Please Help With Firmness Of White Cake

Baking By TheGrinch Updated 7 Jul 2015 , 9:31pm by Jeff_Arnett

TheGrinch Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 4:01pm
post #1 of 24

Hello Everyone,

First time posting here and I just started to learn how to bake and was hoping that I could get some advice on how to firm up a white cake recipe I am using. The recipe is as follows:

2 1/4 cup cake flour

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

6 large egg whites

I wish that I remember which website I got recipe from to give them credit but I had copied the recipe a year ago and do not remember. I was able to bake the cake just fine in a square pan but it is to soft to handle and each time I tried the cake ripped apart. Any help, tips and advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

23 replies
SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 4:41pm
post #2 of 24

The best advice is to make another recipe. If the recipe doesn't work the way it was written, it is because the formula isn't any good. Perhaps they made a mistake typing it. Actually, you must have too because it is missing sugar. To me, there is not enough flour in relationship to the other ingredients.

I like the white cake recipe from Martha Stewart that is part of her Neapolitan Cake Recipe from her 2006 Wedding magazine. It is on her internet site too. It is similar to the one you are trying but the formula works well.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 4:43pm
post #3 of 24

And I should add, you can switch out a teaspoon of the vanilla in the recipe for almond extract.

Rfisher Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 5:25pm
post #4 of 24

I am baker/epicurious/cooks illustrated.? Looks like it. 

assuming no mistakes were made with ingredients:

Is it breaking apart when you are taking it out of the pan, or after you have layered it and moving the layers?

if out of the pan, parchment at the bottom helps. If while moving layers, are you using a tool to help support, or using hands? Waxed cardboard or bench scrapers works well. 

chilled/semi frozen cake will handle easier, but some people do not prefer the taste of butter cakes like this after they come back to room temp.

I do not use this recipe, maybe tested it years go, but have no extensive experience with it.

costumeczar Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 6:23pm
post #5 of 24


Quote by @TheGrinch on 2 hours ago

Hello Everyone,

First time posting here and I just started to learn how to bake and was hoping that I could get some advice on how to firm up a white cake recipe I am using. The recipe is as follows:

2 1/4 cup cake flour

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

6 large egg whites

I wish that I remember which website I got recipe from to give them credit but I had copied the recipe a year ago and do not remember. I was able to bake the cake just fine in a square pan but it is to soft to handle and each time I tried the cake ripped apart. Any help, tips and advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Try 2 3/4 cups cake flour and 4 whole eggs instead of egg whites.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 7:22pm
post #6 of 24

Costumeczar, and maybe some sugar - haha...

MBalaska Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 7:33pm
post #7 of 24

It will 'toughen' up a bit by just using all-purpose flower instead of cake flour

SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 7:57pm
post #8 of 24

MBalaska, but you can't just replace one kind of flour for another, for one thing -  you have to adjust the amount of flour and also - the other ingredients are centred to some degree around the type of flour.

Jinkies Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 8:58pm
post #9 of 24

Wouldn't the whole eggs make it more of a yellow cake?  I don't know, I agree with SquirrellyCakes, try another recipe.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 9:25pm
post #10 of 24

Jinkies, yes they would be more of a yellow cake but cakes with whole eggs are generally more dense and more stable. But this recipe is designed around the ingredients. I keep pointing out though that she hasn't listed any  sugar which is likely a typo by omission but the amount of sugar is part of the equation. 

Funnily enough though, " in olden times", cakes were considered white cakes even though they used yolks too. Boy, do I feel old, haha...

MBalaska Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 9:26pm
post #11 of 24

actually, Yes I can, 

  ..http://bakingbites.com/2007/05/subbing-all-purpose-flour-for-cake-flour/

 "" All purpose flour has about 11% protein content, while cake flour has 6-8%. Some recipes need that low protein content to remain tender and light (like Angel Food Cake) and others are flexible enough (like some cakes or loaves) to use the substitution, but knowing that all purpose flour is so much “stronger” than cake flour should help you decide when you can substitute and when you may not want to.""

