Getting Frustrated With Vanilla Cakes!

Baking By BethLS Updated 16 Apr 2012 , 1:05pm by HappyCake10609

BethLS Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 12:13am
post #1 of 47

I am a scratch baker convert...used to use strickly box mixes. But I've slowly started the conversion over to scratch and I can NOT for the life of me create a nice vanilla cake! (I spent 5 hours yesterday with 5 different recipes and they all were horrible) I can make easily chocolate, pumpkin spice, RV, ect ect...but no plain white/yellow. I've tried the "dump in all at once" method cakes to "folding in the stiff egg whites" and all have failed me.

I am in love with the hersheys scratch cake...the texture is perfect. Why why why can't I find a recipe that will yield the texture that the chocolate cake does?

I'm ready to try another tonight...any tried and true recommendations?

46 replies
ConfectionsCC Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 12:50am
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I too want to know! I started with scratch recipes, but converted to doctored box mix because I could not find a decent vanilla recipe!

tsal Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:22am
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I could have written your post myself! I, too, have been looking for a good scratch vanilla recipe because my chiffon cake, although tasty, falls apart when it's 4" high. It's embarrassing!!

cathyscakes Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:23am
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I have been saying this for years. I have tried so many recipes, ones that are suppose to be great, but they don't fit my taste. I know what you mean, people go crazy for my chocolate cake, carrot cake, but white cake to me tastes bland, flat, floury, dry, texture is off, never the perfect cake. People will tell you that you haven't found the right recipe or technique, but I am tired of trying. I have been baking for alot of years, people always joke and call me martha (stewart), so I am good at it, but for some reason I don't like scratch white cakes. I went to a wedding a while back, the cake was a scratch white buttermilk cake, I hated it, and this was suppose to be from a famous bakery in town.

ConfectionsCC Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:28am
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I seriously don't think any of the bakeries in my area even do scratch vanilla recipes, id swear they all taste like some type of a doctored box mix to me! Anyone try the confetti cakes recipes from her book? I have done her chocolate and RV, both turned out dry, like I needed a glass of milk...and I baked both several times to make sure I wasnt over baking...hmm

BrownSugarTreats Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:41am
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I am also in the same boat! I have done some experiments within the last 2 weeks with scratch white/yellow cakes. (Didn't care for any of them.) I am frustrated as well. I don't have problems with Chocolate, RV, etc. There is a very famous bakery in town that does doctored cake mix for their white and everybody talks about how "Awesome" they are. They are yummy but I want a yummy scratch white/yellow. Sorry I wasn't able to provide a recipe just that I'd join inicon_wink.gif Happy Baking!!!

BrownSugarTreats Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:42am
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That famous bakery I'm speaking of is in Arkansas BTW.

mcaulir Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 1:46am
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This is my favourite. It's not that heavy, but not alight and fluffy one either. I don't really like light and fluffy, though!

Beat the cream cheese and butter for as long as you can cope with waiting.

Kitagrl Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 2:05am
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I know...the only "vanilla" scratch cake I do is pound, and then of course flavored scratch like chocolate, pumpkin, carrot, etc...but I still do doctored yellow and white box mixes! People love them, anyway...why change? I'm almost thinking if I DID change, people would not like them as well. haha.

Mika0201 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 2:09am
post #10 of 47

Buddy (from the Cake Boss) has a recipe for vanilla cake that he says is really good. I haven't tried it as of yet though. The Swans Down cake flour has a really good white cake recipe that I've made several times and everyone loves it.

Marla84 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 2:16am
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Has anyone tried either of these recipes? I've had them saved for a while but haven't gotten around to making them.

Silver White Cake

Martha Stewart's White Cake

tsal Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 2:24am
post #12 of 47

I could have written your post myself! I, too, have been looking for a good scratch vanilla recipe because my chiffon cake, although tasty, falls apart when it's 4" high. It's embarrassing!!

jade8 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 3:06am
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i cant tell you how many yellow cake recipes i have tried and still have not found the right one. like most of you, i have no problems with choc. or carrot cake.

LindaF144a Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 3:21am
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I am confused because to me we are talking about three different kinds of cake.

Vanilla cake is a cake that has a distinctive vanilla taste. I have used the Cakelove recipe for his butter cake recipe. I add extra vanilla. While it is great as a cake, to me it is dry as a cupcake. My family cannot get enough of this cake.

