project-wedding-cake-the-cake-is-baked Recipes

project wedding cake: the cake is baked

[Previous Project Wedding Cake episodes: An Introduction, Mango Curd]

That’s right, folks. The. Cake. Is. Baked. I mean, sure, it’s not filled. Heck, I haven’t even tracked down Indian or Philippine mangoes yet, bought the chocolate for the ganache filling or successfully tackled Swiss Buttercream, but we’ve got time for all that–FOUR WHOLE DAYS in fact. Pshaw, it should be nothing at all.

12-inch chocolate cake

But the cake is baked! I made the 12-inch square chocolate cake layers on Saturday and the 10-inch and 8-inch vanilla cake layers on Sunday, which if you’re keeping track at home is nine squares of parchment paper, washings of the Kitchen Aid bowl and beater, nearly four pounds of butter, three boxes of cake flour, a five-pound bag of sugar and at least one minute and twenty seconds of projecting Bakers Joy spray, which was indeed the Joy of my cooking this weekend. They are each frozen and wrapped in triple layers of plastic wrap and separated by cake boards.

cake flour

All of the dishes are done and the cleaning lady will hopefully not break up with us when she sees what this process has done to the kitchen floor. And walls. And surfaces.

eggs, eggs, eggs

The cakes, by the way, are the bomb. Although I have a few white cake recipes on this site, I have yet to find one that I swear by, but this one is now definitely in the lead. I could imagine using it for cupcakes and birthday cakes and trifles and you-name-it. It’s tender and moist with a most delicious batter and crumb. I’ll probably brush the layers with some lime-hinted simple syrup just to ensure it stays as moist as possible until serving time, but it doesn’t even need it.

endless parchment liners

I also have a chocolate cake recipe on this site I think is Amazing with a capital-A, but I was worried about using it for the chocolate cake layers because it is so soft and so moist, it’s not easy to move around. I will continue to use that for birthday cakes and cupcakes but when you need a sturdier and still abundantly delicious chocolate layer, this is it.

butter, butter, butter

The vanilla layers will be filled with the aforementioned mango curd, and although the original chocolate cake recipe I used called for a raspberry filling, I know how Chocolate People are, and will instead fill it with a brandied chocolate ganache. The combination of brandy in the filling and coffee and cinnamon in the cake creates great cake; intense enough for the chocolate-obsessed groom (and mine!) but grown-up and complex enough to hold it’s own next to a lime-zested vanilla cake with mango filling. Gah, I can’t wait.

this baker's joy

[Updated with] Some baking notes: For all of my worrying about how I would bake these beasts, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you how I handled it! In short, I took most of your advice, which fell into three categories: the majority of you didn’t think I needed to use the heating core, most of you agreed the wet strips were helpful but not mandatory, and a whole lot of you thought that an even better approach was to simply bake the cakes at a lower temperature. In the end, I did a combination of the wet strips and the lower temperature for a few cakes, and realized the time that I forgot to put the strips on that the lower temperature was enough to get the cakes to bake quite flat. There will still be a tiny bit of leveling needed, but a whole lot less than I’d expected. Thank you!

Next up: I will try and hopefully triumph over Swiss Buttercream, test it on a cake left out on the counter under the skylight for hours and see how it holds up in a container overnight. (I need to get the cake to the restaurant at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, and will understandably be much happier if I can have the extra frosting I’ll need made the night before.).

One year ago: Classic Madeleines… it was a simpler time, yes?

Chocolate Butter Cake
Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

One thing that is cool about this cake is that it is essentially one bowl, not following the regular cake pattern of creamed butter and sugar, eggs added one by one and then alternating dry and wet ingredients. That’s the good part. The bad part is that because of the curious way of assembling the cake it is imperative that you scrape down the bowl often, all the way to the bottom, overdoing it even. Otherwise, little deposits of unmixed butter or flour will sneak up on you.

The cake is insanely moist and while quite chocolaty, not so much that it is overwhelming–i.e. a perfect balance. We used a larger version of this recipe to make the 12-inch square bottom tier of a wedding cake.

Makes one 8-inch square, three layer cake

3 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
3 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch square cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Whisk the eggs and coffee together, and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans; each pan will take about 3 1/4 cups of batter.

4. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully turn them out onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. Remove the paper liners only when they are cool.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

This might be one of the best yellow cakes to come out of my kitchen, and I will certainly be coming back to it to try it in cupcake format soon. My notes are the same as for the chocolate cake above: you cannot scrape the bowl down enough. Otherwise, the cake is really quite simple, a relief when you’ve got, oh, 6 layers of it to bake.

Makes one three-layer 9-inch round cake [Equivalent in batter to an 8-inch square; we scaled it up for a 10-inch square/middle tier of the wedding cake]

3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition. There will be 9 cups of batter; our 3 cups batter into each pan.

4. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Turn the layers out onto wire racks by placing a rack on top of a pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liners and let cool completely. When the layers have cooled, place a cardboard cake board on top of a layer, invert again, and lift off the rack. To make the layers easier to handle, wrap them on their boards completely in plastic, so they don’t dry out, and refrigerate them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

444 comments on project wedding cake: the cake is baked

  1. i don’t know what should amaze me more … that freezer with nothin’ in it but cake, or that you have all the wherewithal to take such beautiful photos during all of it! i love the spacial juxtaposition of the round (eggs and paper) with the square (butter). good luck with the buttercream!

  2. Oh, my. My hair is falling out just reading this (not to self – wear a hairnet when ooking next meal).

    This is such an amazing process to watch. Can’t wait to hear more about the next step!

  3. drew

    the cake sounds absolutely delicious, sounds like you were able to satisfy everyone’s tastes. I don’t have much experience with cake baking on this scale but it sounds like you’ve tested everything soundly. Wish you the best of luck and would love to see the finished product.

  4. AmySnortts

    I fell in love with your site a little over a year ago (shortly before the home made Oreo post- LOVE that one!). Good Lord, but you now have me on pins and needles. I agree with Elise- you are a very, very good friend. I can’t believe you even have time to be updating the blog right now! I’m rooting for you! And the cake! Now I must go eat something sweet…

  5. Marie

    Deb darling — You have/had an empty freezer. You had an empty freezer. How? I know you’re going the butter-cream route, but, here’s my contribution to frosting recipes — just for your everyday cake/cupcake frosting. (I have NO idea if it’d work in the hot sun, etc.)

    I’ve used this recipe since I was 13, I’m 65 now, you do the math. America’s Test Kitchen stole it and it’s on their website. Google America’s Test Kitchen + Strawberry Cream Cake to double check it. This is from memory.

    2 cups heavy cream (not ulta-pasteurized)
    8 oz. cream cheese (not the whipped, the solid, and I highly recommend Trader Joe’s)
    1/2 cup suger (I use less)
    1 teas. vanilla extract
    pinch of salt (I don’t use any)

    I have a big ballon whip on my hand-held mixer and this recipe takes me minutes to prepare and always gets raves. Whip cream cheese together with sugar, vanilla. Then add cream in slow stream. Whip until stiff peaks form. Makes 4-1/2 cups.

    Please check their web-site, I’ve no idea how to create a link. Sorry.

    This is the best frosting ever. Not too sweet and I’ve come up with all kinds of variations. Add instant coffee plus Kalua (to taste) on chocolate cake. Yum. For Christmas I add some peppermint extract and spinkle with smashed candy cans. Candy canes go on at last minute or they’ll melt into the frosting. Cup cakes, infinte variations.

    If I were doing a wedding cake I’d frost it plainly, simply, with this frosting and use real, fresh white flowers as decorations. I’d be sure there was a very cold kitchen and come in at 5:00 am. Then keep refrigerated ’til last minute. Is there a cold kitchen in the venue where you could go at 5:00 am to frost at the last minute so to speak?

    All best wishes for much success!

  6. Tim

    I too am shocked at the empty freezer — I didn’t know it was possible to empty a freezer.

    Great series of entries, by the way. It appeals to the side of me that loves planning big projects like this. Please tell me there were lists involved.

  7. Wow. Just wow. That first picture is so impressive and not only do you make 13 layers of cake but also take the time for fabulous photos and document the process in such a way that we feel, yes, you CAN make a wedding cake for 52 people, from scratch! Your friend is lucky indeed! Good Luck, I can’t wait for the next installement!

  8. Wow…even your trash looks beautiful! LOL! Good luck with the final assembly this weekend! I’m sure you will do just fine with that Swiss buttercream. Just keep whipping even after it looks like it’s falling apart.

  9. That chocolate cake sounds so simple and easy, can’t wait to try. Yellow cake is one of my favorite flavors and sadly, I have yet to find a recipe that beats a boxed mix in the flavor department. I may have to try this recipe! Thanks.

  10. Nicole

    I got married 9/2006 and people are still telling me that our wedding cake was the best cake they’d ever had. I’m really starting to appreciate all the work that went into it now. Holy cow! I can’t wait to see the final product!

  11. hb

    i’ve become totally engrossed in the whole wedding cake process, to the extent that i decided that i too should make a wedding cake. so now i’ll be making the cake for my cousin’s wedding! and i’ve already told her that she has you to thank!
    thanks for all the great recipes and commentary!

  12. Boy, and I thought I was cool because I bake for the Daring Bakers! Huh! You are light years ahead of me, lady! :-) Everything looks great so far. I can’t WAIT for the decorating part – I used to do that for a living and love it! Good luck! P.S. You must have an extremely patient hubby! hahaha…

  13. HOLY-MACK-IN-OLY look at all those layers. I’m confused … I thought you were having a 3 teared cake…but I see/count 13 cakes in your freezer. Are some of those cakes for practice with the buttercream and filling? WOWZERS … I cannot WAIT for the next installment. Just a great project – and fun to see the progress. And look what you can do in an apt. sized kitchen! FAN-DAMN-TASTICK!

  14. Deb, I owe you responsible for me clicking onto that amazon link, then the one-buy option, then the-yes-I’m-sure-I-damn-need-this-book-blame-Deb.

    Thank you xxxxxxx

  15. The best thing about this post — aside from the whole wedding cake that’s baked and in your freezer — is the fact that you have the “food service size” can of Baker’s Joy!

  16. Ohmygoodness. I am SO looking forward to seeing the final results of this amazing project. I must echo the reader who said you are a very good friend indeed.

    One small question about the vanilla buttermilk cake… the ingredient list calls for 1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk, and then you mention adding 2 cups of buttermilk and later another 3/4 of a cup. Which is correct? Thanks, Deb, for letting us in on the fun :)

  17. As always – your photos are almost as impressive as your recipes. Thank you for documenting this endeavor! I am confident it will be a great success & cannot wait to see the pictures. I only wish I could taste the cake! Maybe I’ll have to go turn on the oven :-).

  18. deb

    I didn’t realize that an empty freezer was the ultimate triumph! Honestly, our freezer is ForgotAboutIt or FearofBugs-ville. We mostly keep ice cube trays and vodka in there, along with a lot of baking items–flours I rarely use, nut meals, cornmeal products that small crawly things seem to love, etc. They can all sit out for a few days without harm. Everything else I found cleaning it out was something I was appalled we still had.

  19. I can’t wait to see the finished product! I’m not the biggest fan of cake (I KNOW!), but your descriptions of the cake layers have even me drooling :)

  20. Dawn

    You are seriously a fantastic friend, and should be very proud of yourself for taking on this task with such skill and thoughtfulness. I cannot wait to see the final product (though I am sad for how early you have to wake up on Sunday to get the cake to the site), and am quite sure that it will be both beautiful and delicious (a feat that most wedding cakes rarely accomplish). Thanks so much for sharing this experience!

    One quick question/observation: All these years, I have read that whenever you add the dry ingredients, they need to be added last, and only mixed until incorporated. For that reason, I am shocked that the chocolate cake calls for adding the dry ingredients 1st! Having they been lying to us all these years?

  21. Linda

    This is so much darn fun. I would not have the courage to do this, so kudos to you, smitten. And thank you so very much for sharing it.

  22. Elizabeth

    This is such an interesting project! Thanks for detailing it for us; I can’t wait to see the results. I’ve got my fingers crossed that everything goes splendidly for you.

  23. Katy G

    Deb,
    PLEASE post the correct amount of buttermilk in the yellow cake recipe. I’d love to bake this cake today but the ingredient list and the directions have differing amounts of buttermilk.
    Thanks!

  24. rebecca

    Ok, this is possibly a stupid question–but what do you mean by filling? Is it piped somehow into the layers of cake, like cupcakes with cream centers? And how do you fill?

  25. deb

    The buttermilk is fixed now. The ingredient list was correct, it’s just that the book does this confusing thing of only having directions for one cake size, the 12-inch. All good now (I hope).

    Rebecca — We’re putting filling between each layer. So, you probably see three chocolate cake layers (god I hope so!) in the freezer. They’ll be stacked to form the bottom tier with a brandied ganache between them. The white cakes that will form the upper two tiers will have mango curd filling.

  26. Amelia

    I’ve been reading all of this with great interest (and envy, even, at the scope of the project). I generally use Rose Levy Beranbaum’s butter cake recipes, which follow the same pattern of adding the butter and liquids to the dry ingredients before adding the eggs, and had noticed the same issue with needing to scrape down the sides of the bowl *constantly*. My mother went to a kitchen expo, and came back with the most fabulous tool, and I cannot recommend highly enough that you get yourself one: A Beater Blade (http://www.amazon.com/Design-Beater-5-Quart-KitchenAid-Tilt-Head/dp/B0015TMHFG/ref=pd_sxp_f_pt). It’s a KitchenAid attachment that functions the same as the standard beater, but it’s got silicon wings attached to the sides, so it is constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl. Saves you about 90% of the scraping effort.

  27. Amanda

    I’m so glad I get to watch you do this project!!! I signed up to make cakes for the centerpiece of each table at my sister-in-law’s wedding in April and I’m nervous about the whole project in general. I’m curious – Did you wind up using the even-bake strips? Did they help? What about the heating core? Best of luck to you with the rest of this project!!!

  28. This may sound strange, but I’ve always found that a de-frosted cake is actually better than one that was never frozen at all. I won a cake walk when I was a kid, and ended up with two cakes, so we froze the chocolate one. Two weeks later, we thawed it and I remember thinking it was one of the best cakes I’d ever eaten. I think freezing then thawing actually makes for a moister, richer cake. Anyway, I cannot wait to see what this one will look like!! Good luck! :)

  29. I am so impressed! Can’t wait to see the finished product! It sounds like you’re going with buttercream and I’m so glad. Dunno, just “goes” better on wedding cake in my opinion. I really hope it works well for you. You can do it!!!

    Dying to see the finished product! Good luck with everything (or is that like saying good luck to an actor where you’re supposed to say break a leg instead? I can never bring myself to say that because what if somebody really did break a leg? that would be horrible! So, how ’bout “Break an Egg!”?)

    http://roundoaktablev2.blogspot.com/

  30. Susan

    I love following your progress here, it’s so exciting and nerve wracking it’s making me sit on my hands so I won’t bite my nails! You are a good friend..but I think you are MAD, woman! It makes me just shrink with fear to think you are doing this experiment…LIVE! Oye..what guts! I’d have done it for my own aniversary first before I ever volunteered it for someone else. But..I have food fear..you don’t. I wanna be like you!

    I love the flavor and sturdiness of buttermilk yellow cakes..they can be tricky though! Overbeaten, they can get a cornbread-like texture. Gotta follow the mixing directions explictly!

  31. I swear, this is like watching an addictive tv series…i find myself looking forward to the next “episode” as soon as i finish reading the most recent one! You’re work is amazing!! I can’t wait until the season finale :P

  32. Ohiogirl

    I agree with the other posters – I don’t know which to be more amazed at – your gift, your progress so far, or the emptied and now perfectly filled freezer.

    I bow to you.

  33. You’re amazed that the empty freezer generated so many comments? Remember, to a baker/cook, food storage spaces (freezers, pantries, etc.) are like that closet in Sex & the City.

    A question about cake flour. Do you use Swan’s Down because it’s easy to find or do you prefer it? I’ve used King Arthur cake flour in the past but it isn’t readily available.

  34. Christina

    Deb, a quick note about the mangoes! I know previous commenters have weighed in with Indian v. Philippine suggestions, but the main thing I look for in shopping for mangoes is a cultivar called “Kent” – the name refers not to a brand or grower but to a particular ‘varietal.’ They’re in season right now, and while they generally may look a little greener on the outside than your average mango, as long as you pick the soft ones that FEEL ripe, I have found them reliably sweet and almost always string-free – thought this might help save you the need for straining the curd!

