Simple, standard, basic recipes are often the hardest to get right. Honestly, a good white bakery cake is usually a delight. Why? Because cakes like that are generally reserved for special occasions and special occasions only. And I cannot tell you how completely thrilled I was when this cake ended up tasting as if it could have come straight from the bakery– tender and moist.
This cake is absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, a keeper.
Bakery-Style White Cake (13/52)
adapted from Southern Living’s “White Cake Supreme” from The All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (2006) p. 134
½ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature*
¼ cup butter, softened
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup milk, room temperature
¼ cup buttermilk, room temperature
5 egg whites, room temperature
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, and then grease and flour the parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the shortening and butter until light and fluffy.
You can use a hand mixer as well. While the mixer is still running, add the vanilla extract until well combined.
Add the sugar into the mixture ¼-cup at a time until it is thoroughly creamed together.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour (I usually use King Arthur flour, but found that White Lily brand seems to work better in this recipe), baking powder, and salt. The original recipe calls for sifting the flour prior to measuring it, but I found that leaving out that step didn’t make much of a difference. Instead, I measured the flour, add the other dry ingredients, and then sifted them all together into one lovely, fluffy pile.
In a cup, combine the milk and buttermilk.
With the mixer set on low, carefully add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.
Then add half of the milk/buttermilk mixture
followed by the next 1/3 of the flour mixture. Finally add the remainder of the milk/buttermilk, then the last of the flour mixture. Remove the batter bowl from the mixer, and scrape the sides down, making sure all of the flour is blended into the batter.
In a clean, grease-free large bowl, whip the egg whites
until you have stiff peaks.
Gently stir ½ of the beaten egg whites into the batter in order to lighten it. Follow that by gently folding in the remaining beaten egg whites.
Split the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans.
Don’t drop the pans on the counter to pop air bubbles. To ensure no air bubbles in these cakes, gently run a skewer through the batter.
Bake the cakes on the center rack for 25-30 minutes. Mine took 25 minutes exactly. Check doneness with a skewer or toothpick. It’s okay if some crumbs stick.
Place cakes on a cooling rack. Run a knife around the outside edge to ensure that the cakes won’t crack when they pull away from the edges of the pans. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes. They seem slightly domed when they are first removed from the oven, but cool remarkably, leaving you with 8-1/2 inch round cake layers that are each 1-inch high and relatively flat.
Remove cakes to cooling racks lined with waxed paper.
Allow them to cool completely before attempting to fill and frost them. It took mine about 2 hours.
They look as if they are yellow, but the cake inside is much whiter than the crust.
My cake stayed fresh for 4 days—more than that, I don’t know. There wasn’t any cake left by then. It also spent some time in the refrigerator while the crumb coat and final icing and decorations set up.
I made the recipe twice for four layers, and I crumb-coated and frosted it with a bakery style buttercream frosting.
It was so tall, it required skewers for support.
This is a special occasion cake if there ever was one.
Yield: 2 9-inch round cake layers
I don’t usually use shortening in recipes because I often find that it is greasy and has a terrible aftertaste. In this particular instance, I used a store brand shortening, and it worked very well. I hate to say it—and let me tell you, if you get all uppity about healthy eating in a recipe for making a bakery-style cake, you’re barking up the wrong tree—it contained a small amount of trans-fat, which makes a huge difference in the flavor. I warred with myself as to whether or not I should share this with you, but it makes a difference that’s so big that I feel it necessary to let you know.