White cake is a pure white cake with no egg yolks. I haven't tried this yet, though my MIL gave me a family recipe that my FIL swoons over. I'll be making this soon.

Yellow cake is a yellow cake with no distinctive vanilla taste. I need to try this too. The 1,2,3,4 cake is a yellow cake and the Joy of Baking website are two kinds of yellow cake I want to try.

I have made a yellow cake. I was trying to make a vanilla cake, but the true taste of vanilla did not come out. It did come out to be a pretty delicious yellow cake, so I may go with that one. I have also made a very delicious vanilla bean cake that I love too. I like it better than the Cakelove book recipe. I have only made it once and need to try it again to make sure I can replicate it.

So which kind of cake are we talking about - vanilla, white or yellow. Or all three? Or anything that is not chocolate?

ConfectionsCC Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 3:23am
post #15 of 47
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

I know...the only "vanilla" scratch cake I do is pound, and then of course flavored scratch like chocolate, pumpkin, carrot, etc...but I still do doctored yellow and white box mixes! People love them, anyway...why change? I'm almost thinking if I DID change, people would not like them as well. haha.

I my (short amount) experience, people DO prefer box mixes over scratch! NO ONE I gave my cakes to to try, preferred ANY of the scratch recipes over box!! Where will will differ from other bakeries I suppose is our own "twist" to the basic box mix...

CAKELADIE1 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 3:50am
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I have had the same problem with white scratch cake recipes as most of you. I now just use a box cake and change it up a little and my customers love it and I have to admit it tastes so much better than a scratch white. I too wanted to be a scratch baker, but why go to so much trouble and stress when a box cake is much cheaper, moist, quicker to make and tastes great. I would rather spend more time decorating than spending so much time measuring cake ingredients.

BethLS Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 3:52am
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I am SO glad I'm not the only one!

I am talking about vanilla cakes in general...(because I tend to believe all "white" or "yellow" cakes are primarily vanilla flavoured) So, yes, I am speaking of "all" of them icon_smile.gif

I just can't do it like DH can! icon_twisted.gif

Maureen1954 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 4:33am
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I always use the recipe from the Magnolia Bakery. It is delicious. Just Google it.

iwantcookies Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 5:16am
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i absolutely LUV the vanilla buttermilk cake recipe in the book 'Sky High'. you can find it on this blog:

Just scroll down the page til u get to the recipe.

BethLS Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 1:13am
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Hi guys!

I have another test subject in the oven as I type...if its any good (the batter was tasty) I'll report back!

Here is the recipe:

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla (I used a full tsp on vanilla, and a tsp of almond emulsion)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 small box of instant pudding mix

I also added approximately 1/3 cup of oil...I just though by feel that it *needed* it.

Cream together sugar/butter. Add egg. I added milk and oil, then the sifted flour/salt/bp. I'm baking it at 325. (will only yield 1 9" layer by the looks of it)
Heres hoping!

steplite Posted 25 Dec 2010 , 10:22am
post #21 of 47

if you go to and click down at the bottom "From Karen's Kitchen" You'll find lots of great recipes and info. I always bake the "Yellow Cake" recipe. It's really good. Also Toba's Moist yellow cake is Good. Softasilk cake flour makes a better scatch cake .

cakeandpartygirl Posted 25 Dec 2010 , 1:49pm
post #22 of 47

Like Kita said I use a vanilla pound cake recipe. Try a pound cake but lighten it up by whipping the egg whites separately and folding them at the end. What about trying a white chocolate cake.? It really doesn't taste like white chocolate ( but of course white chocolate doesn't really have a distince taste ) but it's good (I tried it on a few people and they loved it)! Don't give up. When I first made the transition from box to scratch I was still looking for the box flavor and texture so I kept comparing the two but I have come to learn that a scratch cake is a different ball game. I love baking from scratch and wouldn't change it for the world!!

