Yellow Butter Cake


This Warren Brown recipe can be made as cupcakes, but these directions apply to two 9-inch round cake pans baked at sea level.


  • 7 ounces (1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces potato starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 14 ounces (1 3/4 cups) extra-fine granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, large

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (conventional) or 335 degrees (convection). Set the rack in the middle of oven.

Set out the ingredients and equipment.

Sift flour directly into a bowl placed on a scale for accurate measuring. Next, combine it with the other dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and gently whisk for 10 seconds to blend. Set aside.

Combine liquid ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and set aside. Measure out the butter and sugar and set aside in small bowls.

In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar on slowest speed for 3 to 5 minutes.

Continuing at lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time. Let each one fully incorporate into the mixture before adding the next.

Continuing on the lowest speed, alternately add the dry and liquid mixtures in 3 to 5 additions each, starting and ending with the dry. Move swiftly through this step -- don't wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next one. This step should take about 60 seconds.

Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl all the way to the bottom. Don't miss the clumps of ingredients hiding in the bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter's structure.

Line bottom of two 9-by-2-inch cake pans with parchment circles. Do not spray the sides of pans. Non-greased pans allow the batter to crawl up the pan's surface, which helps yield a level cake.

Equally divide the batter between the parchment-lined cake pans using rubber spatula. Deposit the batter in thirds, as shown, and level with the rubber spatula or an offset metal spatula.

Bake for approximately 28 minutes.

If it looks liquid or jiggles in the center when cake pan is touched, it's not ready for testing. Test for doneness with a bamboo skewer when edges are browned and just begin to come away from the pan and the center is an even blonde color. Insert the skewer into the center and remove. When the skewer shows just a touch of crumbs, the cake is ready to remove from the oven.

Cool to room temperature in the pans on a flat heat-resistant surface or wire rack.

Remove the cakes from the pans once they're completely cooled. Use a small offset spatula to release the cake from the pan rim. Either use right away or carefully turn the cake onto plastic film and wrap in plastic, label and date for use within 7 days.

-- Warren Brown


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