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The Great Scratch-Off...Yellow Cakes - Page 8

post #106 of 423
Thread Starter 
Absolutely, TrinaR...I get what you are saying. I am also watching a thread abou the pros and cons of sharing recipes and in it I told them that I really don't mind sharing recipes because the recipe is only half of the results. EACH baker bakes differently and has different "Baking Hands". Not to say that they are wrong in their preparation because there is more than one way to skin a cat icon_wink.gif but, as we are all beginning to see, different bakers are getting slightly different results when making the same recipe.

It is pretty amazing icon_smile.gif
Darlita
Die-Hard Scratch Baker

Time...and baking heals all wounds.
Your only competition should be yourself.
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Darlita
Die-Hard Scratch Baker

Time...and baking heals all wounds.
Your only competition should be yourself.
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post #107 of 423
Here's Part II of my cake test results. As with the others I didn't comment on their ability to be converted into cupcakes because I didn't try making cupcakes, except with the Downy Yellow Cake from the Cake Bible. I baked half recipes in either 6" or 7" pans. Each half recipe yielded two layers.

Toba Garret's
Ultimate Yellow Cake

Texture: Spongy, fine crumb. Tender cake. The edges got crisp during baking but this isn't a problem
Moistness: This is even moister than Great American Cake. Very moist but not wet or oily.

Flavor: Delicious butter-vanilla aroma matched by delicious butter-vanilla flavor. It is similar to Sylvia Weinstocks cake. Very good. When paired with frosting the cake holds its own. It can take on a supporting role to stronger flavors e.g. chocolate or lemon curd or it can be the star of milder 
frostings
Ease of preparation: Standard. Creaming method

Cost: Even with supermarket brands and vanilla flavoring this cake is delicious. Using premium ingredients would only make it more sublime.
Other comments: Slices tend to be crumbly. Baked evenly with crunchy edges. 8 out of 10 only because I like the taste of Sylvia's and Downy Yellow better. Even my testers concluded the same.

Sylvia Weinstock's Classic Yellow Cake

Texture: Light, spongy, fine crumb. Very tender cake.

Moistness: This is was the 2nd moistest cake (after Cake Man Raven). Moist almost to the point of being greasy/buttery but in a very good way.
Flavor: Everyone unanimously agreed it was one of the most delicious cake of the 7 we tried. Very good. I ran out of unsalted butter so I used salted butter. I forgot to adjust the salt and added the original amount called for in the original recipe. Turned out to be a lucky mistake because the cake came out so well rounded and balanced in flavor. The butter, and vanilla flavors are heightened. The sour cream contributes not only a tangy, full flavor but also adds to the moistness and tenderness of this cake. This cake pairs best with a not too sweet frosting as the cake itself is already on the sweet side. The sugar in this cake is almost twice the weight of the flour! In her books Sylvia uses an all butter mousseline which isnt so sweet and this cake would pair perfectly with that. I wouldnt use powdered sugar based frosting on this cake. 
A dark chocolate ganache is sublime too!
Ease of preparation: Fiddliest. Standard creaming method to incorporate ingredients then whip egg whites separately and fold into batter. The increase in lightness and volume due to this step may be minimal but to me its worth the extra step. I may even have overbaked this cake as I forgot all about it and remembered it just in time. I took it out of the oven after the sides started pulling from the pan but it still came out moist and tender and the flavor was still great. 

Cost: From pocket friendly to expensive, depending on the quality of ingredients you use. I tried it using supermarket brands and it came out superb. Next time Im going to use European butter and Madagascar vanilla. 

Other comments: Maintains moistness even after a few days at room temp. Need slices. Layers baked evenly but browned easily (due to extra sugar). Delicious, delicious, delicious! Love it . 9 out of 10
  

Sky High

Vanilla Buttermilk

Texture: Coarse crumb. Firm, not spongy. Sticky. Dense.

Moistness: The driest of the lot. 

Flavor: Smells deliciously buttery but actually tastes very eggy. Lacks sweetness. One dimensional flavor. Vanilla is practically overpowered by the eggs. Even when paired a sweet frosting (Kahlua mousseline), the cake remained bland.

Ease of preparation: Very easy. Hi-ratio (two step) method

Cost: I feel this cake needs premium ingredients to shine. Use the best european butter and finest vanilla extract. In this sense, the cake can be quite expensive to prepare. Using supermarket brands is less costly but will not produce good flavors.

