The New Bakers Dozen
Good scratch yellow cake

The The Bakers Dozen: Good scratch yellow cake
By W.DeBord on Tuesday, October 03, 2000 - 01:12 pm: Edit

Work has let up quite a bit and I've been trying alot of new recipes....I love finding better recipes/new ideas any improvements I can make in my list of regular dessert components, etc...

I finally got around to trying Rose Levys' yellow cake that was recommended to me at this site. I thought it tasted great that day but it looses it's texture and moisture by the next day and freezing didn't keep the freshness either. I also made one from Martha that was much better, but I'm still on the hunt for perfect.

So the question is who's got the best yellow cake recipe? Any thought's, leads or opinions?????

By d. on Tuesday, October 03, 2000 - 10:33 pm: Edit

The thing about RLB's yellow cakes is that she uses only yolks, which seems like such a waste(and expense) in a professional kitchen. Why not try the recipe with whole eggs, which should contribute a bit more moisture. And I prefer using buttermilk as the liquid, better taste and texture. What I did adapt from her the the 2 stage method for all my butter cakes(pound and bundts), so much more consistent than the creaming method.

By d. on Saturday, October 07, 2000 - 07:06 pm: Edit

W., here's one of the recipe I use:

Cake flour 14 oz. (100 %)
B. Powder 1 T. (2.7 %)
B. Soda 1 t. (1.2 %)
Sugar 14 oz. (100 %)
salt 1 t. (1.2 %)
Butter 8 oz. (57 %)
eggs 4(8 oz.)(57 %)
vanilla 1/2 oz.(3.5 %)
buttermilk 10 oz.(71 %)
I find that if you increase the liquid higher than 71 % the cake tends to be heavier.
You can also omit buttermilk and use regular milk, just add 2 more teaspoons(.25 oz.) baking powder and omit baking soda. Maybe try a side to side comparison between one made with milk and buttermilk.

By W.DeBord on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 10:54 am: Edit

Boy, thanks d. I'll give it a try this week! I've been forcing myself to use only new recipes for EVERYTHING this past week.

I thought the danish dough recipe from "Baking with Julia" was a really nice easy dough. Who ever recommended it at this site will be a regular for me.

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, October 11, 2000 - 08:08 am: Edit

I baked it using buttermilk yesterday. The flavor and moisture was really great! The best so far....Although it did have a larger than usual crumb size....did I over beat it??

By d. on Wednesday, October 11, 2000 - 04:03 pm: Edit

I don't understand what you mean by crumb size. You mean air pockets? If the cake is too light for your taste just decrease the baking powder down to 2 t. or even 1 t., but you will end up with a bit of a heavier cake.

By W.DeBord on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 08:49 am: Edit

Don't get me wrong's a good cake. It didn't have big air pockets. The texture is coarse vs. fine and I would decribe it as a heavy cake like a pound cake. So then I should increase the powder it I want a lighter textured cake?

By d. on Wednesday, October 18, 2000 - 02:08 pm: Edit

Sorry for not writing sooner. Why don't you try decreasing the buttermilk down to 8 oz.(and accordingly decrease the baking soda down to 3/4 t.) The resulting cake should be lighter and hopefully what you are looking for. Can even add 1 t. more baking powder. Just make sure the cake isn't overleavened.

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, February 13, 2001 - 09:18 am: Edit

I'm still searching for that perfect recipe... I've found ones that are great on the day you bake it only, but my schedule doesn't usually work that way. I often have baking days and decorating/assembling days. I also have the problem that I'm required to pre-slice my cakes and I've found that all the scratch yellow cakes (I've tried) don't hold up after slicing (they kind of fall away, regardless of the filling).

I resently made the almond wedding cake recipe from Baking With Julia and really loved the texture etc... I'm looking for something very close to that (as if that description helps). It's a very fine textured crumb, not too heavy but nicely moist...similar in texture to a mix (and it stays in place once it's sliced). Does anyone have another recomendation or recipe they might offer???? Please and Thank-you!

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, February 14, 2001 - 07:10 am: Edit

Boy, everyone gave me •••• for saying some cake mixes are better than scratch. Does anyone have a recipe or a reference to these perfect yellow cakes?

Come on, someone has to prove those nasty mixes wrong!

By d. on Wednesday, February 14, 2001 - 06:01 pm: Edit

sorry, W., but I'm still looking for the perfect one...

