When I was recently in NJ, Aaron's mom mentioned that she was looking for a standard yellow cake recipe. I totally understand that because I like to have some standby recipes that I know are delicious and reliable, especially when it comes to cake because I like to change it up with filling and icing. I have several standby chocolate cake and cupcake recipes, but it took me a while to find a yellow cake that I really like. I know that everyone loooooves chocolate (and I do too), but I really love yellow cake because its so buttery and moist.
In the end, I finally found these two recipes that I'm pretty happy with. I think its easier to overcook and dry-out these cakes than many chocolate ones (such as devil's food), but with careful baking they're both really good. Plus, if you make them you can typically get reactions like the one seen below: (I love Meg's face in this picture)
The first recipe (pictured at the top) is a Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper, butter the parchment paper and dust with flour.
2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on low just until blended and raise the speed to medium beating until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding after each addition. Pour 1/3 of batter in each pan.
4. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes.
5.Turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.
Cake #2 (second picture)
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, butter and dust with flour.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy and then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Beat in buttermilk at low speed until just combined. Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing after each addition just until incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in two cake pans, Bake until golden 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan.