I had to take one for the team this last week. I had to test out a lovely Yellow Cake a few times to see what changes needed to be made for high altitude. We ate cake. We ate lots of cake actually, but I didn’t hear anyone complain. My friend Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe sent me a recipe and directions for a cake she has been perfecting for awhile now. I believe her family ate 10 times more cake than we did or more! It was after her 16th attempt that she felt like the cake was perfect. My job was testing the recipe at high altitude. I live in a lovely little mountain valley at approximately 5200 ft. above sea level. Therefore I think you can consider me a High Altitude girl.
The original cake recipe actually made a very tasty cake, but it was super finicky. It fell in the oven, it was hard to get out of the pan, and it was a little too moist. I frosted it as a layer cake, but it wasn’t pretty. Taste- AMAZING! Look-pretty sad:( So here’s where some minor tweaks for altitude came into play. They worked magic, and created the pretty cake that Mel worked so hard to create.
My notes for high altitude:
- -added 2 1/2 T. flour
- -greased AND floured the cake pans and the parchment circles on the bottom of the pans
- -bake time increased to 30 minutes
- -DO NOT open oven door to peak! Results in cake falling.
- -weighing ingredients was a must. I hate to say that because it is such a hassle sometimes, but weighing created the most consistent cake.
- Results were a beautiful yellow cake that held together really well. Slipped right out of the pans, and frosted perfectly! And I will suggest using Mel’s Chocolate Buttercream. It’s lovely. So no matter where you live, you have no excuse to not make a perfect yellow cake.
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (13 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 9 ounces cake flour + 2 1/2 T. for high altitude
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk (1% or anything higher fat than that), room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream (light or regular), room temperature
Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer (or with a handheld electric mixer) for 1-2 minutes.
Add the sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes, no less.
Beat in the vanilla.
Mix in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, mixing just until combined.
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Whisk together the sour cream and milk in a liquid measure.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add 1/2 of the milk/sour cream mixture and mix.
Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.
Add the last 1/2 of the milk/sour cream, mix.
Add the final dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Grease AND flour 2 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with a parchment round, grease AND flour the parchment.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
Drop each pan from about 3-inches onto the counter to minimize air bubbles while baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 (28-30 for high altitude) minutes until lightly golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
Do not peek until the last minute or two. My cakes had a tendency to fall if disturbed:)