Butter Cake

Monday, 12 November 2012


When I was looking at butter cake recipes online, I was surprised to find people moaning about cracks in their cakes. That seemed rather odd  to me because the butter cakes my mother bought when I was a kid all had a big crack on top. Isn't the ruptured top the signature of butter cakes?

After I baked my first butter cake with WendyinKK's recipe, I had to agree cracks are a no-no. Yup, the wretched cake ruptured even though Wendy's recipe wasn't supposed to.

As I looked at my cake, I realized something. The people moaning about cracks – now including me – were baking square or round cakes. The butter cakes my mother bought were all loaf cakes. Loaf cakes are supposed to have cracks; square/round ones aren't.

I should have taken the easy way out and just switched to a loaf pan. But, since I wasn't working on unimportant stuff like finding a cure for cancer or solving the world hunger problem, I thought I'd tackle the question most crucial to human civilization: how to bake a square/round butter cake without cracks.

Image Why did my cake crack but Wendy's didn't? Because I didn't follow her recipe!

Wendy's was a 4-egg recipe, baked in an 8-inch square pan. I scaled it down to 3 eggs, and baked in a 6-inch square pan though it should have been 7 inches if adjusted proportionately. My batter was thus taller than Wendy's. The taller the batter is, the more it rises.

Besides the pan size, I also changed the amount of sugar in the recipe. I reduced the (scaled down) quantity by one-third, so the batter was less dense than Wendy's. The lighter the batter is, the more it rises.

When the batter rises a lot but the sides of the cake are brown and hard, it pushes through the middle and, if the top is also brown and hard, creates a "cakequake".

To prevent a "cakequake", I made two changes to my second butter cake.

First, I lowered the oven temperature to 160°C at the start of the baking session (Wendy used 170°C) so that the sides of the cake browned slower.

Second, I placed the cake in the bottom of the oven instead of the middle so that the top browned even slower than the sides.

The two changes made the batter cook more evenly, resulting in a cake that domed but didn't crack. When the batter was more or less set, I increased the temperature to 180°C to brown the cake properly.

What about the dome, which some people hate? It deflated nicely once the cake was removed from the oven, leaving the top flat, not round.

Wendy's recipe, which she got from her friend, Mrs Ng, makes an excellent cake that's very buttery and sooooo floofy. Trust me, it's totally worth 25 calories. Yup, it's only 25 calories! Sounds incredible but, cross my heart and hope to die, it's absolutely true. It's merely 25 calories . . . I kid you not . . . per . . . er . . . mouthful.

Image

Many, many thanks to Mrs Ng for her wonderful recipe, the cows that produced milk for the butter, the chickens that laid the three eggs, the wheat farmers, sugar cane farmers, sugar refiners, oven maker, cake pan maker . . . . You all make my dream butter cake (or is it butter cake dream?) come true. Thank you.

 

BUTTER CAKE
Source: Adapted from Mrs Ng's recipe
(Recipe for one 15 cm cake)

180 g salted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
30 g caster sugar
45 g egg yolks
¾ tsp vanilla extract
150 g self-raising flour, sifted
45 ml full-fat fresh milk

105 g egg whites
70 g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 160°C. Line bottom and sides of 15 x 15 x 5 cm cake pan with parchment paper.

Cream butter and 30 g sugar till pale and fluffy, scraping sides and bottom of mixing bowl as necessary. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, plus vanilla extract with the last yolk. Beat thoroughly after each addition till whisk leaves distinct trail. Scrape down thoroughly.

Re-sift 1/4 of sifted flour into butter mixture. Fold with spatula till just even. Re-sift another 1/4 into mixture. Again, fold till just even, scraping down as necessary to ensure even mixing. Add milk in 2 batches, folding till just fully absorbed after each addition. Re-sift and fold remaining half of flour into mixture in 2 batches as before.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk egg whites till thick. Continue whisking whilst gradually adding 70 g sugar, till egg whites form stiff peaks.

Fold egg whites into flour mixture in 3 batches, scraping down as necessary to ensure even mixing.

Bang mixing bowl against worktop 2-3 times to remove big air bubbles.

Scrape batter into cake pan. Spread evenly and smooth top. Bang cake pan against worktop 2-3 times to remove gaps between batter and pan.

Bake cake in bottom of oven till batter doesn't jiggle when shaken, about 35 minutes. Increase temperature to 180°C. Continue baking till inserted skewer comes out clean and cake is evenly golden brown, another 10 minutes or so.

