Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

I posted this on Facebook, thought it might help here too :D

 

I'm a simple kind of girl, once I've found something I like I'll stick with it, especially if it works well over and over again. That's how I feel about these recipes, the only time they've failed is when I did something I knew I shouldn't, or....when my oven started baking everything 100 degrees hotter than it was supposed to.
These recipes are not mine, I found them on the internet nearly 5 years ago and have been using them exclusively since. I know I say, 'Here's my yellow cake recipe', but I've made a couple changes to the recipe and because I've been using it so long I tend to feel like it's really mine.
A few things before we get underway, I need to say that baking IS science. These recipes work the way they do because of how the ingredients work together. If you start swapping out items you cannot expect them to still work properly. It's like putting square wheels on a bike and wondering why it's much harder to pedal. There are variations and additions that do work though and I'll list them as well.
Starting with the yellow cake, one thing I've noticed is that it bothers people that this recipe is called yellow cake but it turns out very pale. What makes a yellow cake yellow? It is not, as some people think, because butter is used, but rather the egg yolks. This is not my definition folks, it's a fact! But then if you look at a box yellow cake mix, it lists yellow food dye as one of the ingredients. The question is, how important is it that the cake is pale and not a good deep yellow? I personally don't care, and I can honestly say I've never had someone hand their slice of cake back to me and tell me it wasn't yellow enough for them.
Another thing that kind of freaks people out is that this recipe calls for shortening. I'll admit it bothered me at first too, but considering all the processed food nearly EVERYONE eats, including me, I just let it go. Granted, my diet has actually gotten better since I started baking but I still refuse to feel bad. And no, you cannot exchange the shortening for butter in this recipe, I've tried, it doesn't work. Butter has a much lower melting point than shortening, it throws the whole thing off.
When I was searching for yellow cake recipes there were a few criteria that were necessary; everything listed in the recipe needed to be what I already had in the house, no hard to find ingredients, no crazy directions that involve only part of the egg be used, no making me use 10 different bowls to keep things separated. This recipe won because if done correctly I only needed 2 mixing bowls and a measuring cup, and bonus points that I could use all purpose flour. Over time I added sifting to it but it's really not that difficult to wash a strainer :)
Ok, enough yapping, here's the recipe, blow by blow:

1 c. shortening
2 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 c. all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using dark pans). This recipe can make the following:
Round cake layers:
2 tall 8"
3 short 8"
2 short 9"

Square cake layers:
2 short 8"
1 short 9"x13"

28-30 cupcakes (start checking on these after about 13 minutes)

Prepare pans by using baking spray or grease and flour. Cream together sugar and shortening until fluffy and lighter, about 4 minutes. While that is creaming sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time to the sugar and cream mixture, allowing each egg to completely incorporate before adding the next. Now alternate adding the flour and milk in 3 parts, beginning with the flour. Pour into pans and bake 40-50 minutes, I say that but I like to start checking at 30 minutes just in case my oven goes berserk again and starts OVER baking my cakes. I try to get them out when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs sticking to it.
Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pans, then turn onto a cooling rack. I have a video showing all this:
https://www.youtube.com/user/SeriousCakes#p/u/36/fYQ-dryteww

So now you've baked the cake, turned out just like in the video, but wait! It fell?!?! Take a breath....ok, listen closely....it's OK. All of my cakes fall. So do my cupcakes. I've had people tell me everything needs to be room temperature, eggs, milk, etc. I've tried this..same result. Does it bother me? No way, again, never had a person hand their slice of cake back to me because the cake fell.
Here's what's fun about this recipe, this is what I call my base cake. Swap out some or all of the milk for buttermilk or sour cream, use a different extract (McCormick sells a lot of different kinds), add the zest of lemon or orange, it's like a whole new cake! Here are some variations I get just by doing what I listed above:

French Vanilla
Banana
Lemon
Orange
Coconut
Raspberry
Raspberry Chocolate Chip
Peppermint
Peppermint Chocolate Chip
Butter Rum

Those are just by using different extracts, chocolate chips and in the case of the lemon and orange cakes, I like to add some zest. These variations require more than extracts:

