September 20, 2009

Sunshine in a pan.

It may have looked like cornbread...
but (thank goodness)...
it definitely tasted like cake.

Yellow cake is like the sunshine of cakes. I have fond memories of standing at my kitchen counter, eating Pillsbury yellow cake straight from a 9x13 inch pan. (Fatty alert!) But I always wondered in the back of my mind if the "moist supreme" taste could be duplicated or improved upon in a from-scratch recipe. Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed that people bake chocolate, vanilla, chiffon and pound cakes from scratch, yet they hardly ever make a plain old yellow cake. Le sigh. One of the great mysteries of life, right up there with: "Is Earth really the only planet that hosts life? Sometimes I wonder."

An online search confirmed my suspicions. Finding a yellow cake recipe from a blogger or chef I trust (where are you Ina?) is like searching for a needle in a haystack, and the needle becomes even narrower when you don't want to make cupcakes or a layer cake.

Nevertheless, my first time making yellow cake from scratch turned out better than I had hoped. I went with a Martha Stewart Weddings recipe. I was pretty happy with it overall, except that my cake baked about 10 minutes faster than stated in the recipe, and it was a tad too sweet. It could also do with the addition of some dried strawberries (my sister's fine suggestion). The recipe below reflects the edits I would make next time around.

Yellow Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart Weddings Basic Yellow Cake recipe
Yield: One 8-inch square cake
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • Smattering of add-ins like chocolate chips or freeze-dried strawberries, if desired
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Cream butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.

3. Mix cake flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add to butter/sugar mixture in thirds, alternating with the soy milk (beginning and ending with the flour mixture).

4. Pour into greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden like cornbread (or yellow like yellow cake!).

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