By W.DeBord on Thursday, February 15, 2001 - 07:15 am: Edit

Is this why Gerard needed to get personal in his attacks? No one really has a great yellow cake recipe in hand?

I've recently read an excuse in a baking book...they say you have to eat it the same day because the texture on day old cakes changes because of its high butter content. But that's silly to some extent, I can list many other cakes that have a fair amount of butter whos texture remains nice after refridgeration.

Actually the thing that really set me off recently was a cake that I tasted from a local bakery. It was VERY good (although hideously decorated thank-goodness) everything I'm seeking but can't find in my own recipe! So I know the perfect recipe is out there....

d. are you looking for it in cookbooks or are you experimenting on your own? If you had the time....we could team up and share notes...anyone else?

By MarkG on Thursday, February 15, 2001 - 09:41 am: Edit

W: Here's the yellow cake recipe I use. It's fine textured and tasty. Lasts long enough for what we do here.
4 eggs
4 oz milk
2 t vanilla
Mix in bowl

2.25 c sifted cake flour
1.5 c sugar
2 t bp
3/4 t salt

Combine in mixer bowl

add 8 oz butter tablespoon at a time until crumbly.
Add 1/2 wet mixture. Beat at low for 20 seconds.
Beat med-high for 2 minutes. Scrape and pour in rest of egg mixture. Beat for 30 seconds.

Bake 350 25 minutes


By d. on Thursday, February 15, 2001 - 06:08 pm: Edit

W., I think a mix of oil and butter for the fat would be the ideal way to go, since an all butter cake would set up harder upon chilling. I have tried this recipe:
cake flour: 14 oz.
sugar: 14 oz.
baking powder: 2 t.
baking soda: 3/4 t.
salt: 1/2 t.
butter: 8 oz.
oil: 2 oz.
eggs: 8 oz.
yolks: 2
buttermilk: 8 oz.
Play around with the fat/egg ratio, just remember butter is 80% fat and oil is 100% fat; and fat amount must always be less than the eggs.

By Chochip (Chochip) on Friday, February 16, 2001 - 03:31 am: Edit

I'm looking for a "White Cake". I've tried many, but am searching for a perfect recipe for a light,not dense white cake recipe.
Debord- have you tried Cook's Illustrated Yellow Cake? I like his white cake, but if anyone out there has a good white cake they want to share. Thanks.

By W.DeBord on Friday, February 16, 2001 - 07:09 am: Edit

Great, a couple of leads....I'll definately try both of them. I'm not stopping until I have that perfect cake!

I haven't tried any Cooks' recipes in along while....they always read well, but the few I've tried were not really worth repeating. I do have a pretty good white cake recipe but it does involve a mix.....I've posted it before, if you do a keyword search you'll find it.

By d. on Friday, February 16, 2001 - 07:42 am: Edit

i've given up on Cook's illustrated recipes...they never seem to produce anything worth your while...

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 10:33 am: Edit

Hey guys, I wouldn't begin to try to scale down one of our recipes but I can tell you we use things like nutex to achieve the lasting texture your talking about. I personally beleive its all in the fat you use.Almost every recipe is the same, the differences are in how you kick the baking powder, types of acid, buttermilk, lemon.etc.

By W.DeBord on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 11:40 am: Edit

At the risk of sounding dumb...I'm not familar with nutex, I can't think of what it is right now?

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 04:00 pm: Edit

Not dumb at all, I should know right off what type of shortening it is, but I don't. If our formula calls for shortning we will always use cake or nutex shortening.I'll get back with you.
It's in the catagory of primex, sweetex,nutex etc.

By danno on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 08:29 am: Edit

your right panini I use nutex also its almost like a licquid shortening. Im almost 99 % sure it is made by proctor and gamble. Im sure all bakery suppliers carry it Bakemark, Karps, Dawn etc.

By danno on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 08:36 am: Edit

here is the yellow cake recipe i use
3 c whole eggs (room temp)
10 oz. nutex
8 oz milk
1 # 4 oz gran. sugar
1 # cake flour
1 oz B.P.
1/2 oz salt
if making choc decrease the flour by 2 oz add 3 oz cocoa and 1 1/4 t B.S. add all wet ingredients in 5 qt. kitchen aid bowl (fits perfect) sift all dry add on top of the wet and whip for about 7 min.

