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June/July 2017

Yellow Layer Cake Batter

Traditional yellow layer cake should melt in your mouth and taste of butter and eggs. But many layer cake recipes we tried came out crumbly, sugary, and hard.

Why This Recipe Works

Traditional yellow layer cake should melt in your mouth and taste of butter and eggs. But many layer cake recipes we tried came out crumbly, sugary, and hard. As for the flavor, they tasted merely sweet. We made a few refinements to the usual yellow layer cake recipe, including taking down the sugar slightly, which allowed more buttery flavor to come through. Softened butter blended more easily into the dry ingredients and coated the flour particles with fat.

Ingredients

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Instructions

Makes enough for two 9-inch layers or three 8-inch layers

Ingredients

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4 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (8 ounces) cake flour
1 ½ cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened

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Instructions

Makes enough for two 9-inch layers or three 8-inch layers

To quickly bring the eggs and milk to room temperature, combine them in a measuring cup and set it in a bowl of hot water. Stir until the mixture feels cool rather than cold, about 65 degrees. Adding the butter to the mixing bowl one piece at a time prevents the dry ingredients from flying up and out of the bowl.

Whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla together in 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only pea-size pieces remain, about 1 minute. Add half of egg mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining egg mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds (batter may look slightly curdled). Give batter final stir by hand.