Mel’s Perfected Yellow Cake (High Altitude Directions)

cakeI 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.  

Mel’s Perfected Yellow Cake (High Altitude Directions)

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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:)

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Comments

  1. Susie says

    Lisa: I am hoping you can help me with a baking dilemma. When I make brownies in a 13 x 9 pan I end up with an inch high crust all around the pan with the center somewhat concave. They taste ok but don’t look good, especially when I make the mint brownies with the green frosting and then the chocolate frosting over all. I live almost as high as you do. Could it be the high elevation? Any suggestions? I would love to make some nice flat, even brownies. It happens with both of my go-to brownie recipes.
    Thanks
    Susie

    • Lisa says

      Susie!! Ok I totally know what you’re talking about with the high crusted brownies. I’ve had that problem a few times too. I’m going to give you a link to my favorite brownie that seems to turn out perfect every time. There’s a little bit of a lip on the crust but not the mile high. Compare it with your old stand by recipes and notice if there’s a difference. Also I was amazed at what 2 T. of flour did for Mel’s Yellow Cake. It seemed like such an insignificant amount, but it made a world of difference. Give one of your recipes the added 2 T. and see what it does. I’d love to take a look at your recipe if your feeling up to typing it out to see if I can see a big difference. Here’s the link to my favorite brownie and you can see in the picture there’s not much of a lip. Good luck and let me know how it turns out:) xoxo Lisa http://clawsonlive.com/2009/09/helens-brownies.html

  2. susan says

    I made this cake for G’s birthday! I added the extra flour and my cake turned out lovely and plump and didn’t fall at all! And I enjoyed the flavor. I good yellow cake is perfection.

    My only sadness is that in my old oven 30 minutes was a bit too much and it turned out a touch dry. Such sadness. But thats my oven! I will definitely be making it again, but I think I will start watching it close a pinch before that time.

  3. Naomi says

    This didn’t turn out for me at all. I live at 9000 feet, so anyone thinking this will work that high up, it doesn’t. It was dense, didn’t rise, and had an eggy flavor to the cake. I had to throw it away and search for something else.

    • Lisa says

      Naomi, Dang!! I am sorry this didn’t work out for you. 9000 ft up!! You must live WAY UP! I’m in the mountains of Utah, but only half your elevation. Question for you. Do you have a rough time with most recipes, and what do you do to make them work out? I’m interested to hear what would work better for you. And again sorry for the wasted time and ingredients:(

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