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Jun 4, 2007 10:01 AM

Good yellow cake?

It's funny - I never make yellow cake. I make chocolate cake, nut cakes, genoise, but a plain, American-style yellow butter cake? No. I need to make one for a party next Saturday and was wondering if anyone had a particularly good recipe. (No Rose Levy Berenbaum, please.)

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  1. This is unbeatable:

    Restaurant Eve's Cake [from Washington Post]

    This simple recipe uses butter that is melted rather than creamed with the sugar, as in many recipes. Don't be afraid of overbeating it. Both the cake batter and the frosting require a good deal of whipping in order to incorporate the necessary air.


    8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus additional to grease pans

    2 cups sugar

    2 1/2 cups flour

    1 tablespoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon salt

    4 eggs at room temperature

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1 cup milk (may substitute low-fat or nonfat)

    Frosting (recipe follows)

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

    Melt butter and let it cool to room temperature.

    Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer. (A stand mixer is preferable for this recipe, though a hand-held electric mixer may be used.) On medium speed, add the butter, incorporating in several additions. Beat for about 2 minutes, or until combined; the texture should resemble cornmeal.

    In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Add to the flour-butter mixture in two batches (scraping the bowl once), and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until smooth.

    Distribute the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Remove cakes from pans to cool completely. Frost the cake. It can stand at room temperature for 1 hour; otherwise, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Serves 12.


    This makes a generous amount of icing, so those with a not-so-sweet tooth may want to reduce the quantities or expect leftovers.

    8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

    2 pounds (7 1/2 -8 cups) confectioners' sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/2 cup heavy cream, (may substitute whole, low-fat or nonfat milk)

    Food coloring (optional)

    In a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until fluffy. On low speed, add the sugar in batches, increasing the speed to high after each addition is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and cream in a steady stream on low speed until incorporated. Add a few drops of food coloring, if desired. (Restaurant Eve uses red to make pink.) Beat on high speed for 8-10 minutes, until light and fluffy.

    1. I said this in a post recently but Carole Walter's "Best Yellow Cake" from her book Great Cakes is the best I have ever made; I couldn't find a link online for the recipe though.

      9 Replies
      1. re: KeriT

        Ditto: Carol Walter's yellow cake recipe is superb, in comparison to many others, including Rose, whose is fine but not as good.

        1. re: janeer

          Have you made anything else from her book? I have yet to do so although I take it out on occasion and browse.

          1. re: KeriT

            Her marble cake is very good, too.

          2. re: KeriT

            Okay I compared this recipe with the Moist Yellow Cake from Epicurious and there are only two small differences - one less egg in Walters' version, and she uses 1 cup of plain milk, whereas the Epicurious recipe uses 1 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Otherwise, identical recipes. I like using buttermilk, because I like the tang and the acid can tenderize, so I'm using the buttermilk. Because I'm making a 1 + 1/3 batch (the largest that will fit in my mixer), I'm splitting the difference on the number of eggs. Walters also specifies a few things that are generally good practice, like using superfine sugar instead of regular and beating the sugar and butter for a very long time. I followed her cues. So it's in the oven right now, and I'll give y'all the report when it's been tasted (not until Saturday, I'm afraid - it's going in the freezer, because I don't have time at the end of the week to make it.)

            1. re: curiousbaker

              please let me know, I always love mixing recipes to come up with the ultimate; and I agree superfine sugar should be used, I prefer it in most cakes actually.

              1. re: KeriT

                I guess it came out well. A little crumbly, but not dry. Tender. Good flavor, for a yellow cake. But really, I don't feel like I can make a proper judgment on it, because I just don't LIKE yellow cake. Everyone else seemed to like it, though.

              1. re: yayadave

                This is the Carole Walter's cake we were discussing above.

            2. Search Epicurious for "Moist yellow cake", always turns out great for me.

              1. The Cake Bible aside...I like the Restaurant Eve recipe posted above for a quick cake. I think the Best Recipe yellow cake is better but takes more time. If you'd like, I can post it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: chowser

                  Thanks - I've got The Best Recipe at home, so I can check that. At the moment, I'm inclined toward the "Moist Yellow Cake" from Epicurious, just because I tend to like baked goods that include buttermilk. But I'll check out the Best Recipe as well.

                  To julesrules: I think "yellow" cake and butter cake are pretty much interchangeable, although those called yellow cakes tend to be a little sweeter/lighter. More like a cake mix cake, really, though homemade tends to be a bit heavier and more buttery, without the chemically taste of box cake. I'm not really a fan of white cake/yellow cake/butter cake at all, so I usually avoid them, but sometimes you have to honor the birthday boy's request...

                  1. re: chowser

                    I love the one from The Best Recipe, too. Wonderful. A friend, who's unfortunately accustomed to box-mix cakes, ate it and declared, "Oh my, you can taste the butter and the sugar and even the eggs!" She said it reminded her of her grandmother's cake.

                  2. How does yellow cake differ from butter cake? I just realized I've never had homemade yellow cake...