Saturday, August 31, 2013

Perfect Moist Yellow Cake

My husband is a self-professed lover of berry pies, as is my son. (It must be a guy thing.) Moi? Cake, for sure. A moist slice of cake (or a good cupcake)  is one of my guilty pleasures.  My excuse reasoning is, if I'm going to indulge in this carb and sugar laden confection, I want to make the fat grams count.  That translates to "it has to be really, really good".  I've had my share of dry cakes, and I won't bother finishing them. Oh, and canned frosting? Won't happen, with me.  You can blindfold me, and I'll pick out chemical-laden, artificially flavored frosting every single time. Not for me, especially when homemade frosting is easy to make, and fun!

I'm still searching for the "Ultimate Moist White Cake".  I've already found my favorite chocolate cake recipe, that is moist and my go-to recipe.  If you check my recipe index, you'll see that I've posted several towering cake recipes, from Coconut to Strawberry to Cherry to a Guinness Chocolate Cake.   What's missing is a recipe for yellow cake.  Until now...

Sure cake mixes are always on sale, and they're generally pretty good.  But making a cake, from scratch, isn't that difficult to do-- and it gives me a sense of gratification that I was in control of what ingredients I used.   I hear that White Lily flour is popular, but I've never seen it in my part of California. I've recently become a fan of self-rising flour, ever since King Arthur Flour introduced their unbleached version.  (I still can't find it at my grocery store, but I buy it online.)

This recipe is very easy to make, and I've made it more than once.  I can assure you that it's going to become my trusty recipe, and it's very versatile.  It's a non-fussy recipe that doesn't involve a lot of sifting, folding of egg whites or anything like that. It's pretty basic-- self-rising flour, eggs, whole milk, sugar and butter flavor.  Let's talk about "butter flavor".  I have grown fond of LorAnn Buttery Sweet Dough Bakery Emulsion, which I use in most of my baked goods, so that's the ingredient that I keep on hand.

The first time I made this recipe, I adapted it to bake cupcakes. 

As you can see, I overfilled the cupcake liners and I got "mushroom cupcakes". Whoops!  I made a note to fill the cupcake liners to only halfway, so the second batch came out just right.  I had plenty of dough to make almost 24 cupcakes!

TASTING NOTES:  The baking time was about 13 minutes-- just until a toothpick, inserted into the center, came out with just a few crumbs stuck to it.  I made a traditional buttercream frosting (I don't use a recipe. I simply use one stick of softened butter, and add powdered sugar until it has the right consistency, then add a little light cream and vanilla extract).

The cupcakes were very moist, with a beautiful tender crumb.  I'm telling you, Self-Rising flour makes baking cakes, scones or biscuits very user friendly!

Strawberry season begins in Spring, but lasts well through August, in my part of the Salinas Valley.  I just purchased a new mini bundt cake pan, and decided to use the same yellow cake recipe for strawberry shortcake.
I love this pan, but it's important to use a really good baking spray.  The mini bundts popped right out of the pan-- whew!  The baking time was about 15 minutes; I used the toothpick method to check for doneness.

The cake recipe delivered all that I had hoped it would-- this is much better than those pre-fab shortcakes that you buy, all sealed in plastic wrap.  The cake is moist, with just the right amount of sweetness. There are butter notes of flavor, and did I already mention that it's tender?

The recipe source/credit goes to Bakerella.  A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.

NOTE: I have been very scarce, since June. Most of my regular readers/followers know that I had a total knee replacement. My recovery has been more difficult than I anticipated. The good news is that I'm continuing with physical therapy, and that all the surgery pain and discomfort is gone.  I'm still not walking at 100% (meaning, I've still got a limp), but I have enough strength to stand long enough to cook simple recipes.  It'll be a few more weeks before I can make recipes that requires more work/time-- but it's coming! Thank you for all of your encouragement.

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Sue/the view from great island said...

This recipe looks so versatile, and I love the idea of self-rising flour, it makes things so much simpler.

Cheryl said...

Knee Replacement, my Mom had it last year, ouch! Glad to see you and I love your new design. I am blogging very sporadically! I miss my Food Blogging buddies!

Sue/the view from great island said...

This recipe looks so versatile, and I love the idea of self-rising flour, it makes things so much simpler.

Mary Callan said...

Oh my too! cake girl!! yours looks amazing - sooo moist and delicious :))
Mary x

Becki's Whole Life said...

I'm always looking for a great yellow cake recipe - my favorite with buttercream of course. I am right with you on not wasting the calories on so-so cake or canned frosting. I will have to try the self rising flour and emlusion. I bet this is good!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm with Sue. Using self-rising flour makes life so much easier with cakes. Your cake looks moist and delicious.

Joanne said...

I'm an equal opportunist lover of cake and pies...but probably I like cake a bit more. :P I recently found the perfect chocolate cake so now I'm moving onto yellow and vanilla! Have to try yours!!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I'm so happy that you are able to get back into the kitchen, Debby. It's great to read that you are getting stronger every day. I have never used self rising flour and don't even recall seeing it in the grocery store. A good yellow cake is so versatile and I love the little bundt cakes you made with your new pan. I don't know if I will be able to resist getting one for myself.

AdriBarr said...

Well it all sounds good to me, and I appreciate your thorough discussion of this recipe. I like to make cakes from scratch; like you I believe it is not difficult, and I like to know what is in there.

I too am a "cake" person. Where Bart will go for pie, I'll take a cake, especially if there happens to be a wonderful buttercream in there, or on there or both.

Karen said...

I had a craving for a simple yellow cake a few months ago. Googled it and found a simple recipe that turned out so good... it really is a good little cake!

Velva said...

Love, love it. You may not be feeling 100% but you are still rocking the baking.

I am a lover of pies and cakes.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

So happy to see you in the kitchen again!

I know what you mean about not "wasting" the calories. If you're going to indulge, go big or go home! I'd rather have a nice butter-rich treat once in a while than some cheap imitation more frequently. I also love pie though. Sometimes it's all about what I'm in the mood for.

And canned frosting is an abomination!