Scratch white cakes and yellow cakes

Joined Mar 6, 2001
I'm sorry to re-enter this subject, I remember another thread on this topic but I don't know where it's at. I still don't know my way around this site.

Anyway I was wondering if anyone ever did find the definative recipes for both. I remember M.Brown mentioning she uses liquid shortening (?). I've yet to find recipes for these cakes that I liked after they've been refridgerated so I'd like to learn more about that on my way to finding my perfect cake recipes. Plus I was hoping to learn from others what recipes they liked and discarded as they were exploring this topic.

Or is the answer to stick with geniose and lady finger cakes as the great pastry chefs do because they hold well?


Joined Apr 4, 2000
I love génoise, it's such a great building block cake. I am sure we each have our favourite recipe.

There are time when I just want to make a quick vanilla cake. I then turn to Richard Sax's Classic Home Dessert and make the Hot Water Sponge Cake. It takes about 10 minutes to make. It's nothing fancy but as far as plain cake go I like this one. If you would like the recipe let me know.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Thanks for the tip Iza I do have his book, I'm make a note to try that.

I like Belouets lady finger sponge, pound and genoise best so far....more than Hermes'. Whos' do you follow?

P.S. have you tried Sax's fudge sauce? It's excellent!! I also have made his double chocolate pudding a couple times.....not much else acouple on so so items. Did you discover any other good recipes from that book?


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Everything I did from this book turned out very well.

Last Christmas I made mincemeat loosely based on the recipes he offers. Did the same for fruits cakes. He is so right when he says that what is generally so awful about fruit cakes is the red and green things and that fruit cakes would taste so much better done with dried fruits instead of candied fruits. So true I don’t care for fruit cakes until I took his advice.

What did I make, so hard sometimes to recall everything. I think I should note in the margin of my book what recipes I tried and how it was. That would be useful.

Pear Charlotte in white bread, it's usually done with apple but I do love pear so much and it was good. I made some crisp or crumbles with berry.

What attracted me to his Hot Water Spongecake is the absence of butter and how quick and easy it was to make. I don’t know the taste of your clients but it is a simple but good cake.

His gingerbread cake with candied ginger. I add a whole bunch of other spices to it. Very good. While on ginger, give a try to the M.F.K. Fisher’s ginger Hottendots and the hermits. Shortbread too, great for Christmas.

Fruits compotes, coffee cakes…I’m leafing through the book trying to recall. One recipe I always want to try when I open this book but haven’t because I keep forgetting is the Breakfast Polenta Cake, page 292. It looks ever so good on the picture don’t you think? So does the Hawaiian Coconut Coffee Cake, one day I’ll get there.

Never try the chocolate sauce, would you believe its not something I eat? It's true.

Can’t recall it all. Maybe tomorrow will be better. :)

Genoise yes I used to take Lenotre's recipe. The last time I did one, was in April I think and I can't believe what I did but here it goes. In The Art Of The Cake it is said that the difference between our flour and French flour is such that we need to add a bit of potato starch to achieve simmilar results.

So there I was with about 10 different recipes for a genoise. Lenotre, The Roux Brothers, Malgieri, Bugnat, Cook's Illustrated, Rose Levy and God knows whoelse. So I made up my own based on all of them. I know it turned out well. It's just too bad I can't recall where I put the piece of paper with my recipe. I'll just have to try that again.

[ August 03, 2001: Message edited by: Iza ]


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Lucky you got me talking about that book Wendy, I had forgotten it was time to make my mincemeat. I did it in October last year, for the first time, and told myself I would start earlier this year.

I made some as a gift for my British step mother and loved it. It's because of her I got into scones too. I made some for her birthday and it was love at first bite!
Joined Jul 28, 2001
When you find your way around let me know. It's pretty nice here, pretty down to earth.Anyway, white and yellow, I'm thinking the shortening mentioned was nutex, a liquid shortening. If I have time tomorrow I'll pull some recipes. Hectic lately, I'm doing a solo, my associate is in the process of flying the coup. I could sure use somebody to take care of that little retail shop!!Hey, if Jamacia can come up with a bob-sled team I'm sure I can find you something to ski on.
Hope all is well with you
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Your the GREATEST! I needed to start my day with a smile.

I'm not sure why it's so different here, I guess it's like at most jobs actually......the top guy sets the tone and chooses the right people to carry out his dirrectives. Give them respect and they'll give it back. Treat them like idiots and that's the only people that will stay.

Honestly, if I could, I'd be begging at your door for a job. I can't do the Southern heat besides I'm totally a fish out of water down there. Can't wash the Northerner out of me at this age.... P.S. Did my work pay you for the extenders? I didn't even get to use them! (that stinks), I'm sure the new pastry chef will appreciate them though....they'll need something good (I just got a good scale before I quit, too) there cause their going to get burned so fast they won't know what hit them.