  35. beth

    deb, this incredible baking project of yours has spurred me to post my first comment: i’m simply overwhelmed by the math involved! i would have to adjust the recipes and recalculate a shopping list for 13 layers over and over to feel sure my numbers were right. i’m very impressed with the entire undertaking and have loved following along. thanks!

  36. Lisa

    Thank you for thinking of the chocolate people. There is nothing worse than seeing a really yummy chocolate cake and then biting into it only to find out that someone stuck raspberry goo in there. That is the root of all evil.

    Best of luck with the cakes. I’ve made a couple really big ones before and transported them and it was a very scary drive. I think I am going to make those white cupcakes for Friday!

  37. deb

    The mangoes have been purchased and the mango curd has been made, as of last night. I used the small yellow ones from the Caribbean. They looked great and tasted wonderful. I’m quite pleased with the results–hooray.

    Beth — The math has my head exploding some days. Seriously, kids, do your math homework is what I wanted to say. Alex and I actually like math as kids and yet our brains are still throbbing from all the numbers.

    Allie — The small round cakes are samples (you saw the pic on the first entry, I think) I was trying of Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake. I thought it would be great for the wedding–pure white, quite fluffy, and I could use the yolks for the curd–but in the end went with this more traditional cake recipe, in part because it is more moist. I plan to use the small ones to make strawberry shortcakes for a July 4th BBQ.

    Constance — I use Swan’s Dawn because it is readily available in the stores that are closest to our apartment. It’s the same reason I use Ghirdelli chocolate for almost everything that requires chocolate. ;)

  38. Wow! You’re so brave for taking this project on. My hat goes off to you!

    If your Swiss buttercream goes soupy or just plain won’t come together, chill three quarters of it in the fridge and freeze the last quarter until almost frozen but still beatable, then beat the two mixtures together on high speed. It should come together like magic!

    (I don’t expect you to have any problems with it, but I seem to remember hearing something about a heatwave on the east coast? Never a good thing for buttercream.)

  39. Hannah

    Deb, you’re making me want to get married. I just want the cake.

    If I were your friend’s I’d be standing at the altar with my tummy growling, thinking about your cake!

    I just wanted to let you know that my obsession with your wedding cake saga is freaking my boyfriend out.

  40. I am not sure you are going to be very successful in finding either Indian or Philippine mangoes. I lived in both countries and can attest to them being the most incredible mangoes ever. Coworkers would tell me that you can get them into the US by going to a canner that will seal green (unripe) mangoes in a nondescript tin can and put a label of some sort on it and it passes through Customs without a problem. Of course I’d imagine the fruit flies are so happy to have made it to the US when the can is opened that they fly off to paradise and on to other fruits, but it is the only way to get a Philippine mango from what I understand.

    I have found that the small mangoes from Mexico closely resemble both the Indian and Philippine varieties, but now we are all scared to purchase produce coming in from Mexico. Well, most people are afraid, but I am a risk taker and bought one yesterday. :)

    I hope you find what you are looking for. I’m sure it’s going to be DEElicious!

  41. dan

    Oh my god Deb – all I have to say is one day you’re going to be a famous wedding cake baker…like it or not. Too bad I’m already married. I would have hired you and paid a gazillion dollars. I’m drooling!!!!

  42. ooh all the butter makes me drool. the cake layers just look fantastic enough to be eaten right now and then, i’d snip a bite if you weren’t looking! more pictures to be expected from the stacking, tiering, and finished product! wOOt

  43. Kasa

    Whoa, so you are cooking for and going to a 4th cookout the day before the wedding for which you are baking a cake?

    Girl, you are cray-cray. I don’t think I’d be able to leave the house the day before! You are a stronger woman than I am. At least the shortcakes will be easy – enjoy yourself on the fourth! Good luck!

  44. Deb,
    I’m getting married next summer. I want to make my own wedding cake a la Smitten style. Am I insane? Is this a horrible idea or do you think I can do it?! My biggest worry is not having enough time to frost Saturday AM before my 3:30 wedding. Oh and did I mention, the reception will be outside. hmmm, I may be insane.

  45. remybakes

    WOW! Totally amazing. You are AMAZING. I know you have the mango curd already, but for future reference for anyone who is looking, Indian/Filipino mangoes can be found in the U.S. Usually Asian markets (in heavily populated Asian neighborhoods) or sometimes on the streets of Chinatowns.

  46. evelyn

    Deb, I feel petty asking you this during your anxious hours, (and worse, it is not food-related!) but what camera do you use for your fab close-ups?

    WE have complete faith in you by the way! Cannot wait to see the final, triumphant, no-doubt-gorgeous pics. And hear how amazing it tastes!

  47. deb

    I actually found both Haitian and Carribean mangoes at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market–they were really inexpensive, too!

    Evelyn — All of our camera information is here, however I am realizing now it is out of date. We have upgraded to the Canon 40D and have added a wide-angle lens to our stash. I’ll update the post when I’m not elbow-deep in deadlines and buttercream!

  48. jules from liverpool uk

    WOW!!
    Fab website! I am making my sisters wedding cake (aug 08) & your site has been an inspiration – Thank you!
    I don’t know about you – but I will be sooooo relieved when the wedding day arrives. I’m starting to forget I’m bridesmade too – the cake is taking over! It’s early days for me & my oven is already feeling the strain and friends and family are starting to reject all the tester cakes I bake !!
    Good luck

  49. Ruth

    Please, please try this recipe for buttercream frosting before messing with Swiss Buttercream again. If you accurately measure the shortening and don’t skimp on the beating time, it is light, fiendishly delicious, and pure white. And it is far, far from overly sweet. The last time I made it, my friends said it tasted like “really expensive wedding cake buttercream”.

    Whimsical Bake House Buttercream
    In Mixer bowl, stir together:

    6 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

    Using whip attachment, add and whip on low speed:

    1 cup boiling water (3/4 cup on hot days)

    Whip until smooth and is cool.

    Add and whip until smooth again:

    2 3/4 cup Hi-Ratio* or regular vegetable shortening
    6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter; slightly chilled and cut into 1″ pieces

    Turn up mixer to medium-high. Whip until double in volume and is light and fluffy. About 10-20 minutes. Recipe will almost fill a 5-quart mixer bowl when done.

    Makes 9 1/2 cups

  50. Neesha

    I agree with Ruth #75. i love the WBH House BC. it’s light and fluffy and not too sweet. it renders colors very well too. i just love it.

    also, i live in the philippines and i’m kinda surprised that people think we have the best mangoes here since am not a big fan :) i like the green mangoes though.

  51. Dawn

    And thanks to Amelia (Post #41), I have now purchased a new silicone beater for my Kitchen Aid. Because I hate THE SCRAPE!! (Phew, that felt good.) I will report back on how well it works for me once I get it from Amazon. Thank you Amelia, by the way!

  52. Nicole M

    Oh my gosh! You’re so luckily I’m many states away because I would love to chow down on all that cake, no frosting needed.

  53. I can’t wait to see the finished cake! I stumbled on your blog a few months ago and it has been keeping me very entertained, especially with the recent wedding cake posts. Since I have a small kitchen, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with baking for a while now, but your vanilla cake does sound easy enough, so I’ll have to give it a try sometime.

  54. Kelly

    I love your project! I have a secret ambition to become a wedding cake maker! I’m sure you will prevail and with flying colors.

  55. Steph

    Two quick things…just wanted to say that I/we LOVE your website! I found it a couple of months ago (saw a link on Eco-chick) after I started working at the public Library here in Little Rock, and have gotten a few of the people here addicted to it. Some of us love to bake/cook (and even more importantly, we ALL love to eat!) here at our branch, and so we have fallen in love w/ your gorgeous pictures and recipes…and witty posts!! I am planning on trying out some of your recipes to bring to work.

    The second thing is that, along with everyone else weighing in, I give you lots of kudos for taking on this wonderful, heartfelt project and wish you luck on the big day that everything goes smoothly! I/we appreciate you keeping us updated, and I’m not sure how you even have time to post on the blog w/ all the cooking and planning you are doing! As we say in the South..’Bless your heart! You go girl!’ :)

  56. Cheryl

    Watching the progress with bated breath. The oh so frost free freezer with nothing but cake is the most astounding thing so far.

  57. Just found your website recently and I love it! How funny thought to come on here and find that you’re making a wedding cake while I am finishing up two wedding cakes (for the same wedding). Good luck with your cake…I look forward to seeing the finished result. Just to confirm what most others have already said, assemeble on site and take an emergency kit for touch-ups. And use non-slip liner to set your cakes on while transporting them. Try to breathe and enjoy it…if you’re anything like me you’ll be your worst critic and see what nobody else will even notice. Good luck!

  58. A tip on Swiss Buttercream: use the best butter that you can, the one with the highest fat content. This will make it easier to incorporate the butter without having is seperate, which is pretty much the worst thing that could happen. Plugra unsalted butter is my favorite.

  59. I’m exhausted just watching you go through this process. Amazing. It does give one a new founded respect for what wedding cake makers that do this every day go through to make the perfect cake. It’s entirely overwhelming.

  60. Sarah

    Deb! Can you share your secrets for freezing and thawing these beautiful cakes? You mentioned three layers of plastic wrap, but what else? How long will these keep frozen?

    Thanks!
    Sarah (about to attempt a first wedding cake!)

  61. Jackie

    I know you’ve already made the mango curd and all, but I just have to put my two cents in about mangoes..

    Philippine mangoes are the ABSOLUTE best. The best Philippine mangoes, though, come from Guimaras, an island province in Visayas. I don’t think they are readily available in the States though, as I have tried to find them in vain.. :/ I grew up in the Philippines and had this kind of mango all my life. I didn’t really know about other mangoes until I was older, and nothing really compared to Philippine mangoes. Hopefully someday you’ll get to enjoy it.

    In the States though I think they sell “philippine” mangoes that they grow in Mexico.. Don’t be fooled. They do not taste the same! They’re also smaller..

    I’m glad that your mango curd worked out! I was really excited when in the first wedding cake post you said you were making a mango filling! :) And the chocolate layer sounds amaaaazing.. drool.. Good luck on the final assembly! I can’t wait to see pictures!

  62. Neesha

    i tried the chocolate cake recipe. and in a moment of stupidity used baking powder instead of baking soda. the cake did not rise at all. but it tastes really good. am gonna try it again and hopefully do it right.

  63. Jennifer

    For those making round cakes, I made the chocolate recipe this morning and it was the perfect amount of batter for two 6″ rounds and two 8″ rounds. The cake is in the oven now, so I haven’t tasted it yet, but the batter is delicious.

  64. Krissy

    Good luck tomorrow! It has been really neat to watch this unfold over the past week or so. Based on the prep work and your enthusiasm, it is sure to be a huge success! Oh to be there for a small taste… :)

  65. arriba

    Is Marie who posted on Jul. 2 about the cream cheese/wh. cream no fail frosting still around? I have a question for you.

  66. Ana

    Hi Deb, I am new at your site. It’s sooo lovely. And so helpful too. I am learning to decorate cakes and stuff, hoping that one day I can open a kitchen like yours. One can always shoot for the stars right? Anyways, do stop by at my site if you have time (just made one.. hehe..). Oh, I hope you don’t mind me linking your site!

    Good luck on the wedding cake… It will be lovely! :)

  67. Marie

    Hi Arriba — I’m the Marie who posted about the Whipped Cream, cream cheese frosting recipe. After I wrote the post I went and checked the recipe. I forgot to mention the cream cheese must be at room temp. Also, if you use the ultra-pastureurized whipping cream and use those small beaters that come with most hand-held mixers, it takes much longer to beat “until stiff peaks form.” With the balloon wisk attachment I can do it in minutes.
    I can pipe with it, but I’ve only done simple stuff. Please feel free to ask away about any questions. I do hope someone “out there” does try this recipe and lets me know if they like it.

    Deb — Most of us have our freezers stuffed to the gills with things we should have thrown out years ago!!!! I’ll send you a picture.

    Your sample cake looks divine. You’re devine! I’m hyper-ventilating for you as you may not have time. I keep thinking of all those dishes needing to be washed. I bet Alex has pruney fingers. He’s a mensch. So are you.

    What a lovey gift from a lovey friend.

    Much happiness to the Bride and Groom!
    Marie

  68. Marie

    Hi Arriba — I’m the Marie who posted about the Whipped Cream, cream cheese frosting recipe. After I wrote the post I went and checked the recipe. I forgot to mention the cream cheese must be at room temp. Also, if you use the ultra-pateurized whipping cream and use those small beaters that come with most hand-held mixers, it takes much longer to beat “until stiff peaks form.” With the balloon wisk attachment I can do it in minutes.
    I can pipe with it, but I’ve only done simple stuff. If you have any questions, ask away. I do hope someone “out there” does try this recipe and lets me know if they like it.

    Deb — Most of us have our freezers stuffed to the gills with things we should have thrown out years ago!!!! I’ll send you a picture. We’ll all send you pictures.

    Your sample cake looks divine. You’re devine! I’m hyper-ventilating for you as you may not have time. I keep thinking of all those dishes needing to be washed. I bet Alex has pruney fingers. He’s a mensch. So are you.

    What a lovey gift from a lovey friend.

    Much happiness to the Bride and Groom!
    Marie

  69. arriba

    Hello Marie! Thanks for your response. I wondered how one would flavor this frosting with lemon? Would you make curd and fold it in? I think plain lemon juice would react with the cream and/or cream cheese. I found the ATK recipe for Strawberry Cream Cake and as you said, there was your frosting recipe!

  70. Marie

    Hi Arriba — I’ve never tried it with lemon or orange or lime. Hmmmm. My guess is I’m put lemon jest/juice into the cake, and leave the frosting plain. I think you need to take into account the amount of liquid you add to any frosting or cake batter as it will affect the end result.

    Many cheesecake recipes call for lemon juice and finely grated jest. Mine does. Cheesecake has cream cheese in it and it works, so . . . If you try it, let me know.

    Now, the next important part of this project is: Deb — what are YOU wearing to the wedding???

    Marie

    p.s. To anyone reading my posts, you may have noticed: I can’t spell. Without Spell-Check, I’m lost.

  71. arriba

    Thanks Marie! I could use lemon curd between the cake layers for that burst of flavor. My favorite is Pierre Herme’s Lemon Cream that is in Dorie Greenspan’s book–you rub lemon zest in your hands with the sugar to flavor the sugar(zest is later strained out for smoother texture). You add LOTS of butter to the warm curd in a blender for 20 minutes or so–the end result is ethereal!!

  72. ZAKIA

    MARIE – i love that whipped cream -i use it all the time. its so yummy.
    ARRIBA – ive made that lemon cream- it is delicous.

  73. arriba

    ZAKIA, you are SO right! It was so fabulous, I can’t remember now how I used it! hard to resist just eating it right from the blender!!

  74. Jennifer

    Well, the chocolate cake was delicious. It had a really fine, tender crumb. I would like to torte it next time and was curious if anyone had done that with the chocolate cake. I’m worried it will crumble since it is so tender

  75. The Bride

    To the Amazing Debbie!!! We just got back from our Honeymoon and the whole time we were away…I was dreaming of the cake. As we walked into the door, I ran not walked to the frig for a few pieces of both the mango & chocolate cakes.
    Thank you so much for your beautiful & yummy gift. Not only did it look good, but boy it’s the best cake Kev and I have ever had.

    To all of Debbie’s readers & follower’s she is truly truly a wonderful, beautiful, loving and amazing friend not to mention an awesome cook and baker extraordinaire. Thank you for making our wedding day sweet and delicious.

    Thank you and Alex for everything again.
    Lots of love,
    Pearl & Kevin!!!

  76. Kaitlin

    deb, i want to make the chocolate cake for a birthday. do you think the swiss buttercream would make a good filling and frosting? i don’t want to do too much chocolate…what are your thoughts?

  77. Dawn in CA

    Just recently found your blog via David Lebovitz’s, and am so glad I did. Great posts and photos. A question: what brand of square cake pans did you use? (Couldn’t find the info on your site…) The sides on mine kind of angle out, which makes it difficult to stack the layers into a straight-sided square. Yours appear to be a lovely 90 degrees from bottom to sides. Help! Thanks.

    p.s. – congrats on quitting your job and heading out on your own — that takes guts.

  78. Dawn in CA

    Okay, forget the question in my last post. I was suffering from lack of sleep and today realized that a quick search of Amazon would lead me to a whole slew of “professional” square pans that have perfectly straight sides. :)

    Instead, another question (As if you have so much time to answer the hundreds of poster questions, but in case I catch you during a free moment…) You mentioned that baking the cakes at a lower temp results in a flatter top, even without the magic strips. Are the temps in each of the recipes the temps you used for the wedding cakes? If not, how much would you suggest lowering the temp to bake these beauties? Much thanks.

