Sunday, August 21, 2011

Melly's Moist Yellow Cake

I've always been a fan of yellow cake.  I love the vanilla-ey, buttery goodness of the cake and I think it is a perfect blank canvas for any frosting/filling/flavor combination.

Now that I have committed to making my cakes from scratch, I went on a hunt for a perfect yellow cake recipe.  After the success of my red velvet cake and Pioneer Woman's chocolate cake, I knew I wanted to use buttermilk in my recipe.  And I knew it couldn't call for cake flour or a lot of expensive ingredients.

After a day or two of heavy searching, I found this recipe and it was an instant hit.  What I really appreciated about it was that - short of the buttermilk- I typically have all of the ingredients in my house. And the buttermilk isn't really an issue since I can make buttermilk in a pinch out of milk and vinegar.  In fact, on this particular day, I had to do just that.  I am not the best list maker/food shopper and when I got home to discover the bottle of buttermilk I thought was nearly full to be almost empty, I cried a little and then reached for the milk to make sure I had enough of it to make myself buttermilk for this recipe.  Score!

Start with low-fat milk and white vinegar.

In a measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon for every cup of buttermilk you need.  For today's recipe, I had 1/2 cup of buttermilk left over, so I needed to make 2 cups and would need to start with 2 tablespoons.

Next, add milk to the measuring cup to bring the volume to 2 cups.

Stir the mixture together and set it aside for a few minutes while you get the rest of the ingredients working.

Melly's Favorite Yellow Cake Recipe - yields 36 cupcakes or two rounds cakes
2 sticks of butter at room temperature 
2 cups of sugar 
3 eggs 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour 
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 
2 1/2 cups buttermilk 

Start by heating your oven to 350 degrees and lining your cupcake tin or greasing your cake pan. 

With the paddle attachment on your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  

While that is working, sift together the rest of the dry ingredients.  I am not one to advocate for extra steps or tools, so sifting is something I have been known to skip.  But in this case, I've noticed a difference in the results when I don't sift.  So, if you can, do it.  But if not, it'll still be tasty, just maybe not as evenly fluffy.  

Add in the eggs one at a time and the vanilla.  Again, I try not to use extra dishes but if you've ever added one rotten egg into a batter when you are running low on time and ingredients, you will completely understand the need to crack your eggs into a separate little bowl before adding it to the mixture.  

Once the eggs and the vanilla are all incorporated, it is time to add the flour mixture and the buttermilk.  I usually set up a little assembly line king of thing so that I can easily alternate the two.  Beginning with a cup full of the flour mixture, alternate adding the flour mix and the buttermilk.  I usually do 4 batches of flour mix and 3 batches of buttermilk.  Wait until the most recent addition is fully mixed in before adding the next. 
Before adding the last batch of flour, scrape down the bowl and add in the remaining bits.  

Stir the batter only until it is all combined.  You don't want to over mix. 

For cupcakes you will bake this for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  
For round cakes, it'll bake for 25-35 minutes.  


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