Other comments: The top domed during baking and then sank slightly upon cooling. I know I underbaked it slightly but I wanted to keep as much moisture as possible. Even then it was dry and unappealing. Moistness improves after letting the frosted and filled cake stand for at least at room temp but flavor did not improve. I really wanted to like this cake because most of the recipes from that book are very good but I'm very disappointed with this cake. I followed the instructions to the letter. Will not make again, unless I'm inspired to find out if I did something wrong the first time. 5 out of 10

All Occasion Downy Yellow Buter Cake


note: I didn't bake this together with the other 6 cakes. I made it yesterday and had people try it yesterday evening. I also passed out samples of the other cakes so they could make comparisons.
Texture: Fine, velvety crumb. Feels denser than Sylvias, Tobas and Great American Cake because cake is velvety soft, not pillowy soft. The texture is similar to Sky High but not as compact and is way lighter. This cake has the highest proportion of baking powder making it really light.
Moistness: Moist but not in the way CakeMan Ravens or Sylvia Weinstocks is moist. Those cakes are moist to the point of almost being wet or oily and the crumbs compact in your mouth. This is moist as in buttery crumbs melt in your mouth. 

Flavor: Delicious. Voted one of the most delicious cakes, together with Sylvia's. Good balance of ingredients. Very good flavor which improves over time. Like Sylvias this calls for frosting thats not too sweet so I wouldnt pair it with powder sugar based buttercream. Mousseline, IMBC or classic French BC are perfect, as well as ganache. It amazes me how it can have such great flavor given that amongst the 7 cakes I tested it has one of the lowest proportions of butter, and has far less sugar than the other cakes which were highly rated for their flavor. I like the roundess of flavor contributed by the salt.
Ease of preparation: Mixing is Easy. Hi ratio method. BUT measuring and baking is a whole new ball game. Very important to measure by weight for precision. Very important to have ingredients at room temp. Very important to have correct oven temp.To maintain moistness its imperative not to overbake. Test for doneness at least 7 minutes before minimum baking time. Top should still hold depression if pressed with a finger, toothpick inserted in the center should come out moist but not wet with batter, sides should not have pulled from pan. If you follow the directions and these tips exactly a perfect cake is almost guaranteed. I do concede that you may need some experience with it for consistent results. In this sense it can be off putting especially if your first attempt was a dud. 

Cost: Reasonable but premium ingredients make a world of difference to this cake.

Ability to turn into cupcakes: Temperemental. I used to have great success with it when I was using a better milled cake flour and a convection oven. Since moving to another tropical country, using local flour and a gas oven, my cupcakes have been failing. They rise but fall on cooling. Bottoms were hollow. I've been experimenting to get it right but haven't had luck yet. Reducing baking powder or reducing sugar gives the cupcakes good form but affects taste and texture. I've since decided to use either WASC or Martha Stewart's cupcake recipe until I can solve the Downy Yellow Cupcake conundrum
Other comments: Bakes evenly. Carves well when chilled but is not heavy or dense. The cake improves in texture and flavor even after holding at room temp for a few days. Though the original recipe calls for 9 pans, the layers will only be 1 1/4 tall and the finished cake will be short. I either use the wedding cake conversion chart on the Cake Bible to make layers tall enough to torte or I bake the original quantity in 8 pans. 9 out of 10

As I am truly obsessive, I made comparison charts for these cakes plus for a few more cakes on the scratch off list. The charts scale down the recipes and also show the ingredient proportions in baker's percentages. By looking at the chart you can predict how each recipe is going to behave/taste/feel. Interesting stuff for cake nerds like me. PM me your email address if you want a copy.
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Formerly The Casual Kitchen. Just here for cake
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Formerly The Casual Kitchen. Just here for cake
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post #108 of 423
TheCasualKitchen, i would love to get a copy of that comparison chart. summer_wine23@yahoo.com

I had the same experience with the SkyHigh except mine didn't rise as much icon_sad.gif I thought it was my oven temp but it was fine I later discovered. I brushed syrup on my layers but it still didn't help. I wish I could have put more syrup.

Thanks for the very detailed review. I wonder if it's alright with everyone that I do cupcakes then, since most people didn't do cupcakes.
formerly known as cupcakeshoppe
Everytime a cake falls, a baker loses his/her mind.
Can I Put Ketchup on It?
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formerly known as cupcakeshoppe
Everytime a cake falls, a baker loses his/her mind.
Can I Put Ketchup on It?
Reply
post #109 of 423
Thread Starter 
Go for it, Cupcakeshoppe icon_smile.gif
Darlita
Die-Hard Scratch Baker

Time...and baking heals all wounds.
Your only competition should be yourself.
Reply
Darlita
Die-Hard Scratch Baker

Time...and baking heals all wounds.
Your only competition should be yourself.
Reply
post #110 of 423
This thread is making my mouth water!! LOL! I absolutely love Toba's cake. However, I think that I am going to give a few of the other recipes (in this thread) a try!
post #111 of 423
I usually use Toba's yellow cake or another recipe of my own. But based on what I'm reading here, I decided to try Sylvia's recipe. I've got two 9" and three 6" in the oven right now. I intend to freeze them all (except one of the 6") for a cake I have due in 2 weeks. I'll report back in a few weeks on how it stands up to freezing as compared to the one I don't freeze.
Housework makes you ugly.

