White Velvet Butter Cake

  • Serves: Makes two 8 - or 9 x 2-inch cake layers
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 62124
  • Comments: 110

Variation: All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake

Photo by sugarpie, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips
This cake is adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum by adding my notes and mixing method information. This cake is soft and delicate. The butter and vanilla extract, plus the orange or lemon peel makes it a little on the "off white" side, but contributes so much to flavor! The cake makes a great wedding cake. We have flavored the above photographed White Velvet Cake with lemon peel and filled and frosted it with the Neoclassic French Buttercream, Lemon Variation, but there are so many choices.

"Dear Sarah,
Just wanted to let you know I made this for my husband and he loved it. I lost the recipe and have been trying for weeks to get a "hit". As soon as I saw the recipe I knew it was the one I wanted. I have added CraftyBaking.com (formerly Baking911) to my favorites. I don't want to lose it again.
P.S. I did use 2 whole large eggs instead of 4 egg whites since I didn't really care if it was "white". I also used the buttercream recipe which was excellent."
Anita McManus, via email, Sunday, June 19, 2005

4 large (135 grams) egg whites or 2 large eggs
1 cup (242 grams) milk; divided
2 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) vanilla (Or, 1 teaspoon any extract flavor, such as almond, lemon, orange, etc.)
1 to 2 tablespoons orange or 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon zest (peel) or 1/8 teaspoon pure citrus oil (optional)

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

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) (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, 8- or 9- x 2-inch round cake pans with bakers grease or vegetable oil spray and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper.
SARAH SAYS: If using dark, nonstick baking pans or ovenproof, Pyrex glass pans, be sure to reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk, vanilla, and orange zest, if using. 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. Scrape and gradually add the egg white mixture at the side of the bowl, in three batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition.

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. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter. The sides should not shrink back from the pan until after you remove it from the oven.

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 spatlua and invert onto greased wire cake racks. Reivert 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.

All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake 

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