Wednesday, August 1, 2012

White Almond Sour Cream Cake

Aside from being a crazy baker, I am also a cake decorator. As I was searching for good recipes on my favorite cake decorating website Cake Central, I kept coming across something called White Almond Sour Cream Cake. Hmm, that sounded really good. But wait - when I clicked on the recipe for this intriguing cake, I found that it started with a box of white cake mix. Clicking on variations of the recipe, I saw that they all started with a box mix! I was puzzled, because I had long believed that professional cake decorators do everything from scratch. I wanted to try this delicious-sounding cake, but I didn't want to just make a modified mix - I wanted the real thing. So I set out to come up with my own recipe. I started with my go-to white cake recipe, mixed it with the reverse creaming method (mixing the dry ingredients with the butter), added almond extract, and substituted sour cream for half of the milk it called for. Success! The cake tasted delicious. It is pictured here with cooked milk buttercream. If you are worried about nut allergies or just don't like almond flavor, this cake would also taste delicious as a vanilla sour cream cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pans with cooking spray and line with parchment. This cake will do three 8" round layers, or two 10" round layers.

Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting:

3 1/2 Cups Sifted Cake Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
2 Cups granulated sugar
1 Cup unsalted butter, softened (if you are using salted butter, omit the salt)
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 teaspoon almond extract (OR 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract for vanilla flavor)
7 egg whites

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and stir well (if you have a KitchenAid mixer, go ahead and put it in that bowl and mix on low speed with the paddle to combine.)

Add the softened butter and the milk to the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. Turn mixer on medium and beat for about 60 seconds to aerate. Stir the Almond extract into the sour cream and add half of this to the batter. Mix on low until just combined (about 15 seconds). Add the last of the sour cream and mix on low again, until just combined. Scrape the bowl to make sure the bottom of the bowl got mixed in.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk until they are stiff but still a bit moist. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, just until they are incorporated (you will still see some thin streaks of white). Immediately fill pans and bake at 350 degrees:
Cupcakes: 18-20 minutes
6" or 8" layers: 25-35 minutes
9" or 10" layers: 30-40 minutes
12" layer: 45-50 minutes

Bake just until the cakes spring back when gently poked with a finger on top, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool before frosting.