It's marshmallow, not marshmellow! Aaargh, I have the strangest pet peeves!
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Housework makes you ugly.

It's marshmallow, not marshmellow! Aaargh, I have the strangest pet peeves!
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post #112 of 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA_cupcakeshoppe

TheCasualKitchen, i would love to get a copy of that comparison chart. summer_wine23@yahoo.com

I had the same experience with the SkyHigh except mine didn't rise as much icon_sad.gif I thought it was my oven temp but it was fine I later discovered. I brushed syrup on my layers but it still didn't help. I wish I could have put more syrup.

Thanks for the very detailed review. I wonder if it's alright with everyone that I do cupcakes then, since most people didn't do cupcakes.

That's something I'm into as well.
post #113 of 423
Hi folks, I gave Serious Cakes Yellow Cake a try. Here are my impressions.


Texture: Fine crumb, very tender, dense, almost velvety feel. Held together nicely when cut, did not crumble.

Moistness: Very moist. Top and bottom of the cake were sticky, but the sides were crunchy. I think I baked it a little too long (I over bake everything), but even over baked it was still moist enough.

Flavor: A little lacking in flavor (but I paired it with chocolate frosting which made the cake perfect). I think it needs more vanilla and also some butter extract (especially since it uses shortening instead of butter). 


Ease of preparation: Medium. I didnt see directions associated with the recipe, so I whipped the egg whites separate and folded them in at the end. 


Cost: Average. I used only supermarket brands. 


Other comments: The top domed during baking and then sank to near flat after removing from the oven. I over baked it (oops) to the point where the sides pulled away from the pan and no crumbs came out on the toothpick. I removed the cakes from the pans after three minutes of cooling and after an hour I wrapped in plastic wrap for overnight storage on the counter. I frosted the next morning and served the cake late in the afternoon. Everyone thought the cake was great tasting and moist enough, but the observant folks noticed that most of the flavor came from the frosting.

Overall Rating: 8 out of 10. I liked the cake and plan to try it again, but next time Ill add more vanilla, include butter extract, and try more baking powder for a little extra lift and airiness.
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post #114 of 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhellojana

Casual Kitchen - That is so weird. My cake's didn't pull from the sides of the pan, and certainly didn't look overbaked, so I doubt that was it. I doublechecked the recipe and I didn't leave anything out. Maybe it's the size of the egg yolks? I used large eggs, but the yolks didn't look very big to me. I guess this just shows how recipes are different for everyone?



Though I'm not officially in this test, I was inspired to make both Sylvia's recipe and the All-Occasion Downy Yellow today. I got the same results as you did on the Downy. This cake was very light, dry and crumbly. In fact, I couldn't even stick a fork in, break off a piece and lift it. Whatever I broke off with the fork just crumbled apart and fell off the fork on the way to my mouth.

I'm a trained pastry chef, so I know the exact moment a cake is done. I weigh my ingredients, use everything at room temp, etc. I'm positive I made this cake accurately and correctly. And I don't doubt anyone else's abilities here. So who knows? Go figure. Maybe we're all getting the same results but just perceiving them differently.
But this one definitely went in the bin.

Sylvia Weinstock's, on the other hand, reminded me of why I am exclusively a scratch baker. You just cannot get that kind of refined, delectable, quality result out of a box. I don't care what anyone says. superb!
Housework makes you ugly.

It's marshmallow, not marshmellow! Aaargh, I have the strangest pet peeves!
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Housework makes you ugly.

It's marshmallow, not marshmellow! Aaargh, I have the strangest pet peeves!
Reply
post #115 of 423
I've been so jealous of all this baking going on and me with no eggs or buttermilk! Will be getting to the grocery tomorrow so I will be back on the grind!
post #116 of 423
I am copying and pasting my review for the white on white buttermilk cake since it was added to the list. The cake isn't actually as white as the photo. I had taken the photo outside in the bright sun hoping to get a better photo of the crumb.

