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*Almost* perfect

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have been searching for the "perfect" white cake (from scratch) light, fluffy, moist, sweet. I think I almost have it ( FINALLY its only taken 9 different recipes to get this one!) My only problem is it tends to sink in the middle... Any clue as to why it does this? (I have never had a cake sue this to me before....) Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS
Classic White Cake
   Nonstick cooking spray
  2 1/4cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans
  1cup whole milk , at room temperature
  6large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
  2teaspoons almond extract
  1teaspoon vanilla extract
  1 3/4cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
  4teaspoons baking powder
  1teaspoon table salt
  12tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. For the Cake: Set oven rack in middle position. (If oven is too small to cook both layers on a single rack, set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.
  2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
  3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
  4. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
  5. Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.



PS This came off of a website called something like test kitchen America??

PPS I have tried it with both cake and AP flour... Turned out great both ways just (as you know if you played with cake flour) a slightly different texture... and in the cake flour one the almond was much more predominate where as in the AP it wasn't... dunno why.
post #2 of 11
Sometimes the ones with milk can handle a little less milk and the problem will correct. You can also try sour cream as a sub, but the taste will change.

Do you mean America's Test Kitchens? That is a highly reliable site. You may want to look at method if it is theirs.

The ap flour will be more sturdy. I don't think the almond should be affected by the flour. I'm guessing an error in amount.

I have recipes just like this in method. My guess is that your temp is off in your oven. Buy an independent thermometer. Also, I always use baking strips. This allows for a few more minutes baking time, maybe just what you need to finish baking the middle. And... make sure all ingredients are room temp to aid in emulsification without over-mixing,as this cake depends on that.

Also, if a particular cake recipe tends to sink, do not test with a toothpick. Use the touch and smell method. Plus look for the cake coming away from the pan. And don't open the oven door for at least 20 minutes, or more, to allow the structure of the cake to develop.

Let us know how you do on your next test. Many times it takes a few tries to get scratch recipes correct and sometimes it's method or improper equipment and not the recipe. Good luck, Susan
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Susan,

Thank you SO much for all the helpful advice! I will be trying it again tomorrow and will try with a little less milk... I have suspected that my oven might be off so I will go to walmart tonight and grab a thermometer icon_smile.gif TY!
YES! Americas Test Kitchen icon_wink.gif I knew it was something like that! Yes I followed their method, but my eggs and milk were not room temp so I will do that this time as well!
I will let you know how the third round comes out !

Thanks again!!!

Aleisha
post #4 of 11
Hint, a quick way to bring eggs to room temp, is to place them in a bowl of tap water. I do this while I'm getting everything else ready and they're room temp once I start mixing. I guess you could do the same with milk, by putting it in a container, in a bowl of tap water, but I've never tried it with milkicon_smile.gif
Visit me at www.keeponcaking.com for tutorials and other cake stuff.
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Visit me at www.keeponcaking.com for tutorials and other cake stuff.
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post #5 of 11
sillywabbits - I do the same thing with my eggs.

ANDaniels - I can't wait to hear the results of your next try. I am also still searching for the perfect white cake... so far it's been elusive!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
YAY! My 11in square cake turned out BEAUTIFUL! I used a flower nail, and homemade bake even strips.... hopefully one day this week I can go get real ones that wont be so hard to get on there icon_wink.gif Anywho~ It did not fall! I baked at night where NO lil ones were running around so that might be a factor too... but regardless I LOVE this recipe! Try it!

Thank yall SO much for your help!
post #7 of 11
Does this recipe bake 'tall?' I tried Sylvia Weinstock's "NEW" yellow cake recipe yesterday with 1/4C milk rather than 1C, and it tasted good, but the texture was unimpressive-- too dense, and final height of the layer was 1 inch. I don't know where they got off asking for 8x3 pans.
post #8 of 11
I'm so glad it worked. Whatever advice I give, you can be sure I have done it incorrectly and that's how I know.

Now I want to try that recipe. Thanks.

I am completely unimpressed with the SW recipe too. But she does have a tip that I love in her "new" recipe that I have adapted in all of my yellow cakes... the ginger. Very little, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. It is unidentifiable but adds another depth of flavor. I use it in Warren Brown's recipe. But I also sub Hennessy for the brandy and am very heavy handed with vanilla extract and homemade vanilla extract.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ANDaniels

YAY! My 11in square cake turned out BEAUTIFUL! I used a flower nail, and homemade bake even strips.... hopefully one day this week I can go get real ones that wont be so hard to get on there icon_wink.gif Anywho~ It did not fall! I baked at night where NO lil ones were running around so that might be a factor too... but regardless I LOVE this recipe! Try it!

Thank yall SO much for your help!



Could you share what changes you made to perfect it? I baked this last week and it sinks a little while cooling icon_cry.gif
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

I'm so glad it worked. Whatever advice I give, you can be sure I have done it incorrectly and that's how I know.

Now I want to try that recipe. Thanks.

I am completely unimpressed with the SW recipe too. But she does have a tip that I love in her "new" recipe that I have adapted in all of my yellow cakes... the ginger. Very little, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. It is unidentifiable but adds another depth of flavor. I use it in Warren Brown's recipe. But I also sub Hennessy for the brandy and am very heavy handed with vanilla extract and homemade vanilla extract.



You know I was expecting to taste the ginger, especially since I added double the amount but I didn't taste it at all. I thought that was pretty interesting.
post #11 of 11
I was surprised too. I personally love those deep spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and especially nutmeg. It didn't take much convincing for me to try it. But I was still easy with the amount. That, coupled with the Hennessy in 1 tbsp instead of 2 or 3 I usually use, really makes it interesting. You can try this in any yellow recipe. The results will be unidentifiable but good.
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