I admit it, I’m a box cake snob. I’ll eat them, happily, in giant pieces slathered in frosting. But I won’t cook them. I just can’t make myself do it.
I wanted to have a counterpoint to my favorite chocolate cake at my sister’s shower, so i went looking for a good yellow cake recipe that could stack up to the box cake standard. And lo and behold, I found it over at Smitten Kitchen. Has it become clear yet that I am a big fan of Deb’s? She waxes rhapsodic about the joys of this cake as a birthday cake stand-by, and I have to agree. It’s moist (there’s that word again), it’s soft without being too squishy to stack easily and it has a great vanilla flavor. I will happily be filing this away in my recipe box to make an appearance at birthday parties and celebrations for years to come (whenever I can drag myself away from the chocolate cake of course). I’m looking forward to trying this as a layer cake, but I can say with certainty that it is excellent as a cupcake.
Go-To Yellow Cake borrowed (not really adapted at all, just cupcaked) from Smitten Kitchen
made ~24 cupcakes, but also works for a 2-layer 9″ cake.
- 4 c plus 2 Tbsp cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 2 c sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 eggs, room temp
- 2 cups buttermilk*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan wells with cupcake liners, or if making a regular cake, spray 2 9″ cake pans with Pam, line with parchment and then spray the parchment. Or use butter, which is messier, but probably a little better in the taste category. I am lazy and use Pam.
Combine dry ingredients (except sugar). In a separate large bowl beat butter and sugar till fluffy. Add vanilla and beat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating and scraping after each one. Turn speed to low (so as not to fling batter everywhere) and slowly add the buttermilk. It will look like a mess. Trust in Deb and just keep going. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing until just incorporated (i.e. no dry streaks).
Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 – 2/3 full, and smack them on the counter to get rid of air bubbles. (or fill two cake pans, also with the smacking). Bake until it’s a lovely golden color and a toothpick comes out clean. (Deb says 35-40 minutes for a cake, cupcakes take considerably shorter. My oven is unpredictable so I’d say start checking around 15 minutes to be safe.) Cool in pans on rack for ~10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on racks before frosting. The frosting I used for these cupcakes are here.
*As usual, I subbed in regular milk+2 Tbsp lemon juice. Combine, let sit till curdley, mix and use as directed. One of these days I’ll buy some powdered buttermilk.