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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 buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup softened butter
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 from her inimitable cookbook Someone’s In The Kitchen With Dinah. It’s 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 now the perfect White Velvet Cake.

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.

Tips for best results:

  • Be sure to measure the flour accurately. Do NOT dip the measuring cup into the flour. Spoon the flour lightly into the measuring cup and level off with the back of a knife.
  • When you beat the cake, beat only until the flour and/or liquid disappears. Don’t overheat or the cake will be tough.
  • Fold the white chocolate in just until it disappears. If you fold too much or too vigorously, the cake will have less volume.
  • Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly touched with your finger. You can also use the toothpick test; insert the toothpick and it should come out clean with no wet crumbs attached.
  • Let the cake cool completely before you frost it or the frosting will melt and lose its fluffy texture.

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

Now combine the buttermilk, lemon juice, heavy cream, and vanilla in another bowl and mix well with a wire whisk.

4
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.

5
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.

6
Done

Now add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in three parts. That means you add ¼ of the flour mixture and beat until the flour disappears. Then you add 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture to the batter; beat until it disappears. Keep going until all of the flour mixture and buttermilk have been added.

7
Done

Then beat in the unbeaten egg whites until combined.

8
Done

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

9
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.

10
Done

Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.

11
Done

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

lindaBest

Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 50 books (49 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. 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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4 Comments Hide Comments

I so enjoy your site and your recipes. Would you please consider adding a print option so we can enjoy your recipes a little more easily. Thank you.

Hi, I asked my computer guru about this and he didn’t think it could be done given the layout of the site. You can print the recipes – just choose File > Print if you’re on a Mac, then you can choose the page you want to print.

I didn’t see where the ¼ cup heavy cream and vanilla were to be added in the mixing process. Am I overlooking this step?

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