By W.DeBord on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 08:55 am: Edit

Wait, come back Danno. You use 3 cups of eggs, no vanilla, no butter, regular milk and whip for 7 minutes...really? That's different!

Is nutex liquid or solid and do you use if only when a recipe calls for solid shortening?

By Chochip (Chochip) on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 03:23 pm: Edit

If you mind, what's your white cake recipe.
Using Nutex. Thanks. Never used liquid shortening.

By Chochip (Chochip) on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 03:35 pm: Edit

If you mind, what's your white cake recipe.
Using Nutex. Thanks. Never used liquid shortening.

By W.DeBord on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 04:27 pm: Edit

Talking about different ingredients I have a bucket of jilk from the last pastry chef at my club and I've never used this before. Albert Uster has it and explains that it's a cake emulsifer, 80% pure monodiglyceride. Unforunately that means nothing to me, I've never seen it written in a recipe. Are any of you using this? How and in what?

By danno on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 11:17 pm: Edit

sure you can use what ever extract you want in the recipe but I find that a T of vanilla or two doesnt even show up in the final result. if you soak your cakes with syrup, try steeping a vanilla bean in the syrup before soaking the cake with it, this will give the cake a more intense vanilla to the bite. why stop there try orange zest or lemon zest to impart flavor and moisture into the cake. if you use orange blanch it first in salt water then wash it off. this will get rid of the bitterness. then after steeping the zest you can let dry on a sheet of paper and in a day or so you have candied zest.

By danno on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 11:18 pm: Edit

I dont use a white cake recipe, but Im sure you can by elimiting the yolks from the eggs and then increasing the newtex to replace the fat that was eliminated from the eggs.
When ou compare recipes, to determine which one might be better set all the ingredients next to each other. Debord you said you have used butter. In the past, I use to use butter until someone told well just think about it which is more moist at room temp a licquid such as nutex or butter or shortening. because that is what is in the cake right? then just think about when it is in the cooler which is gonna be a lot harder, shortening,butter or nutex doesnt change when incorporated into a recipe. when it comes out of the oven it is still butter, shortening, or nutex. another benefit to using netex is that it can hold more air when whipped.

By danno on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 11:19 pm: Edit

let me suggest a book to STUDY that might better help you, its title is baking science and technology by E.J Pyler. there are no pretty pics. of plated desserts its all science. another good one is On food and Cooking by Harold McGee

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 07:33 am: Edit

Danno you do make sense, as others have also agreed, it's density has to come from the fat used. I know I should...but I'm not into the science (the brain of an artist just can't go there, even when I try). It's a similar result when using a cake mix, they call for liquid oil always and they don't firm up upon cooling.I don't have nutex on hand so it will take me a while before I can test your recipe (thank-you for offering it!). Was 3 cups of eggs correct, you don't whip to a ribbon, just add ingredients then beat?

Anyone use JILK? How?

By danno on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 11:17 am: Edit

yeah just add all the ingredients wet first then the sifted dry

By Panini (Panini) on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 01:40 pm: Edit

I've always gone dry to wet for cakes and wet to dry for cookies. Whats your opinion on this?

By d. on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 11:05 pm: Edit

My recipe at work is like danno's. We use Fluid Flex made by Ventura Foods. Same mixing method too. Very low level of skill that an assistant can be in charge of making all the cakes.

By danno on Wednesday, February 21, 2001 - 08:09 am: Edit

Panini, do you mean that you add the dry ingredients to the bowl first? for this particular cake I add the wet first, to avoid scraping down the bowl. It all gets whipped together anyway. a lady I worked for some time ago showed me that when I was making large batches of yellow chiffon.

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 07:08 am: Edit

Yes we always cream fat, sugar. We add the eggs to incorp flour without making a mess than the liquid last. I've found that encapsulating the sugar with the fat seem to draw less moisture out as the cake cooks. It also seem to hasten the cooking process. I don't know I'm not a chemist but just my 2 cents.
PS I always add the dry ingred. last on cookie doughs

By d. on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 04:43 pm: Edit

danno, tried your recipe yesterday. Excellent. Ours has 114% eggs and 57% liquid shortening, so yours was definitely richer. Will try the chocolate version soon but I will increase the cocoa percentage, since I want it really chocolatey.
W.-Another thought I had with yellow cake experiments...why not add pudding mix like they do in box mixes? Should be interesting and I will see what I can do when I have some free time.

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