Remove cake from oven. Leave on wire rack to cool down. Cake may be unmoulded once dome has subsided and top has flattened.

Leftovers may be refrigerated, tightly wrapped. Reheat in oven, wrapped in foil, till warmed through and fluffy soft.

72 comments:

Mrs O said...

KT, Happy Deepavali holiday! I love your butter cake recipe! but, still calories watching month, I will bake it next month for Christmas holidays, and I am sure it will turn out exactly like your video.

KT said...

Happy holiday to you too, Mrs O. I'll try to come up with a couple more recipes for you to choose from!

Mrs O said...

KT, thank you so much, it is so sweet of you.

Steven said...

Hi KT, That looks mouth watering good. I will try this(BTW, I love your Panda Chiffon cake, and back to try another recipe). Do you have a butter cream icing to share? Thanks for sharing.

Steven said...

Hi, Just made this cake and it is delish! It is not too sweet. I also like my dessert with a slight taste of salt. So, this is perfect. Are you sure the whole cake has only 25 calories? Thank you again.

Mdm khoo (malaysia) said...

Dear kt, i aso hate dome on my cakes, big crackers in the centre. Cottony soft pandan ciffons must have brown crust. Absolutely no coloring if possible. Thank you very very much.

JAY said...

HAI KT ..... CAN YOU MAKE A VIDEO = HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN RICE CABBAGE SOUP AND ALSO MELAYU NASI AYAM SUP BAWANG = THE SOUP SEEMS SO SIMPLE TO DO = BUT I DONT KNOW HOW TO DO IT ...... ONLY THE SOUP OKAY ..... JAY FROM MALAYSIA

KT said...

You're welcome, Steven. It's 25 calories per (normal-sized) bite, not per cake.

KT said...

You're welcome, Mdm khoo.

Have you heard that some bakeries deliberately bake cakes with domes, so that they look homemade?

KT said...

How do you make your cabbage soup and what's wrong with it?

JAY said...

I DONT KNOW AT ALL = HOW TO MAKE CABBAGE SOUP = THATS WHY I ASKING YOU QUICK = EASY AND SIMPLE METHOD TO MAKE CHICKEN RICE CABBAGE SOUP

KT said...

Quickest, easiest and simplest method: simmer shredded cabbage for 5 minutes in water seasoned with chicken stock powder.

JAY said...

OK THANK YOU VERY MUCH = I WILL TRY IT

openkitchenconcept said...

Oh I like the little tiger cartoon character! Hahahah

Karen said...

Hi, was searching for fluffy butter cake & google took me to your blog. Salute to you! Will spend the next few days reading all your posts! Well done & thank you for sharing

Nita said...

It looks so amazing. Thanks youtube I found you!
I'm going to try this recipe.

Catherine said...

I baked the butter cake this morning and added 3 overriped bananas, and it turns out! Wow, the most delicious cake! Thank you for sharing the butter cake recipe.

Grace said...

Hi KT,
I have tried your recipe yesterday, Awesome! my family members love this light and fluffy butter cake. Previously, I have baked using other's recipes but it's always disappoint me. Btw, may I add in some fresh orange juice?
Thank you
Grace

kt said...

Of course you may add orange juice to your cake.

yitoto said...

Hi KT,
Thanks for the recipe. I have tried by following ur recipe here, however, the surface of the butter cake turned out hard & dry. Can I knw why? & Hw to improve?

Thank you!

kt said...

Your oven temperature was probably too high. Check with a thermometer.

jjmom said...

Hi KT, thank you so much for sharing this butter cake recipe, I baked it this afternoon, it was gone in mins! (Well, only 3 of us at home, my 11 y.o. son, 9 y.o. daughter, and me!). This is the FIRST TIME that my daughter ate a cake, yes, the very first time in her life she finished 4 big slices in one sitting Due to her sensory issue (she has autism), usually she will shun cakes like a plaque! But not this one! She absolutely loves it, she asked for it more and more (by signing ASL, well, she can't talk, so she communicates by signing or by typing).

Tiew Soe Khim said...

halo KT, can i use rice cooker to do this coz i onle have toaster and microwave in my house.

kt said...

I can't think of any reason why you can't. Can you?

kt said...

Glad to hear your kids loved the cake. It's a good one to keep in the fridge. When you want some, just cut a slice, reheat it in the oven, and warm buttery cake is ready in a matter of minutes.

