This Gold Standard Yellow Cake is the dessert of epic stories and long standing Americana tradition. A tight crumb is soft yet strong even for layering and stacking. A classic American Buttercream ties the cake together with a smooth, not painfully sweet, taste.
Americans. What do we crave? Put sports, and shopping, and SUVs, and cheese flavors deep fried goodness aside. We are more than etic and emic categorized stereotypes.
Americans crave stories. Not just any story, but a tall tale, an epic, arcing adventure. A dark avenger, a pioneer, a cowboy. Like food, we want our tales to be well rounded and balanced. There needs to be layers and side plots too. Heck our food shows need some underlying story of struggle and triumph. Melodrama on every level!
What does this have to do with cake? Well, similar to the standard of epic tall tales, this cake can be held to a great high standard.
This Gold Standard Yellow Cake is the American, American-i-nest layer cake.
It is the classic cake in a grocery store or local bakery, it is the talk of the bake sale, candle lit dinner finale, and birthday party. This cake is that noble hero, traditional like a 1950s lad giving his sweetheart a promise ring. However the cake’s flavors and sentimental baggage are never antiquated or boring.
The perfectly moist crumb has impeccable smoothness from the egg yolks. Countered by rich vanilla notes, the cake makes for a melt in-your-mouth velvety, dance on the tongue.
True, traditionally yellow layer cakes are classically two layers and smothered in a fudgey, chocolate frosting. But this Gold Standard Yellow Cake cannot compromise.
Similar to a tall tale, it needs to bigger and greater than its counterparts. It needs to be a shiny pillar of flax, golden light, triumphing over the sea of expected and dull drum. The Gold Standard Yellow Cake can only be paired with an equally golden frosting.
Use this cake to blaze your own trail of tradition!
- For the Gold Standard Yellow Cake:
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 8 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon butter extract
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- For the Classic American Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups shortening
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 12 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
- Sift cake flour, baking powder, and salt twice, set side
- In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on a medium-high until pale in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- On medium-low speed beat in egg yolks and eggs, one at a time, until each one is incorporated. Beat in vanilla and butter extracts. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down as needed.
- With the mixer of low add dry ingredients in 3 additions and milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to fold the batter by hand for a few strokes. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, rotating halfway. Don’t over bake these cakes. Let cakes cool in pans for 5 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in salt and vanilla. Add ½ of the powdered sugar, followed by some cream. Add remaining powdered sugar and cream. Raise speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl as needed. Divided frosting into batches and dye frosting as desired.
- Spoon a bit of frosting onto a cake board. Secure the first cake layer and apply some of the frosting, apply the second layer and repeat. Top with the final third layer. Do a crumb coat, chill for 10 minutes, and do a final thicker coat of the frosting. Decorate as desired.