White Velvet Butter Cake: Day 1

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I finally did it. I got the cake The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum from the library. I know I really should buy it, but I had to test drive it first and see if I'm even capable of making anything in it. I wanted to start at the beginning and make the very first recipe, her perfect pound cake.

But a very good friend, okay my best friend, said she wanted to make a cake with me. It was pretty random. When we got around to meeting up to talk about what kind of cake we'd want to make, she began listing all the cake mixes she had in her cupboard. It took all my strength to stop myself from fainting! I don't really have anything against cake mixes, some are very good, but when she said she wanted to make a cake, well I thought we were going to "make a cake". So I quickly told her that we would be making this thing from scratch and thankfully I was met with no objection.

It took all of five minuets for us to decide which cake we wanted to make. We did the preliminary look through all her pictures, but in the back of my mind I knew exactly what I wanted. Not being a chocolate fan myself, my friend (Maria), was quite willing to comply with this restriction. Of course white chocolate is a completely different story and one I'll save for another time. But by golly I sure love that stuff!

Okay, back to our cake. White velvet. It had a pretty name, it didn't contain chocolate, and we both liked red velvet cake, so why not? She also writes that it is "... the softest and most delicate of all butter cakes." Sounds great to me!

We both had major time restrictions when it came to getting together to bake it. I had volleyball mid-afternoon, she had cavettes (flag twirling) at night. So, we were limited to early morning baking, but of course it's still summer and we don't like to get up earlier than we have to. So this became a three day long ordeal.

Day 1: baking the cakes.

We managed to bake the cake with only minutes to spare until I had to leave. We pulled them out and once the had time to cool, I wrapped them in plastic wrap then foil and put them in the fridge. Unfortunately we wouldn't get back to those for another 3 days.

Ingredients: at room temperature
4 1/2 large egg whites
1 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (superfine is recommended)
1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter (2 sticks) must be softened

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have 2 nine-inch by 1 1/2-inch cake pans greased, bottoms lined with parchment or wax paper, and then greased again and floured.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth with the surface of a spatula. The pans will be about 1/2 full. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

Let the cakes cool in the pans on racks for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks. To prevent splitting, reinvert so that the tops are up and cool completely before wrapping airtight.

Store: Keep airtight. 2 days room temperature, 5 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen. Texture is most perfectly moist the same day as baking.


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