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The trouble with white cake...

There are times when white cake is just the right item for the job (think with lemon filling, or for a child’s birthday). I have tried the reverse creaming method for white cake multiple times. It seems like it should work. But, unlike my other, not-infrequent baking escapades, it doesn’t. It comes out squat, dense and greasy every time. What am I doing wrong?


  • Hi Sarah - Thanks for your question! I agree - sometimes a white cake is just what’s needed. A couple of factors could be affecting your cake, but the biggest one is probably the temperature of your butter. When we say “room temperature” we really mean somewhere around 66 degrees. That’s probably a lot cooler than most people think since our rooms are generally much warmer than that. The butter should bend easily without cracking and leave an indentation when pressed. We want the butter to be soft enough to coat the flour but not so soft as to lose its ability to aerate or create structure. It’s also important to ensure that your other ingredients - eggs and milk - are at room temperature as well. When mixing the butter into the flour make sure to stop when the mixture is still crumbly. That being said, don’t be afraid to really beat the cake in the last step. With reverse creaming we have coated the flour with fat from the butter which inhibits gluten development. So you don’t have to worry as much about overbeating . The final batter should be really light and fluffy - almost like buttercream. If you watch Erika Bruce in this episode of Milk Street, she uses the reverse creaming method for our Lemon Almond Pound Cake. This may help you get a better idea of the texture at each stage. The reverse creaming method is a little tricky to get the hang of at first but, once you do, I think you will really love the texture of the cake. Hope this helps! Best, Lynn C.

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