  79. Tammy

    I am planning to make my daughter’s wedding cake for her September wedding and am in the process of practicing various decorating techniques and recipes. I am so anxious to try the two cake recipes you mentioned. Question…you mentioned brushing the layers with lime-hinted syrup to keep them moist. I’m just wondering what the syrup consists of. Is that something you make from scratch or do you buy it somewhere? I have loved reading your notes about the progression of your wedding cake. Awesome job. Looks beautiful.

  80. deb

    I made a simple syrup: 1 part sugar to 1 part water and boiled it with some lime peel for a bit. When it was cool, I added a few tablespoons of lime juice. I am sure you can interpret it with other flavors or liquers added to the chilled syrup.

  81. Debby

    I want the recipe for the brandied chocolate ganache filling! Did I miss it? Also, do you think another type of curd might work instead of mango? I may be making a trial wedding cake.

  82. if it is not all a blur.. you mentioned that you baked the cakes at a lower temperature…do you remember what that temp was?
    i loved reading about this project well done!

  83. Thanks for your help and advice with this recipe, Deb! I made the chocolate version as a birthday cake, to go along with the swiss meringue buttercream, and even my non-cake-loving family gobbled it up. As you said, the cake was very moist, but not too fragile to layer. A very sophisticated tasting chocolate cake.

    Jessica: As far as I know, natural cocoa contains just cocoa (should be the only ingredient you see on the label), and is acidic in nature. Dutch Processed Cocoa has alkali (e.g., potassium carbonate, etc) in it, and tastes milder than Natural, which is strong, deep and bitter. Hershey’s and Ghiradelli both make natural cocoa. Fry’s, Droste’s, and most store brands (at least in Canada) are Dutch Processed. Hope that helps!

  84. matt

    I think I’m going to use the chocolate cake part of this recipe for an all-chocolate wedding cake, but can I ask, why do say to NOT use dutch-process? Thanks! :)

  85. Matt, I’m not Deb but I had the hardest time trying to find natural cocoa, so I did a lot of Googling about the topic, to see if I could use dutch-processed instead. As far as I know, the Natural cocoa will taste deeper, giving the cake a more intense and “sophisticated” chocolate-y taste.

    And perhaps more importantly, the acid in Natural cocoa might help the baking soda do its thing in the cake batter. Baking soda, unlike baking powder, needs acidic ingredients to activate it. Dutch Processed Cocoa is not as acidic.

  86. Amy

    I made the chocolate cake for my daughter’s cupcakes (with pink icing) yesterday, and they are amazing. It was such a different way to make a cake, and it made a bit of a mess while my kitchen aid churned away at the batter, but it was totally worth it.
    I’ve now got over 2 doz cupcakes in the freezer. yummmmm….

    thanks!

  87. I have baked both of these cakes many times now and they are awesome! Moist, soft and delicious, yet sturdy. They are my favorite recipes now for cake. Thank you so much for posting.

  88. Hi, I’ve tried the chocolate cake recipe. Hmm…the cocoa powder used here is Natural cocoa right? Evytime i tried a recipe like this, the cake always turned out very dense and not loose crumbs like yours. Do you know what could possibly be the prob?

  89. deb

    I used non-Dutched cocoa, just the regularly available stuff. Hersheys, actually.

    The cake should be soft, but it’s slightly more on the dense, pound cake-like side than most layer cakes.

  90. Mary

    Can you email me the recipe you used for the 12″ squares? i want to make my own wedding cake and this looks like a perfect recipe!
    Thanks

  91. deb

    Hi Mary — I cooked it 25 degrees lower. Unfortunately, I get a lot of requests to email the full recipes for the wedding cakes, which I do not have typed up. The book is very inexpensive and includes a lot of good information that I have skimmed over here.

  92. Mary

    Thanks for that tip on temperatures. I’m going to trial a couple of different recipies this week. Is chocolate brandy ganache just cream, chocolate shot of brandy?

  93. Lisa

    Hi Deb-
    I am planning to make the white cake for my daughter’s birthday. In the recipe you said that it is for three 9″ round pans. If I want to do this as a 1/4 sheet cake how much batter should I use. My pan is a 9″ x 13″. Also, if I were to do this as a round cake…my oven is not big enough to fit 3 round pans. Can I refrigerate part of this batter while I bake it in two batches?

  94. sezbse

    I’m a little confused – you baked them both at 325? (the chocolate cake says 350, the vanilla says 325degrees)

    Would you be willing to post the ganche and mango fillings you used?

  95. noni

    I’m also thinking that both recipes could be used, scaling down the vanilla to a third, and the chocolate to two thirds of the recipe, for a combination chocolate and vanilla cake w/ 2 chocolate layers and a middle vanilla layer. (Can you do four layers or does that topple?) Do you have icing suggestions (or recipes for what you used here?)

  96. noni

    I found the recipe for the brandied ganache here (https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/03/layer-cake-tips-the-biggest-birthday-cake-yet/)
    but not for the mango filling

    If I bake the chocolate layers in 9 inch rounds rather than 8 inch squares as you do for the vanilla cake, does it get a shorter baking time? You have it as 26 to 28 minutes for the vanilla cake and 38 to 40 minutes for the chocolate cake – is that solely due to different pan sizes or due to the recipe being different?

  97. deb

    The Mango Curd recipe is in the previous post, and linked twice at the top of this one.

    The baking times should be fairly equivalent. The base area of the two size pans are almost exactly the same, as are the heights of the cake layers.

  98. grace

    I made the cake and it was a hit with everyone. I thirded it to make 1 layer and forgot to reduce the water in the coffee, it was still super. Thank you.

  99. I’ve been watching this thread and am fascinated with finding out how this cake turned out, but can’t seem to find the final pictures anywhere. Can someone direct me to where they are? They sound yummy! thanks!

  100. deb

    There are links at the top that direct you to previous and next posts. The next two post are also about the project, and the second one shows the final results.

  101. Rachel

    I made the vanilla cake with the Swiss buttercream frosting for my Hungarian class potluck and it was a hit (well the office got most of the leftovers, and they loved it). It topped the begli makos that I made before. I used store bought lemon curd to fill the cake, because I’m completely lazy. Anyways, I ended up having to use confectioner’s sugar for the icing and that turned out ok.

    I also thought maybe replacing the buttermilk with coconut milk, and adding some coconut in the milk and icing could be kinda fun. Especially if you filled the center with some kind of pineapple filling….make it a little pina coldaish…..although that could get ugly. Maybe just the coconut part.

    But yeah…awesome hints…it went off well and was mostly a cinch.

  102. Jessica

    Do think this would fit nicely into a 12 inch round x 3 inch deep pan? the recipe for vanilla sounds perfect for a two tier bridal shower cake i am making. also the freezing idea. i need these cakes for a thursday night and i work ( my money job) all week. i am freaking out about how to bake these beforehand, cover with icing, fondant and still taste fresh for friday morning. how long to defrost them? please help anyone!!!

  103. Thank you so much, Deb, for the documenting the whole process. I’m making wedding cakes and cupcakes all over the place this coming summer, and the detailed pictures are so helpful. I think I’m going a bit more rustic and less tiered, but I just tried out the vanilla cake recipe as a possible base. I subbed yogurt for the buttermilk, and the result was very creamy and tangy–possibly too much so. I want to try it again with buttermilk. I’ll be documenting my search for the perfect cake type (the one part you left out, over at my blog during the next few months. Thanks again. You give me courage and the comforting knowledge that obsession is universal.

  104. Hi Deb,

    I was wondering what brand of pans you used for this cake. I love the straight sides and how perfectly flat the layers baked up.

    Thanks!

    1. deb

      I used a mix of cake brand pans, I do not have a preference. I bought them all at a baking supply shop, where most that are sold have the straight sides because they’re intended for professional bakers. Check out Fat Daddio pans on Amazon for cheap ones, too.

  105. Suzanne

    Hi Deb,

    Help! How high would you say the layers for the vanilla cake (3 x 9″ rounds) are supposed to rise? I made them this evening–following the recipe to the letter, with a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, using an oven thermometer for accuracy, and ending up with around 9 cups of batter as described–but the cakes rose very little. I would say they are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick each. I was hoping for a slightly more dramatic height–do I need more batter or did I do something wrong? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks, love your site!

  106. Suzanne

    oops, sorry, forgot to say, they also took longer to bake, and although browning around the edges, still ended up quite sticky and pale on top (I’m using brand new, heavy-gauge non-stick pans, a little darker finish than I would have liked, but it’s what I could find…)

  107. Emily

    Hi Deb! Wow what an amazing site you have. Wow!! I am baking this cake for a wedding in 2 weeks for my brother and soon to be sister-in-law. How many cups of batter do I need for a 12 in square (Chocolate Butter Cake)? I am filling the cake with your Brandied Chocolate Ganche and an orange glaze to lock in mosisture! How long can the Swiss Buttercream be set out for? Does it have to be in the fridge before I frost the cake? I am in a logistical nightmare with no fridge space for the cake! I am frosting the cake late friday night and the wedding is at noon on Saturday.Will the frosting be okay if it is set out? Thank you for all your WONDERFUL recipes! I am into photography as well so your site has opened new doors for me with photographing food!

  108. My Mom & I have recently been assigned to bake a wedding cake for my brother’s upcoming wedding in Utah. My Mom has a fabulous stove up there (a large Wolf range that makes me weak in the knees!) and I think we are going to skimp (yee gads, I know) and use boxed cake mix- the Groom has an affinity for the Betty Crocker butter-mix cakes.

    So here is my question. We are doing the same cake size(s) for each tier you did but we are baking the cake at 4,879 feet altitude- right on the cusp of high altitude baking. What adjustments, if any do we make?? (If you don’t know this perhaps another reader can help?!) If you were going to adjust your cake recipes how would you do that? Any suggestions on adjusting a mix recipe other than the notes on the box (are they correct?). We are going to test run the tiers a few times but any advice in advance that could save us a flop or two would be appreciated!

    1. deb

      Not sure I can be a whole lot of help: I have only made cakes from scratch, and NYC is at sea level, thus your changes won’t resemble mine. However, I’d suggest the same thing I have throughout these comments and posts: Practice. Test out your recipes, make sure they work, hold up, ice well, etc. You don’t need to make a full practice cake but you’ll save yourself a lot of drama to have worked with your cakes before you plunge into the final product.

  109. Meghan

    Deb…you have motivated me, and I am making the cake for my cousin’s wedding in July. I have made both cakes and they are delicious, both came out of the oven full and gorgeous like the picture in the pan above, but once they are out they settle a lot. They fall and get really dense. They still taste unbelieveably delicious, but they fall to about half their original height. Is this supposed to happen? Is that the experience you had? Thanks for the help and advice…

  110. Barbara in Texas

    A question. I have been reading about your wedding cake adventure. My granddaughter is getting married on July 11th and she wants a white cake, not a yellow cake. DO you have a particularly good recipe you would reccomend. I think the swiss buttercream will be great! Cudos to you!!

    1. deb

      You’ll be looking for an egg yolk free cake, however, the risk with these pure white cakes is that they get much more easily dried out — definitely need a syrup basting. I tested the Perfect Party Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours before opting for these cakes. It was good, but again, drying out is a risk.

  111. Janine

    Hi, I’m new to your site and I love everything about it! I have a few question about cakes. Do you bring your frozen cakes back to room temp before frosting? How long a room temp until I can serve previously frozen cakes layers? Can I just add some melted bittersweet chocolate to your swiss buttercream recipe to make chocolate buttercream? If I need a non-alcoholic recipe (making a cake for Father’s day and my father-in-law doesn’t drink) for chocolate ganache, should I just omit the brandy or would you suggest something else? Thanks again.

    1. deb

      You should read my layer cakes tips post. Everything else will be trial and error: each freezer is different, each cake recipe freezes a little differently and I have not made a chocolate swiss buttercream before. There are innumerable ganache recipes out there with no brandy in them — no reason to use one that’s flavor hinges on it.

  112. Liz in Canada

    Hi Deb,
    Can you tell me what the approximate height was of each vanilla cake layer? I worked it out for the round cakes above (assuming 1 cup = 14.44 cubic inches and pi*r*squared*h for the volume) and came up with .68″ high, but this seems really low to me. Is my math screwy (always a possibility!) or are these really thin layers? Thanks!

  113. Liz in Canada

    (I forgot to mention that my computer at work won’t display your images, otherwise I’d just eyeball the height)

  114. Rowen

    After reading this whole wedding cake thing, I wanted to try out the vanilla cake as cupcakes (and try this SMBC that everyone’s raving about). The vanilla cake was surprisingly easy to make, and the tester cupcake I had last night was VERY tasty. The one problem, I’m in a new apartment and the oven runs a little hot, so some of the cakes have a blackened edge. Anyway, unlike most cupcakes, this one was moist all the way through, a definate plus.

    I tried a variation on the mango curd (peaches. . since I couldn’t find mangos at the store) but it didn’t congeal, so the cupcakes went without filling.

    The SMBC frosting, though, was very easy to make, especially after reading everyone’s stories about how you keep at it. I’ve never had it before, and now it’s my favorite frosting. So much so that I found myself licking EVERYTHING that I used to make the stuff. The pastry knife, the mixer, the bowl. The dog took care of the floor. All in all, very much a success (my roommate liked them, now to see what the co-workers think)!! I can’t wait to try out more of the stuff on the site!

    I did have one problem, though. I have no idea how to frost cupcakes/cakes so that they don’t look like a 5 year old fingerpainted all over them. Any tips?

  115. Kelly

    I want to try the vanilla buttermilk cake in a 10×3 inch round. Any idea how I would scale the recipe to fit this pan? Thanks!!

  116. Annika

    I’ve recently made both the vanilla and the chocolate version of the cake and was really happy about the outcome. The cakes I made (strawberry/coconut to go with the chocolate and raspberries and cream cheese with the vanilla one) were very high and absolutely tasty, although they were a bit more compact than I expected them to be, not like the sponge cakes I´m used to here in Germany.But me and my boyfriend really liked it that way and I was already ordered to make it again for the next big celebration.
    Love your blog!

  117. charlie

    Deb, your chocolate cake looks so nice. How much batter/how many cups did you use in the 12 inch square pan? I’d like to make this cake. Unfortunately, when i bake in 12 inch pans my cakes always sink.

  118. Lindsey

    I just wanted to say that I used the chocolate cake recipe for my first attempt at a layer cake and it was wonderful!!! the cake even survived a 30 mile drive to the party site (unstacked of course). I am going to use this recipe for a wedding cake next month! Thank you for posting this story, it is very helpful and inspiring!

  119. Hi Deb,
    Hate to bother you, but you’ve never done me wrong and I need some advice. I’m making my birthday cake this week and I haven’t ever found a white cake/vanilla cake recipe that lights my fire. Is this the one or do you think I could turn your vanilla bean pound cake into a 9″ round?
    Thanks for your help!
    kaitlyn

  120. JENI

    hi deb. i’m planning on making a 10*10 cake. do you think i need cake strips?

    how much lower the temp did you adjust? 25 deg or 50+?

    i hate slicing domed tops. they’re never right..

  121. Lauren

    HI !!!

    I tried your chocolate cake recipe and it was to die for!! Everyone at work raved! Can i ask what measurements you used for a 12″square or a 14″ square? I’m having trouble figuring out how to translate it to a larger size!

    Thanks for your help!

    Lauren

  122. Ayman Almasry

    Hi, I was wondering about measurements you use for the recipes, when you say ‘a cup’ what would the measurements of a cup be in grams. Also how do i translate the measurements from you recipe (Chocolate Butter Cream) if i want to use a bigger tin? 10 or 12 inch Square? Regards Ayman

  123. Tamarella

    This is the best cake ever i tried the chocolate cake and it was truley delicious oh my oh my oh my you go girl and by the way i love your web site

  124. K

    I made the chocolate cake last night as cupcakes, using 1/3 of the stated amounts for a dozen cupcakes. I filled the molds 2/3 full and put a dollop of raspberry jam buried in the middle of each, and they baked up moist and perfect in 22 minutes. Deb’s brandied ganache recipe (I used a 1/4 recipe), chilled in the fridge while the cakes were cooling, was perfect for frosting them using a piping bag and tip. Just wanted to share in case anyone else wanted to try the chocolate cake as cupcakes. Thanks for the great recipe, Deb!

  125. Ilana

    K – this is perfect! I was searching the page and scratching my head about making this in a cupcake form. Thanks a lot!
    I am making it for kids, for my sons birthday. Does it have a strong coffee taste (I am hesitating about subbing something for the coffee)?

