are made with a lot of sugar and a special high ratio shortening containing emulsifiers. To top it all off, they are then frosted with shortening "butter"cream. So is there a way to get the results of a high ratio cake without using special flours and shortening? 

I came across this recipe on the King Arthur website.  I think I looked at this recipe a while back but decided to not make it because of the many negative reviews.  But after reading through the several pages of reviews, I found that people were either very happy or very disappointed by the results.  I decided to give it a try.  I've had a lot of luck with King Arthur recipes. 

This recipe from King Arthur utilizes the reverse creaming method used in high ratio cakes but subs butter for the high ratio shortening.  The result is a very flavorful butter cake with a very fine crumb.  The cake is still pretty sweet so I frosted it with a not too sweet chocolate cream cheese frosting.  The only reason I frost cakes is because everyone expects them to be frosted. I don't like frosting and find it a waste of calories.  I would rather eat a larger piece of cake than eat the frosting. 

I love the texture and flavor of this cake but it is very sweet and the texture while very good, reminded me of pound cake.  I think I will have to tinker with it a bit.  Perhaps make it with cake flour instead of all purpose and decrease some of the sugar. 

The recipe can be found on the King Arthur website:

The recipe makes:

One 9x13 pan
Two 9" rounds
Three 8" rounds
Twenty four cupcakes

Golden Vanilla Cake

2 cups sugar, preferable baker's sugar (which is a finer than regular granulated sugar)
3 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1. Bring butter, milk, and eggs to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pans with parchment paper.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, measure out sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Using the paddle attachment, mix until combined.

4. Add the butter and mix on low until mixture looks sandy.  (It should look like bisquick or cake mix.)

5.  Combine the milk and vanilla and add to flour mixture.  Mix on low speed 30 seconds and increase to medium and mix another 30 seconds.

6. Add egg one at a time mixing on medium for 30 seconds after each addition.

7. After the last egg, scrape down bowl and mix another 30 seconds.

8. Transfer batter into baking pans.  Drop pans on counter a few times to release air bubbles.  Bake until golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean.  (I didn't read the instructions carefully and baked the batter in two 8" pans instead of three.)

1 comment:

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