Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sylvia Weinstock's "NEW" Classic Yellow Cake

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The Scratch-Off / June 2009 / Yellow Cakes - Trial #3

A group of scratch bakers on Cake Central have gotten together to test, rate and critique different cake recipes from a predetermined list. This week I decided to try Sylvia Weinstock's NEW Classic Yellow Cake.  (Ms. Weinstock has some great books like Sensational Cakes.)

click here for Sylvia's "new" yellow cake recipe (oops - now this recipe is gone too. So much for data hanging around forever on the internet.  The new recipe was like the old with an additional 1 cup of milk added - yes, one full cup.)

click here for her "original" recipe  - (oops, broken link - see comment section for recipe)

Here is my finished product. "Look Glinda, I'm defying gravity."

The ingredients....

The mixing got a little involved. First the butter and sugar are creamed. Eggs are added one at a time. Milk added to creamed ingredients. Note: I got a little concerned at this point because after the milk was added the creamed mixture looked curdled (sorry I didn't get a picture). But I mixed on.

Next came the sour cream and flour which was added in five stages, beginning and ending with flour. In the final step beaten eggs whites were folded into the mix. I had just seen an episode of Alton Brown called "A Cake on Every Plate", and I decided to follow his suggestion and weigh my pans to make sure I had equal amounts of batter in each pan.

Kinda cool, huh. But I do need one of those new fangled digital scale. Next the equally weighted pans went into the oven.

Whew, it was a lot of work. This had better be worth it!

Just out of the oven and everything looks good.

After 3 minutes I remove the cakes for their pan and set on a cooling rack. The bottom of the cake looked a little "wet", so I place it on a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture.

A few minutes I removed the paper towel and, YIKES, I found this !!!!!! A huge pile of yucky, sticky, gooey mess. What is going on ????

This is the bottom of the cake after the paper towel was pulled away. Notice the big oval patch in the middle where the cake looks REALLY wet. This is not looking good.

But I couldn't worry about the wetness; I had a wedding to attend. So after the cake had cooled to room temperature, I wrapped the layers up in plastic wrap and went off to the wedding.

The wedding was held at The Peristyle in City Park, New Orleans LA

When I got home that afternoon I unwrapped the cake and took a slice. Yuck!! It was gooey and sticky and looked like someone a dipped the bottom third into melted butter.

I took a taste...

Hummmm... not bad. In fact it was delicious. But I couldn't get past the texture. It was wet and gooey and somewhat slimy. It was like eating squishy worms. I threw it in the trash and frantically baked another cake (more on that later).

But the next morning I found the second layer sitting on the counter just waiting to be unceremoniously pitched into the trash. I felt sorry for the poor guy (any guilty about being a wasteful American), so I decided to bring the goopy thing to a family gathering that day and see what other people thought of it.

Well do you know what???? THEY LOVED IT. You could have knocked me over with a feather. They actually LOVED it. Not everyone mind you, about half the taste testers thought it was too moist, but the other half thought it was the BEST CAKE EVER.

Go figure. Teach me to assume that everyone likes dry hunks of sawdust like me.

If you would like to see the final results of the Yellow Cake Scratch-Off, click here. I could just tell you who the winner was, but that would spoil the surprise.


  1. I love the flavour of this cake- but always have the same problem with the gooey bottom. I've tried beating it until emulsified (before adding the flour, added the room temp eggs after mixing each one thoroughly...argh!! Any idea why this happens?

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    There was a long and lengthy discussion on Cake Central about Slyvia’s New Yellow Cake recipe and the general feeling was that there was too much milk called for in the recipe. The addition of 1 whole cup of milk made the cake gooey. A few people did some testing and decided that reducing the volume of milk 1/2 to 1/4 cup made the cake just about perfect. You can read all about everyone’s Sylvia’s New YC tests and opinions on this Cake Central thread starting on page 11. The discussion really gets going on page 13.

    Here is another thread that talks about the same problem.

  3. Here is the Original Sylvia Weinstock's Classic Yellow Cake Recipe:

    2 1/4 C sifted Cake Flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 sticks of butter
    2 C granulated sugar
    4 Lg egg yolks
    2 tsp vanilla
    1 C sour cream
    4 Lg egg whites

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Prepare and line 2-8X3" or one 12X3 inch pan with parchment.

    Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.
    Cream butter until light and fluffy, about 3 min.
    Add sugar and continue to beat for another 5 minutes.
    Add egg yolks, one at a time. Fully incorporating each yolk before the next is added.
    Add vanilla.

    Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape down sides of bowl after each addition.

    In a separate bowl, beat egg whites just until soft peaks form.
    Gently fold egg whites into batter.

    Bake 8" layers 45-50 min and the 12" pan 60 min or until golden brown.