Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A good basic white cake recipe ...

for any celebration. This is my favorite recipe for a simple white cake. It is a moist and dense textured butter cake. It is a modified version from Dorie Greenspan's recipe "The Perfect Party Cake". The lemon cream filling is the perfect compliment to this cake. Fruit jams are also excellent fillings for this cake. My favorite jams have been Sunfresh Freezer jams, they come in many wonderful tasting flavors. I've also filled the cakes with a thin layer of chocolate ganache and a whipped mascarpone cream mousse with fresh berries.

The Perfect Party Cake
2-1/2 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cup buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 oz) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract or vanilla

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake:
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
3. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
4. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
5. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
6. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
7. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
8. Finally, give the batter a good 2 minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
9. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
10. Put cake into oven, turn down temperature to 325F. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.
11. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
12. Invert cake and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months.

Happy baking!

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