TheGrinch Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 9:32pm
post #12 of 24

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the replies and advice! I did leave out the sugar, the recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of sugar. For the most part the cake comes out decent, my family has told me the cake is fairly moist and the flavor is ok, but it is just hard to handle and it feels a bit too soft. I will try to add more cake flour and see if it will help, if not I will have to hunt down another recipe.I do appreciate all the responses. Thanks again.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 10:16pm
post #13 of 24

MBalaska, if you re-read that site you quoted you will see that you cannot. You have to adjust the amount of flour when you substitute as they are not one for one and the difference in protein between the two flours does alter things. That is what I meant. I was just trying to be clear so that novice bakers didn't read this thread and think that it doesn't matter if you use one flour or the other. It does matter because good recipes are designed around the ingredients used. Sometimes if you adjust the flour, you will still achieve some success. But it doesn't mean you will get the same results. A good example of tbat is the "Never Fail Piecrust Recipe". It succeeds with either type of flours in the varying amounts in the recipe but you actually get better results with cake flour( called Cake and Pastry Flour in Canada) .

Incidentally, cake flour protein content varies from country to country. Interesting, is it not?

bubs1stbirthday Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 10:33pm
post #14 of 24

I am a great lover of experimenting to change a recipe to better suit my needs. I definitely do not use cake flour whether a recipe calls for it or not and have never found it to be detrimental to my cake so whether you choose to substitute is up to your own preference, all you can do is try it and see if you like it.

As for adding more flour, I think that is a great starting point, I have one recipe in particular that was as you describe texture wise but such a beautiful flavour that I wanted to try and fix what was for me a problem. In the end I found that adding an extra 50% of the amount of flour called for in the recipe made the cake perfect.

Sometimes adding an extra egg or as mentioned above adding in the egg yolks if that suits what you are going for can also improve the texture of your cake.

I have also altered a lemon cake to be a vanilla cake as I love the texture of the cake and the ease with which it bakes up and so now have a lemon cake and a vanilla cake that come out perfectly every time.

With a little patience and experimentation along with understanding the basic rules of balancing a cake recipe and what makes them work (these are easy to find with google) you certainly can alter a recipe to better suit your needs and for me it is part of the fun to be able to manipulate someone else's recipe to get what you want from it while keeping the qualities that made it a cake that I loved in the first place.


SquirrellyCakes Posted 1 Jul 2015 , 10:36pm
post #15 of 24

Yes TheGrinch, if you look at the Neapolitan Cake Recipe on Martha Stewart , the recipes are pretty similar in ingredients but some amounts vary a bit. That was why I referenced it and it does use a cup more flour,  a couple more tablespoons milk, 1/4 more of a stick of butter, 5 egg whites instead of 6 and 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder and just 1/4 teaspoon salt. You didn't mention method but I imagine you are whipping the egg whites stiff but not dry and folding into the batter. I always line the prepared  pan bottoms with parchment.

Dzrt-Bkr Posted 3 Jul 2015 , 2:12am
post #16 of 24

I found using 1/2 cake flour and 1/2 all purpose is a good balance for mine.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 4 Jul 2015 , 1:55am
post #17 of 24

This is my basic VANILLA cake... stopped using the whole "white cake" a long time ago....though mine uses whole eggs its still pretty much white in color and it is my most popular flavor. 

 

I use WHITE LILY brand all purpose flour for all my cakes....it's made from soft winter wheat just like cake flour is (if you don't have this brand available, regular all purpose will do ok).

 

Before beginning: 

Bring 2 cups of buttermilk, 4 large eggs and 1 stick of butter to room temperature. 

Heat oven to 325 F. 

Grease the bottoms of three 8x2 inch round pans, line with parchment, then grease and flour pans (I use Bak-Klene professional pan coating from Gordon Food Service).  I also use Magi-Cake strips on all my pans, but that's a personal like.

 

Preparation 

In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid or other brand stand mixer combine:

4 cups White Lily all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4  teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt  

3 cups granulated sugar

Use the whisk attachment to blend the dry ingredients well.

Add 1/2 cup vegetable shortening and the stick of room temperature butter.

Mix on medium with the whisk attachment until the shortening/butter/flour mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the buttermilk mix on low to combine, then  set time for 4 minutes.

Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes (using the whisk attachment).

With mixer still running on medium speed add the four large eggs, one at a time, allowing each to incorporate.