About the recipe- This is a typical creaming, add eggs, then alternate liquid with dry type of recipe. The plus side? No whipping of the egg whites! It doesn't call for sifting either, but I did. My cake flour looked real lumpy so I thought it would be for the best.


The batter- Yum! I could taste butter, vanilla, and the tang of the buttermilk. The batter itself is thick, but really light. I had to spoon and smooth it into the cake pans.

The look- The recipe called to bake the cake at 350, but I baked mine at 325. Do not wait for the top of this cake to be springy. I took mine out while there was a slight "mush" to the top. I checked with a skewer and it came out clean. The cakes baked up absolutely flat! I made a few cupcakes to see how they would bake up. Now the cupcakes I had issues with, but I it was user error due to over filling them and baking them at 325. They actually did dome slightly, but it's hard to judge how they would have came out if I hadn't messed up. So I will say using this as a cupcake recipe is still up in the air. The cakes didn't rise very much. I baked them in a 9 in (2 in deep) and filled them a little less than half full. They baked up about an eighth inch short of the rim of the pan.


The taste- Lol, I gave a cupcake to my four year old. His response? "mom it taste a little bit like walnuts". To me it tastes like one of those puffy, buttermilk sugar cookies.


The texture- It is very tender and light. I read that the cake wasn't sturdy enough for carving etc. A couple of hours in the fridge and it was fine for torting and carving for me. When at room temperature it did get slightly more delicate, but nothing a serrated knife couldn't handle. On a moisture scale of 1-10 I would give it a seven. This cake held up after two days of being wrapped in siran wrap. It was still moist and flavorful maybe even more so.


Negatives- Pockets in the baked cake. I think this was my fault though. I didn't do anything to knock out the air pockets.


Overall I would give the cake an eight out of ten for a white/butter cake.

Here is a picture of the cake sliced...
Image
post #117 of 423
[quote="artscallion"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhellojana

Sylvia Weinstock's, on the other hand, reminded me of why I am exclusively a scratch baker. You just cannot get that kind of refined, delectable, quality result out of a box. I don't care what anyone says. superb!



So, what rating what you give this cake?

All of these great reviews!! I have to try Sylvia's cake out!! I cant wait until I have some free time!!


Maryjsgirl, that looks delicious.
post #118 of 423
[quote="cakesweetiecake"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhellojana

Sylvia Weinstock's, on the other hand, reminded me of why I am exclusively a scratch baker. You just cannot get that kind of refined, delectable, quality result out of a box. I don't care what anyone says. superb!



So, what rating what you give this cake?

All of these great reviews!! I have to try Sylvia's cake out!! I cant wait until I have some free time!!


Maryjsgirl, that looks delicious.



Wait.... I'm not seeing Maryjsgirl's picture! Is it just me icon_cry.gif

CasualKitchen, can I also get a copy of you comparison spreadsheet? I'm addicted to charts and comparisons too. A few months ago I was into Red Velvet cakes and I made a spreadsheet with about 10 different recipes so I could see how they differed. I'm one exciting mama.
post #119 of 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesweetiecake

Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

Sylvia Weinstock's, on the other hand, reminded me of why I am exclusively a scratch baker. You just cannot get that kind of refined, delectable, quality result out of a box. I don't care what anyone says. superb!



So, what rating what you give this cake?




I'd give it a 9.5 out of 10, because I never give anything a 10 so that there's always chance something better will come along.

This cake has such a presence that I think it would best be served on its own with just a simple compliment of plain sweetened whipped cream. Anything else would distract from it.

side note...I taste tested these cakes plain, with no frosting. I think this is the fairest way to judge them.
Housework makes you ugly.

It's marshmallow, not marshmellow! Aaargh, I have the strangest pet peeves!
Reply
Housework makes you ugly.

It's marshmallow, not marshmellow! Aaargh, I have the strangest pet peeves!
Reply
post #120 of 423
Thread Starter 
Artscallion, I may do that next time....test them without fillings or frosting. I think that your right....it is the fairest way to sample and compare recipes. Or....maybe I'll just frost and fill with the same frosting/fillings next time thumbs_up.gif .

I may try Serious Cakes and Toba Garret's recipe, also. It all depends on time.

Hope y'all had a good weekend icon_biggrin.gif

BTW...I know it's a little early, but does anyone want to volunteer to be results tabulator?
Darlita
Die-Hard Scratch Baker

Time...and baking heals all wounds.
Your only competition should be yourself.
Reply
Darlita
Die-Hard Scratch Baker

Time...and baking heals all wounds.
Your only competition should be yourself.
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