  126. K

    If you’re concerned about the caffeine content since you’ll be giving the cake to children, maybe try decaf coffee. The coffee doesn’t so much have its own flavor in the cake as enhance the flavor of the chocolate. Right, Deb? (sorry to usurp the question)

  127. Ilana

    Boy, I am drowning in cupcakes! 36 standard sized cupcakes plus another 18 differently shaped smaller cupcakes! Remember: next time — scale!
    The upside of the story is that they are going to disappear in a blink, actually they are already 2 cupcakes short (I had to try it, right?). They are good, very good.

    In the process of dividing the batter into the forms, I remembered why I don’t do cupcakes. I just can’t pour it without drips and trails of the batter all over the place. It seemed like a good idea at the time, to make B-day cupcakes for 30 kids, and it will be again at the serving time and cleaning after the party, but boy! the baking process is messy!

    Do you (or someone else) have tips on pouring the batter into cupcakes? Please, please shear!!!

  128. You are awesome! I finally got around to making the vanilla buttermilk cake from sky high but realized I only had 9″ cake pans, not the 8″ called for in the recipe. This is for a birthday and I didn’t have time to get more pans. I googled sky high cakes to see if anyone else had the same problem and I found you and you wrote out the conversion! Yeah! Thank you so much for showing us how you made this recipe in 9″ pans! You saved the day and 3 cheers for you!

  129. Vanessa

    I made the Chocolate butter cake for my friend and her hubby to be’s birthday partay. It was a hit! This recipe is awesome, so chocolatey but not too sweet. It’s just the right balance, enough to get you hooked. I melted down some mayan hot chocolate (similar but sooo much better than Abuelita brand Mexican hot chocolate bars) and mixed that with the whipping cream for the filling. She called me today (day after the big birthday bash) to say her and the hubby to be were fighting over the last piece of leftover cake….and that now I’m screwed ’cause she will be wanting me to make her wedding cake. I can only hope she’s joking, this was my first “from scratch” layer cake. Eh, bricklayer, baker what’s the diff….bricks and mortar, cake and filling. Really bout the same thing. Thanks so much for the awesome recipe and great tips!

  130. JENI

    Hi Deb, i’m going to try this cake as well. based on what i’ve read, i have to adjust the baking powder when increasing the pan size and batch. did you do this for your cake or did you just put the appropriate amount of batter in the pans?

  131. Christina

    Hi Deb, I’ve accidently found out about your website and it’s wonderful! I love how you have step-by-step pictures so I’d know how it should look like. I need to make a tier cake for cake decorating class this weekend and I’d like to know if the two cake recipes here are dense enough to be covered with buttercream and fondant? Or should I use Best Yellow Layer Cake recipe instead of the Vanilla Buttermilk Cake in this page? I’m thinking to use this recipe amount and bake 2 thicker layers instead of 3 like yours. Thanks a lot!
    ps. Your son is adorable!

  132. Rebecca

    I just love your website!I am making a wedding cake in a couple weeks and was wondering if you have a go to butter cream recipe?Thank you so much(-:

  133. Rebecca

    Hi again,I have another question that some how slipped my mind.I am planning on making the vanilla buttermilk cake for a LARGE birthday party this weekend,I was wondering how I could make this recipe work for a 3 layered 12 inch round cake.

  134. Nina UK

    hi just wanted to say that when we got engaged 18months ago this post convinced me to make my own wedding cake, now its 4 months til the day and ive got my tins, had the book (sky high) imported to UK and just about read this post another 90 times. every time i am wavering and thinking of paying someone to make me a plasticky tasteless cake i come on here and am filled with enthusiasm and pure excitement!!!! thanks deb!

  135. Mari

    The chocolate cake is delicious!! I’ve only had a chance to nibble the scraps from construction so far, and I’m really looking forward to eating a slice tomorrow. I like the hint of cinnamon.

    I used three nine-inch round pans to bake the cakes, and they came out just fine. This is the first non-pound cake recipe I’ve made that did not collapse in the middle upon cooling. Excellent!

  136. David

    Hi there!!! After reading this (late, of course), I wanted to give the vanilla cake a shot. I’ve done it both as a cupcake and a regular cake. However, I’ve tried different ovens (I’ve moved recently), and I always end up with the top being very sticky, so that even after the cake cools, if I wrap it in saran wrap (or try to store the cupcakes on top of each other), the entire top layer comes off when I take the wrap off, or when it touches something like the cooling rack.

    Did yours have a sticky top, or am I doing something wrong?

    1. deb

      Oddly, I find the stickiness has more to do with how an oven bakes. My old oven did almost no top-browning, the tops were always sticky. My new one puts a nice golden brown lid on everything, I have little sticking. I’d suggest freezing the cake layers unwrapped, once they are frozen and not sticky to the touch, then wrap them in plastic. You can unwrap them before you defrost them on the counter, if they’re not out too long it will not dry it out.

  137. Casey

    This goes for the stickiness issue. Over the past year, I have been brave enough to go all the way homemade with cakes instead of the box route – a lot of trial and error, definately. I have noticed that if I beat my butter and sugar for at least 5 – 7 minutes, even been told 10 – 12 min., then I don’t have the stickiness. Whenever I beat for 2 or 3 min., I am guaranteed stickiness and my horses end up getting a sweet treat. I may be wrong but this has seemed to help me.

  138. I came accross you Wedding cake story abput a year ago and the Vanilla buttermilk cake has since become a staple in my Kitchen. I have subsequently acquired a copy of the SHTLC book as well. In my quest to make a perfect chocolate cake I have on many occasiona tried the chocolate buttermilk cake from this book but have always ended up with a flat fudgy wet cake instead of a nice spongy one. I do not get cake flour easily around here so have tried bothe vanilla and chocolate versions with all purpose flour (gold medal) the vanill aworks fine but the chocolate did not. recently on a trip overseas i bought some cake flour (snow flake) and tried this cake once again…:( same problem…..the cake tastes awesome but just does not rise nor have a spongy texture. I have tried baking it longer than the recipe says ut then have had the outer crust dry out with a kind of wet ring inthe middle area. Any help from you or others that have tried this recipe is much appreciated.

  139. Ok so I have a question about freezing cakes. I have heard people say that freezing the cakes after they’re cooled will keep them moist, of course while saran wrapped. Then after taking out is easier to decorate. Is this true?

    I’ve never frozen any of my cakes only because I’m worried they will lose their moistness.

    Why do you freeze your cakes?

  140. Wendy

    I made this for my partner for his birthday-smashing success, his new favorite cake! I want to make this for two friends for birthdays 1 day apart. I was hoping to make one batch of batter & split it in two, using smaller sized cake pans to create 2 two-layer cakes. Can you suggest what size pans to use-no preference for shape. Thanks in advance!

  141. Liz

    Deb, have you tried these with cupcakes? I need to make 200 cupcakes for a wedding and I was thinking of using this white cake and chocolate cake as my base. Any idea on how many each recipe might yield? Thanks!

  142. Elisa

    Hi Deb,

    Made the chocolate cake for my son’s first birthday and covered it with marshmallow fondant. It was amazing!! Thank you for sharing such a great recipe. I had to bake the cake twice though because the parchment paper thing never works for me, my oven does better with good old shortening/flour and then popping out the cake. No biggie because I used the extra cake for cake pops! Can’t wait to try the other cake!

  143. Amanda

    This is WONDERFUL! I’ve made the Chocolate Butter Cake twice now … with outstanding results. This most recent batch involved margarine and soymilk+vinegar thanks to a milk allergy … and it came through with flying colors!

  144. Logan

    Normally I’m more of a reader than a commenter but I have a question and after reading this I’m sure you’ll have the answer! I’m making a baby shower cake to feed 100 people for a friend and I’d like to make it as stress free as possible. I want to bake the layers a few days in advance and was wondering if I need to spritz them with a simple syrup or liquid of some form before I freeze them. It is a fairly moist recipe but I want to make it perfect. Thank you and I love your site!

  145. Kristy

    I made this chocolate cake for my brother’s wedding cake last weekend. Thanks for the awesome recipe. This will no be my go to chocolate cake. I love the way it’s put together. I’m planning on trying the other recipe soon. Possibly for my MIL’s birthday.

    Oh I made the Swiss Buttercream too and it was amazing, but couldn’t use it for the wedding since it was outdoors in Georgia in August.

  146. Edan

    Hi Deb! I’ve made the vanilla buttermilk cake a few times now, and I love it. It is so amazingly rich – which is something so awesome in a white cake. And! it makes your whole kitchen smell like butter in the best way possible.
    Mine, though has never made 9 cups of batter. Rather, exactly 8. I don’t at all think it’s a recipe issue – rather, I am a rebel and have always used all-purpose rather than cake flour – that’s probably it, right? (Rebel? Or “too lazy to have more than two kinds of flour in the pantry”??) Just an FYI in case you’re like me. I just measure the batter as best I can. 2 2/3 c instead of 3 c per layer got me close to even. Can’t wait for your cookbook!! xo

  147. Hi Deb,

    How long did you bake your 4″ test cakes for? I am baking this cake for a friend’s wedding and am going to be doing a lot of testing, so I figure 9″ cakes every time might be overkill.

    Thanks!

  148. Kristin

    Hi, Deb… I love your blog and have used both of these cake recipes, and the swiss buttercream, to make cupcakes in the last couple weeks… all with rave reviews. I liked them so much that I ordered the Sky High book to try some others. Thanks so much!

  149. Abbie

    Hi Deb – I’m getting married in November and am planning to bake my own wedding cake. I have been voraciously reading your blog and trying to get as many tips as I can. We get married on a Saturday, I was hoping to bake the cakes on the Thursday and then decorate (with a fondant covering) on the Friday. I’m hoping that the cakes will be okay for 24 hours during the heat of an Australian summer! If, however, I can bake the cakes well in advance and freeze them, that would be so much easier.

    I had a question about freezing the cake – how long does it need for defrosting? If I have the cakes frozen in advance, do they need to be fully defrosted before I apply the fondant? (Will the temperature difference somehow affect the fondant layer? I’ve heard some people say that once the fondant has been applied, you shouldn’t refrigerate the cake because you risk getting water marks on the fondant coating.) Or can I take the cakes out of the freezer on Friday morning, apply the fondant, and then let them defrost over the course of that day? If it’s the second option that would be great, because they’d only effectively be at room temperature for about 24 hours or less, as opposed to 36 hours+.

    Sorry for so many questions, but thank you for your advice! Seeing the photos of how beautiful your cake turned out makes me hopeful that I can do this mammoth project, even though I’ve never decorated cakes before!

  150. Jen

    I made this cake last week for my sister’s wedding and it was a huge hit. Especially the chocolate. Abbie, I baked and froze the layers and transported them frozen down to NC. I pulled them out Friday night and they defosted overnight. I put it all together on Saturday.
    The buttercream was tasty but it was a rock for a while. I finally started putting it the microwave for 20 secs at a time and that finally worked.

    I made a lemon curd mousse for the yellow cake and a chocolate mousse for the chocolate. Both were delicious! Thanks!

  151. Jessi

    Deb, I host a New Years Day open house every year and serve the traditional Black Eyed Peas, Greens, and Skillet Corn Bread. We’re in Florida and have a Meyer Lemon Tree so I make lots of lemon aid too! For dessert I always make a Citrus Buttermilk Cake- I thought I’d see about using a different recipe and saw this buttermilk cake (which I’ve heard from friends is wonderful!) Questions: There would be no problem with me adding citrus zest I’m sure, but I’d like to make it in a bundt pan and then add a citrus glaze to it. You know, the kind where you poke the cake with holes and let the glaze soak inside the cake… would that work on this recipe? And how might you adjust the baking time for a bundt pan?

    Thank You!!!

  152. Yets

    I love your blog! The chocolate butter cake recipe sounds great. I wanted to ask if you think this cake would work with fondant icing. Also, would it be possible to list the ingredients in UK measurements or in weight (grams)?

    Thanks!

  153. Hi Deb.
    I looove your blog. You are so talented.
    I just have a question about baking the cakes ahead of time.
    I am making cakes for a wedding in NC and I live in Boston.
    We are driving and I was planning on baking the cakes ahead of time and finishing them off in NC. The wedding is a friday night, and we are planning on leaving boston on wednesday. I was going to bake the cakes tuesday. Do you think they will still be fresh by friday? I figure I would wrap them really really good in plastic wrap them put them in a cake holder with the tight lid. I really don’t want to freeze them because I am nervous about the defrosting process on the way to NC, and it will still be days before we serve them. What do you think I should do?
    Thanks. ~Kara

  154. HI! I’m so glad I found your website!! I just made the chocolate butter cake, followed the directions to a tee.. I made a 6 inch, but the the cake seems really soft. Will it become dense after it’s been frozen? I need a cake that’s firm enough for fondant. The flavor is wonderful so I really want to use the recipe. What would you suggest to make the cake denser?
    Thanks in advance!!
    Tennille

    1. deb

      I suggest that you freeze it because it is so soft. It becomes firm enough that it’s easier to work with. Once defrosted, it will be tender again. My preference is for tender cakes, so most of the chocolate cake recipes on this site will not yield a sturdy one.

  155. Kim

    What is the best way to freeze and thaw the cake? I have read that some peoples cake was soggy after they thawed it. How do you do yours? Thanks!!

  156. Hi Deb.
    I looove your blog. You are so talented.
    I just have a question about baking the cakes ahead of time.
    I am making cakes for a wedding in NC and I live in Boston.
    We are driving and I was planning on baking the cakes ahead of time and finishing them off in NC. The wedding is a friday night, and we are planning on leaving boston on wednesday. I was going to bake the cakes tuesday. Do you think they will still be fresh by friday? I figure I would wrap them really really good in plastic wrap them put them in a cake holder with the tight lid. I really don’t want to freeze them because I am nervous about the defrosting process on the way to NC, and it will still be days before we serve them. What do you think I should do?
    Thanks. ~Kara

  157. Tennille

    Hi- So just wanted to follow up.. I went ahead and froze my layers and actually didn’t have any problems with the cake layers under the fondant.. I put a thin layer of buttercream on and added chocolate ganache to give it a little more support and added the fondant over it and it worked out great! I also made cupcakes with the left over batter and I could not stop eating them, even without frosting! The recipe is so good and moist. It taste like a brownie!

    Thanks!

  158. Debbie,
    I’ve been baking this cake for a few months now, but lately it’s been coming out heavier and seems to be uncooked. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. The cake looks fine from the outside, it’s cooked but when you open it it looks kind of uncooked, darker in some areas and not fluffy at all. :o(
    I’ll try sending you a couple of pictures to your email.
    I have a feeling that it could be either the oven temperature or the flour.
    I’ve always used all purpose flour because cake flour is very hard to find, but a couple of months ago I switched to a different brand, that comes in Big bags, 20 lbs, I believe, and now I’m thinking it’s not as good as the previous one.
    What do you think?

    1. deb

      Hi Veronica — Sorry you had trouble. It’s unclear from the photos or your description what happened. I’m unfamiliar with Big Bag brand but if you can double check, make sure that it is not a self-rising cake flour. Some are, but this recipe calls for the unleavened stuff. If it was, it would explain the obvious difficulties because there would have been way too much baking powder/soda in the cake.

  159. Hi Deb,
    Thank you for your quick respponse and sorry about my english, I don’t know all the american expressions and sometimes I can’t explain myself very well. Big Bag is not the brand, it’s a 25 pounds bag all purpose flour from ConAgra Mills that I bought at Costco to save some money. But I ended up not saving anything. I got the Gold Medal flour now and new baking powder and will try again. Hopefully they’ll come out as good as they used to be.
    Quick question, where do you get the cake flour? I can’t find it in the supermarkets in my area (I live in Miami) but I’m sure they sell it somewhere.
    Thanks again!!
    Veronica

  160. Beautiful!! Thanks so much!!
    I’ve never thought about that.. :o( I’ve been like crazy, two of my kids are celebrating their b-days tomorrow and I’m in the middle of baking the cakes.
    FYI, I made the cake again with new flour and new baking powder and came out great!!!
    Thank again for the advice!

  161. By the way, I made a variation of this cake , a coffee cake, by dissolving 2 tablespoons of granulated coffee to the egg/buttermilk mixture and it came out great. All my friends loved it and it’s been very popular with my clients too.
    If you want to experience the latin flavors you can fill it with Dulce de Leche .. it’s a great combination and taste yummiiiii!

  162. Megan

    Testing out cake recipes for my own wedding cake (yes, fiance and I are insane, we know) and as I am already subjecting my coworkers to about a cake a week, am reluctant to ALSO make a large quantity of cupcakes. Deb or anyone have any tips on how to scale these recipes down to make only 2 6″ pans instead of 3 9″ pans? Thanks in advance!

