The name of the game in high ratio cake recipes is “emulsification”, which means an extremely smooth and integrated mixture with all the ingredients distributed as finely and uniformly as possible. That’s how the very fine and strong crumb of a commercially made cake layer is achieved. Most people don’t have access to the high ratio flour and emulsified shortening that commercial bakeries use, so I’m adding adding extra emulsifiers in the form of egg yolks. What are emulsifiers? Simply little whatsit molecules that get between other molecules and keep them from forming big clumps. A key to this is making sure all your ingredients are room temperature, since egg yolk emulsifiers don’t work well when they’re cold.
This cake works for a number of applications, from small layers to doughnuts to sheet cakes. For larger sheets, you’ll want to subtract a bit of the leavening to help keep the rise under control and prevent the center from falling. The recipe goes like this:
6.75 ounces (3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons) milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
13.5 ounces (3 cups) cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder (1/4 tsp less if you’re baking a large sheet cake)
15 ounces (2 cups, 2 tablespoons) sugar
6.75 ounces (1 cup) shortening (butter can also be used).
6 egg yolks
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and line it with parchment. Combine the milk, vanilla and oil in a bowl and set aside. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, baking powder and HALF the sugar. Set that aside also. Next, combine the remaining sugar and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (beater) and cream them thoroughly, about two minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the yolks steadily. Stir in about a third of the flour, then half the milk mixture, another third of the flour, etc. until everything is incorporate. Scrape the mixture into a greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan and bake about half an hour until the cake springs back in the middle when touched.