Getting A More Moist Scratch Vanilla/ White Cakes

Baking By CreativeCakeFactory Updated 30 Mar 2016 , 3:40pm by Jeff_Arnett

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CreativeCakeFactory Posted 15 Mar 2016 , 3:26pm
post #1 of 10

I am feeling frustrated with the vanilla and white cake recipes I use. During cake tasting appointments often people will tell me these lighter cakes (butter based) are a bit dry. I use simple syrup on them as well. I’ve been searching for other recipes to use for weddings cakes but the ones I’ve tried have not been good. I'm tired of trying out cakes and throwing everything out.  I wonder if I could add sour cream to the cake or Greek yogurt to make it more moist? I tried removing part of the butter and adding some vegetable oil but it hasn’t really helped. I would appreciate any suggestions! smile.png



1 ½  sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

14oz white sugar

Dry Ingredients

13oz unbleached all purpose flour

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla powder

Liquid Ingredients

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk


1. Sift flour directly into a bowl on a scale for accurate measuring. Measure sugar in a mixing bowl. In another large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients. And in another bowl measure liquid ingredients.

2. In the bowl of the standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar & oil on the lowest speed for about 2 minutes. After they are combined place all other dry ingredients into mixing bowl, mix at low speed until the mixture resembles fine, even crumbs.

 3. Stop the mixer and add all but about 1/2 cup of the wet ingredients. Beat the batter at medium speed until it is pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the rest of the wet ingredients. Then on medium speed beat for 30 seconds more. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 30 more seconds.

4. Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

9 replies
weluvpiggies Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
weluvpiggies Posted 15 Mar 2016 , 3:44pm
post #2 of 10

Hi, I bake a lot of gluten free (cake, pancakes, muffins etc.)  and they are notorious for being dry!  One thing I've found that has helped me in my gluten free vanilla cake and pancakes is the addition of apple sauce.  Try substituting 1/2 of the oil for applesauce.  Also, on my gluten free note, a little coconut flour keeps a lot of the moisture in the cake as well.

I hope this helps you! smiley.png

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weluvpiggies Posted 15 Mar 2016 , 3:47pm
post #3 of 10

Oops, I see you don't use oil, only butter, well, try subbing out some applesauce for some of the butter.  My gluten free cake recipe uses 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.  HTH! smiley.png

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Jeff_Arnett Posted 15 Mar 2016 , 3:50pm
post #4 of 10

My vanilla cake is very's been refined over a lot of years.  Here's the recipe:

Preheat oven to 325 F.  

Grease the bottoms of three 8 x 2 round layer pans*, line with parchment, the grease and flour pans.

4 cups All-Purpose flour (I bake with White Lily brand and use 500 grams by weight)

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 stick butter, room temp (or you can sub all shortening)

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla

Sift all dry ingredients into mixer bowl.

Add shortening (break it into tablespoons for easier mixing) and butter (cut into small pieces).

Use the WHISK attachment and mix on low until the shortening and butter are cut into the dry ingredients and the mixture resembles fine crumbs. 

Set timer for 3 minutes.

Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix on low until blended (I use the whisk rather than paddle for the whole thing!)

Start timer and mix on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes, scraping down bowl a couple times.

With mixer still running, add the eggs one at a time about 5-10 seconds apart.

Scrape down sides of bowl a couple times during the remaining time.

Divide into pans (this amount make three thick 8 inch round layers) and bake at 325 F until cake is firm to the touch in the center.

Cool in pans 5 minutes, the remove and wrap completely in plastic until ready to use (I usually freeze my layers overnight at this point).

*I always use Magi-Cake Stripes on all my pans.

I fill and frost from frozen, but you can thaw layers if you prefer before icing them.

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julia1812 Posted 15 Mar 2016 , 4:44pm
post #5 of 10

I use buttermilk too in my vanilla cake. I find it tastes so much better and the texture is perfect. If I don't get buttermilk I use plain yoghurt (and sometimes a mix of plain yoghurt, milk and a spoon of vinegar).

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-K8memphis Posted 15 Mar 2016 , 6:42pm
post #6 of 10

are you keeping your cake at room temperature the whole time or do you refrigerate/freeze them?

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CreativeCakeFactory Posted 15 Mar 2016 , 8:34pm
post #7 of 10

Thanks everyone, I will try everything out. I refrigerate the cakes after cooling. They stay in the fridge after being filled & decorated. Only taken out when they are ready to leave for delivery. 

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-K8memphis Posted 15 Mar 2016 , 10:12pm
post #8 of 10

vanilla cakes made with butter do not relax back to out of the oven softness after they are fridged or frozen -- the butter in there stays a little crisp so when you take a bite it scratches a bit down the throat and peeps say 'it's dry' -- it's not the moisture level it's that the butter is still firm from being in the fridge -- 

i recommend you test this for yourself -- bake a cake -- cut two pieces -- put one in the fridge to get cold -- take it out to return to room temp then sample both -- you will be surprised -- then microwave the fridged piece for 5 seconds and it will magically be restored to the same soft texture and easy-slide/glide-down-the-throat feel as the non fridged one

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tmarie9193 Posted 30 Mar 2016 , 2:38pm
post #9 of 10

Magi-Cake Stripes  - I have been looking at these for a while now.. do they really help and worth the cost?

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Jeff_Arnett Posted 30 Mar 2016 , 3:40pm
post #10 of 10

I never bake without them!

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