Sylvia Weinstock’s Yellow Cake

  • Serves: Makes two 8- or 9- x 2-inch layers
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 27251

Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2006 Sarah Phillips

stock photo

The cake layers bake nice and flat and need no trimming, making it a perfect cake to use for wedding or special occasions. I revamped the mixing methods from Sylvia Weinstock's original recipe to make the recipe more foolproof, as I found the original steps made the cake more prone to failure, and someone on this board had a problem when baking it. Make sure you follow each step carefully, especially when beating the egg whites to FIRM peaks, and thoroughly, but gingerly, fold the whites in with the cake batter in the end. I like to fold the whites in in two additions, not the usual three, so as not to overmix the batter, which can cause the cake to hump in the middle when it bakes. The flavor of the cake is nice - nothing overwhelming, so it makes a nice, every day, plain cake. Frost the cake with the Seven Minute Vanilla Bean Icing or Tami's or Perfect Buttercream.

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour, not self-rising; sift flour onto wax paper and then spoon into measuring cup and level to top rim
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup full fat sour cream; stir well before using

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar (reserve 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon for egg whites)

4 large eggs, separated

1. Position the oven shelf to the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line two 8 x 2-inch baking pans with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. Add the vanilla to the sour cream and stir well. Set aside.

4. With a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until softened, about 30 seconds to 1 minute on low speed. Stop the mixer, and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the sugar (minus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) slowly at the side of the bowl and continue to mix until the mixture is fluffy and lightened in color, about 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Add the 4 egg yolks, one at a time, beating for 20 seconds before adding the next one.

6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternately with the sour cream mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

7. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat for almost 1 minute and no more. 

8. In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, on medium-low speed, beat the 4 egg whites until frothy.

Add the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar, increase the mixer to high, and beat until FIRM peaks form.

9. Gently fold the whipped egg whites, in two additions, into the batter with a rubber spatula. Make sure the whites and batter are thoroughly folded together so no wisps of egg whites or batter show.

10. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops gently with a small offset spatula.

11. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top of the cake should be lightly browned. Test for doneness with a skewer or a toothpick. The tester should come out with a few moist crumbs, but not batter.

12. Remove cake to a wire cake rack and let cool in its pan for 10 minutes before unmolding to cool thoroughly.

When the cake has cooled, frost with frosting or icing of your choice. Cut into slices and serve.

The unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for a few days; do not refrigerate. They can be additionally placed in an airtight bag or wrapped in foil and frozen for a month or more. Thaw in their wrappers at room temperature.

The storage of the frosted cake depends upon the type of filling and frosting or icing used on the cake.

Recipe adapted from Sylvia Weinstock