French Yellow Cake

I know.  This is supposed to be a place for recipes about fresh, seasonal produce you’ve grown yourself.  But I know I personally grow a few berries and get plenty of peaches and plums every summer.  And one of my favorite things to do with all that fruit is to pair it with a flavorful, neutral base cake.  This particular cake recipe is one that I modified in order to make my wedding cake.  It’s easy to change to suit your specific tastes, and takes well to gluten free flour mixes.

 

6 cups of flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sea salt (not table salt, it will over salt the cake)

8 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 pound unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons flavored extract (vanilla is pretty typical but I love almond)

1 tablespoon coordinating extract (orange and lemon are quite nice)

1 teaspoon citrus zest of your choice

1 cup milk of any type

For chocolate cake, add ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and increase milk by 3 tablespoons

 

A nice example of the options are to use coconut milk, lemon zest and extract, powdered cocoa, and vanilla extract.

 

Start by buttering or oiling your pans, and coating the pan in flour.  You will need two 8” cake pans, two 12” pans, or one to two 14” or 16” pans, depending on how high you want your cake to rise.  For 8 and 12 inch pans, set your oven to 350 degrees F, and 450 degrees for 14 to 16 inch pans.

Next cream the fat and sugar together, working them together until you can see sugar granules in every part of the butter.  One by one, add the eggs and yolk.  Incorporate each egg fully before adding the next.  Doing this slowly and patiently will give the eggs already added time to be fully whipped, incorporating air into the mixture and making the final product lighter and fluffier.  Add the extracts and zest, followed by the cup of milk.  Set aside and prepare the dry ingredients.

Take the flour and baking powder, and sift them together using a flour sifter or a strainer.  This will again help to lighten your final cake.  If you don’t have either tool, you can put the flour in a bowl too big for it and fluff with a fork until all the big chunks are broken up and it looks crumbly like sand.  Add the salt.

Take the wet mixture and about a cup at a time, add to the dry ingredients.  Mix well, but don’t over mix.  It’s better to leave lumps than to whisk the mixture too much in this case.  Pour into your prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.  This part is very dependent on your oven and altitude!!! I live in Colorado, or about a mile above sea level.  Oven temperatures often need to be roughly 25 degrees less at sea level, slightly more sugar, and slightly less liquid.  It may also need a little more baking soda at sea level.  Bear this in mind if you live at a different altitude and need to adapt the recipe a little for your specific area.

As far as baking times, a good rule to operate by is to set your timer for five to ten minutes less and check it regularly.  In this case, I would set the timer for 20 minutes and check every ten after that.  You can feel the top of the cake to see if it’s done.  If it is, it shouldn’t be sticky, should spring back from your touch readily, and will smell faintly like toasted sugar or caramel.  If you’re not confident in that, do a toothpick test.  It’s really not going to damage your cake and it’s pretty foolproof.

Once the cake is finished, let it cool slightly so the pan isn’t hot to the touch.  Once you can remove the cake, flip it out onto a plate and then flip again onto a cooling rack.  Let it cool fully at this point.  Once cool, you can cut it, frost it, add whipped cream, loads of your fresh fruit, anything you feel it needs.  Or you can just eat it straight.  It’s cool.  I don’t judge.  Enjoy!

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