Things are great with me, for the first time in 3 years! I still have to work this week (in a extremely hostile enviroment)concluding with a big wedding on my last day! But I feel like a whole new person. I managed to get the last three weekends off to spend with my husband and discover that this is what life should be about. I'll change industrys again before I go back to 60 hour work weeks with unfreindly people. I'm learning to be happy and fun again. I'm so grateful my husband has a good job and totally supports my decision that we come first before any jobs, life is GOOD!

Yes it was nutex I was speaking about. M. Brown was the person who mentioned it, I beleive. She works from Joesph Amendolas baking book (which school is he from?)which she must have gotten at school, right?? I guess the concept is that unlike butter it doesn't change texture when it set's up in the cooler, which makes perfect sense. Which is the problem I have with scratch cakes a day later and you can't recognize it compared to what it was like fresh.

I'm lining up my ducks and want to understand nutex and how to use it, so "if" I find a new position I can start right away with better scratch cakes.
Joined Mar 4, 2000
I had a bunch of recipes from my hotel days, which contained liquid shortening, but I think I've thrown them out. But when you mentioned mbrown's school (which was mine as well-J&W), I realized that we used that stuff at school! Give me a sec., and I'll find the recipe.

Or will you be needing it in your new life?? ;)
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Liquid shortening sponge cake

1 pt. eggs
14 oz sugar
6.5 oz fluid flex
5.5 oz milk
10.5 oz cake flour
.75 oz BP
.25 oz salt

Blend all ingredients at once. Mix 4 min. on high. Scrape down. Mix 3 min. on medium.

Grease pans. Bake @ 350.

Yield: 3 9"
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Thanks Momoreg, and this sponge compares to a classic sponge nicely in taste but it's texture will hold up and remain light after refidgeration, right?

It seemed like you don't use these recipes using there a reason why you prefer something else?
Joined Mar 4, 2000
I haven't used high ratio shortening in at least 15 years, and hardly remember the difference between them.

The reason I don't use them is mostly for flavor. I can tell when a cake is made with shortening. But the advantage to the high ratio shortening is that you can add substantially more liquid to your mix without it breaking. (I believe it can handle 10% more, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

I think I sent you my white cake recipe a couple of years ago. I like it because it's all butter, and it can be frozen and thawed, without any moisture loss. You have it, right?
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Hum, I have no memory of recieving that recipe from you, it must have been on the other side since I haven't been here that long. Was it during that heated thread with Gerard slamming me every post over cake mixes? The whole discusion was so nasty I don't recall any productive conversation......

I don't have your recipe in my file which is where I would place it.......? I guess I don't know what I did with it.

So I am understanding correctly... You prefer to use your butter recipe for white cake over a cake with liquid shortening?
Joined Jan 15, 2001
Wendy, I seem to recall that both you and I have been searching for that perfect recipe for yellow sponge cakes for quite some time now. I remember the past thread where somebody posted a recipe using Nutex. I use something similar called Fluid Flex. I only use it for our sponge cakes, yellow, white and chocolate. For pound cakes and bundt cakes, I still stick to all butter. Here's a little tip to try when you start testing momoreg's recipe: Sift in with the flour about 15-18 % vanilla pudding mix, about 1.5 oz. I started doing this after that discussion we had had on wanting the moistness and texture of "box mix" but wanting a scratch recipe. I'm still finalizing my recipe, but I can tell you that my cakes are so much moister and softer with the addition of the pudding powder. I haven't tried it yet with a butter cake recipe but I am sure it would work.
Let me know how things turn out and I'm glad your enjoying life with your husband and leaving that headache job behind! It really is important to find that balance. :)
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Give this a try:

5 lb. 4 oz cake flour
5.5 oz BP
1T salt

4 lb butter
7 lb 5 oz sugar
5 T vanilla
1/2 gal + 1 c milk, warm

2 qt whites

Sift dry ingredients 2x.

Cream butter w/ sugar and vanilla. Alternate milk w/ dry.

Whip whites to stiff (not dry) peaks. Fold into other mixture.

Pour into graesed, papered pans.

This is a white cake. I think you might be able to add some yolks to the mix for color. Because there is BP in the mix, it shouldn't have too much impact on the texture, if you don't overdo it.

Please let me know what you think.
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Oh my oh my oh my! :) Im glad I came across this thread. Ive been using my aunts recipes for scratch cakes and she only uses butter or a butter shortening mix. Actually, some of the other recipes Ive come across use the same also.

I have never heard of liquid shortening. Never went to school for baking either. I dont think the mandatory class for girls from elementary school through high school in Barbados counts. Does it? Can you tell me where I can find liquid shortening? Can I get it from a restaurant supply store? Ill do a search on Nutex to see what I can find. Im very interested in this product and finding the perfect scratch cake recipe.


