I was saving CI's attempt at recreating a box mix yellow cake from scratch for my birthday, but I’ve been sick all week with nothing to do, so I jumped the gun by about a month. That’s OK, ‘cause I really want an ice cream cake for my birthday this year, anyway!How do they go about getting a light, moist, yellow cake like the ones from a box that you know your Sandra Lee-bashing self really loves? Delicate cake flour, whipped egg whites for lift, and egg yolks for color.
I ended up eating around most of the frosting. Don’t ask me how I could not love what was mostly butter, melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and confectioner’s sugar, but I didn’t. I much prefer the chocolate frosting (also from CI) I posted about a couple of years ago. I’m skipping the frosting intended for this cake and sending you straight to, in my opinion, the better frosting.
Yellow Layer Cake
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
2 ½ cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ¼ sticks butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks plus 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- Move oven rack to the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350°.
- Grease two 9” round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Dust pans with flour.
- Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 ½ cups sugar in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and egg yolks.
- Beat egg white in a small bowl until foamy, about 30 seconds. Then slowly add the remaining ¼ cup sugar to the egg white while beating. Continue to beat until whites hold peaks, but mixture still looks moist. (The original recipe calls for a mixing stand, but I did not have one. I used a hand held beater, and had to beat for much longer than the prescribed 60 seconds to get peaks.)
- Add butter mixture to flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture, then add the remaining egg white mixture and gently fold in until fully incorporated.
- Divide batter between two pans, tapping filled pans gently on counter to dislodge air bubbles.
- Bake 20-22 minutes or until done.
- Cool 10 minutes before removing cakes from pan. Remove cakes from pan, and cool on a cooling rack for 1 ½ hours before frosting.