Even though I love baking, I normally don't do wedding cakes. They are too stressful, and I don't want to face the wrath of a Bridezilla who learns that her cake cracked on the way to the reception hall. But in this case I made an exception - it was for my brother, who was married last weekend.
Since I live over 400 miles away, I did not transport the assembled cake. Instead, I baked and froze the cake layers and made the icing in advance. I assembled the cake at my other brother's house, then made a short trip with the three cakes (still not assembled) to the reception venue. There I stacked the layers, and added the shells and decorations.
I would have preferred to create a fancier cake with fall colored flowers (all the better to hide the imperfect icing!), but I deferred to the bride's wishes and made a simple cake.
To throw a little excitement and uncertainty into the equation, I created a brand new cake recipe. Before I have mostly made white or yellow cakes, which use all whites and all yolks respectively. But I hated having to find a use for the remainder of the eggs in either case, so I was determined to make a whole egg cake that suited my preferences for texture and flavor. I've been working toward this goal but hadn't yet perfected it. Now I have come close, and the recipe is below.
Since I knew the cakes would be frozen a few days and have to travel, I brushed them with a sugar syrup after baking to make up for the inevitable moisture loss that would occur. It worked well, and I received many compliments on the texture and flavor of the cake. Many people asked me what was in the cake to make it so moist. They seemed surprised to learn that the cake had so few ingredients: butter/oil, sugar, eggs, flour, salt, milk, vanilla and baking powder. There was no "secret ingredient" as they all expected. And of course it didn't contain any mono- or diglycerides, guar gum, other emulsifiers, artificial flavorings, artificial colors, or unpronounceable mystery chemicals as you will find in a cake mix.
Let me digress but for a moment on the myths of cake baking. I hear people say it's too hard, or, more often, it takes too much time to bake a cake from scratch as opposed to using a mix. For a cake mix you still need to measure oil, water, crack eggs, and beat for 2 minutes. My cake is pretty similar; you only have to measure flour, sugar and baking power in addition to those things. Really, how much more time would it be to do that than to tear open the box and bag enclosed within?
But back to the matter at hand. The cake was well received, the bride was happy, and I got to eat leftover cake the next day.
Not Quite White, Not Quite Yellow Cake
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) cake flour
1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature (65 degrees)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk (whole or 2%), room temperature
4 whole eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8" or 9" cake pans with parchment (for more even rising, affix moistened Magi-Cake Strips to the pans). Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (if using) in a large mixing bowl or (better) in the bowl of a standing mixer. Blend together well.
Add softened butter and vegetable oil; mix to blend until clumpy (~20 seconds).
Mix milk, eggs and vanilla in small bowl. Add all but 1/2 cup to flour mixture and mix on high speed (medium high if using a stand mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Scape down bowl. Add remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture and blend on medium high speed (medium on stand mixer) for an additional 30 seconds.
Scrape bowl and stir thoroughly to incorporate any stray flour or butter bits. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until light golden brown on top and toothpick inserted into center of cake only has a few loose crumbs on it (20-30 minutes depending on your oven).
Cook cake in pans for about 10 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack. Brush both sides with a couple tablespoons of 1:1 sugar syrup if you won't be serving the cake the same day. Frost as desired when completely cool.