Sw's Classic Yellow Cake - Help!

Decorating By Wildgirl Updated 23 Jan 2012 , 6:25pm by momg9

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Wildgirl Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 3:55am
post #1 of 7

The first time I made it, because of all I had read, I decided to add 1/4 C milk and some ginger to the original recipe. Except for shrinking a bit around the sides, it came out great.

So, after making many many other recipes (in the search for a simpler recipe) that weren't so great, I decided to go back to this one again for the wedding next weekend.

Well.... I made a 9x13 tonight (same as the first time I made it) and... it shrank incredibly! It was great out of the oven - looked perfect actually. I was so proud. Then after I let it cool, the whole top part shrank in - and the bottom stayed. Plus, cutting into the cake, the top layer of the cake is fine, but the bottom layer seems undercooked. I had it in there for 52 min's. The toothpick came out clean. (And I did use a flower nail).

Please help - what did I do wrong?!?! I need to get two of these baked successfully asap!

6 replies
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Wildgirl Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 5:14am
post #2 of 7

Ok. Hopefully some of you will appreciate why I'm here. It makes you look like the Iron Chefs of the Cake world. And for those of you who are like me, hopefully you can learn from my mistakes. icon_razz.gif

One thing you should never do is double one of the ingredients (unless maybe it's vanilla icon_biggrin.gif ). I remember thinking that my sour cream containers were just shy of 2 C's ea so I'd need a bit of a 2nd container to get what I needed - for the whole 2 layers of cake. So when I was making one cake, my brain just thought I needed both cups right then. Big duh!!! That probably could be why it didn't turn out so well.

I didn't realize what I had done until I was already into making the 2nd attempt - and I had decided that I would try the reverse cream method since I like doing that better anyway - now I hope I didn't make another fatal mistake. My 2nd try is in the oven now, so we shall see. I sure would like to get these 2 yellow cakes out of the way! Then I just have 2 of my carrot cakes and a ton of chocolate cakes.

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scp1127 Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 6:35am
post #3 of 7

I don't like the SW cake. I make many cakes in this manner and this is the only one that shrinks that much. And the same thing happens to me. The parchment won't let it shrink at the bottom, so it only shrinks at the top. I think you were referring to my changes on the SW cake, but I still like WB's with the ginger added. I change the brandy to Hennessy, add a small amount of VBP and homemade vanilla extract. This is my favorite. The recipe is balanced and can accept almost any addition.

I have other similar recipes to the SW and they all taste better than that one. I use them for specific recipes and none have the problems of the SW, both her old recipe, the new, or the combination.

My other favorite is Buddy's yellow, but it is labor intensive and is very dense. This is the one with the 2 c pastry cream.

WB's is on his site, Cake Love.

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Wildgirl Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 6:45am
post #4 of 7

I love the taste of SW's. It's so frustrating how the first time I made her cake it was near perfect. And now it's like I can't bake at all. I decided not to go with WB's only because I was hesitant to use alcohol - for a wedding esp since I don't know if there are any people struggling with alcohol addiction and I was afraid the taste might come through (and trigger a relapse). My sister died because of alcoholism so I guess I might worry more than I need to. I wouldn't mind it for personal use. Is there something I could use instead of the alcohol?

How many more cakes can I try before I go buy a box?! I'm seriously running out of time. icon_eek.gif

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scp1127 Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 8:12am
post #5 of 7

Vanilla extract is 70 proof by FDA law. Hennessy is 80 proof. The difference is negligible. Change the vanilla to only paste and the result is the same.

Spirits and liqueurs used in this manner are no different than vanilla extract. Your guests do not need to know it has alcohol in it if you use the same amount as the expected extract. In this cake, a guest should not be able to pinpoint the taste or too much has been used. It should be a depth of flavor, not a flavor in itself. JUst like the ginger in the cake. Too much turns it into a spice cake. Just the right amount, along with the cognac and vanilla, should just make a great tasting cake with no discernible ingredient identified.

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Wildgirl Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 4:54pm
post #6 of 7

I'm thinking that it was the whipped egg whites. I've been comparing recipes - it's driving me crazy. But I think I need to go back to a whole egg one. King Arthur was good and somewhat close to sw's only whole egg.... but I will compare b's recipe too. Not sure if I have time to run for cognac though... none in the house. I will see. I love the taste/depth of sw's so I want to keep that, just get the height and non-shrinkage of these other recipes.

Tell me all of this will make me a better baker. I've been reading Rose's Cake Bible too. Not that it's been helping me. Dh is taking cake out to the compost now. (the dbl sour cream disaster) icon_rolleyes.gif

I will be baking ALL day today and most of tomorrow too.

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momg9 Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 6:25pm
post #7 of 7

When I make SW's classic yellow cake, I do not line the bottom with anything nor do I grease the sides or bottom of the pan. As soon as it comes out of the oven, I put a piece of wax paper over it and invert it onto a cookie sheet (or plate) and let cool. When cool, I put it in the refrigerator. When I'm ready to decorate I peel off the wax paper, run a knife around the inside to loosen, turn over and rap soundly on the counter and the cake will come out. Sometimes I have to slam it on the counter a few times, but cake will come out full size.

I have tried SW cake every other way and this is the only way I can get it to not shrink.

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