Tiew Soe Khim said...

yesterday i had try to made but i use the toaster to bake unluckily i fail to do with the toaster it burn the paper i put in the mould all my batter had gone! i'll try today again but with rice cooker.

Min Zhi said...

CAN I USE A 21CM SQUARE PAN INSTEAD OF 15CM ONE?

jjmom said...

:).. KT, thanks for the tips, your butter cake has NO chance to be kept in the fridge, gone in mins. Today, I baked Japanese Souffle Cheesecake using your recipe, my daughter was helping me with the whisking, etc.. and my son was sticking up his nose to the cake once it came out from the oven. Smelled so lovely, looked so lovely, and sure tasted so lovely too! All your recipes are true, and your videos made it so easy to make! Again, thank you so much. Have a good day to you! Warmest Regards from Boise, Idaho!

Neurotic Hdy said...

Thank you a million to share such a wonderful recipe. By the way could you suggest a recipe for brownies which the surface crispy? My brother and sister love this menu.

onncheng said...

Hi KT, When i left the cake on wire rack to cool down, the cake stick on the wire rack ...Can I now how to prevent it?

TQ

kt said...

You sure can, now and forever.

Lily Ang said...

Hi KT, thanks for sharing this awesome recipe and the video clip that has guided me through. Just baked this evening and the cake looked wonderful - nicely browned and without any cracks and best of all it tasted so good. :)

Judy Tung said...

Baked this just an hour ago. Thank you KT for such a wonderful recipe, and yes it is very fluffy and moist. I have adapted it to make an orange cake. I cut out the milk and added 35 ml fresh orange juice and mixed it together with 1 tablespoon yogurt and zest from 1 orange. It is so delicious. Will definitely bake it again and again.

Jessica@Amirah said...

Hi, may i know Instead of using measurement,how many eggs that you are using?

Joanne Chua said...

Hi KT, need your advice. I made this cake several times with wonderous texture. However, the cake was rather moist for the last 4 attempts. I also noticed it was the bottom half that was moist but the upper half was good and fluffy. It was thoroughly cooked. And, I would say the bottom was pretty oily after 12 hours.

kt said...

There's probably something wrong with your oven's lower heating elements. Bake a slice of bread on a rack and see if the bottom browns as well as the top.

Joanne Chua said...

Will experiment it out. Thanks!

Lily Ang said...

These are the pics of the baked butter cake using your recipe. Thank you so much, KT.

kt said...

No cracks – well done!

Jo Cha Tjo said...

Hi KT,
I am from the Netherlands. I would really like to try the Fluffy Butter Cake. caster sugar is hard to find. Can I use granulated sugar and how.
Thank you for sharing.
Greetings from The Netherlands.
Groetjes uit Nederland
Jo Cha Tjo

kt said...

Look up a Dutch recipe for meringue made with white sugar. Use the same type of sugar as a substitute for caster sugar. Any white sugar that's as fine as table salt is OK too. Or you could grind coarse sugar in a food processor. Good luck.

vinita said...

Hi KT,
I just tried making your butter cake this afternoon. ""Thank you very much'''. It is a success. The cake is not dry (which I normally bake) and no crack , no dome etc. Just perfect. I am so happy . First time successful in butter cake. Hope my family love it. I have tried your Hokkaido cupcake . Also a success except the whipping cream (diluted and curdle) and prawn cereal. Turned out OK too. Thanks. Love your blog.... vin

sharonmanoharan said...

hi i tried ur receipe,its in oven,i will tell u when its finished.only thing is when i beat egg whites they didnt bcom stiff,i tried for 1/2 an hr,i got frustated then i mixed,can u tell what went wrong.thanks

kt said...

Please write in English or at least something that resembles English. Thank you.

Junn said...

Hi kt, can I substitute milk to orange juice?

Evelynn1985 said...

Hi KT, Can i share your recipe on my blog? i really feel this is a very good recipe and i must share it out :) I've baked it several times and always successful. Thanks for the great recipe.

Kitchen Piglet said...

I beat her up then she bcom stiff, can you tell what went wrong.thanks

Junn said...

Da cake texture is awesome

Alvin said...

Thanks KT, the outcome of the buttercake turn out good, awesome recipe. The cake is fluffy, moist and butter give this cake a really rich flavor that captivates my taste-bud!

Joy said...

