Need advice on Cake Bible cakes.
I have just started baking my own cakes and for my little girl's birthday I tried the downy yellow butter cake and the buttercream icing. The cake was very dense, so I 'm not sure if I did something wrong or that was how it was supposed to be. Also the icing tasted great and had a very silky texture, but at last minute I decided not to use it- I was worried it would not stay on the cake when I started decorating with different colors. Did I do something wrong or do you think I'm on the right track? Any advice from more experienced baker would be much appreciated.
I have not used any recipes out of the Cake Bible but I have used several recipes out of the Bread Bible (same author). Beranbaum's recipes can be very intimidating to start off but once you work through a couple of them you will understand the techniques and processes she uses.
I guess I can't comment specifically on your cake but I do encourage you to continue using her recipes.
It might be heat in the oven. You might check yours with a thermometer. Ovens vary a lot and it doesn't matter for most things but for baking (esp cakes) cooking at too low a heat can be deadly. My oven runs cool so I nudge up the dial to get the right temp.
I've made her Downy Yellow Butter Cake a couple of times, most recently as cupcakes. I certainly wouldn't have described the texture as "dense." In fact, I find it quite wonderfully light and soft, as she says it should be. Assuming you followed the directions as written, the only thing I can think of is that perhaps your baking powder was too old.
And it sounds to me as though your buttercream was spot on. Not sure I understand why you thought it wouldn't "stay on." It doesn't sound to me as though you would have had a problem with it.
I wouldn't describe any of the cakes I've made from The Cake Bible as "very dense"--even the pound cake. Did you use cake flour? I would try again, measuring carefully and checking the oven temperature. I find Rose's recipes well worth the effort.
I can't comment on the buttercream, as I made it only once, many years ago. I just can't afford those calories!
I haven't found it to be dense either. Did you sift the cake flour before you measured it? Also, I think her recipes call for a stand mixer so if you were using a hand mixer, you'd need to beat longer to get the same consistency.