Yellow cake! It's our favorite, and we've never been shy about admitting we use box mixes (Duncan Hines anyone??) to make them. They're reliable and easy, and frankly, we like the taste! Recently though, we've been trying out Test Kitchen's Cooking School (yay!) and I've kept coming back to this recipe. I've heard people rave about it and to be honest, I just didn't believe that a homemade yellow cake could be any good. My personal experience is that they are dense and have a slight raw egg taste (gag). Anyway, I decided I needed to give this recipe a fair shot...and I am SO glad I did. After I made it (and took a bite) I just sat at the kitchen table and stared at it. It was fluffy! And light! And no, it wasn't dry.
Test Kitchen does such a good job of explaining this recipe and giving guided steps on what to do (and not do). I love that when I'm attempting a new recipe...or a recipe that I have failed at in the past, or just didn't get the desired result I was looking for.
The Cooking School was so helpful, it gave a recipe overview, a list of what you need, a list of what could go wrong and common mistakes (LOVE THIS) and then they actually share pictures and videos as they bake it themselves. I found all of this so helpful with this particular recipe, and quite honestly, I don't think it matters if you are experienced in the kitchen or a novice, guided steps and explanations are beneficial to all. I'm going to share the recipe for this cake and all the steps below. Be sure to read it through its entirety to avoid any common mistakes! I know I've done it, rushed through a recipe only to get to the end and realize I made quite a few errors.
So, if you are like me, and love your box cake mixes, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Go all in, don't get rushed! You just might be surprised with the outcome.
2 1/2 cups cake flour (10 oz)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 oz)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated, plus 3 large yolks, room temperature
A pinch of cream of tartar
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar (4 oz)
3/4 cup cocoa powder (2 1/4 oz)
pinch of salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
8 oz milk chocolate, melted and cooled
What you will do:
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease parchment and flour pans. Set aside.
- Whisk the 2 1/2 cups of cake flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups of sugar together in a large bowl. Set aside
- Melt 10 tablespoons butter and cool to room temperature (don't skip this!)
- Separate 3 eggs into two bowls. Separate 3 more eggs, discarding the whites and adding the yolks to 1 bowl for a total of 6 yolks. Allow eggs to come to room temperature (don't skip this!)
- In a medium bow, whisk together the butter, 1 cup room temperature buttermilk, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and egg yolks. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites and a pinch of cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.
- Increase speed to medium-high and whip egg whites until soft and billowy, about 1 minute.
- Once egg whites are foamy, gradually add (don't dump it in all at once) remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whip until stiff peaks form, 2-3 minutes. This step is vital to make sure your cake is not dense. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
- Add flour mixture to now empty mixing bowl.
- With mixer on low, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated, about 15 seconds.
- Scrape down bowl, then beat on medium-low speed until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of egg whites into batter, then add remaining 2/3 egg whites and gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans and gently tap pans on counter to release any air bubbles.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out mostly clean.
- Let cakes cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and discard parchment paper. Let cool
- Soften 20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter on the counter. Melt 8 oz of milk chocolate (I did this in the microwave) and cool to between 85 and 100 degrees.
- In a food processor, process softened butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 3/4 cup of cocoa and a pinch of salt until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
- Add 3/4 cup light corn syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and process until just combined, about 10 seconds.
- Scrape down bowl, then add melted and cooled chocolate and process until smooth and creamy, 10-15 seconds.
- Frost cooled cake. ENJOY!
Here's a list of helpful hints and tips that the Cooking School provided that significantly helped me get the desired yellow cake I wanted.
- Make sure to separate your eggs straight out of the fridge, they separate more easily when they are cold.
- Make sure to melt butter and allow to cool!
- Make sure your buttermilk is room temperature.
- Make sure you whisk egg whites until they are stiff!
Recipe is from Test Kitchen.