Redeemed!! I have redeemed myself and had sweet satisfaction over the cake that tried to defeat me! I had to wait awhile before attempting it again because twice that cake has had the better of me and I really haven’t been in the mood to be defeated again by sugar, butter & eggs.

After my last attempt, I’ll admit that I was a little depressed. However, my cousin (Jim you’ve always been my favorite (wink wink)) who is a pastry chef sweetly weighed in with his 2 cents and voila! His suggestions worked.

After I took Jim’s hints and altered things just slightly I was rewarded with the lightest, fluffiest white cake ever. It was almost like Angel Food cake, but a little denser. This time I topped it with a white buttercream frosting and filled it with slivered almonds and blueberry jam. Heaven!

Try this cake people. You will be happy!

Here is the original recipe:
Classic White Cake from Baking Illustrated

2 1/4 cups (9oz) plain cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans.
1 cup milk at room temp.
6 large egg whites, at room temp.
2 tsp almond extract. ( I did this but in my opinion it was too overpowering. I would only use 1tsp next time).
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 oz).
4tsp baking powder.
1 tsp salt.
12 tsp (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool.

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 2 9inch cake pans and cover the bottoms with parchment paper. Grease the parchment rounds and dust with cake flour, tapping out the excess.
2. Pour the milk, egg whites and extracts into a 2 cup measuring cup and mix with a for until blended. (they explain this technique in the long intro about why white cakes are different. You would expect to whip the egg whites and fold into the batter but BI says not to do this. I am not sold on this)
3. Mix the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand up mixer on low speed. add the butter, continue beating at low speed until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
4. Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture to the crumbs and beat at medium speed ( or high speed if using a hand mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Return the mixer to medium and beat 20 seconds more.
5. Divide the batter evenly between cake pans. Arrange the pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart or stagger on different racks to allow air circulation if your oven is small. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 23-25 minutes.
6. Let the cakes rest in the pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from the sides of the pans with a knife and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto different wire racks and let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

Jim’s Hints:

The recipe is a take on Rose Berenbaum’s white butter cake. Her method produces a better texture than the old fasioned creaming method, but it’s a little more demanding.

The trick with this style is that the ideal temp for the butter is not “room temp”…it’s 65F. That’s the ideal temp for the butter to cream. If it’s too warm or cold, you won’t get good creaming. Also, you don’t want to mix the butter first by itself into the dry – it will make the cake too weak. Instead, add the butter along with that first part of milk. To keep it from splashing, either use a splash guard or just pulse a few times until it looks like it won’t splash. After that, I would mix 2 minutes – not 1.5 -to allow for the fact that you are in San Fran in a cool kitchen. Last, the remaining liquid should be added in 3 parts, with 30 seconds after each part.

Also, I almost forgot, I only added 1 tsp of Almond extract not 2. It was much better this way.

Once I followed these tips the cake was perfect.

For the icing:
1 lb Powdered Sugar
1Tbs Milk
1Tsp Vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 Sticks unsalted butter

Cream everything until smooth and then frost.

If you want, toast and chop some almonds or hazelnuts. Mix them with 1/2 cup of icing and spread in the middle of the cake. Top with jam and then the top layer of cake.

  • Jim Little
    Posted at 23:33h, 23 September Reply

    Glad the tips helped. There’s something so satisfying about conquering a difficult recipe!



    • mj
      Posted at 23:47h, 23 September Reply

      Thanks Jim! It was satisfying!

  • Jimmy White
    Posted at 13:58h, 24 September Reply

    Way to overcome MJ! Stupid ingredients didn’t know with whom they were messing:) Sounds delicious, even at 10am.

    • mj
      Posted at 14:01h, 24 September Reply

      Ha! Thanks Gum.

  • Suzanne Bundy
    Posted at 15:08h, 24 September Reply

    MJ, So proud of your determination!!! I am sure that cake tasted like pure victory!

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