All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake

  • Serves: Makes two 9- x 1 1/2 -inch pans
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Variation: White Velvet Butter Cake

stock photo

This is a lovely yellow cake that can be adorned with any filling or frosting. It has a soft texture and a buttery flavor, with a rich yellow color.

6 large (112 grams) egg yolks
1 cup (242 grams) milk; divided
2 1/4 teaspoons (9 grams) vanilla

3 cups (300 grams) sifted cake flour; Sarah Says: sift flour into the measuring cup and level to top
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar or superfine sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (19.5 grams) baking powder
3/4 teaspoons (5 grams) salt

12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and then sit out to soften to room temperature

1. Position the oven shelf to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2, 9- x 2-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla. Lightly beat with a fork to combine. Set aside.

3. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter cubes to the dry ingredients, one at a time, quickly, one right after another, with the mixer on still on low.

4. At the side of the bowl, drizzle the remaining 3/4 cup of milk with the mixer on low until the mixture is just moistened. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and increase the speed to medium and beat 1 1/2 minutes. 

SARAH SAYS: At the end of mixing, remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. With a large rubber spatula, give the batter ONE or TWO quick folds to incorporate any stray flour or milk left at the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then, STOP!

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, filling them about 1/2 full. Gently smooth the tops with a metal offset icing spatula. Bake 25 to 35 minutes until the top is light brown and springs back when lightly touched. The sides should not shrink back from the pan until after you remove it from the oven.
SARAH SAYS: If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter.

Remove cake from oven and let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto cooling racks. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire cake racks. Re-invert to cool completely. Finish with your favorite frosting.

Wrap airtight where the cake will keep for 2 days at room temperature; 5 days refrigerated or 1 or 2 months frozen.

White Velvet Butter Cake

Adapted from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

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