Almond Sour Cream-use almond extract and swap out half or all of the milk for sour cream
Brown Sugar Buttermilk-I think the name says it all :D Use brown sugar instead of white and buttermilk instead of milk (thank you Sayhellojana from cakecentral.com!)
Peanut Butter-use brown sugar instead of white and replace half of the shortening with peanut butter
Fuzzy Navel-use orange extract, some orange zest, then when the cake is cooled brush the top with Peach Schnapps (this was my favorite until I made the one below)
Pina Colada-use a 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, save the liquid and finely chop the pineapple even more. The saved liquid won't be enough, use however much you get from the pineapple, then add milk for the rest making sure it's a full 1 3/4 cup of liquid all together. Sprinkle shredded coconut between the layers and frost with coconut buttercream.

There's 15 different variations just from the ONE recipe! I have at least 2 more variations I want to try and of course I'll post about it. I think I can make this into Red Velvet and chocolate by making a few changes....

Anyway, hope you try it, hope you like it :D

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This maybe a stupid question but I'm new in all of this so here it goes ... Can I decorate any of this versions with fondant? I will be making my first wedding cake and i want to give 3 options for tasting ... Also wich ones can handle a very hot weather ...Thanks
lol-questions are only stupid if you already know the answer :) Yes you can use fondant with any of the versions for this cake, it's pretty sturdy, almost like a pound cake but lighter tasting. Any of them would be fine in hot weather.

Cynthia Jones said:
This maybe a stupid question but I'm new in all of this so here it goes ... Can I decorate any of this versions with fondant? I will be making my first wedding cake and i want to give 3 options for tasting ... Also wich ones can handle a very hot weather ...Thanks
I made this recipe, followed the recipe exactly. The cake cooked up beautiful, the "consistency" of the cake is perfect....but I hate how it tastes! What did I do wrong? I taste a lot of flour and it seems like it needs more sugar, it isn't very sweet or flavorful at all.

My husband thinks it tastes fine but he always says that.

On the bright side, I used seriouscake's chocolate BC recipe and he and my oldest couldn't keep their fingers out of the icing.
I'll say this, not everyone likes this cake, don't feel bad if you don't! Everyone I make it for loves it but I've seen people online who try it and it's just not what they're looking for. It's not going to taste like a box mix, it's more like a pound cake. There's a ton of recipes out there though, keep trying until you find one that YOU like! :D
I was wondering if you (or anyone else maybe?) has ever tried making this recipe with splenda or agave nectar? I know I'd have to split the sugar...I'm struggling to find some good sugarless recipes for cake and am hoping that the splenda or agave nectar might work with this one! Thanks in advance your thoughts on this!
Wow I have been looking for a good tried recipe. I will be giving yours a try this week. Thank you so much for sharing! Have a Sweet Day!
i've been thinking of doing a red velvet cake, but if you can in fact manage to turn this into one that'd be great as i'm doing a two tiered cake and could do two different cakes for each tier easily then.
But that askide, thank you for this recipe. I might give it a go this weekend.

I have made your BC icing and it is in fact lovely. And even though these cakes will be covered in fondant this weekend I'll be making the BC to put underneath it.
I have experienced before that with the sweet ocing, sweet fondant and sweet cake it's a little too much so i'll be happy to try one that is...less sweet as I've seen people write.
Oh wow I made your cake and love it!!!!! It turned out light, fluffy and oh so yummy. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

Bela
Awesome! Glad you liked it!

Bela Duffley said:
Oh wow I made your cake and love it!!!!! It turned out light, fluffy and oh so yummy. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

Bela
made this cake today...it is in fact the one in my picture currently.
Amazing cake, so tasty, thank you for this recipe.
Sweet!! Cake looked awesome too :D
Let me say that I am addicted to this recipe! I tried making it with splenda - I didn't care for the taste, but I am a person that really hates artificial sweeteners. The customer really enjoyed it! I am going to do a sugarless take on it this weekend again, this time using agave.

Any tips on turning this into a strawberry cake?? Can I use some strawberry puree?

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