Thank you KT for this awesome recipe. I baked it last night and it came out perfect - very light and fluffy. As soon as it came out the oven, I brushed it with more butter. Thumbs up!

sharon said...

hi iam very happy the cake was just like urs.i have question can i use unsalted insted of salted butter.thanks wating for ur reply.

Eyeore said...

Thanks for the fantastic recipe! This is the first time that my butter cake turned out so well without any cracks in the middle.

Mrs O said...

Hello, KT, I baked it at 170 celcius for first 35 mins, thereafter 10 mins at 180 celcius. But, there is a "damp" bottom. I tested my convection oven with oven thermometer, middle part is soft and moist and the ends are slightly dry and grainy. In short, nice, but how to bake like yours?

KT said...

Hi Mrs O



The wet patch in the bottom of your cake was probably due to uneven mixing. The dry and grainy sides were probably due to the fan in the oven.



Make sure the batter is evenly mixed, and bake with the fan turned off.



Good luck.

Mrs O said...

TQ, but mine, is a microwave cum convection (16 years old, Toshiba), and I don't think there is a button to turn off the fan. I only have problems with butter cakes, sugee and chiffon (both pandan and orange) turn out good. Anyway, I will bake again. Thank you very much, KT, you are kind and nice.

Baking Rookie said...

Hi KT, Thank you sooooooooooooo much for this recipe. I have been trying many recipes for the best vanilla cake one could make from scratch. Every recipe that I tried before, left me thinking something should be better. But this recipe of yours, I tried it yesterday and it came out as fluffy and delicious as I always wished for. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and all the tips to make the cake perfect, including the level of the rack where to bake. Now I'm gonna try many of your other recipes too. A BIG fan of yours here.

Asiaruth said...

Hi KT , i been wanting to learn how to bake and i am glad that i can follow your den-mo. This is such a great help for beginners like me . Wish me success .

KT said...

Here's wishing you buttery success, Asiaruth.

ligzajaya said...

Hi! where can i find self-raising flour, could i made it by myself with baking powder or other method. thanks

sharon said...

hi iam very happy the cake was just like urs.i have question can i use
unsalted insted of salted butter.kindly answer me as i want to bake again for my anniversary.thanks wating for ur reply.

Pinkpot said...

Hi KT, May I know do you use Fan mode for your baking or conventional mode with upper and lower heating rod? Thanks.

Min said...

Hello KT,
May I know how many egg yolk and egg white. I am new in baking so I am not so sure about measurement for eggs in g. Thank You :)

Michelle said...

I kinda want to add walnuts to this recipe, not sure if it's a good idea

Saranyaa said...

Hi KT, I just made this cake and it was a hit with the family! Thank you for the simple yet delicious recipe! I've made it twice since.

Juanasjuan said...

I baked this thrice! The first attempt, I didn't read your instructions carefully, I put the cake in the middle rack. The top got a little burnt in the last 10 min at 180 degrees.

The second time, I put it in the lower rack, the top was golden brown and slightly puffed up in the middle but caved in a little after it cooled down completely. I tried it and it was moist and soft, not too sweet and oh so well-loved, it received only praises and "return customers".

The third one is still in the oven. I'm getting the hang of this simple ingredient but lovely cake. This is a great recipe to keep - for birthdays, breakfast, etc. So gOoOod!! :))

judith said...

Good evening,
great site, thank you for all these recipes!
I have no self-raising flour by how many spoon of baking powder do I replace it? thank you

onefineday said...

Why don't you crack one, separate the yolk from the white, and weigh each separately. If you divide the weight required in the recipe, by the weight of your one yolk or white, then that number is how many yolks or whites you will need.

Helio Tavares said...

cruel cat

sj said...

Yes u can, but it'll be orange cake and not butter cake. Think about it

zaza said...

Thank you for Butter Cake ricipy. I love it.

Hồng Phương Nguyễn said...

you can do it with 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Juanasjuan said...

Third one sank a bit in the middle too. :(

Take 4 was a bit cracked in the middle coz the centre of the cake did not cook well in the third attempt so I switched the heat to bottom heat only and caused the cake to rise too much.

For the 5th cake, I left it in for 35-40 min on 160 degrees, then last 10 min on 180 degrees…

It took me 7 attempts to make one without crack and not too heated up to crack. I'm just so glad that I have happy family who likes the cake for the taste, not the looks. Guess I just have to fiddle a bit with the oven to make sure the temperature is consistent.

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