  163. Megan

    To follow up, tried the yellow cake in 2 6″x2″ round pans last night. I was meticulous about the measuring (2/3rds of an egg yolk? 1/6th teaspoon salt?) because that’s how I roll, but in the end I don’t think it was really necessary. Rounding up slightly (1 egg yolk. 1/4 tsp salt) probably would have worked out just fine. Using baking strips and lower temperature (and probably the reduced ingredient factor) caused the cakes to not rise quite as much – only about 1.5 inches per cake, although they didn’t need ANY leveling – they were amazingly flat. They also took longer to cook – about 32 minutes. The finished product had a nice density, subtle flavor and cut very cleanly but dried out VERY quickly when left out for coworkers to sample (frosted with The Cake Bible Neoclassic Chocolate Buttercream). Again, I blame that on the ingredient reduction. More eggs. More butter & buttermilk. Bring it on! Can’t wait to try the chocolate variation (with raspberry filling) over the weekend.

  164. Amy

    I’ve settled on the vanilla buttermilk for a wedding cake I’m making for some (very, very) good friends in a couple weeks because the crumb is so lovely and fine. I wanted to keep doming to a minimum but thought 325 would be low enough. Top doming wasn’t huge, but I had the problem of the sides pulling in at the top, so I had to trim the sides in addition to the top, which was kind of a pain. Do you think baking at 300 would have solved that problem? Or do I need to consider cake strips on the pan sides? I have visions of big layers just sitting in a 300 degree oven for hours and hours and just turning into bricks. (I’ve never baked 16″ layers before. Is there anything to be aware of?)

  165. valenteine021472

    I just baked this cake today and it was really fantastic! I have been trying to find a good quality cake recipe with terrific flavor that retains it’s moisture. I was really excited to find a keeper. WE baked 2 different recipes last evening from another site and it wasn’t a good move. Thanks so much for your recipes!

  166. christina

    these posts have been SO USEFUL while i prepare to make my best friends’ baby shower cake. i tested the vanilla buttermilk cake on sunday, subbing in lemon for the vanilla, and it was easily one of the best cakes i’ve ever made. just wanted to say thanks!

  167. Jodi

    Deb- My husbands favorite cake is that “boxed cherry chip cake stuff”! I am going to try and make it from scratch for his birthday this week. Do you like this white cake recipe or your yellow cake recipe better? I think it will taste better as a white cake but I’m curious which is better. Is the white cake more dense?

  168. EmmaZ

    Deb, I just tried this as I’m making my own wedding cake for May. This is a trial run and so far so good, except that as I was transferring it to the cooling rack my stupid, too-thick, oven mitt slipped and the cake half fell of resulting in a broken cake :-( Anyway, apart from that it looks really good and I’m excited to try out the buttercream tomorrow to finish it off. So annoyed at myself for breaking it! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  169. Shanti

    What is the difference between this cake and your ‘Double Chocolate Layer Cake?’ Which one would taste better with the chocolate ganache? Is the only difference that this one is more stable/firm?

  170. EmmaZ

    Hi Deb, the trial was a resounding success with hubby and best friend. I made the butter cream and put raspberry jam on each side and then filled the butter cream with blackberries. Yummy. I’m starting to bake the real thing this week and luckily BF has freezer space cause I don’t! Emma

  171. Kristin G

    Hi, Deb… I am baking a wedding cake as we speak, and your blog post here has given me inspiration not to freak out… ok I am freaking out a little bit, but if I wasn’t that would be a larger concern! I have baked both the vanilla buttermilk and the chocolate butter cake recipes from Sky High in the last year (thanks for the book suggestion!) and these are the ones I am using for the cake. So far so good! Oh, I definitely reiterate others who posted about the freezer. I am very impressed that you were able to clear it out. I cannot say the same…

  172. Caetie

    I made this yesterday and baked in a 12-cup bundt pan, which turned out awesome. I scaled back the sugar to 2 cups total (not on purpose, just ran out), and I really liked the subtle sweetness. Took almost exactly 1 hour at 325 in the bundt pan.

    Cake was very buttery, delicious. Looked like it would hold up well as part of a layer cake. Next time will fleck my batter with lemon zest…

  173. Reine

    Hi Deb..I love your blog and could spend all day perusing it..unfortunately I have 2 small daughters who seem to get in the way of that.By the way your son is a bobbydazzler..gorgeous!

    Anyway down to the cooking business..I have offered to bake cake for my brother’s wedding in August.I’m half excited and half terrified since I am basing this on a couple of wonky childrens’ birthday cakes.

    I haven’t managed to read all the comment so far but I wonder if you could throw a bit of advice my way..I think his bride would prefer cupcakes rather than a tiered version but if I have to make this ahead of time is tiered really the only way to go(frankly till I read your ‘blow by blow’ account I thought you just plonked 3 cakes on top of eachother..how wrong I was)as cupcakes would dry out?

    Thanks for any light you can shed..

  174. I’m by no means a professional baker. Baking is therapy for me. So I decided to make the chocolate buttermilk as the 12″ for my nieces’s wedding. It was a huge hit! Everyone loved it. The cake had height and density that was perfect for stacking. I also made the yellow buttermilk with the mango curd as the top tier which they will have on their anniversary.
    I still read the blog cuz I enjoy the way Deb writes. Truly inspiring for those of us willing to be more adventurous.

  175. Julie

    The vanilla buttermilk cake is GLORIOUS. I made it for my birthday party (yes, I, like you, spend weeks if not months deciding what to bake for my own birthday, and it’s one of the best parts of the event every year) and filled it with mango curd and fresh blueberries between the layers and iced the whole thing with swiss buttercream. Oh lordy. It made a gorgeous tall 3-layer 9-inch round cake and it was just complete perfection. I was nervous about the strange method for mixing (it felt like making bread dough, mixing liquid into the flour and beating it for a few minutes like that) but it came out perfectly, even though I ran out of cake flour and had to use half AP. I have a feeling that this is going to be my standby yellow cake from now on. Thank you, Deb!

  176. Jaclyn

    Made a three layer 8-inch round yellow cake and a three layer 12-inch round chocolate to make my wedding cake. The wedding is this Sunday, and I have the small tier in the freezer and the larger cake is in the oven right now! I just wanted to share that adding about 2 tablespoon of lime zest to the yellow cake is fantastic! It compliments the mango curd really well and adds a nice kick of flavor. The amount of batter here is perfect for a triple layer 9-inch round, and then I just made two batches of the chocolate recipe for the 12-inch round (come out to about 6 cups of batter per pan).

    I also had a question. For those of us with narrow side-by-side freezers, any thoughts on the best way to freeze the larger tiers? I was thinking maybe I could freeze it tilted if it was still in the pan? Or maybe cool it in the fridge (maybe sitting in the pan and then in an “ice bath”) long enough that I can put it tilted in the freezer? I am just worried that it will crack or come out lop-sided if I put it in there and it isn’t level!

  177. Devan

    This chocolate cake recipe is amazing!Thanks so much for posting this ;) I am making a chocolate cake for my best friend’s wedding. I made a trial cake three weeks ago and they loved the cake. The plan is a 3 tier, 2 layers, homemade cherry filling, covered in shiny dark chocolate ganache.
    I bought some Magic Line square cake pans 6″, 9″, and 12″ and all 3″ deep, from a bakers supply site, and used a heater core just for the 12″. By the way the recipe listed worked wonderful for the size pans I had. 1 recipe = 1 each of the- 6″ and 9″ square pans and then another full recipe just for the 12″ square cake. (remember I have the 3″ deep pans though) So I have made this recipe 5 times now, 1 for the trial and four for the 6 cakes for the wedding cake. They all baked beautifully except for the 6″, it sunk in the middle considerably, both layers. I am not sure if I had too much batter in the little pan or what, but considering I have to level them, I figured I could fill in the space with extra cake. They came out of the pans beautifully too. I sandwiched them between cake boards when they cooled and wrapped them tons with saran wrap.
    My question is when should I take them out of the freezer? The wedding is this sat the 18th…I need to ganache them Friday (the day before) So I still need to fill and crumb-coat them and I don’t know whether to store them in the fridge or at room temp…Can anyone help me here?
    and by the way this is a trial run for my own wedding in October. (I will be using the awesome vanilla cake and I am not sure about the filling…I am also thinking of trying a white chocolate ganache)

  178. Jaclyn

    @Devan – I’m no expert but I am also making a wedding cake for this weekend (Sunday) and have been doing A LOT of research (and three test cakes) so I may be able to help you out! I would take it out of the freezer Friday, and fill with the ganache and crumb coat while still frozen. Then stick it in the fridge till the crumb coat hardens. Then do your final frosting (and decorating if you want) Friday night. From there you can easily leave it out a room temp overnight, as long as it isn’t warm enough to melt the butter in the frosting. And as long as your filling doesn’t have a lot of cream or eggs, or stuff that would spoil (like mine has the mango curd and I can’t leave it out).

    You can leave it in the fridge if it is too warm where you are, just watch out for condensation, misc fridge odors, and be sure to leave it out 1-2 hours before it is served so the butter cream isn’t too hard.

    Correct me if I got anything wrong people! Good luck!

  179. lauren

    The vanilla buttermilk cake is absolutely delicious, so good that I can proudly say that it is the best cake I have ever made, and to top it all, it is with out a doubt the best cake I have ever eaten… and I’ve eaten lots of cake! I have been endlessly searching for a good yellow cake recipe and this is THE BEST…I have made the perfect birthday cake from your site, but this I believe is unbeatable! I can eat this cake right out of the pan without frosting, it’s simply divine. I’ve made this twice in a week and a half and have gotten rave reviews. From the sweet aroma, to the tender, soft crumb, to the light and buttery taste, this cake is superior to all others…quite simply the BEST! By the way Deb I love your website and must say I have never been disappointed in a single recipe.

  180. linda

    I need to make a 16 inch cake will your recipe for the butter cake that you have on this web site be suitable for that size pan

  181. Diana

    Question: Would it be wise/ok to sub some of the liquid with bourbon for either/both of these recipes? I want bourbon cake. Lots of it. If it’s possible, how would you go about it?

    1. deb

      You might be able to get further with less bourbon if you add a splash of bourbon to a simple syrup and brush it over the cake when it comes out of the oven.

  182. Adi

    I just made the vanilla white cake last night and it came out amazing! I do want to mention that I made it parve (i.e. with no dairy) because it was to serve as dessert after a kosher meat meal. I substituted margarine for the butter, and water for the milk. It probably sounds awful but it came out moist and delicious.

    I love your website, and it would be great to find some dairy free desserts if you’ve experimented with any.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  183. Bou

    Hi, just came across your website while browsing for a good chocolate cake recipe….tried the one you posted here and found it very nice :o) However, it is very soft, does anyone know how I can make it more dense (want to cover it in fondant)…maybe add more egg? Or less buttermilk and more flour? Any suggestions pleaseeeeeeee.xx

  184. Diana

    Both of these cakes are amazing! Deb, I used your suggestion and so instead of putting bourbon in the cake batter, I brushed the cakes with bourbon once they were baked (straight bourbon, not in a simple syrup). Boozey but not too much. Thanks!

  185. Diana

    And to Bou, I would suggest baking the cake at a lower temperature (300 instead of 350) for longer time. I did that in order to have a flatter top, and the cake turned out densely brownie-like. Also, if you freeze/chill the cake before moving it around, that helps as well.

  186. Jerod

    I have a few questions:
    best way to store a cake layer if using in the next day?
    best way to store a crumb coated cake for later use?
    best way to store a buttercreamed cake for use the next day?
    I have read so many different ideas and want to find one that works and doesn’t become stale.

  187. Carolyn

    Okay. Update–I made your vanilla buttermilk cake and buttercream frosting and filled the cakes with a super-secret family cannoli filling. I made a 4 tier cake (6,8,10 &12 inch layers) for my sister’s wedding. IT WAS AWESOME. I got so many compliments! Everyone loved the cake and I must say, it was delicious.

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I can’t wait to try the chocolate cake (and I’m already getting requests for other friends’ wedding cakes).

  188. Carissa

    I’m pretty much praying that you respond to this soon, as I have to bake a 3 tier wedding cake this weekend. How would these cakes turn out using AP Flour? My store doesn’t have cake flour, and I’m out of corn starch to make my own!! Please help. Thanks!

  189. Liz

    So I mixed up the buttermilks, and put the smaller amount in first, rather than the 2 1/4 c. And I also used heavy cream with vinegar as a substitute for buttermilk. It came out fantastic, I can’t thank you enough for such a stellar recipe!

  190. Nikki

    I would like to make this chocolate cake recipe for my son’s birthday party. I’m planning on freezing the layers and then cutting them to make a monster truck cake. My first question, do you think it will be dense enough for that? Secondly, I’m a little worried about the coffee. Does the cake have a coffee flavor? I’d love it but my family would not. Does it just deepen the chocolate flavor or actually give it a coffee flavor?

  191. Rachel Marcus

    my sons get to pick their birthday cakes for school, and i’m trying this chocolate cake in lieu of the Rebecca Rather version from Fine Cooking for her cocoa/marshmellow topped cake. Smells delish, baked up fine and even, but i’ll be scrubbing chocolate off my walls for days! The one-bowl method is about as messy a cake i’ve ever made, no wonder you were worried about your housecleaner!

  192. Astrid

    Hello Deb,

    I have made the vanilla buttermilk cake and i LOVE it , it is amazing but now i would like to make it in a 10 inch would you please share you upscaled recipe you use for the 10 inch. And also please for the chocolate butter cake.

    Thank you so much.
    Best regards,
    Astrid (The Netherlands).

    1. deb

      Hi Astrid — I didn’t hang onto the math I did for the cakes. A 10-inch round cake holds about 25% more batter than a 9-inch round, so you can just scale the recipe up that way.

  193. KC

    hey deb, im baking my friends wedding cake in may and she wants a mounds cake (dark chocolate cake, coconut filling with a chocolate ganache & white chocolate buttercream) and vanilla White Chocolate Cake(vanilla cake & white chocolate buttercream, hazelnut crème filling). and i had a few questions. 1) can i use the chocolate cake recipe you have here and simply use dark chocoalte in the mix? 2) can i turn your swiss buttercream recipe into a white chocolate one by adding white chocolate to the mix?

  194. anna

    deb, i feel like i’ve been searching for a good vanilla cake recipe forever. for some reason, they’re all either muffin-y, or cornbread-y, and never moist or tender enough for my tastes. but this? this is amazing. i found it in sky high cakes last night and came on here to see what kind of vanilla cake you suggest.. and low and behold, same recipe!

    anyway, i just wanted to share in my enthusiasm for this cake. it’s perfect. it’s light, fluffy, delicious. i paired it with a ginger lime cream cheese frosting, and oh my god. http://www.grouprecipes.com/4764/ginger-and-lime-cream-cheese-frosting.html

    thank you for the inspiration!!

  195. ems

    Hello. My mom, my maid of honor, and I are planning to make my wedding cake for my June wedding, and I’m very excited to see hints and suggestions. :) I have a few questions about how your final cake turned out though. (1) I’m planning to make a groom’s cake with a lemon curd filling and I wondered how far in advance you assembled and filled the layers. Did you have any problem with the layers getting soggy next to the curd filling. I love the texture and flavor of curd, I just dread soggy cake. (2) I think fondant is fairly flavorless and am planning to use a Swiss meringue buttercream on the wedding cake. How did the frosting hold up on the cake? Did you notice any problems with temperature (did it melt) or did it appear to be a fairly robust frosting? Again, thanks for all of the words of advice!

    1. deb

      I did not find the cake soggy next to the curd. (Curd isn’t terribly wet, more thick than liquid. Setting it with gelatin makes it even thicker.) I think the frosting holds up great. Mine didn’t melt but it was an indoor temperature-controlled wedding. Good luck!

  196. Kimmy

    Hi there-
    I am essentially making this same exact cake (just raspberry filling)
    I feel like this is going to be a completely “No Duh” type question, but did you bake each layer separately, or did you cut the cake into the different layers?
    And if you did bake them all separately is the recipe for each individual layer or is it for one big cake that gets cut into layers?