Edit: I searched for fluid flex and got some joint medicine for pets. :eek: I couldn't find much info on Nutex either. Think I'll go to bed and search tomorrow. :(
Joined Feb 21, 2001
Nutex is made by Proctor and Gamble, that should get you started. We used it extensively in school, because they got it free I think. To me, cakes made with it are all form and no substance. when I need a yellow cake I make a vanilla chiffon genoise.
Joined Feb 6, 2002
So you are basically saying that it holds well but doesn't taste very good?? :confused: Ill see if The Art of The Cake has the vanilla chiffon gen....Id like to try it.

Joined Nov 10, 2000
Do a search, type in Scratch white cakes and yellow cakes. I know I was part of that thread.
I too was trying to find the perfect white.
I've been using Fluid Flex. And took Angrychef's tip on using the pudding. I am really satisfied on what I've been using for a white cake. Super moist. Yes, butter is always better. But the holding qualities using the fluid flex is great.
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Yellow Cake
We were looking for a moist, tender cake that was both foolproof and full-flavored. By changing mixing methods and ingredient ratios, we achieved our goal.

The challenge: Cakes have long been—and still are—usually made by a classic method that calls for beating (or creaming) the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then adding the eggs one at a time, and finally adding the dry ingredients and milk alternately. This is the method we relied on when we started out to develop a recipe for yellow cake. And the cakes we made with it weren’t necessarily bad, but they weren’t very interesting. Instead of melting in your mouth, these cakes were crumbly, sugary, and a little hard. And they were lacking in flavor, too; they did not taste of butter and eggs, as all plain cakes ought to, but instead seemed merely sweet. Tinkering with the ingredients brought about some improvement, but we wanted more.

The solution: What we ultimately tried on our yellow cake was a different way of mixing, known as the two-stage method. Here the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt are combined, the butter and about two-thirds of the milk and eggs are added, and the batter is beaten until thick and fluffy, about a minute. In the second stage, the rest of the milk and eggs are poured in and the batter is beaten for half a minute more. It is touted for the tender texture it promotes in cakes. Upon trying it on our working recipe for yellow cake, we produced a cake that was indeed more tender. In addition, its consistency was improved; no longer crumbly, the cake was now fine-grained and melting, and, interestingly enough, it did not seem overly sweet.
While our recipe development involved more than just switching from the conventional to the two-stage method of mixing, we were, needless to say, pleased with these results. The two-stage method also has the advantage of being simpler, quicker, and more nearly foolproof than the conventional creaming method. Though not nearly as widely used as the conventional method by most home bakers, it certainly has a lot to recommend it.


Makes two 9-inch cakes

To quickly bring the eggs and milk to room temperature (65°F), submerge them in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes after mixing them together. Adding the butter pieces to the mixing bowl one at a time prevents the dry ingredients from flying up and out of the bowl.

4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted plain cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, each stick cut into 8 pieces

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9-by-1 1/2-inch cake pans with vegetable shortening and cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper or wax paper. Grease parchment rounds, dust cake pans with flour, and tap out excess.

2. Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla with fork in small bowl; measure out 1 cup of this mixture and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running at lowest speed, add butter one piece at a time; mix until butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebbly, with pieces about the size of peas, 30 to 40 seconds after all butter is added. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture and mix at lowest speed until incorporated, 5 to 10 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high (setting 6 on KitchenAid) and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add remaining egg mixture (about 1/2 cup) in slow steady stream, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat on medium-high until thoroughly combined and batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds longer. (To mix using hand mixer, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add butter pieces and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture; beat with hand mixer at lowest speed until incorporated, 20 to 30 seconds. Increase speed to high, add remaining egg mixture, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat at high speed 15 seconds longer.)

3. Divide batter equally between prepared cake pans; spread to sides of pan and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until cake tops are light golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. (Cakes may mound slightly but will level when cooled.) Cool on rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen. Invert cake onto large plate, peel off parchment, and re-invert onto lightly greased rack. Cool completely before icing.


Makes about 3 cups

If you prefer not to use the raw egg in this recipe for safety reasons, substitute 3 tablespoons of milk. Keep in mind, however, that the texture will be less smooth.

1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, beaten, or 3 tablespoons milk (see note above)

1. Dissolve coffee in water and add vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add sugar 1 cup at a time, beating 15 seconds between each addition. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as necessary.

2. Add coffee mixture and egg or milk; beat on low speed to combine. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. (Buttercream may be covered and kept at room temperature for several hours or refrigerated in an airtight container for a week. Bring to room temperature before using.)


Follow recipe for Coffee Buttercream Frosting, omitting instant coffee and vanilla, substituting 3 tablespoons orange juice for water, and adding 1 tablespoon grated orange zest along with egg or milk.


Follow recipe for Coffee Buttercream Frosting, omitting instant coffee and vanilla, substituting 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice for water, and adding 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest along with egg or milk.


Makes about 3 cups

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place chocolate in heatproof bowl. Bring heavy cream to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over chocolate. Add corn syrup and let stand 3 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth; stir in vanilla. Refrigerate 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes, until mixture reaches spreadable consistency.

March, 1999
Original article and recipes by Stephen Schmidt
Courtesy of Cooks Illustrated

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