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« Shuna fish Lydon in Print Again! Edible San Francisco Fall 2006 | Main | The Cakewalk »

25 October 2006


OH man, I can smell it from here. Thank you for that, specifically.


beautiful! I wish I had a kitchenaid and could see things change colour. but the end result will be great anyway, never mind.

It just so happens that I just got home intending to bake RL Beranbaum's Downy Yellow Cake. Screw that, I'm going to get my eggbeater on. I'll let you know how it comes out.


Thanks, Shuna -- I've been waiting for this one. I'm already thinking about pavlova or dacquoise to use up the extra whites...

cake looks really good1 gotta try that one.

I am really glad you post recipes by weight. That seems to be something sorely lacking from many modern baking recipes, which I think is a shame. But then again, I may be a bit biased since I just recently acquired a nice digital scale, further elevating my excitement to weigh anything and everything.

Thanks again, Shuna. I made the most sublime cupcakes with this recipe. I did a vanilla bean buttercream filling, and a swirl of dark chocolate icing on top. Everyone said they were BETTER than Magnolia, better than Cupcake Cafe, better than Sugar Sweet Sunshine -- which by my assessment is actually true, since I don't really like any of those cupcakes anyway. They're all too sweet and insipid. I preened and said I'd gotten the recipe from a fantastic professional pastry chef from the Bay Area...

If I baked this recipe in a 9 inch pan, can you tell me how tall the cake would be? Looks good...



the tallness of cakes depends on a myriad of factors. the strength of your leavener, how your oven operates, how much air you incorporated in your creaming... etc.

But does size matter? I like to eat a moist, delicious cake.

I am thrilled you answered, this being a months old entry :)
The tallness only matters because I am thinking of using this recipe to make my wedding cake. And I was wondering if one batch (with the chocolate frosting between rounds) would suffice to make a 9" round layer, which would be the case if it tended to be a tallish --like 3" inchish per round cake. Based on your comments, maybe I would want to make sure to incorporate air into the creaming. Have no idea how the oven works, since I won't be working in my oven :)

Anyway, enjoying your blog--thanks!!

Hi Shuna,
After saving this recipe for a year, I finally made it! It was a huge learning experience, since I usually make lower fat cakes. Now I saw how more butter and sugar made the cake firmer and crisper on top. I thought this cake was better plain because it's so rich. I like layer cakes softer and more feathery. If I subbed some oil for the butter, would that have done the trick?

I'm also curious how you arrived at this recipe. I'm trying to learn how to make my own recipes, and this one doesn't fit the high-ratio or lean cake formula.

Oh, and I couldn't stand the thought of putting two and a half sticks of butter in there, so I just used two sticks. That was plenty for me.


Thanks for finally making the recipe and having questions.

I have never substituted liquid oil for butter before. I would think it would make a cake more dense unless it was something like a chiffon because there is water in butter and there isn't in oil. But i always say that everything is worth the experiment if the person making it thinks so!

If you do make that substitution, please come back and share you're results.

Because I don't make lean cakes I'm not sure I can respond to that question. I tok a standard yellow cake recipe and kept mussing with it until I had something I thought was perfect.

As for decreasing the butter-- great! I think, though, that it very much depends on the kind of butter one is using.

And in the end it's all about what you like and what you need the cake for or what you want it to do.

In the realm of plated desserts a lot of recipes get changed to suit the environment and the purpose of the component.

Sorry it took so long to answer your question-- these 90 hour work weeks are soon to wind down...

Thank you so much for offering this recipe, I thought it might be just the perfect cake for my boston cream pie cupcakes.
And it is, is so tasty, tender, and has the most perfect crumb, you know the kind of crumb you can press your finger on and it generously sticks to you and just kinda winks at ya.
Though, I think I must be doing something wrong, because well it just doesn't seem right. I needed a slightly higher volume of cupcakes so I first tripled it, then doubled, and now have found that for some reason it really prefers to be made in smaller batches. But even in smaller batches, ie. exactly how its written, I find that my batter always separates, and I can't figure it out. I"m making sure all my dairy is at room temp including the milk, and i dunno, its driving me crazy!

Perhaps I'm over creaming the butter/sug/egg?
Also, I can't seem to really find the best temp in a convection oven, right now im doing them at 325, and they look funny on top, i can't explain it.
I would be grateful for some of your fantastic advise on what to do differently.
Thank you again for sharing your sparkle.

Hello Negaar,

My experience with the D, W, D, W, D method is that oftentimes the batter does break, a little, and it's fine if the end result is fine. Tender crumbs are hard won.

A convection oven at 325F sounds perfect. The cake batter attracts a lot of color and, yes, I think I know what you mean-- the exterior gets a bit 'dimply,' but that's ok too, or it is with me...

When in doubt, stop the mixer right as it all comes together, take a deep breath, ahhhh, and turn mixer up really high, for about 10 seconds. You gotta be brave, though, because this baking hint goes against those DO NOT OVERMIX warnings from the Baking Police! But this sometimes helps the batter emulsify just a wee bit more.

Thank you for noticing my sparkle. I hope my advice helps. ~ Shuna

Hi Shuna,
I'm making "the" yellow cake, and frankly it's not turning out very yellow (though the flavor is pretty much as I remember it.) The eggs at the restaurant I'm at are marked as AA large, but they have a B grade vibe, and they're not organic etc. like most other places I've worked at. The yolks do look a little pale and small. Is there a weight I could look for? I don't have a scale that reads grams.

O Rebecca! Go on now and get that scale! It's $30! And worth it a million times over! That said, no, this cake will never be canary yellow. It's called Yellow as opposed to 'white cake.' Or it's called yellow because it's an indication that it's high in yolks and therefore more rich than white cake. Nice to know the classics are carrying on on the border of North Oakland! xoxo ~ Shuna

Hello! I made your yellow cake with chocolate frosting into cupcakes this week. They were delicious! Very fluffy but still substantial and with nice caramelized edges. I followed all the directions except I added a little vanilla paste as well as vanilla extract (1 teaspoon of each). I got 24 cupcakes and just the right amount of frosting. Thanks so much for sharing!

quadrupled your cake for my friend's 50th bash. DWDWD = my new mantra. photos and homage in a post titled Piece of Cake at lesbokitchen.

Hello lesbokitchen, thank you so much! and you are very welcome your blog is fabulous-- thank you for noticing the details in my post. i hope to be able to serve you again... shuna

I'm kind of in love with this yellow cake recipe. I've made it a few times now for various birthday cakes. Everyone ooh-la-la-ed when they saw them, but as soon as the cake was cut, everyone became silent as yummy cake went into their mouths. I'm making it again today for my sister's Delorean birthday cake. I love how dense and sculptable it is with just a little time in the fridge.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Hi, I've been searching for a yellow cake recipe for my son's birthday and I came across yours. Do you think this would work for a sheet cake? I'm wondering if the amount of batter would be correct...thanks!

Hello Janet, I think this would work very well for a sheet cake. I find the best help for making large batches of batter can be found in The Cake Bible. Best of luck & let me know how it turns out if you have time & inclination to stop by again! ~ Shuna

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