The Birthday Rush
I perfected this study and moist white cake, the other day for my daughter’s fifth birthday. She had requested a birthday princess castle cake for a couple of years now, and once my mother sent me Wilton’s Romantic Castle cake kit, I lost all excuses not to make it. I had planned to use fondant on this cake to give it a nice, clean look, but I make my fondant using marshmallows and, unfortunately, I didn’t start the cake until the day of her party. Sturdy white cake with strawberry buttercream it is.
I love my wee diva, so I got myself up at 6 a.m., threw some cereal in the kids’ general direction along with the approved flatware, got my apron & headphones, and went to work on this cake. I knew it had to be sturdy since it was going to be two tiers. I don’t care much for fluffy, airy cake, so I wanted to make something with some oomph…a sturdy cake. Think of its density and ability to hold up its fellow tiers as you would Atlas holding up the world. Not only is this cake the strong silent type, but it also has a tender side. As a tear dropped down from Atlas’ cheek, it must have landed in the cake batter, because this cake is moist too.
Maybe I should call it the Atlas-Teared cake. Get it? Tiered = Teared, Atlas Shrugged? Ok, if I need to explain my puns…I should just keep them to myself, but then I’ll laugh for no reason and look a little crazier.
This particular cake incorporates a thin strawberry filling (in between a three-inch and two-inch layer). It held up a second tier made up by a double layer 6-inch cake on top of it without breaking a sweat.
Sturdy & Moist White Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 sticks unsalted butter very cold
- 1/2 tbsp almond extract
- 1/2 tbsp butter extract if available
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and grease/flour your cake pans (I usually cut a piece of parchment paper the same shape as the bottom of my pan and add that on top of the grease/flour as a further precaution against the cake bottom sticking to the pan).
- In your mixer, add your chilled butter, shortening, and sugar. Mix until creamy…the sugar will be fully incorporated.
- Add in your extracts.
- Combine in a separate bowl, your dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder.
- Alternating: add some of your dry ingredients, then a bit of the milk, then one egg. Repeat until all ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be thick.
- Place batter into the cake pan/pans and bake in the preheated oven for 40-60 minutes.
- Keep an eye on it. The lower temperature means longer baking time and each cake size requires different bake times. My 10” round cake 3” in height took over an hour, and my 6” round cake 2” in height took around 40 minutes.
- If you do not have butter extract, try replacing it with a different flavor extract of your choice. Vanilla is always a fail-safe choice.
- Makes 7-9 cups of batter
If you like this dessert, consider one of the others below!
Chile Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies
p.s. Despite how awesome I might appear online, mistakes happen. If you happen to spot one on this recipe, save your fellow cooks a disaster and let me know by using the contact form.
Salted butter or unsalted butter and can this be colored?
Hi Windsor, I used unsalted for this recipe. If you use salted butter, I would omit the salt from the recipe to compensate. Great question! I’ll update the ingredients to reflect this answer. Though I’ve never done it myself, if you are considering food coloring, I would not be concerned about the effects on the density. This cake is pretty sturdy. Let me know how it turns out. Take care!
Hi this looks yummy and perfect for what I need. I have a 17″ open book cake pan, kind of deep – it says it requires 3 boxes of cake mix. I plan on thinned buttercream for sides and fondant for top. My son wants strawberry so was thinking it would be easiest to do a swirl with strawberry syrup instead of trying to mix it in and worry about balancing it out. Do you have any idea how much of your recipe I would need for this?
This will be my first homemade cake – the decorating I’ve been doing has just been over box mixes.
Hi Michelle, sorry I’m replying so late. Did this work out for you? I took a look at the pan you mentioned and I think one recipe might work. Next time I make it, I’ll measure the number of cups of batter this recipe makes. I think that will help a lot of people decide how much they need.
I have used this recipe over and over again for my stacked caked and it stands up beautifully! For the flavoring, I always just use 3 tbsp of vanilla and it’s delicious! It’s not overpoweringly sweet so it pairs nicely with a traditional american buttercream. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!
This cake is incredibly delicious!! It’s a great recipe for birthdays and I just love the subtle almond flavor. Thank you so much for the recipe.
I’m so glad it worked out for you!
I’ve used this recipe many times for my stacked cakes and it’s always wonderful!! I substitute the almond for double vanilla as I’m not fond of the almond flavor and it’s just perfect. Thank you for a great recipe! Quick question- How many cups of batter does this recipe make in one batch? I’ve never stopped to measure.
Renaye, I’m glad this works for you. I measured last time I made it and it was roughly 8 cups. Hope this helps.
FINALLY found an amazing cake recipe that is tried and true! Most recently I used it to make a little Easter cake. I did butter and lemon for the extracts. Inside was lemon curd and wild blueberry preserve. My family said it was the best cake I’ve ever made so far. Thank you for the recipe!
Oh wow, what a good flavor combo. I love lemon curd. I’ll have to try that one myself. Thanks for letting me know how it went!
Very nice recipe. Easy to work with the batter and came out well. It was quite sweet but firm and moist as promised!
Hi Anna. I was going to a sugar cookie flavor when I was creating the recipe. I’m so glad it turned out well.
I don’t have a stand mixer so I will be using a hand mixer. I’m not sure if I can hand mix very cold butter, can I use room temperature butter?
Hi Erica, I use cold butter, but I bet it would work with room temperature butter. When I was developing this recipe I incorporated a sugar cookie recipe technique (since that was the flavor I was going for), and sugar cookies use cold butter. Let me know how it came out. I’m curious to know. 🙂
Can u tell me how to double or triple this recipe
Hi Mel, if you’re making several cakes that match the recommended pan size I would make them one at a time unless you have a large set up where you can mix them and bake them simultaneously. If you’re making a larger cake with doubling the recipe you will have to increase the baking time. Be sure to watch it closely. I haven’t tested the recipe in larger pans so I can’t give you a baking time. I’ve had 12″ pans I’ve used with other recipes that took over an hour to bake.
Hi! Is it possible to substitute the shortening with something and thank you 😊
Hi Mirena. I haven’t tried substituting the shortening. You might try butter. Let me know how it turns out!
What is the measurements in grams as from the UK
I’m planning on making a tier cake coming up, how does it work for pan size, planning on doing a 9 inch pan and a 6 inch pan. 3 layers for each. Does it work depending on the pan size, or do I need to add less for the 6 inch and more for a 9 inch.
Hello, I am new to baking and I am wanting to make a sturdy three-tiered cake and I happened to stumble across this recipe. So far I only have one question, can you substitute vegetable oil for the vegetable shortening? I searched it up and it said in some recipes you can, but I am not sure if I can for this one.
Hi, what would happen without the shortening?
Hi Libby, I used shortening to add both stability and moisture when the cake is at room temperature. If you tried baking the cake both with and without the shortening, please share your experience. I am interested in hearing how it turned out.
I love this recipe so much!! Do you have a “sturdy” chocolate cake recipe? Or would you know how to alter this recipe to make a chocolate one?