  197. Kristen

    I have what I fear is a terribly obnoxious question. I adore this chocolate cake. ADORE! It is THE cake that has ended my search for chocolate cakes, and I will never make another. I’ve read comments about successful cupcake conversion and I, too, have made it into cupcakes countless times. While glorious and delicious, they are flat – this of course makes sense for a wedding cake recipe but makes me long for domed cupcakes. Any thoughts for helping them rise up a bit? I have adjusted the vanilla cake by just adding the full 2T of baking powder (a bold move, I know) for cupcakes and it worked great, but the chocolate seems less obvious for that change. Higher oven temperature perhaps? Never have I commented on a blog and here I am, sounding like a crazyperson in front of my favorite culinary genius and the rest of the internet. Even if they are eternally flat, I still love this recipe passionately! Thank you so much for all of your brilliance!

  198. Jenn

    Hi there Kristen,

    Just saw your post and hopefully I can be of some help. If you turn up your oven temperature (maybe to 375?) and put the pan on the top shelf of the oven, it should help dome the cupcakes a little. No promises, but should help, in theory. Good luck!

  199. Margot

    Hi Deb,

    I’m trying to make this cake for a wedding, and I’m having trouble getting it to rise properly. The volume of the three 8″ layers is about the same as one 15″ round, so I was just making the full recipe and putting it in the 15″ pan. The cake rises to the top of the pan, but then shrinks considerably when I take it out of the oven. It then has more of a flourless chocolate cake consistency. The same thing happened when I tried to scale the recipe down to make a 6″ round. All the ingredients are room temperature. The toothpick had only a crumb or two when I pulled the cake out of the oven, so I don’t think I’m underbaking it. But I can’t figure out what else I might be doing wrong.

    Thanks so much!!

    – Margot

  200. Julie Lea

    Hi Deb
    LOVE your website and cake section. I would like to get into professional cake decorating (just have been made redundant and 3 months of being an at home mummy is definitely leaving me needing more :) ). I will definitely be giving your chocolate and vanilla cake recipes above a try as I want to get the basic cakes right. My question is do I need to use coffee for the chocolate cake. I am not at all a fan of coffee and wonder what effect this has on the cake.

  201. Colleen

    Deb,

    I made my first wedding cake in May using this incredible chocolate cake recipe. I brushed it with a Frangelico simple syrup and filled with a Nutella/Frangelico mousse, and frosted with a white chocolate Swiss buttercream. Success! Thank you so much for sharing these recipes and tips. Three tiers completely devoured and I’ve been asked to make cake for upcoming weddings. Thank you again.

  202. Nicole

    Hi Deb,

    Would it be okay to substitute milk for buttermilk? What are the advantages of using buttermilk instead? I have never used it before.

    Thank you!
    Nicole

  203. Julie Lea

    Thanks Deb, I will definitely give it a go with coffee!
    I made the vanilla cake (3 layers) for my niece’s birthday and it was great. I just have (what I hope is) a question – other than the difficulty that comes with cutting a cake into 3 equal layers, do you recommend three individual cakes (i know you said this in your recipe here, but is this what you normally do) or would you go for one big cake and cut layers.

  204. Julie Lea

    I knew there was another question ;)
    You wrote that you amended the recipe for different size cake pans. Is there such a simple thing as a standard equation for adding/subtracting an inch in cake pan size or was this something you have learnt over time.

    1. deb

      For me, I’m trying to keep cake height the same no matter the pan. Just my preference. So, I scale recipes according to the bottom area size. From this, I’ve learned that a 6-inch round cake pan, for example, holds about half the batter of a 9-inch round or an 8-inch square. That’s the only one I know off the top of my head.

      Re, cutting cake layers — It’s up to you. I do it sometimes, not others. I prefer to only cut a cake layer once, to make my life easier. The more you cut, the more risk you run. When you break one big layer, you’ll inevitably wish you’d just gone through the trouble of baking the layers separately.

  205. Julie

    Wow, can’t wait to make this cake- I have a 3 tier cake to do in August and will start making the layers with this recipe!

  206. Jen

    I am pretty sure I made this a couple of years ago with no issues using Fry’s, which people are saying is dutched, though I didn’t realize at the time and assumed wasn’t since the words “dutch” or “dutched” aren’t anywhere on the label (Canada… might be different in other markets.) The label on the can says “cocoa, sodium carbonate”, a different alkali from the more usual potassium carbonate. Maybe it is only weakly dutched, because it isn’t very dark. The colour is more similar to photos I’ve seen of natural, and it’s just about the only cocoa I can buy around here that isn’t clearly labelled dutched.

    Anyway, I was running low, and my regular store was out, so I bought some more cocoa from a different store, and it was clearly labelled as dutched and much darker. After reading what David Lebovitz had to say about cocoas http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/02/cocoa-powder-faq-dutch-process-v/ I decided to throw in a teaspoon of baking powder just in case. Hopefully the cake won’t taste strongly of leaveners. Can’t really tell you about rise height, though, because I wanted 8″ rounds, so I did two 6″ rounds for excess batter, along with the three 8″ rounds.

  207. Jen

    Another theory on why (Canadian) Fry’s might not pose much problem: maybe the acidity of the buttermilk helps activate the baking soda, too.

    Seems natural cocoa is hard to find outside the US (see above David Lebovitz link, and Glitterati’s comments.)

  208. Jen

    One more thing :) is the temp in the above recipe the original “Sky High” temp, or is it the reduced temp you used to help the cakes bake flatter? Mine are still domed, but as you’ll see above I don’t have natural cocoa, so it could be affecting the leavening.

  209. Lorraine

    Would love to know how the Chocolate Butter Cake and your Vanilla Buttermilk Cake hold up if covered with butter cream and then Fondant and also the weight of sugarpaste flowers – for a wedding cake.

  210. Jen

    Lorraine, your results might vary from mine, since I don’t have true natural cocoa (I haven’t tried the vanilla one yet) but I got a very dense velvetty crumb that can take a lot of weight.

  211. Nadia

    I made these (as rounds) for a wedding this weekend. Used the yellow for 12, 9, and 6 in rounds, and the chocolate for 13 x 9 inch cakes (which i then cut up, and made lego cakes for the groom’s cake). They were great. The yellow baked beautifully flat (I used flower nails and bake easy strips), and tasted great. I paired them with lemon curd, raspberries, and the same swiss buttercream you use Deb (I’ve probably made it a half dozen times). Chocolate was especially delicious (crumbier as I was icing, but so it goes). Only trick with the yellow cakes is I couldn’t figure out how to scale down the recipe, what with 5 eggs and 2 yolks. Will make the chocolate cake again, and will make the yellow again if the occasion calls!

  212. Anne

    Not a wedding cake, but used your instruction and these recipes to take on an elaborate baby shower cake: tiered rounds with the Wilton teddy bear sitting on top, enrobed in the Swiss buttercream, tinted baby blue. The prototype of the bear turned out great- the yellow cake is the perfect density to get in all the crevices and come out cleanly. Thanks for blazing the trail!

  213. stephanie

    excitedly making a triple layer, 8″ round vanilla cake ( with whipped cream & raspberries ) by request for our daughter’s 6th birthday. i will add vanilla beans, just because i like the speckley look in the cake.

  214. ceri in UK

    Ive just baked my chocolate cake now, took a while to convert all to grams (hate this cup business) then reduce by 1/4 for 20cm x2 tins for a nice high cake, risen well with nice flat top, smells good too! I added a good teaspoon of vanilla extract a must for chocolate cake. I’m interested to see the texture and taste as I usually make a chocolate cake with real chocolate but sometimes too heavy. I bought raw cocoa a while ago off e-bay (health food shops will prob have it too) and will be interested to taste the strength of the chocolate as there was a consider lot (120g). A normal UK victoria sponge hasnt much taste with 20g cocoa.

  215. ceri in UK

    Ok had my first slice and it looks fab and on the taste was great then all of a sudden I get (once again) that butter/flour roux taste. Now this is the 3rd sky high cake I’ve made (previous ‘not so humble pie’ blog one) and on all occassions I’ve had this strange background taste that isnt pleasant. Its def not the flour as I use a high quality organic brand plus I use different butters. I did use the raw cocoa. But wondering if this is a flaw with these dry and wet mix cakes. The flour content is high too. My husband noticed it too. Just wonder if there is a flaw in my baking? Please help!

  216. Leah

    Hi Deb!

    I made the vanilla buttermilk cake for a friend’s birthday recently and added an amaretto cream filling. It was a big hit! I love this cake so much that I want to make a strawberry version of it. I was going to add strawberry puree to the recipe but wanted your guidance. I would normally just make your strawberry cake recipe, but the creaminess and flavor of this cake is my favorite. How much puree should I add? Should I decrease the buttermilk? Any other suggestions?

    Thanks again for being my cake goddess!

    Leah from Nashville, TN

  217. Katy

    I need some advice! I want to use these recipes to make cupcakes and I’ve no idea what the time conversion would be, or if I should bake at a different temperature. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    1. deb

      Katy — Cupcakes are usually baked at the same temperature and usually bake for anywhere from 18 to 22 minutes, though individual recipes vary.

  218. Jen

    Hi Deb, Have now made both cakes which have been delicious. Just a quick question re freezing the cakes – what is the max amount of time that you would freeze cakes for? I’m just trying to work out how far in advance I could make these for a party – ie would 3 weeks well wrapped in the freezer be too long?
    Thanks!

    1. deb

      Jen — That will really depend on your freezer and how fast it makes things smell “freezery.” In most freezers, however, I think 3 weeks would be fine. Wrap each layer it three times in plastic. You cannot be too careful.

  219. Adrianne

    Just made this (swiss buttercream, mango curd and all) for a birthday. And gifted my friend your book (one of the 4 you graciously signed for me). Both were a hit – thanks for making me look awesome!!

  220. Vrushali

    I must confess I must have been stupid not to have tried this cake even after I was there to watch the complete post from the beginning!! chocolate cake came out so beautifully!!!! thanks a ton!!! oh btw, the book is real blessing!! Trying recipes one by one and guess what I am a 5 star chef now :-)))))

  221. Kim

    Hello Deb, I just stubbled across your site and am soooo glad I did! I started to read your blog and found the hours just disappear. I Love to cook and bake so I am constantly on the search for new and exciting tried and true recipes. I love how your wedding cake turned out. I want to invest in some good cake pans, but I couldn’t find anywhere on your site where you tell what brand of cake pans you use.

  222. Amanti

    Hi – I LOVE your pics!!..I’m kindda new to baking so I’m learning new things all the time – what really baffles me is halving and multiplying recipes. To do a small 1 layer 6 inch cake how would you adjust this recipe? I’m looking for a go to chocolate cake recipe for large party cakes, 3d cakes etc as well as small cakes for friends and family.And really hope this could be it. I just need to be sure that it can be double and halved easily and do well when stacking and carving etc…
    For me the starting point is a 6inch 1 layer cake that is baked in one pan – I can multiply the recipe and figure out the pan size after that..so what I really need is to know how to adjust this recipe to fit 1 6 inch pan….thaaannks a million

  223. Amanti

    Just one more question (so sorry to keep bugging you) does this cake carve well? I’m hoping to do 2 cakes next month – one is a 3d and the other a shaped cake – I’m a bit nervous as I have never done either before!! Thanks and once again sorry for the trouble..

  224. Michelle

    I just made the vanilla buttermilk cake and it was only 7 cups of batter when I was finished. I’m positive I put in the correct amounts for each ingredient. Just how light and fluffy does your batter get before putting in the egg mixture (which I folded in, I did not use a mixer)? Any ideas? Thanks!

  225. Simone

    I know this is a few years late…but I tried Marie’s cream cheese and whipped cream frosting (comment #9) on a vanilla cake today. It was a huge hit! Great taste and texture. I think it will be a great addition to my frosting arsenal. I would probably not use it on a cake that had to sit out though–especially in a warm room. Although it tastes great, it gets pretty soft (our house was a piping 75 degrees).

  226. Hey Deb, I am writing in hopes for a quick response lol but this has been baffling my partner and I, We have made this cake more then 20 times, it’s a great cake! We do event cakes on the side. Its a wonderful texture when it’s baked small, anything larger we get a pound cake consistency. We need help! lol This cake is so great for shaping etc, it’s never failed us! We got the chance to sit and taste the difference between the tiers at one of the events and we get the response, it’s heavy and a little dry… not too dry but you def need milk with it. Baked as a cupcake, no problem whatsoever lol what the heck do we do? lol

    1. deb

      Hi Michelle — It’s a bit sturdier than the plush yellow cakes most of us prefer for events; it’s great for weddings but really doesn’t need to be brushed with some sort of syrup. My go-to yellow cake is this one.

  227. Jennie

    Hi Deb, your cakes look fantastic! am just wondering if you could please give me any recommendations for the best cake pans, what brand do you use?
    Thanks!

    1. deb

      Jennie — I don’t have a favorite brand (although Williams Sonoma’s Gold Touch pans are consistently good). Mine are from a mix of places and baking supply shops. I look for pans that feel heavy for their size.

  228. i am a novice baker from Zimbabwe.Your recipe for chocolate cake is amazing. i made it yesterday and it was amazing. it was a black forest cake with four layers . one ganache, another chocolate mousse and the middle layer being cream all layers having a great amount of black cherry filling. had to support it with skewers but it was soft,moist,melt in your mouth chocolate goodness. thank you

  229. Michelle

    Ok – so I have the cookbook and I’m comparing the golden sheet cake recipe with this one and they are clearly different. Which is your favorite? Making a rainbow bday cake for my daughters 4th bday. Would love to know which is your absolute favorite. Thanks!

  230. Gabrielle

    Hey! I have a question, because I am obsessed with chocolate cakes and have a problem with recipes for so many sweet treats out there. I am that weird person that is actually allergic to coffee), but I understand it helps compliment and develop the flavors. I was wondering if you have any substitutes you might suggest other than water for similar reasons.

    Another sad fact is I used to love tiramasu before I developed this allergy, so I have been looking for substitutes for a while…

    1. deb

      Gabrielle — I don’t know of something that tastes like coffee that isn’t, but you can add to the water any flavoring that you enjoy with coffee, be it some additional vanilla extract or a hazelnut liqueur.

  231. Hi Gabrielle,

    I’m so sorry you’re allergic to coffee! I am allergic to fruits and nuts, so I share the feeling of sadness when you can’t have something you can enjoy.

    Have you tried Kahlua? That can be used as a coffee flavor substitute

    If you don’t want to add alcohol, I found this stuff online. I don’t know how good it is: http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=119341011

    You can also just say “Eh, forget coffee, I’ll do a raspberry flavor” instead.

  232. Carolina

    Hi
    I was wondering if you double the chocolate cake layers recipe to do the 12″ square cake? or what would it be the larger version for the 12′ square cake?
    Thank you

  233. Carolina

    Hi Deb,
    Thank you very much for the link. I have to make a 12′ square chocolate cake and i think i’m going to go with your recipe. Your swiss buttercream is delicious! The only question I have is that looking at the wilton party cake baking time an batter amounts for the 2″ deep pans says that i need 10 cups of batter for the 12 ” square and in your recipe you say that 5 1/2 cups. I’m confuse. Could you please explain? I’m really new to this baking world. But I Love it!
    Thank you!

    1. deb

      Carolina — I haven’t made it in years and it could be that my measurement is off. However, it also might be that Wilton is giving you the amount for a full or nearly full pan. I gave you the amount for one layer. The cake will be a total of two.

  234. Claire

    This may already be in the comments, but do you know if I could use Dutch processed cocoa instead of regular cocoa? I really like that flavor better but I don’t want to ruin the cake if it will. Thanks!

  235. Bronwen

    Hi! Once you have scaled up the recipe for the pan size, do you divide the quantities by 3 & mix each layer individually? My oven won’t fit the pans all at once. Tx!

  236. Gracie

    Hi – I have a question about the Chocolate Butter Cake. I made it in 3 12-inch layers and multiplied the recipe by 1.5. That part was fine and the cake tastes amazing but the cake is so light and delicate that I was unable to transfer the layers onto each other without breaking them since 12″ is so large. I didn’t freeze the layers because I was frosting it the next day. If I had frozen the layers, wouldn’t they have caused condensation through the frosting if they were still frozen enough to lay them on top of each other without breaking? I have a large, cake-lifter spatula but this cake is so moist that the layer got stuck on the spatula. Thanks for any guidance for me for the next time!

    1. deb

      Hi Gracie — I would freeze them to make it easier. My kitchen has always been warm and the cakes begin to defrost quickly; condensation has never been an issue, but if you’re worried, even an hour at room temperature before frosting and another hour after should defrost it/take care of any issues.

  237. Gracie

    Deb – thank you so much for answering my question – I have one more. I discovered your 10 tips to making a layer cake (wish I’d seen them earlier!!). If you are using simple syrup, do you brush it on before you freeze the layers or after they come out and are thawed?

    1. deb

      Gracie — A lot of people have also asked this and I don’t think that there is one answer. You can do it in either place. Later in the process might add the most moisture, however.

