Scratch Yellow Cake with Box Qualities

  • Serves: Makes two 9-inch layers
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 20040
  • Comments: 235

Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 2007 Sarah Phillips
Variations:  Scratch Chocolate Cake with Box Qualities; Scratch Non-Chocolate Espresso Cake with Box QualitiesScratch White Cake with Box Qualities  

Cake and photo by sugarpie, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips 

Food styling and photo by Kelly Hong © Sarah Phillips Cake is used with the Spring Blossom Petits Fours or Petit Four Squares

I use what is called the Two-Step Mixing Method, to bring you a tender and moist yellow cake! I recently discovered through research, that in fact, the Pillsbury Company invented this method in 1945, which they called the Quick-Mix Method, as a way for home baker's to bake light and airy cakes. Crisco was used in their recipes at the time, and butter could be easily substituted, with the same result.

The Two-Step or Quick-Mix Method works this way: Mixing the butter first directly with the flour and dry ingredients, coats the gluten-forming proteins in the wheat flour with fat, so when the wet ingredients, such as milk or buttermilk are added next, and the ingredients are mixed, very little gluten is formed. Plus, cake flour is low in gluten forming proteins, and it being bleached, toughens the protein molecules, enabling it to carry more than its weight in sugar and fat; cakes with bleached cake flour tend to be higher in sugar and fat, both tenderizers, than those without - that's why these cakes literally melt in your mouth!

Cupcakes and photo by lynne956, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips
lynne956, Premium Member, Says: "I know I said I LOVE this recipe, and I just wanted to let you know that it is officially confirmed that everyone I give these to has the same reaction and LOVES them as well! Just writing this, I can already feel myself craving for some, haha. NOM, NOM, NOM!"

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold

1/2 cup whole milk, can be cold
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon almond extract or lemon or orange extract)

1 3/4 cups bleached cake flour (not self-rising); spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

Preheat the oven and prepare the pans:
1. Position oven shelf in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
(If using dark, nonstick baking pans or ovenproof, Pyrex glass pans, be sure to reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees F).

2. Grease two, 9 x 2-inch cake pans. Set aside.

Mix the batter:
1. Remove the butter sticks from the refrigerator, and cut into approximately 10 - 12 evenly-sliced pieces each stick (24 pieces total). Set aside, and let soften slightly, but must remain cool.

2. In a one or two-cup measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout, add the milk, eggs and vanilla. Beat together with a fork. Set aside.
SARAH SAYS: I measure the milk in a one-cup liquid measuring cup and to it, I add the eggs and vanilla extract.

3. Sift the measured flour, baking powder and salt into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.

4. Clamp on the mixing bowl and fit a paddle attachment to the mixer.
Add the sugar.
Mix on low, about 10 to 15 seconds to combine the ingredients. Make sure you get all of the ingredients mixed in from the bottom of the bowl.

5. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter 1 tablespoon or piece at a time at a time into the flour mixture. Keep adding each butter-piece about 10 seconds apart, until all has been incorporated.
The butter should be evenly distributed throughout.

STOP mixing when the flour mixture begins to clump together and look moistened slightly. You should not see any butter pieces in the mixture.

6. With the mixer speed on low, add 1/2 of the egg/milk mixture slowly at the side of the bowl.
Mix until incorporated, taking about 5-10 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.

7. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about a minute.

8. With the mixer on low speed, add the remaining egg mixture in a slow steady stream at the side of the bowl.

When done, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.

9. Beat at medium speed until thoroughly mixed and light and fluffy, about 1 minute. The batter will look fluffy and slightly curdled, it's ok.

Divide the batter evenly into two portions:
1. Place a medium size mixing bowl on a kitchen scale, then zero it out. Weigh the batter.

2. Divide the total weight of the batter amount by two to determine how much each portion of the batter should weigh.
NOTE: In my case, the total batter weighed 2 lb. 6 oz. (or 38 ounces), so I divided the batter into 2 portions weighing approximately 19.0 ounces each. Your weight will vary
depending on how well you aerated your batter (air adds weight) and the slight variances in your ingredient measurements.

3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and gently smooth the tops. The batter will fill the baking pans about half-full.

4. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached but not batter. The sides will shrink slightly from the sides of the pan. Do not overbake. The cake rises nicely and the cake bakes flat.

5. Remove cakes to cool on wire racks for 10 to 15 minutes and then unmold onto wire cake racks, right-side-up, to cool thoroughly. Be careful, the cakes are delicate when warm.

The cake layers store nicely. They can be stored at room temperature for about 3 or more days. The cake layers freeze well for about a month or more. Keep well wrapped.

Cake and photo by sugarpie, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips
Scratch Chocolate Cake with Box Qualities
Scratch Non-Chocolate Espresso Cake with Box Qualities
Scratch White Cake with Box Qualities

Photo and cake by kake, Premium Member: "I mixed white and chocolate recipe together....It was fun to make Starbucks cake."

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