That was fast!

Reader and ultra-fast test baker Jack writes:

I literally could not wait to try your ratios. I used the quantities you mentioned to keep it simple. That may have been a mistake as sometimes the sum of the parts is the whole; I will try a larger batch size tomorrow. Given the small amount of batter, I made cupcakes. One other comment, I blasted the granulated sugar in the mixer to create superfine sugar, and found it a bit hard to incorporate with the shortening. Second guessing that step! Oh, and I upped the salt.

Results: The taste was fantastic. So good, that I ate the entire batch as fast as I could shove them down. I have not tasted a better yellow cake cupcake. The batter tasted marvelous as well, so for taste, I am good to go. The texture was incredibly soft in non-baker layman’s terms, and very pleasing. The texture/crumb was much closer to what I am looking for but still not exactly like the Jewel store bought cake. The cake was firm, with a small crumb, but did not exhibit the uniform holes of the Jewel cake. And there was some cratering, not sure why…(photos below). But, great improvement (in my quest anyway) to the large crumb typical butter cake I have been producing so far. The only possibly negative remark is the cake was a bit on the dry side. A little puzzling given the softness of the cake. I did not frost the cakes, or douse them with syrup.

So with all that said, this is the recipe I will be using going forward, and will try a larger batch to see if that makes a difference in the crumb. I plan to add a couple tablespoons of oil to the fat content, and will not superfine the granulated sugar. Note, I measured everything using my digital scale.

Joe Pastry’s Ratios for Yellow Cake
Makes 6 cupcakes

- 100 grams cake flour (I used AP flour, replacing one tablespoon with cornstarch)
- 100 grams granulated sugar, processed to superfine consistency
- 50 grams Crisco® shortening
- 50 grams eggs (1 large egg), warm, slightly beaten
- 50 grams milk, warm
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium sized bowl.
3. With mixer, cream shortening until light and fluffy. Add sugar; cream until sugar is fully incorporated.
4. Beat egg with fork. Stream egg into shortening/sugar mixture with mixer at medium speed. Blend well.
5. While mixing/creaming, add milk and vanilla in a stream. Continue to cream the mixture until satiny.
6. While blending, add flour mixture in thirds until fully incorporated.
7. Scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes.
8. Cool on rack.

Thanks again for your help, and if you review the directions above and a have any comments let me know!

Jack, you amaze me. I couldn’t be more pleased that the recipe worked so well for you. Regarding the tweaks you still need, you can add moisture by a) upping the milk a little, b.) making sure yolks comprise 50% of your total egg weight, c.) using some oil instead of all shortening. The oil will also help tighten the crumb. The large holes are where blobs of shortening used to be. Let me know if I can be of any further help!

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6 Responses to That was fast!

  1. Eric says:

    I had remembered seeing a recipe for a high-ratio cake(turned out to be chocolate flavored) in Advanced Bread and Pastry by Suas and they used emulsified shortening rather than Crisco or whatever. I think it is supposed to make incorporating the sugar easier, so maybe Jack would want to investigate that and order some online. I am not much of a cake baker, so I don’t really know anything about it.

    • Eric says:

      I see Joe already mentioned this stuff in his other post. That’ll teach me to not read in the proper order. Doh.

  2. Nicole says:

    I know that for most recipes you can emulate cake flour with the AP + cornstarch trick, but I wonder, given your description of what’s actually occurring during baking, if that isn’t part of the problem here.

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Nicole! That’s very true, but in this case it wouldn’t work. Hi ration flour has been subjected to a little extra treatment to ensure that it gelates properly. But a good thought, no question. Thanks!

      - Joe

      • Nicole says:

        Right – that was my point. That’s what Jack said he did, and I was wondering if that was part of his problem.

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