ETA: make sure that you use cake flour for a vanilla cake. You will yield much better results, oh and always sift. If it says a certain measurement of sifted flour.....sift the flour first and then measure.

mombabytiger Posted 1 Jan 2011 , 8:09pm
post #23 of 47

I tried a recipe for a blueberry/mango upside down cake. It was to DIE for. My little brain figured out that the basic vanilla cake would serve very nicely even without the upside down part. Now it's all I use. Absolutely perfect.

somethinsweet2eat Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 12:16am
post #24 of 47

This post is why I love CC!! I have tried so many white cake recipes that I started dreaming about them!! I did try Sylvia's white cake recipe but could not get the same results everytime. Plus people would complain about the flour taste. Everyone loves my doctored cake mixes. My whole family begged me to go back to them. They were tired of eating the other ones and tired of me stressing about it. I feel slightly defeated but I enjoy being able to make something everyone loves.

theartisankitchen Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:45pm
post #25 of 47

I also need a scratch made vanilla cake that's moist like a box. I've tried Puratos Creme Cake, that's what a lot of bakeries used. I also have swtiched to part shortening (Nutex) to hold some of the moisture. Also, I add some vanilla pudding mix to add some moisture.

Can't find anything like a box mix as far as moisture!! HELP!

simplysouthern Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:06pm
post #26 of 47

Have you all seen the Great Scratch Threads? There is one for yellow cake and one for chocolate. These ladies tried several different recipes and judged then each, there is even a spread sheet to help you see results.

Google it, maybe you'll fins that long sought after scratch yellow cake icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:30pm
post #27 of 47
Originally Posted by BethLS

....because I tend to believe all "white" or "yellow" cakes are primarily vanilla flavoured)

There is a definite difference between a white/vanilla cake and a yellow cake.

I refuse to eat a yellow cake. Haven't had one yet that didn't taste dry and have a cornbread texture. Yellow cakes have no flavor to me. dry. tasteless. yucky. Mix or scratch, haven't met one yet that was worth it.

white cake made with egg yolks, which will give it a yellow-ish color, is not the same as a "yellow" cake. its a white cake made with egg yolks.

ChristaBaker Posted 15 Jan 2011 , 9:24pm
post #28 of 47

I am in the exact same boat. After years of using mixes, I decided that since I am starting to sell my cakes, I should start doing scratch cakes. I have found two delicious chocolate recipes, but white and yellow still elude me. I have tried many recipes from Rose Levy Berenbaum, America's test kitchen, and various other sources. I am usually happy with the look and flavor, but not the moistness - they are ALWAYS dry. Even when I brush the layers with flavored sugar syrup, they are always drier than I like. I am not a novice baker, so I don't think it's just me. I am getting frustrated and almost ready to go back to the box for white and yellow cakes!

tigachu Posted 15 Jan 2011 , 10:01pm
post #29 of 47

I have tried and really liked the White cake on the back of the King Arthur Flour Queen Guinevere Cake flour bag but I have not tried their yellow version of it (they tell you how to convert it with the yolks). I do not have a tried and true yellow yet but I plan to go back through and bake the other candidates and do a side by side. Has anyone tried Shirley Corriher's yellow cake? I have a feeling I will like it because it has both butter and oil in it.

silverdragon997 Posted 15 Jan 2011 , 10:04pm
post #30 of 47

I swear by Shirley Corriher's Magnificent Moist Golden Cake. It's fabulous and I always get lots of compliments on it. It's got a lot of steps, but is SO worth it!

1 3/4 cups spooned and leveled, cake flour (NO SUBSTITUTE -- the cake will sink and not work correctly if other flours are used )
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in 2 tablespoon pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
With an electric mixer, beat flour and baking powder for a full 30 seconds at medium speed and then pour the flour mixture into a large bowl and set aside. Dont wash the mixer bowl. Add the sugar to the bowl and place it back on the mixer.
Heat the water to a simmer in the microwave or on the stove and add it to the mixer bowl. Beat a few seconds to dissolve the sugar, and then beat in the butter, vanilla and salt. Add oil and mix on medium to blend.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the sugar mixture. Blend in on low with a minimum amount of beating. Continue adding the flour until all is incorporated. By hand, stir in the egg yolks one at a time and then stir in the whole eggs one at a time.
Place a bowl, beaters, and heavy cream in the freezer to chill for 5 minutes. Whip the cream until soft peaks form when the beater is lifted. Whip just a little beyond this soft peak stage. Stir about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the batter to lighten. Then, gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Drop the pan onto the counter from a height of about 4 inches to knock out bubbles. Place the cake in the oven and bake until the center springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean but moist, about 40 minutes.

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