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READY TO GIVE UP AND RESORT TO BOX MIXES- HELP!

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

I'm ready to give up, I think I've tried just about every vanilla cake recipe there is out there, but I can't seem to find that perfect one!? 

 

I've tried Billys, fromscratchsfs, and just about everything that pops up on google under 'perfect vanilla cake'. 

 

I DON'T UNDERSTAND, chocolate cupcakes just alway seem to turn out so much moister and softer, why can't I find the perfect vanilla cake recipe? 

 

I'm after something incredibly soft and moist (not at all dry). I'm positive I'm not over-baking/mixing, I'm using all ingredients at room temp, and can seem to master every flavour (strawberry, chocolate, coffee, etc.. turn out wonderfully) just not vanilla!

 

Some things that might be causing problems: I don't really want to have to use cake flour and I use buttermilk substitute (milk + vinegar) as I sell these and I don't want to have my 'go-to' recipe to contain really expensive ingredients.. 

 

If any of you could help, suggest recipes, share secrets, I would be so very grateful! 

post #2 of 39
I use milk & vinegar substitution often, and it shouldn't affect anything. Cake flour is quite necessary in some recipes, so unless you adapt the recipe to AP flour, it can cause problems.
I think white/yellow cake is a problem for a lot of bakers. I'm all about the science of baking, so I'm trying to formulate my own recipe. We'll see how that plays out icon_smile.gif Recently, I have been working with Rose Levy Barenbaum's recipe and it's OK. Not exactly what I want, but the texture is closer than almost any other I've tried. I use simple syrup when assembling my cakes and that helps with the moisture level a lot.
Wish I had more useful input, but I am finding my way through the white cake maze too.
post #3 of 39

Kellie - I really like FromScratchSF's vanilla cake.  What didn't you like about it?  I make it as directed, and it comes out perfectly.

 

As far as cost, buttermilk isn't any more expensive than whole milk, and cake flour isn't any more expensive in bulk.  And I think the recipe only calls for like 8.75 ounces of flour - even from a box of Softasilk from the grocery store you would still get almost 4 recipe's worth from a box.

 

You could always use the doctored WASC recipe, but it may come out more expensive than this scratch recipe, because you still have to add flour, sugar, sour cream, etc.

 

Liz

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post #4 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thank you! I might give the cake flour a try, I've used the substitute with cornflour, although I hear it's not really the same thing. Should I just resort to packet mixes? Although I find these don't always produce the exact texture I'm after either.. 

post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

Kellie - I really like FromScratchSF's vanilla cake.  What didn't you like about it?  I make it as directed, and it comes out perfectly.

 

As far as cost, buttermilk isn't any more expensive than whole milk, and cake flour isn't any more expensive in bulk.  And I think the recipe only calls for like 8.75 ounces of flour - even from a box of Softasilk from the grocery store you would still get almost 4 recipe's worth from a box.

 

You could always use the doctored WASC recipe, but it may come out more expensive than this scratch recipe, because you still have to add flour, sugar, sour cream, etc.

 

Liz

I should probably have another attempt at the fromscratch sf cake, My end result turned out curdled and was just difficult to scoop into the liners to begin with. I wanted to use whole eggs, do you? or do you make the yellow or white version?

post #6 of 39

My batter definately comes out pourable.  I have used the version with 3 whole eggs, which was very good, and lately I have been using the all egg white version.

 

I think the real success of this recipe is the reverse creaming method.  Do you think your batter was really curdled, or did you just have large chunks of butter remaining?  If your butter isn't at the perfect temp, it is hard to get mixed in properly.

 

Try it again and see what you think!

 

Liz
 

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post #7 of 39
Thread Starter 

I think it was definitely curdled, and when it started to rise in the oven, it looked still curdled and funny, I could tell it was a disaster before it had finished cooking, so I chucked it out. I may try it again though, do you think cake flour is essential to the reverse creaming method? I heard it doesn't work with AP

post #8 of 39
Here's the vanilla cake recipe that's next on my list to try: http://www.threelittleblackbirds.com/2011/12/yellow-butter-vanilla-cake/
 
It sure sounds like a winner according to the baker who created it!
 
I found it so interesting that she loathes the smell and taste of things made with cake flour because that's exactly me, and I swear I thought I was the only one...
 
