Have you ever made a yellow cake recipe and been disappointed to find it was actually more of an off-white? Or worse, have you ever made an off-white yellow cake that tasted okay, but had the texture of cornbread? If either of these situations sounds familiar, here’s a new recipe for you to try. It’s a soft, non-crumbly scratch yellow cake with a truly yellow color and a flavor that’s a little more interesting than vanilla. The mixing method used is called “The Two Stage Method“, where you mix the dry ingredients and add the liquid in stages.
Here are three tricks (or tips, I should say):
1. You have to use cake flour. All-purpose flour is a wonderful thing, but this recipe works best with cake flour. That, plus the two flours have a different weight per cup, so if you use 3 cups of all-purpose flour you’ll be using closer to 15 oz of flour than 12.
2. McCormick Vanilla Butter & Nut extract is my new favorite yellow cake ingredient. Along with an interesting flavor that seems perfect for yellow cake, it has a bit of yellow food color mixed in. I stocked up on it when I visited North Carolina recently, but grocery stores in Austin don’t sell it.
3. Egg yolks add a bit of color, but more importantly they add a softer texture.
UPDATE: This cake is great with the special extract, but don’t skip it just because you can’t find it. Vanilla extract is fine. Also, this recipe halves quite well. If you like to make small layer cakes using 6 inch round pans, halve the recipe and you should get perfect results.
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick vanilla butter & nut extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 3 cups (12 ounces) cake flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature **or use 1 stick butter and ½ cup butter flavored shortening**
- 1 stick (4 oz) good quality unsalted butter
- pinch or two of salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream plus milk as needed or 3 of each
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans. Side should be at least 2 inches high.
- Whisk the eggs, yolks, extracts and 1/4 cup of the milk in a bowl.
- In a stand mixer bowl with the paddle attached, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Add softened butter (and shortening if you are using half and half) to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon or mash with a scraper until butter coats flour. Add the remaining 1 cup of milk to the flour mixture and stir until thick and pasty.
- With the mixer, beat on medium for about two minutes. Gradually add the egg mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl. Beat on medium for about 30 seconds.
- Pour the batter into the pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan, then invert and let cool completely.
- To make the chocolate frosting, mix the softened butter, salt and powdered sugar together in a bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder, sour cream and cream and beat until well mixed. Add vanilla, then continue beating with an electric mixer and adding milk as needed until icing is thick and creamy. Add more sugar if it's not sweet enough for you.