Published March 1, 1999.
We were looking for a moist, tender cake that was both foolproof and full flavored. By changing mixing methods and ingredient ratios, we achieved our goal.
Cakes made with the classic 1-2-3-4 method (1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 eggs) gave us disappointing results. Instead of melting in your mouth, these cakes were crumbly, sugary, and a little hard. And they were lacking in flavor, too; they did not taste of butter and eggs, as all plain cakes ought to, but instead seemed merely sweet.
A classic yellow cake that is moist and tender, with a rich, buttery, eggy flavor and a fine, even crumb.
Use what's known as the two-stage method of mixing. In the first stage, the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt are combined, the butter and about two-thirds of the milk and eggs are added, and the batter is beaten until thick and fluffy, about a minute. In the second stage, the rest of the milk and eggs are poured in and the batter is beaten for half a minute more. This method is touted for the tender texture it promotes in cakes, and we found that did just that in our yellow cake. But the consistency of the cake was also improved; no longer crumbly, the cake was now fine grained and melting, and, interestingly enough, it did not seem overly sweet.list of recipes