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White Cake that has a very fine crumb and light texture

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I recently made the cook's illustrated white layer cake and it came out what I consider "Spongy". I made the recipe to the exact specifications and I also weigh my ingredients.

Does anyone have a white cake recipe that they are willing to share or have any thoughts on how to make this less spongy?????

I am in search of a cake with a very fine crumb and one that is light and tender in texture.

NikkiBakes

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  1. You could make it less spongy by beating the egg whites less. I'd probably change the method to a creaming method, eg. beat butter w/ sugar until light and fluffy. Then add whites and extracts until just mixed. Alternate dry (flour, baking powder, salt) with milk until just mixed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      What are your thoughts about adding whipped egg whites at the end? Versus adding the eggs after creaming the butter and sugar?

      Nikki

      1. re: nikkibakes

        You'd risk overmixing the flour and that would make a tough cake. When you mix in the whites to the egg/butter, do it on low and don't beat it hard. You could also replace on of the whites w/ a yolk and that would tenderize it but you'd have less of the "white" cake look.

    2. Here is a previous thread on white cakes. I stand by the King Arthur Elegant Cake recipe, although I usually omit the almond extract as my "fan base" (my husband) prefers just the taste of vanilla.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/614961

      1. I've made Rose Levy Beranbaum's white chocolate whisper cake before, and loved how tender and fine the crumb is. OTOH, you can taste some of the white chocolate, so don't make this if you're not partial to this flavor.

        2 Replies
        1. re: amy_wong

          RLB's white cake (not white choc) is also very good, a very nice velvet-y texture.

          1. re: danna

            Ah, nice to know. I like the whisper cake because I'm a fan of white chocolate (ones with actual cocoa butter.)

        2. OK, I googled the recipe and at first I couldn't figure out what would make the cake "spongey" by looking at the ingredients. THEN I looked at the method. I will NEVER understand why anyone would use that ridiculous method. I tried it once after I read about it, will not do so again. If for some reason I want to make a cake that specifies that method, I just make it "correctly" with the called-for ingredients.

          So...i agree w/ chowser. Cream the butter and sugar, (add eggs here if not whipping them), then alternate dry and wet, and then fold in the whites whipped to soft peaks. I would recommend turning off the KA and folding them in as if it were an angel cake.

          5 Replies
          1. re: danna

            I was thinking the spongy texture was from whipping the egg whites, like angel food or sponge cakes tend to be so recommended not beating them. Maybe the sponginess is a different texture than I was thinking of. I agree that the method in the recipe seems odd. I have made the Best Recipe white layer cake and liked it but can't remember the method anymore.

            1. re: danna

              Danna, I'm curious about something. The method in the Cook's Illustrated recipe is to beat the butter into the dry ingredients, then beat in the combined milk, egg whites, and flavorings. Above you recommended Beranbaum's white cake (I assume from the Cake Bible), and her standard method for butter cakes is very similar, calling for beating the butter and a bit of the milk into the dry ingredients, then beating in the eggs and the rest of the milk. Do you use her method with her recipe(s), or do you use her ingredients and the creaming method?

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                I wondered if anyone would notice that ;-) I use her ingredients , but the creaming method. RLB is why I gave that method a shot in the first place, but I don't like it.

                BTW, re-reading my post above makes me wonder why I was feeling so agressive about cake *yike*. Sorry about that! For all I know, I'm just not doing it right.

                1. re: danna

                  I will re-do the cake using the creaming method and not over mix. I think if I add another variable by adding an egg yolk I'm afraid I won't know where my problem lies. So we'll see this weekend.

                  Thanks guys for the input. I tend come off a little OCD to some of my co-workers that don't bake when I try to get their opinions on the texture, crumb, etc. thry don't fully get it. It's nice that there are people that understand the results that I am trying to obtain. :)

                  Nikki Bakes

                2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  i use her method with the white cake recipe from the cake bible, exactly as written, and have never had an issue with a spongy texture. it is my favorite go-to white cake for berry layer cakes and cupcakes. the purpose of mixing the fat and flour is to inhibit gluten development which is what makes the cake rubbery. the method will seem strange to people who are only used to creaming, but it has always worked for me.

                  make sure your ingredients are at the proper temperature so that they incorporate more easily with each other and make sure not to overmix. if you still find the cake rubbery after that, try whipping a poprtion of the egg whites with a portion of the sugar and folding it in at the end for a lighter texture. most sponge cakes are "spongy" in texture because they lack fat, not because of a specific mixing technique. if you have not overmixed the flour mixture prior to adding the egg whites, folding them in will not cause toughness.

              2. Did you ever get a good recipe for the fine crumb textured cake? I've been searching for one of these for a long time now. I made it by fluke two years ago with a recipe i didn't have to do any creaming for but I have never been able to replicate it. Please let me know if you found a good recipe.