I’ve been searching for a recipe for an exceptional tasting, moist, tender white cake. I was reminded that I made a cake for my granddaughters baptism and it was described as one of the best “white” cakes they ever tasted. Today, that cake was resurrected as a small, two layer 8’ cake to share with QC and a couple of neighbors as opposed to the two layer 11”x15” cake to serve 60.
I used a chocolate frosting that complements my Extreme Chocolate Cake. When I say complements I mean it is smooth, shiny and sweet.
I had a few flower and bird decorations left over from my other granddaughters Princess Aurora birthday cake, and being a frugal ex-pat Vermonter was unable to bin them.
Yellow Sheet Cake
INGREDIENTS : (Double – Half) • 2 and 1/4 cups (285g) all-purpose flour (570g -142g) • 1 teaspoon baking soda (2tsp – 1/2tsp) • 1/2 teaspoon salt (1tsp. 1/4tsp) • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temp (460g – 115g) • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar (700g – 175g) • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (4 – 1g) • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (4tsp – 1tsp) • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, at room temp (240g – 60g) • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, at room temp (480g – 120g)
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Generously grease and lightly flour a 12×17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 3 full minutes until creamed together. The mixture should be a light yellow color. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition until both are mixed in. On high speed, beat in the vanilla extract and sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternating with the milk. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Mix each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix this batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick.
The full recipe yields 2000g of batter. Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan. Smooth it out into a thin, even layer. Bake for 20-22 minutes (for the jelly roll pan, less for a half recipe or 35-40 minutes for a double. Actual times depend on pan used, less time for shallow pan, more for deeper, or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or 200F. (Two 8” round pans required 30 minutes to bake in my oven.) Make sure you rotate the cake pan once or twice during bake time if your oven has hot spots. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan placed on a wire rack. As the cake is cooling, make the frosting.
Make ahead tip: Cake can be made 1 -2 days in advance, covered tightly at room temperature.
Extreme Chocolate Frosting
INGREDIENTS (2/3 Recipe)
• 3/4 c butter ½ c (112g) • 1 1/2 c (125g) unsweetened cocoa powder 1 c (80g) • 5 1/3 c confectioners’ sugar 624g 3 ½ c (415g) • 2/3 c milk .45 c (98g) • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream butter until light and fluffy.
Stir in the cocoa and confectioners’ sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla.
Finally I made the Princess Aurora cake for my granddaughter Vivian’s birthday – 20 Covid days late. The extra days gave me extra time to obsess and agonize on the design and execution. The original design was to be 4 layers of 10” cake for the base and 3 of 8” for the top and serve 60 people. We are down to 9 people and a scaled down cake.
I made most of the decorations a few weeks ago and kept them safely tucked away until now. All the flowers and birds are gumpaste. The roses were made using the typical technique of adding several rows of die cut petals. The other flowers were also die cut and while still flexible placed on a slightly crumpled sheet of parchment paper to give them some contour.
The letters fondant, rolled thick and cut with a die. A sharp knife cut the pattern into the letters which were airbrushed gold and dusted with glitter. The picture frame was cut from rolled gumpaste, allowed to dry and the edges were painted gold. Gumpaste glue stuck the picture to the frame.
The drapes and dress are darker pink dyed, rolled fondant and dusted with silver petal dust. The crown is gold airbrushed gumpaste cut in the shape of Princess Aurora’s crown. Gold glitter was dusted on the still slightly wet crown. The “4” is tempered dark chocolate, airbrushed with gold and dusted (too heavily) with gold glitter. (The fingerprints are mine.)
The top two 6” layers are white cake and the bottom three 8” layers and my extreme chocolate cake (family favorite.) I am not a fan of this white cake. (I constantly and this far unsuccessfully search for a recipe that is light and moist.) The frosting is a simple buttercream with 3:1 butter to shortening ratio.
Many techniques, lots of time, tons of fun making this cake.
Tender White Cake
INGREDIENTS • 326g (2¾c) Unbleached Cake Flour Blend • 333g (1⅔c) sugar; superfine sugar is best • 1 Tablespoon baking powder • 3/4 teaspoon salt • 170g (12Tbl) unsalted butter, softened • 4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg • 227g (1c) whole milk (2% plus 4Tbl Heavy Cream) • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8″ x 2″ or 9″ x 2″ round pans; a 9″ x 13″ pan; or 2 standard cupcake pans (20 to 24 cupcakes) by greasing and flouring; or lining with parchment, then greasing the parchment. Note: Make sure your 8″ round pans are at least 2″ deep; if they’re not, use one of the other pan options.
Mix all of the dry ingredients on slow speed to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the temperature of the butter, how much it’s mixed, and granulation of the sugar used.
Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the structure of the cake. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for 8″ or 9″ rounds; 23 to 26 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ sheet cake; or 20 minutes for cupcakes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan, if desired (not advisable for a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake), cool on a rack, and frost.
Yield: Two 8″ or 9″ round layers; one 9″x 13″ x 2″ sheet cake, or 20 to 24 cupcakes.
Basic Crusting Buttercream
INGREDIENTS: • 1/2 cup solid high ratio shortening (1/4 cup Crisco, ¾ cup butter) • 1/2 cup butter softened (see above) • 1 tablespoon of merengue powder • 1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract (or extract of choice) • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approx. 1 lb.) • 2 tablespoons milk METHOD
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
Add vanilla and milk.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating on a slow speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
Keep bowl or covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks.
Don’t over whip or it will bring air to the icing and will be impossible to smooth. NOTE: If you have a kitchen Aid use white attachment, not whip attachment. YIELD: Makes about 3 cups.