I've tried a few different brands, and even a really expensive, highly rated one from King Arthur Flour...but I'm done experimenting with it...no more cake flour for me.
post #9 of 39

My favorite yellow cake is Toba Garrett's moist yellow cake from her book The Well Decorated cake.  I tried many recipes before finding this one, and then looked no further.  I have only made it as written, with cake flour and full fat fresh buttermilk.  The best cakes are made with the best ingredients.  I have not tried it with the substitutions that you are hoping to use.  Hope that helps!

 

 

just for fun, I I did a rough estimate of the price difference for regular milk vs buttermilk, and regular vs cake flour.  These are very rough estimates off the top of my head, and my prices are local grocery, not discount or restaurant supply.  

 

Flour .50/lb

cake flour 2.00/lb

whole milk 1.00/qt

buttermilk 3.00/qt

 

 

the recipe uses 10 oz of cake flour,  which is .32 vs 1.25

1.25 cups buttermilk is .32 vs .94

 

overall difference is 1.55 more for the good stuff, all else being equal.  Good luck!

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post #10 of 39

Hi! I was having the same problems with the recipes and since I'm in the UK we don't get cake flour that's less than £3.50 a kilo which is ridiculous and I've given up looking at the protein content of all the plain and self raising flours in every supermarket. I use this one as a default now and everyone who's tried it says its perfect but that may be UK tastes, or people I know tastes.

 

http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au/2009/11/butter-cake-recipe.html

 

Also, just as a note, instead of the sour cream I use double cream now because I noticed that the fat content of sour cream here is between 15% and 20% and it actually made a massive difference. Good luck!

post #11 of 39

yortma, I recently tried Toba Garrett's yellow cake recipe.  It is delicious.  However, it is a little dry.  I am wondering if I add more milk will this help?  Thanks.

post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy107 View Post

yortma, I recently tried Toba Garrett's yellow cake recipe.  It is delicious.  However, it is a little dry.  I am wondering if I add more milk will this help?  Thanks.

 

 

Possibly, if you are using full fat buttermilk. If you used nonfat or low fat buttermilk, maybe just finding the full fat type will help.  It's what I have always used for this recipe.   I believe what usually adds moistness in general is not adding more liquid, but adding more fat such as heavy cream, sour cream or yogurt. Also, don't overmix at the end, and don't overbake!   I don't like dense cakes and really liked this one because it has great flavor, is not dense but is still moist. But it may not be the best for everybody!   The site below has a really nice explanation of cake chemistry.  

 

http://www.asliceofheavencakesclassroom.com/2012/03/making-moist-cakes-or-cupcakes.html

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post #13 of 39

1. Look for an oil based recipe vs a butter based recipe.

2. Consider adding a cake enhancer like they sell at King Arthur Flour.

post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemmal View Post

Hi! I was having the same problems with the recipes and since I'm in the UK we don't get cake flour that's less than £3.50 a kilo which is ridiculous and I've given up looking at the protein content of all the plain and self raising flours in every supermarket. I use this one as a default now and everyone who's tried it says its perfect but that may be UK tastes, or people I know tastes.

 

http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au/2009/11/butter-cake-recipe.html

 

Also, just as a note, instead of the sour cream I use double cream now because I noticed that the fat content of sour cream here is between 15% and 20% and it actually made a massive difference. Good luck!

 

Thanks for sharing this recipe.  It looks like it would be very moist, light and delicious.

Linda
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Linda
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post #15 of 39
I feel you. Never posted before, but this was me yesterday. Just finished a cake with this recipe, and it seems to be what I was after. Tried 8 before this with no luck. I think the almond flavour is heavy, next time I'll swap the vanilla and almond flavour ratios. Not icing till tomorrow, and I've only tasted what I trimmed to level the cake, but the texture and moisture level seem to be what I've been looking for. Here's links to the same recipe from three perspectives, the original is from cooks illustrated. Uses just egg whites, though mixed in the batter and not whipped and folded in, and does call for cake flour. I've never made a cake with the ingredients added in this order before this, but it works!

http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2011/05/16/the-very-best-white-and-yellow-cakes/

http://iambaker.net/the-perfect-white-cake/

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/COOKS-ILLUSTRATED-WHITE-LAYER-CAKE-50017374

Hope it's helpful, if not - I wish you the best in your hunt. White cake has been eluding me for two years, and I'm so happy this one turned out as promised!
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