Add 1 tablespoon vanilla.

At the end of four minutes, pan and bake at 325F til cake tests done. 

Cool in pans 5 minutes, remove, level and wrap completely in plastic wrap.

At this point my cakes generally go into the freezer overnight before using....and I always fill and ice from frozen using my original upside down icing method.

 

NOTE:  This amount of batter will make three 8 inch layers.  I trim mine with an AGBAY leveler to 1.5 inches thick. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sparkledee3 Posted 4 Jul 2015 , 10:00pm
post #18 of 24

I'm curious about flours! I have always used AP Flour (Gold Medal) as a home cook/baker and recently read that King Arthur is best. I made a batch of cupcakes from scratch using the KA Unbleached AP flour and they have a strange taste. Kind of "doughy."  If I cooked them any longer they would be too dry. Any suggestions for flours for cupcakes/cakes. Not sure what the different taste could be. Only change I made was the flour.

Pastrybaglady Posted 5 Jul 2015 , 1:15am
post #19 of 24

Unbleached flour has a higher protein content so the batter will be more bread like.  For cakes you would typically use cake or bleached all purpose flour. Personally I like a combo of cake and bleached all purpose for cakes. I think cupcakes come out best with bleached all purpose.

Eva2 Posted 5 Jul 2015 , 1:29am
post #20 of 24

I agree, try a different recipe. It took me a long time to find a recipe for a white cake that I like. I use confetti cakes recipe from her book. It holds together real nice (it is a very tight crumb and has a very fresh flavor to it). Everyone loves it. Like I said it took me a long time to find something I was happy with. Just try different recipes until you find something you love.

sparkledee3 Posted 5 Jul 2015 , 9:02pm
post #21 of 24

@Eva2 whose book are you referring to so I can look up the recipe for confetti cakes?

-K8memphis Posted 5 Jul 2015 , 10:35pm
post #22 of 24


Quote by @Jeff_Arnett on 1 day ago

This is my basic VANILLA cake... stopped using the whole "white cake" a long time ago....though mine uses whole eggs its still pretty much white in color and it is my most popular flavor. 

 

I use WHITE LILY brand all purpose flour for all my cakes....it's made from soft winter wheat just like cake flour is (if you don't have this brand available, regular all purpose will do ok).

 

Before beginning: 

Bring 2 cups of buttermilk, 4 large eggs and 1 stick of butter to room temperature. 

Heat oven to 325 F. 

Grease the bottoms of three 8x2 inch round pans, line with parchment, then grease and flour pans (I use Bak-Klene professional pan coating from Gordon Food Service).  I also use Magi-Cake strips on all my pans, but that's a personal like.

 

Preparation 

In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid or other brand stand mixer combine:

4 cups White Lily all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4  teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt  

3 cups granulated sugar

Use the whisk attachment to blend the dry ingredients well.

Add 1/2 cup vegetable shortening and the stick of room temperature butter.

Mix on medium with the whisk attachment until the shortening/butter/flour mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the buttermilk mix on low to combine, then  set time for 4 minutes.

Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes (using the whisk attachment).

With mixer still running on medium speed add the four large eggs, one at a time, allowing each to incorporate.

Add 1 tablespoon vanilla.

At the end of four minutes, pan and bake at 325F til cake tests done. 

Cool in pans 5 minutes, remove, level and wrap completely in plastic wrap.

At this point my cakes generally go into the freezer overnight before using....and I always fill and ice from frozen using my original upside down icing method.

 

NOTE:  This amount of batter will make three 8 inch layers.  I trim mine with an AGBAY leveler to 1.5 inches thick. 




^^^ this ^^^

sparkledee3 Posted 6 Jul 2015 , 3:22am
post #23 of 24

Do you know how many cupcakes this makes? If I can't use all the batter at once will it bake the same if it sits 20 minutes?

Jeff_Arnett Posted 7 Jul 2015 , 9:31pm
post #24 of 24

It depends on the size liners you use...if using every standard liners, you'd get about 48.  I use a taller 1 1/4 inch tall line so I get about 3 dozen.  If I can't bake all at once, I just place the pans in the cooler until ready...bakes up fine.

 

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