  238. Hi Deb,
    LOVE your site, have tried many of your recipes with great success.
    Anyway, it has finally happened.
    This summer one of my best friend’s is getting married, and I’m making the cake. I make cakes all the time but never this big!
    My biggest concern is that the wedding is a 12 hour (!) drive from my home. But I would really like to have the baking done before I go, then make fillings and icings there, and construct there as well ( I will be getting there twodays before the wedding).

    So my question is: if I freeze the cakes and then drive all day, I figure even in a cooler with ice packs the cakes will defrost a little. Will they be okay being refrozen? It sounds like during the icing process they defrost a little anyway, and then you refrigerate them.

    And secondly, I have the same question as Gracie as to when (and even how often) to syrup. It sounds like just before for icing on the big day? Or after they thaw ( the first time!)?!?!

    Tried to scan all the comments before so I hope I’m not a rebecca repeater!
    Thanks for all the tips and tricks on your blog already! So far they have been a life saver.

  239. Amanda

    Hi Deb,
    Need your help- would either of these hold up well to cutting and glueing for creation of a dinosaur cake for my son’s 4th birthday? Any other suggestions. Thank you! I have a template and frosting ideas- but need a good cake that will not crumble. You know?
    Amanda Platt

  240. Carol

    Hi Deb,
    I love both of these recipes, and so does everyone that tries these cakes. Thank you so much for putting them up here. One thing that was really neat about them was that one batch makes 36 cupcakes which is so great. I only had one problem with them, they went flat when they started to cool. I will check my flour to make sure its not self rising, but I am not sure what else I could do if that is not the problem. Any suggestions?

  241. I just wanted to add that I made a test layer of the chocolate recipe over the weekend and it was awesome! Crazy moist. You can taste the coffee a tiny bit in the batter, but once baked it really just adds depth to the chocolate flavor, like Deb says. I’m using the cake recipe for an all chocolate wedding cake (my first!) for a friend’s nuptials this weekend, and assuming I can manage the assembly, etc, I know it will be a hit!

  242. Angelica

    Hi deb been addicted to your site.. i found your site to be very helpful.. i’ve tried some of your recipes.. my favorite is your caramel pudding, the best i tried so far.. my friends are crazy for them
    too.. Deb can i ask is this cake recipe can be made as tiered cake covered with fondant? Is these cakes too dense to hold the weight of fondant? thanks so much.. Keep inspiring..

    1. deb

      Angelica — I haven’t tried it with fondant but if you scroll through the comments on this and the other Project Wedding Cake posts, you’ll find some people that have.

  243. Rach

    Hi Deb,

    What’s your most chocolatey layer cake recipe? I’m making a triple-layer for my dad for father’s day, and he’s pretty serious about his chocolate (and prefers it dark.) I’ve settled on your chocolate ganache frosting but wasn’t sure which cake recipe to use — the one from the peanut butter chocolate cake? This one? The one from the double chocolate layer cake? Would love any advice.

    Thanks!
    Rachel

  244. deb

    Hi Rach — In comment #233 I talk about the difference between this and my other favorite chocolate cake. This one is sturdier, but has excellent chocolate flavor. But if you’re going for chocolate flavor above all else (the other cake is even more tender, so it’s not ideal for larger than 9-inch cakes), the other is most commenters first choice. The peanut butter chocolate cake’s cake layers are good, but my least favorite of the three.

  245. Cool! I’m making a 6-inch triple layer (I invested in the pans a few weeks ago on your recommendation and we LOVE them) so I think I can go with the less sturdy one. Thanks so much, Deb!

  246. I was looking for a cake recipe with coffee, it makes it so much richer! I made your recipe for chocolate cake for my friend’s birthday (doubled the recipe, it was was two tiered) last month and everyone was thoroughly impressed. I was proud to tell them it was actually a wedding cake recipe, making everyone feel extra special – thank you again for sharing!

  247. Katie

    Deb- I did a practice run of the yellow cake and could only find bleached, pilsbury cake flour. It turned out having an over-processed consistency, almost like boxed-cake. Could it be because of the flour I used? If so, do you have a brand you could recommend that I could order online? (I live in the middle of nowhere). Thank you!

  248. Janet

    Deb, I realize that you made this cake several years ago but I am referring back to it to bake a birthday cake and I have a question. For the Vanilla Buttermilk Cake, the ingredients list shown here, is this the ‘scaled up’ version or for the 9″ cakes. I am using 10″ springform pans and will be make three layers and I am very mathematically challenged ;-) thanks for your help.

    1. deb

      Hi Janet — The vanilla cake batter will be enough to yield one three-layer 9-inch round cake (and could also be used for a three-layer 8-inch square cake). I used a little more (did some math to work it out) for the 10-inch square, middle tier of the wedding cake I made.

  249. Katie

    Hi Deb- this is officially my third question posted to you in this baking a wedding cake adventure. Thanks for all your help! I was wondering if there is any reason not to make all the batter at the same time… Some of the batter will have to sit while the first layers are baking. Will if affect the properties of the batter to let it rest for a bit?

    1. deb

      If the batter is just going to sit while waiting its turn for the oven, that’s fine. But I wouldn’t let it sit any longer, or a day. Baking soda starts working as soon as it gets wet. (Baking powder is “double acting,” so it has two chances to work, when it gets wet and when it hits the heat.) They’re fine for a while but won’t give you the full life if made too far in advance.

  250. Ana

    I tried the vanilla buttercream recipe, and my batter is crumbling, is that because there is too much water? Can you post a recipe in grams and mL? Is anybody also experiencing the same problem?

  251. My brother is getting married on Saturday so I made these tonight and they are great! I increased the recipe sizes on both. I then marbled the two recipes to make a three layer 12-inch cake. I had enough extra batter to make two 8-inch cakes. The recipe is perfect. It’s dense and the flavour is spot on too. Thanks for the awesome recipe and tips!

  252. Devin

    Hi Deb, love your website and your cookbook! I’ve followed several of your recipes and they always turn out great! so thanks :) this is my time posting a question

    I am baking a friend’s wedding cake this weekend. She wants red velvet cake and I used your red velvet cake recipe as a test and it turned out great! So I plan to use that recipe. I have made lots of cakes in the past & tiered cakes but never a wedding cake. I will be baking layers in advance (Wed/Thurs), traveling to the wedding site Friday and decorating Saturday AM.

    So questions for you…Did you frost your wedding cake while it was still frozen?Or did you defrost first? I browsed the comments & your layer cake tips and didn’t catch this. I am worried about the cream cheese buttercream getting warm (outside wedding) so was wondering if freezing cake layers prior to frosting will help that. I like your tip about handling cakes while frozen.

    And since its your red velvet recipe – you don’t forsee any issue with this as a wedding cake? The test cake was 3 layers with creamcheese filling/icing and it was fine on a hot humid day. So I think I should be OK. Especially with all that tiered cake structure reinforcement!

    thanks for your help :)
    Devin

    1. deb

      Devin — I often frost while the cake is still frozen, but it defrosts pretty quickly. Theoretically, any cake can be used as a wedding cake, but do keep in mind that this one is especially soft and tender and this is not the ideal frosting (well, none are) if it will be out in the sun for hours.

  253. that_tall_girl

    I’m attempting my first ever six layer, two tier cake for my Mum’s 60th. I just did a test run of the vanilla buttermilk cake, layered with lemon curd and frosted with vanilla buttercream – it is AMAZING! It is the best cake I’ve ever made. I got a lot of compliments from my test audience at work. It is solid but moist and tasty, and it slices up and holds together really well. I made it two days ago, wrapped each layer and kept 2 in the fridge and 1 in the freezer – it was indistinguishable from the other layers – and all stayed moist and delicious :)
    I used plain flour (I’m in Australia – cake flour here is still 8.7% protein, which is nearly the same as plain flour anyway), but took away 1 tbs of flour from every cup. I scaled up the recipe to a 10 inch cake (see below), dropped cooking temp to 140 (fan forced) and used a rose nail and wet towels wrapped around the tin to ensure even baking. The buttercream is just 2:1 sugar to butter plus vanilla essence, piped on in a pulled petal pattern – it crusted up nicely and so far has stayed put for 4 hours out of the fridge.
    Thanks Deb for a wonderful recipe and for inspiring me to attempt such a big cake :)

    Scaling round cakes up or down
    1) work out cake volume of original recipe (3.14 x radius^2 x height)
    2) work out required cake volume
    3) Divide required volume / original volume
    4) Multiply all ingredients by that value – I worked out all ingredients in grams (by weighing them – yes, really, even the butter milk and baking powder) then used those values as it is more precise :p

  254. Laurie

    I LOVE vanilla buttermild cake. I have been baking cakes from the Cake Bible for two decades, but this cake has become THE cake. (I notice it follows Cake Bible method.)

    I ice it with Magnolia icing using the smallest amount of sugar and buttermilk instead of milk. Everyone raves.

  255. Angela

    This is so good. Buttermilk is magic! I made your best birthday cake last time, but I think I prefer this one as its sweeter, and more moist.

  256. Randi Lynne

    Thanks for all of your tips and recipes. I made a wedding cake for my sister-in-law in February and although it was challenging, I learned a lot from reading tips online and it actually was quite pretty. I used your vanilla buttermilk cake recipe and it was a hit. :) Thanks again for your knowledge and inspiration.

  257. Christie Chisholm

    I’m mostly writing just to tell you how much I love your site. I figure it’s time, since I’ve been referencing it almost daily for months and it has basically fed me for as much time. So first: Thank you. It’s one of my favorite things.

    Also, I’m making a kind of pre-wedding cake for my dad (I wouldn’t dare tackle the actual thing, this is a night-before cake), and think I’m going with the vanilla buttermilk cake and mango curd filling, but topping with a cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream because he doesn’t like buttercream (even though I think he might actually like the one you paired with this cake because I’ve made it before and it’s amazing but whatever). Then I’ll sit a bunch of blueberries and raspberries on top, or something. I’m hoping you can help with two questions. The first is that it potentially needs to feed 30 people, which is terrifying. Do you know how many layers / how many separate cakes might be needed for that? Also, I saw your recipe for maple cream cheese frosting, but do you have a recommendation for plain cream cheese frosting? Can I follow that one but just skip the maple syrup?

    Thanks for your time, and thanks again for your wonderful site. -c

    1. deb

      Hi Christie — Thank you. Here is a guide to cake sizes and servings. Here is another. I’ve used cream cheese frosting without maple syrup other places on this site, such as here and here. The best thing to do when planning a wedding cake is to buy a small cake pan so that you can practice making minis of what you’d like, to get the flavors/textures/ideas right before scaling it up to a massive cake project. Good luck!

  258. Lindsey

    I, too, am making a wedding cake for my sister this June. I have known about your wedding project for years now and I hope my cake turns out as beautiful. The conversion charts that you have referenced here are slightly confusing for a non-math person, but I’m going to be brave and attempt to tattle it. Any suggestions on how to convert your vanilla cake recipe above?

    Thanks again for all your fabulous recipes! And you were just darling in Seattle (I have a signed copy!)

  259. Carrie

    Help! I made a practice cake of both the chocolate and vanilla for a friend’s wedding that’s a few months away. The cakes turned out more souffle-like than the dense but moist cake I was expecting. I thought I followed the recipe for both of them, but they each collapsed a lot in the middle. there’s no way they are going to stack well. My guess is I used the wrong conversion for flour. I measured out 111 g=1 cup King Arthur unbleached cake flour. Any suggestions??

  260. Kara

    I just wanted you to know that I used your yellow cake recipe and the buttercream for a wedding cake I made for a dear friend. The cake is heavenly and will be my go to recipe now. Everyone was impressed. The bride gushed when she had her bite. Keep up the good work!

  261. Charlotte

    I love this cake and have been making it for about 3 years! Recently though every time I make it, the cake has been sinking directly in the center. I don’t know what to do…. I fold in the eggs, I never mix the buttermilk and butter into the dry ingredients for more than 2 minutes on medium, and I fold in the egg mixture. Any ideas why and what I need to change???

  262. carissa

    i was wondering how many people a 3 layered 9 inch round cake would feed? i am making a wedding cake soon and I’m trying to figure out the proportions.

  263. Alison

    I would love if you would add weights to this one! Particularly the chocolate. I hate measuring out cake flour.

  264. eleni

    This is perfect! Can i make this without coffee? Should i Try just water instead of coffee or milk maybe? Please let me know!!

  265. Ana

    Hi Deb,

    I know you froze all your layers for this cake. Do you think this changes the texture or flavor of the cake in a negative way? Would it be more recommended/ tastier to bake the cake one day in advance of being frosted?

    Thanks,

    Ana

    1. deb

      No, freezing layers has no effect on texture/taste. It just makes them easier to trim and handle/stack/lift. I see no reason to crowd all of the cooking together. What if something goes wrong with the cakes? You wouldn’t want to be up all night in a panic. So, I recommend baking the layers a few days or even up to a week out to make the process less stressful.

  266. Lyn

    Hi! I tried baking your chocolate cake recipe yesterday afternoon, batter smells awesome but right after I took it out of the oven, the cake fell greatly, leaving a
    “valley” in the cupcakes! I’m not sure if its the cake flour that’s doing this? My cake flour is quite old. I bought it late last year and didn’t use much so I didn’t get a new bag. I’m supposed to bake for a friend’s wedding cake so I thought I’d try out this recipe. Its very humid where I’m from, in case that’s a relevant information needed. Would love any help on this! Thanks! :)

  267. Kat

    Hi Deb! I’m making a wedding cake with three tiers– one two 12-inch round layer tier, one two 10-inch round layer tier and one 2 6-inch round layer tier. I’ve done the conversion by figuring out the number of cups of batter needed per cake layer so I’m wondering how many cups of batter your Vanilla Buttermilk Cake yields so I can make adjustments from there. Thank you so much!

  268. Jes

    I did my first wedding yesterday and this cake was so delicious! I used King Arthur cake flour and had the same problem with my cake falling. I just filled it in with lots of buttercream and chilled it before crumb coating. It was very soft and began to crumble, but once it was frosted it was fine. Not sure what I could have done to fix it, but it was very popular. I made 2 batches and it happened with both. I thought I may have done something wrong with the first batch but they both fell. Anyhow, I will absolutely work with this recipe again, as it was so moist and delicious and had a great depth due to the coffee and cinnamon.

  269. Jessica

    The chocolate cake is delicious and very chocolaty. The vanilla buttermilk cake is the best vanilla cake I have ever tried, so delicious and had such a beautiful flavor to it. This is not an ordinary vanilla cake, it is an extraordinary vanilla cake. I could go on and on about how good this vanilla cake was. It was moist, fluffy and had a beautiful vanilla and butter flavor to it. This is a knock your socks off vanilla cake. Seriously it was that good. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  270. Zara

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your great page,I am newbie and wanna make cake for my friend’s wedding. I am little confused between two recipes your best birthday cake and this buttermilk cake, which should I use for as a wedding cake. I really appreciate your help.

  271. Marjorie

    Dear Deb – I am going to be helping a friend test recipes for her wedding cake (I won’t be making it, thank goodness, just trying to figure out what she should tell the baker). She has a very specific vision of what she wants, but doesn’t bake much, so can’t really articulate her vision beyond wanting lemon flavor in both the cake and the frosting, but being very emphatic that the lemon should not be overpowering.

    I’m waffling between three of your recipes – the lemon layer cake (1-2-3-4), or the “best birthday cake” or yellow wedding cake recipe from this post, mixing some zest into the batter of the latter two recipes.

    What do you think would be best? And how much zest would you recommend using? Most lemon cake recipes I’m seeing average out to about 1/3 cup zest per 3 cups of flour. Would love to hear your thoughts!

  272. deb

    I don’t have a preference, or not a strong one. I highly recommend scaling the recipes that interest you down to the smallest pan you have (I keep a 6-inch around, because it requires exactly half the batter of a 9-inch) and seeing which you prefer, which holds up best, etc. The only one I’ve tested for wedding cake purposes, of course, was this one and Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake, which is lovely and pure white, but a little dry, as pure white cakes can be.

  273. charlene

    so not impressed with this recipe.

    cake is delicious no doubt about that… but it is soooo hard to work with and is sooooo fluffy that even once it is cooled it still just breaks apart. I followed the recipe to a Tee!

  274. Christie

    Hi Deb! I just wanted to thank you for this recipe! I made my own wedding cake for my wedding last weekend and I would recommend any DIY bride do the same – with a little help, this recipe was so easy, held up, and tasted delicious. I made a three tier (9-7-5) vanilla buttermilk cake with your buttercream recipe. It was a hit! Thank you!!

