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White Velvet Cake

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Ingredients

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon bleached flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 egg whites, unbeaten

White Velvet Cake

  • Serves 12
  • Medium

About This Recipe

You have, of course, heard of Red Velvet Cake. But I will never eat one, since red food coloring makes me sick.

At any rate, I think that adding an entire bottle of food coloring to a recipe is icky. There are recipes for Red Velvet Cakes made with pureed beets, but that throws the flavor off.

So why not make a White Velvet Cake?

I have always been on the search for the perfect white cake. It seems that most white cakes, which are made without egg yolks so they are really white, are a bit dry and tough. Egg yolks add fat and moisture to the cake batter, so a cake made without them will naturally be more dry.

I made one step in the right direction when I found Dinah Shore’s recipe for Pecan Rum cake a white cake cut into squares, frosted on all sides with a fluffy frosting, then rolled in chopped pecans to coat. It’s not difficult to make, but it can take hours!

But when made on its own without that intense ratio of frosting to cake, the cake is still a little dry. Then I had a brainstorm.

Add ground white chocolate! When white chocolate is ground in the food processor so the particles are very fine, it will melt into the crumb of the cake and add fat and flavor. It doesn’t weigh the cake down, and doesn’t add much white chocolate flavor; it just adds the perfect amount of moisture.

I also changed the milk to buttermilk, added a touch of lemon juice, and added some baking soda to balance everything out. It’s perfect.

Use my recipe for Old-Fashioned Frosting for this cake; it is a wonderful recipe. I first saw something like it a long time ago and was so intrigued by the method. To make it, you cook flour and milk together in a saucepan until the mixture is thick. The flour paste is cooled, then beaten into shortening and butter and sugar. You have to beat and beat until the frosting is smooth, but your reward will be a velvety smooth and fluffy frosting; the perfect topping for the perfect white velvet cake.

Why this recipe works:

  • Beating the butter with sugar in the first step sets up the texture of the cake. The sugar creates tiny holes in the butter that will fill with air as the cake rises in the oven. The more you beat the butter, the more finely-textured the cake will be.
  • The ground white chocolate is the secret ingredient in this recipe. It is called a “finely divided solid” and it acts as an emulsifier (a fancy word that just means to make things smooth and blended).
  • Adding the four unbeaten egg whites at the end really makes the texture of this cake fine. Because they are unbeaten they do not add volume, but add water and protein. Using the whites without the yolk also makes the cake white.
  • Using a combination of cornstarch and flour is a substitute for cake flour. This action reduces the protein content of the flour and interferes with gluten formation. That makes the cake more tender.
  • Buttermilk and lemon juice make the batter more acidic. Adding a little bit of baking soda will neutralize the batter, which makes it rise a bit higher and be more tender.

Steps

1
Done

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13” x 9” pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour and set aside.

2
Done

Sift the flour and cornstarch together twice. Then combine this mixture with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

3
Done

Put the white chocolate chips in a food processor. Pulse, then process, until the chocolate is in very tiny pieces. Don’t go so far that the chocolate turns into a paste. If this happens, you have to start over. Set aside.

4
Done

Now it’s time to put the batter together! In a large bowl, beat the butter until it is fluffy and light. Gradually add the sugar, beating constantly, until the mixture is light.

5
Done

Now add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the milk mixture in three parts. That means you add ¼ of the flour and beat until the flour disappears. Then add the buttermilk (and lemon juice in the first addition) and beat until it disappears. Keep going until all of the flour mixture and buttermilk have been added.

6
Done

Then beat in the unbeaten egg whites until combined.

7
Done

Now sprinkle the ground white chocolate over the batter and fold it in with a spoon or spatula.

8
Done

Spoon the batter (it will be thick) into the prepared cake pan and smooth it out. Bake for 28 to 33 minutes or until the cake is light golden brown, the edges just start to pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9
Done

Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.

10
Done

Top the cake with Old Fashioned Frosting. Store covered at room temperature.

lindaBest

Linda is a home economist who has authored 40 books (39 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies). She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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