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Silly cake question

I have not made nor eaten many cakes in my life. But since moving to the South a few years ago, I've had some pretty good cakes and am starting to sit up and take notice. But when I have an Italian cream or coconut cake or a salted caramel cupcake, what I like is the cake and not so much the frosting and other additions.

Can anyone advise me what kind of recipe I'm looking for when all I want is a good moist cake with no bells and whistles? Don't particularly want a pound cake with 10 eggs and 1lb of butter. Just something easy that would satisfy a craving for cake.

BTW: not looking for chocolate. Have kind of lost my taste for it while at the same time becoming more appreciative of cinnamon.

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  1. your question isn't silly at all! sounds to me like you want a standard white cake. have a look at some of the threads in this search and see if anything jumps out at you:

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Agreed. It's a very good question. No need for frosting here:


      Really no need for the whipped cream/Cool Whip topping unless you like it (I don't use it)

    2. goodhealthgourmet is right.

      Just google "white cake recipe" and all your answers will be there for you.

      And just fyi ... Costco will sell you a plain sheet cake that's very good and exactly what you are looking for.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        When I want an easy, moist cake, I always go for a zucchini or banana bread. Tons of great recipes out there and they are simple to prepare, too.

      2. My favorite yellow cake -- I prefer yellow to white -- is Alice Waters' version of the 1 2 3 4 cake. I like it just as well when I don't separate the eggs, just adding them whole when the recipe says to add the yolks. I couldn't care less about frosting, but I love fruit and lemon curd or whipped cream with this cake.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Jay F

          A 1234 cake was my first thought. It's the standard simple cake that everyone ought to be able to make, IMO.

        2. have the perfect cake for you to try... you can google/search the recipe all over but it is a very easy ! moist yellow cake with cinnamon...no frosting just a glaze over top name is 'Honey bun cake" for a twist i use almond flavor instead of vanilla in glaze otherwise an extremely easy cake with a box cakemix base

          1. The white cake in the Cake Bible is very nice, IMO.

                1. re: Birmingham

                  I know I'm not the one who posted the idea, but I have a recipe if you are interested:-)
                  Apple Cake
                  2 cups flour
                  1¾ cups sugar
                  3 eggs
                  1 cup oil
                  1 tsp. cinnamon
                  1 tsp. baking powder
                  1 tsp. baking soda
                  ¼ tsp. salt
                  3 cups chopped apples
                  1 cup chopped walnuts/pecans (optional)

                  View full recipe
                  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
                  Grease and flour a Bundt or tube pan.
                  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
                  In a large bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, and oil.
                  Pour flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir to combine.
                  Fold in chopped apples and nuts, if using.
                  Bake for 1 hour. Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
                  Once cool, sift powdered sugar over the top

                  This is my family's favorite apple cake that my mother's been making since she was a newlywed. It adapts well to subbing different flours (part whole wheat, etc.) and subbing applesauce for some of the oil if you like to do that sort of thing. Either way, it's delicious!

                  1. re: arp29

                    Thanks so much ARP29! Sounds right up my alley! And I especially like getting a chance to use my new Bundt pan.

              1. I am in a similar boat as you, Birmingham. I was never really a cake person, but in the last few years I have started noticing that I like plain, pale cakes. I really like sponge cakes, where the whites of the eggs are beaten separately and then folded into the batter. It makes a very light spongy cake. There is a recipe on Chow that I've been wanting to try - it's a chiffon cake and it looks pretty good.


                I would only put whipped cream or fruit on it. No frosting here, either.

                Good luck.

                1. Mentioning Italian cream and coconut cakes makes me think you want a white cake recipe. But, in all honesty, without frosting or other additions, I find white cake a little drab, excepting for weddings. If you care for buttermilk and other tangy flavors, Rose Levy Beranbaum's country buttermilk cake cannot be beat, IMHO. It's lovely on it's own, with summer fresh fruit on the side, or with a dollop of creme fraiche. With both the fruit and the creme fraiche, it's divine. http://applesandonions.com/kitchen/if... It's also relatively less heinous on the butter front, but of course, the egg yolks rather make up for it in terms of cholesterol, if that's your concern.

                  Since you mention cinnamon, Paul Prudhomme has a wonderful recipe for a spiced pecan cake in a white base. Just ignore the frosting, if you don't care for it, as the cake stands alone. This one is certainly not for the calorie or cholesterol conscious, however: http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1013... Definitely a bells and whistles cake, too.

                  Oh, and there's a common French recipe for a yogurt based cake you might like, too. I think there's a recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table, though I haven't tried it yet.

                  1. Since you mention cinnamon, here is a spice cake that I love without icing. Despite the name, I don't think it's really a pound cake - and it's only half a pound of butter :) I make it in a 9x13 and cut squares.

                    1. You might also like castella, a Japanese style honey cake without any butter, but lots of egg. The crust bakes up a beautiful mahogany brown, and the mildly sweet honey flavor is especially nice with tea or coffee: http://books.google.com/books?id=m_VN...

                      1. Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone! I didn't really want to go with mixes but bought a few today so I could see the difference between a white cake and a yellow cake. But then when I got home I remembered a recipe a Hispanic friend gave me for a Mexican Wedding Cake. It's only 2 c flour, 2 c sugar, 1 t baking soda, 1 t vanilla, 1/2 c chopped pecans and 1 20-oz can crushed pineapple. Just mix all and bake at 350 for 30-40 min (in a 9x13 pan). It's the frosting that's the calorie killer with cream cheese/butter/conf. sugar/more pecans. I'll just leave the frosting off--and probably the pecans in the cake too. (Oh wow, and I just realized I've found the vegan cake I've been looking for to make for a friend!)

                        But I'm definitely going to look into all the recipes you've suggested, too.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Birmingham

                          Wow, Birmingham, this one sounds brilliant!! I am definitely going to try this one...thx for sharing it.

                          1. re: Blancmange

                            Do you want the frosting recipe? Here it is just in case: 1 8oz crm cheese, 1 stick butter or marg, 3/4 c granulated sugar (my mistake above--thought it would be conf. sugar--I think I would anyway), 1 t vanilla, 1/2 c chopped pecans. Beat cheese, butter, sugar until thick. Add vanilla, beat. Add pecans and stir. Ice cake while warm.

                            To give credit where credit's due, it says "submitted by Gloria Aparicio"--which makes me think it came from a church cook book or something.

                            1. re: Birmingham

                              Terrific! I will report back on this one...thanks again!