  275. karen

    Hi Debs
    I am in the proceeds of making the chocolate and vanilla buttermilk wedding cakes for a wedding at Christmas, when you say baking soda do you mean bi-carbonate of soda for the chocolate cake.
    Secondly some of my practise runs are a little sad could you please tell me where I am going wrong. Do I need to make sure all ingredients are at room temperature and do I mix the mixture exactly are you have described.
    Thank you
    regards
    Karen

    1. deb

      karen — Bicarbonate of soda and baking soda are the same thing; in the U.S. it’s called baking soda; I think bicarb is what it’s called in Australia. Can you tell me more about what’s happening — why are they coming out sad?

  276. Karen

    Hi Debs
    Thank you for the reply, my problem is the baked end product looks like a brownie, when you say a cup full do you put a good lot of flour in it and scrape the top with a pallete knive, also I am cooking these cakes in an industrial combi fan oven which is great my temperature is set to 165 degrees and i am baking them for approx 34-35 minutes. We dont have cake flour in the uk but I am using a mcdougalls supreme flour which is supposed to be the closest to cake flour, would really appreciatte it if you could advise me I am going into work to have another go tommorow.
    The taste is great but I just need to perfect this
    Thank you
    Regards
    Karen

  277. TerryB

    Deb, I know I am way late to this party but; what is the depth of the pans you use? I will be baking a small wedding cake and want to do a a trial of the yellow cake. I need some new pans and want to get the right size.

  278. deb

    I feel like most people recommend 3-inch depth pans for wedding cakes, but I don’t think you have to buy a new set of cake pans if you don’t have them. Most standard US cake pans are 2-inch, which is fine for a single layer. You can bake one layer at a time rather than splitting taller ones. I’m pretty sure that’s what I did, anyway.

  279. TerryB

    Thanks for getting back so quickly; congrats by the way. And I need new pans, mine are 1.5 inch flared pans, and most are the remains of house clean outs when relatives have moved on so to speak. I am looking forward to new pans!

  280. Riki

    Deb,

    Your blog is my go-to website any time I need a recipe! The vanilla buttermilk cake is delicious! I made it in cake form, and then tried using the rest of the batter for mini-cupcakes. The cake turned out wonderfully. The mini cupcakes ended up sinking quite a bit in the middle while baking, even though they baked all the way through. Do you have any advice for making them more stable in miniature form?

    Thanks! :D

  281. deb

    Hi Riki — Usually if a cupcake will fall, so will a cake, so I’m not sure at all what might have happened. I’ll keep thinking about it and see if I can come up with a better explanation.

  282. M Stowe

    Best vanilla cake ever!!! I made these cupcakes for a fundraiser on Monday and they were great. I was a little confused because I’ve never made a cake where the dry ingredients and butter were mixed first and the eggs were added in later, but it worked so well! I was literally licking the beater and bowl afterwards. The cakes are super sweet (so much sugar!), so I feel they can be eaten without frosting. I think I would top them with strawberries the next time I make them. The recipe makes so many cupcakes, too. I think I got 30 cakes out of the recipe.

  283. Melisa

    Hi Deb, I was debating between making this chocolate cake or the stout chocolate cake. This cake wins so I made it last night for a birthday party of my superior at the office tomorrow. The cake was cooling in the rack when I realized I made a mistake when reading the recipe. I made the cake with only 12 tbsp unsalted butter instead of the 24 tbsp the recipe stated. I MISREAD 12 OUNCES FOR 12 TBSP!! Oh my goodness…no wonder the cake cracked. I knew something’s wrong because it never happened before so I went to read the recipe again while the cake was cooling in the rack and that’s when I noticed my error.

    So far from what I can tell, it smells chocolaty and tastes intensely chocolaty (from the crumbs that I could pick). Even though the top cracked but the cake is not hard at all. To the touch, it feels like regular chocolate cake with an intensely chocolate taste. I plan to moisten it with simple syrup+raspberry brandy, fill it with a raspberry filling from the double chocolate layer recipe, and frost it with either a bitterweet ganache or a swiss buttercream frosting.

    Tonight I plan to taste the cake. I will let you know how it goes.

  284. Melisa

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! The chocolate butter cake was a big hit. It looked amazing and tasted sooo good with the bitter chocolate frosting and raspberry filling. The lack of 12 tbps butter did not affect the taste of the cake. The cake was simply divine. My coworkers and my boss loved the cake, they kept talking about it. Thank you for sharing your cake recipe with us :). I am truly grateful.

  285. Diana

    Hi Deb,

    I am searching desperately for a chocolate pound cake recipe, or another chocolate cake recipe that would hold up in a 3-D design; I’m making my nephew a Thomas the Train cake for his birthday, and using a 3D Wilton’s mold. Would you recommend this chocolate cake recipe for such an endeavor? If not, what else would you recommend? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Diana — I have never used a 3D cake mold, so I can’t say with absolute certainty, but this is a good, solid (but still moist, thank goodness) and sturdy chocolate cake and it would definitely have my vote to try first for what you’re making. Good luck!

  286. Charlotte

    Am currently baking a wedding cake for my friend, with two of the tiers using the above cakes, and am having an absolute nightmare with the vanilla cake… I made the 6inch version from the book as a tester and it came out a little ‘sad’ and dense at the bottom. I thought to myself ‘next time I’ll turn the oven up a little/bake for a little longer’, which is what I’ve this morning and to my despair all three 12 inch layers are the same – heavy and dense. Have any ideas about what I might be doing wrong?

  287. Alison

    For the folks wondering about weights, I looked at Swan’s Down’s website and they used 130 grams per cup. I didn’t weigh the other ingredients, but I have an irrational hatred of measuring flour by volume.

    I’m using a scaled up (4/3rds) version of this recipe for the bottom tier of my wedding cake (2 12″ round layers). Filling it with hazelnut praline crunch buttercream. I like your other chocolate cake recipe better (actually it’s my favorite ever), but I agree that it’s too tender for this application. I’m planning to do some tests with cake strips and adjusting the leavening to see if I can get it to dome less, because flattening 12″ cakes is a serious PITA. Will report back.

  288. brooke

    Hi Deb,
    I am in the process of making a wedding cake this weekend. I used the white cake recipe, and froze the layers just as you have. Did you thaw them before filling and crumb coating them? How long was the thawing process?
    Thank you! This project was wonderful to use as a guide.

    1. deb

      brooke — There is no exact science to how long something will take to defrost — it relates to size, temperature (of your home, of your freezer), volume, etc. But I do tend to work with the cakes while they’re still mostly frozen, just because it’s very easy to lift layers, move them around, trim as needed. Usually a couple hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge is all it needs to defrost, but again, it’s not a science. Of course if we’re talking about a massively layered gigantic wedding cake, it will take longer.

  289. JoAnna

    I’m thinking about trying out the two cake recipes here for a wedding cake trial. I just wanted to ask, is the texture of these cakes more dense or more fluffy? Im in search oft a sturdy cake with some density to it. I’ve tested out multiple cake recipes that are too light/too loose of a crumb. I was thinking I could swap the buttermilk for sour cream to make the cake firmer. Please let me know about the cake and your thoughts!

    1. deb

      JoAnna — I’d say that these are sturdy with some density to them, but they’re not dry. No need to make any swaps to get the right texture.

  290. hilary

    Hi Deb!

    I’m planning on using this vanilla cake recipe for a friend’s wedding cake but she’d like it to be lemon flavored. Any thoughts on how many lemons I should zest per batch? You used a lime simple syrup, right? No zest in the actual cake? I also have lemon oil (from boyajian) that is pretty intense, so I can do a combination of real zest and that.

    thanks!

    1. deb

      hilary — Hard to say exactly how many you’d need, but you can increase the “volume” of the lemon flavor from the zest by rubbing it with your fingertips into the granulated sugar. With this method, a little can go quite far. I like Boyajian in a pinch, but definitely prefer fresh lemon over it if I’ve got it.

  291. sindu

    i tried the vanilla cake. It was extremely sour. just dumped the batch in to the trash. Do you have any idea what could havegone wrong? Do you have any other vanilla cake recipies you would recommend

  292. deb

    sindu — To be honest, I cannot imagine a way a cake with 2.5 cups of sugar could come out sour. Is it possible you left out all or some of the sugar? There’s another vanilla layer cake on this site, over here.

  293. Sue

    I just want to thank you for the vanilla cake recipe. I made it for my brother’s wedding yesterday and it was fabulous! Everyone loved it. I have never frozen cake before and I knew with a wedding cake, it could not be a last minute thing. It froze beautifully and tasted very fresh. Thank you very much.

  294. TerryB

    I have made both these cakes before with no problems so I decided to use them for a small wedding cake I am doing. I am having a lot of trouble with cracking, crumbling center falling. I have done some research and going over the recipes there seems to be a lot of leavening in both cakes has any one tried dialing back the baking powered/ soda?

  295. LILLIA PETTUS

    Thought-provoking ideas , I loved the details – Does anyone know if I could access a blank 2014 IRS W-2 example to edit ?

  296. Rabia

    Hi Deb,
    Great and easy recipe! I’ve tried it twice but every time the cake rises beautifully in the oven and falls as soon as I take it out. I’m using two 10″ pans.
    Thanks!

  297. Kay

    Hi there, this post looks amazing! I am taking on the daunting (but exciting) task of making a friend’s wedding cake and I am going to do a 12 inch 2 layer cake, a 9 inch 2 layer cake then finally a 6 inch 2 layer cake.
    I was wondering, how do you recommend I scale these recipes accordingly? All my cake tins are round, and I just want to make sure I’m accurate! I have never done a wedding cake before!

    Thanks.

  298. deb

    Kay — I scale recipes according to the area of the bottom circle because I’m hoping to keep the layer height the same. For example, a 6-inch round almost always works out need 1/2 a 9-inch round recipe. For the rest, I just do the math.

  299. Brooke

    Hi Deb! Love your site. I realize it’s a few years late :) but I just found this recipe and made the chocolate butter cake over the weekend for my son’s birthday. I had a little problem with the layers. I did three 9″ pans. They turned out of the pans into the cooling racks ok, but when I went to pick them up and wrap in plastic (after having sat out for 30 min and then I’m a fridge, still on the cooling racks, for 60 min) they were so soft I couldn’t wrap them. The first just came apart and crumbled in my hands. The second and third I was so careful with as a result, and they still fell apart as well. Tasted super great, just so soft and light they were falling apart. I’ve double-checked the recipe and can’t find a think I left out, did wrong, or didn’t follow to a t. Any idea where I may have gone wrong so when I try these again in the future I can avoid this problem? Thanks! You are fantastic.

  300. deb

    Brooke — You can slide the cooling rack right into the freezer to get the layers to stiffen to the point that they’d be easier to lift and wrap. I do it will the time. The best cakes are insanely soft when warm. :)

  301. Jenn

    Hi Deb,
    I’m thinking of brushing a bit of simple syrup on the chocolate cake to keep it moist since I’m making it in advance. Should I brush the syrup onto the cake while still warm / before freezing or it’s better to do it after defrosting from the freezer? Also, how much syrup should I add to each layer?
    Thanks so much!

    1. deb

      Jenn — I’ve never found any agreement on when to brush a cake. I’d probably not do it when warm because I’d want the texture to set correctly as it cooled. Otherwise, it’s up to you but because I like to work with frozen cake layers (easier to lift, level), I usually brush before freezing when it will absorb better.

  302. Nicole

    How far in advance can I bake and “crumb” my cakes. The cake design is pretty intense so I want to do as much as possible very far in advance. Does this change is I use a raspberry filling? Thanks! Nicole

    1. deb

      Nicole — As long as the filling isn’t too wet and won’t soak into the cake, you can crumb them very early, even a day before. I don’t have experience with freezing the cakes for any period of time filled and with a crumb coating, but I’m sure someone has done it.

  303. Angela

    I need to fill a 13×10 sheet pan with this AMAZING chocolate cake recipe. Exactly what I was looking for in terms of how you describe the flavor and sturdiness. Wondering if I should multiply the recipe by 1.5 or 2? I’d like it to be pretty thick. Any advice would be wonderful.

  304. Marilou

    And now I’m the one to bake a cake for my best friend’s wedding! I would love the brandied chocolate ganache recipe, if it was to your liking. This project is probably more stressful than getting married myself ever was!

  305. Sunshine

    I’m trying the yellow cake recipe today and am wondering about the baking temperature and time you have listed. Do you really bake it at 325? (I’m going on on 38 minutes in the oven now and curious if this is going to work.)

  306. Charlotte in Toronto

    You make reference to the “lime zested vanilla cake” in the story leading up to the recipe but there is no lime zest in the recipe. How much did you put in? Or was this reference to the lime simple syrup that you brushed over it? I’m making this wedding cake in the fall. I’m very excited.

    1. deb

      Charlotte — Sorry, I don’t think I wrote it down but it will of course vary by how intense you want the lime flavor to be. I often start with the finely grated zest of 1 lime to 1 cup or so of sugar (for a lime cake, not a vanilla cake with a hint of lime). I prefer to rub the zest right into the granulated sugar to help release the most flavor, then add the sugar as you would in the recipe.

  307. Beth

    Hi Deb – I just made a mini test cake with the vanilla recipe, and its very good and moist, but heavy and dense. Is that how the recipe is, for structure, or did yours have the lighter texture I’d normally look for? (full disclosure, I scaled the recipe down to 1/5 to make a mini, and could have screwed something up there, but let’s assume I didn’t). Thanks so much for any thoughts!

  308. Caitlin

    Hi Deb,

    I am making my sisters wedding cake this summer, and am working on the perfect almond cake! I tried your Almond Raspberry layer cake this weekend, but found it to be a bit dry (I think it was the high altitude). I originally saw this recipe here, and can’t get myself to turn my head from it!

    In hopes of getting the perfect almond cake, do you think I could add either almond extract and/or almond paste to this cake to turn it into an almond cake? For your reference, I am doing just as you did, raspberry preserve filling w/ cream cheese frosting.

    Thank you, thank you!!
    Caitlin

  309. Jenn

    I have to say, over the past 4 years, I have made the vanilla buttermilk cake twice as a layer cake for baby showers, and top it with Candice Nelson’s Fresh Strawberry buttercream frosting. I think my eyes roll back in my head when I eat a bite of this cake. It’s just that good. thank you! You have gotten me SO many compliments on this cake! :)

  310. Amanda

    Hey Deb – Its totally possible that I’m just not in the “know” here, but is the temperature for this a typo? It reads “325&#176F” – Should it be 350 F?

    Thanks!

  311. Karen Condouris

    Question, if it has already been addressed, I apologize. Can the baked and wrapped cakes be frozen on their paper cake boards? I’m preparing this cake for a family celebration and would like to get the baking part done and stowed away.

    ps. love your blog

  312. I made the vanilla recipe into cupcakes for a wedding as well as a 6 inch cake for the bride and groom to cut. It was such an easy recipe and turned out beautifully. The mixing didn’t take as long as the recipe stated, but other than that I followed it exactly. I made two batches, one for 2 – 6 inch layers and 20 cupcakes (I think that’s how it worked out) and another to which I added two lemons worth of lemon zest, a little lemon extract, and 2 cups of huckleberries (made 36 cupcakes). Frosted the cake with the Swiss meringue buttercream (good but I prefer my Italian meringue bc recipe) and the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Everything was a hit! I can’t wait to make the recipe again as layers because they had a great crumb and were wonderful to work with. I imagine it being amazing with some classic fudgy chocolate frosting.

  313. Mina

    I plan to make this cake as a tier in a special event cake, so I did a sample 8″ cake. To do this I had to divide all the quantities by 3. The cake that resulted was very dense, not light. Good flavor, however. One of your comments said that it is akin to a pound cake, but it came out kind of flat. Is that to be expected? Another question – should the mixer have the whisk or the usual paddle attachment? I plan to do another run through with the entire recipe before the final. I made the chocolate cake recipe with no adjustments and it came out great – moist and light. I kind of expected the vanilla cake to be similar. I do love your recipes and have done quite a few with great success.

  314. Shannon Mullins

    Deb! I am making these cakes for my friends wedding next weekend. I plan on freezing them, and I was wondering if I need to do anything else before frosting/filling. Did you end up using a simple syrup? They want a raspberry filling and a “naked” style cake. I just want to make sure they are nice and moist for the big day. I have frozen cakes before, and I know that it works well, but I have read conflicting opinions on the use of syrup. Thanks!

  315. abeeha

    Hi! So I’m really wanted to make the vanilla cake for my son’s first birthday but I just can’t figure out the up scaling. I’m planning on baking a 12 inch square cake. Any help would be appreciated!