02 Mar עופר איתן Report: Recipe Exchange: Best yellow cake
The best yellow cake? Is this the one? Yes, most definitely. Today’s recipe comes from Deb Perleman’s Smitten Kitchen. She calls it her “killer yellow cake” and assures us that it works every time.
Check out Deb’s original post for this recipe, and don’t miss her charming photo of her chocolate frosted two-layer cake topped with a perfect ring of multicolored sprinkles circling the edge.
I made a simpler, more humble version of Deb’s cake and it, too, is delicious. I halved Deb’s recipe to make a single layer, square 8×8 inch cake.
Deb’s recipe as listed here will make two 9-inch round cake layers or two 8-inch squares or one 9×13 inch large single layer cake.
An important note, Deb uses cake flour in her recipe. Cake flour will yield a finer crumb texture and give a very good rise to this cake.
If cake flour isn’t in your cupboard, don’t despair. There’s an easy substitute. You do need all-purpose flour and cornstarch. For every one cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Sift this all-purpose flour/cornstarch combo once or even twice to make sure the mixture is well distributed.
Deb’s full recipe calls for 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour. If we’re using our all-purpose flour/cornstarch substitute instead of the cake flour, then we should remove 8 1/4 tablespoons all-purpose flour to be replaced with 8 1/4 tablespoons cornstarch. We should plan to sift our all-purpose flour/cornstarch combo two times.
Deb’s Best Yellow Layer Cake, aka her killer yellow cake
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk well-shaken
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Or, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pans, then rap pans on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.
Sour cream in frosting? I wondered, but then, I gave it a try. Not only delicious, this frosting is thick and shiny with a very good swirl.
Deb has one caution for her frosting. The sour cream must be at room temperature before we make the frosting. Deb’s recipe below will make 5 cups of frosting, enough to frost and fill a two layer 9-inch cake.
As I did with the cake, I halved the amounts which I used for the frosting. I used semisweet chocolate and the instant espresso powder. Finally, I didn’t cool the frosting in the refrigerator. Once the frosting was well-mixed, it was easy to spread it over the cake.
Deb’s Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting, adapted from The Dessert Bible
15 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ¼ teaspoons instant espresso, optional
2 ¼ cups sour cream, at room temperature
¼ to ½ cup light corn syrup
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the chocolate and espresso powder, if using, in the top of a double-boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave for 30 seconds, stirring well, and then heating in 15 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted.) Remove from heat and let chocolate cool until tepid.
Whisk together the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup and vanilla extract until combined. Add the tepid chocolate slowly and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Taste for sweetness, and if needed, add additional corn syrup in one tablespoon increments until desired level of sweetness is achieved.
Let cool in the refrigerator until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. This should not take more than 30 minutes. Should the frosting become too thick or stiff, just leave it out until it softens again.
Suggestions for Recipe Exchange can be emailed to Ellen Clifford McGuire at [email protected], or mailed to Recipe Exchange, P.O. Box 461, East Longmeadow, MA 01028. For more meal ideas, visit masslive.com/cooking