Our new unbleached cake flour debuts: Tender White Cake is a star!

Over the past 4 years, I have learned so many things here at King Arthur Flour. Some are customer-service based, like how to re-ship a broken bottle of vanilla, or how to help customers choose the best shipping options. Some are funny and personal, like that PJ’s favorite food group is “dip,” and Andrea’s a cat person and a fellow fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I must say though, that the majority of my education here has been about baking. How to, why to, when to, and with what. Not that I didn’t bake before I arrived here. I was a pretty good baker, and loved to bake and decorate cakes and cookies, and made the occasional breads and pizzas too.

I readily admit though, my baked goods were just average and I longed to know more about how to make light biscuits without a baking mix, and pancakes without, um, a baking mix. And oh yeah, I wanted to kick the boxed cake mix habit, too.

My Grandma Flowers, a pastry chef in upstate New York whom I only got to meet a few times, had taught me at the age of 12 how to make buttercream and use piping bags to decorate cakes. But we never had the time to make the cakes themselves during our short visits, so cake baking was one of my first goals. Queen Guinevere (King Arthur’s bleached cake flour) became my new best friend.

As a King Arthur Baker’s Hotline baker, I have spoken with many folks about the benefits of cake flour. Low protein level means less gluten to tighten up and produce tough cakes. Bleaching the flour, simply put, toughens the available gluten, allowing the cake to “carry” its load of fat and sugar. Cakes made with bleached cake flour typically rise high, and often have a light, almost crumbly texture.

As a gal with many allergies, though, the thought of eating bleached food wasn’t my favorite, and I began to use all-purpose flour for most of my cakes, sacrificing tenderness and loftiness along the way. How could I have my cake and eat it, too?

Enter my new best friend: King Arthur UNBLEACHED Cake Flour Blend! That’s right, it’s unbleached. A blend, you ask? Through a long process of testing various flour types and ingredients, we’ve been able to develop a cake flour that offers many benefits to the cake baker – without the bleach.

And I am LOVIN’ it! One benefit is a moister cake than you’d get with a bleached cake flour; this helps it stay fresher longer, too. And of course, it doesn’t contain any unwanted chemicals, like peroxide or bleach. Want to hear the best part? It’s going to be available this fall in your regular retail grocery stores. (If you don’t see it right away, do ask your store manager about getting it, pronto! ) No need to special order, no shipping charge, just cruise on over and pick up a box; then make this delicious Tender White Cake.

box-flour.jpg

Hello, Gorgeous! Isn’t that a beautiful box? Trust me, this cake tastes as good as it looks. No, better!

jam.jpg

This cake has a luscious raspberry jam filling. Our King Arthur Flour jams are deeply fruity and delicious, but they do contain seeds. If you know folks who can’t eat seeds, like some of our testers, you can strain the jam through a fine strainer.  It’s good to start this early, so gravity can help you out as you make the cake batter. Pour the jam into the strainer, stir it a bit, then let it drip through.

On to the batter…

img_0007.JPG

I know, the first question is “Do I really have to mix the dry ingredients for 2 minutes?” Simple answer, yes. Light and tender cakes are based on incorporation of air. No air = flat heavy cakes. So turn the mixer on, and imagine yourself on the beach, or relive your first kiss for 2 minutes.  Next, add the softened butter.

paste.jpg

As the butter mixes in,  the batter will begin to cling together in the bowl. This is known as the paste method. Scraping the bowl during this step is important to be sure all flour gets incorporated.

separate-egg.jpg

Here’s my favorite method for separating eggs. Your fingers are softer than egg shell, and (hopefully) don’t have any sharp shards to break the yolk. You can use the traditional method of shell to shell if you don’t like sticky hands. Save the yolks for omelettes or ice cream.

only-one-egg.jpg

Add the egg whites, one at a time, followed by the whole egg.  You will need to beat well after adding each one, until there is no trace of the white and the mixture is smooth again. Scrape down the bowl, too. (I know, I sound like a broken record, but it really makes all the difference).

after-all-eggs.jpg

After all of the eggs have been added, the batter will be quite thick, and make a delightful “slup slup slup” sound in the bowl. Makes me laugh every time!

vanilla-milk.jpg

Mix the vanilla and almond extracts in with the milk or yogurt. I used milk here. It smelled so good I nearly took a sip. Patience, it will be done soon.

batter-done.jpg

Add the milk mixture in 3 stages. Yep, here it comes… Scrape down the bowl after each addition! You’re doing such a great job, just a few more times round the bowl…

in-oven-1.jpg

Terrific job. Now, divide the batter into two pans, and place in the preheated oven.

strained-jam.jpg

Let’s check on our jam. Ah, lovely. You may need to squish the last bits around with a spatula to get every drop out of the seeds. This is a great job for kids.

oven-done.jpg

Beauty, eh? The cakes are golden brown and the kitchen smells heavenly. Remove from the oven and un-pan. Allow to cool completely on a rack.

ring-of-icing.jpg

Once the cake is cooled completely, make your batch of Quick Buttercream Frosting (or your favorite buttercream). Using a piping bag or heavy duty zip-top bag with a corner snipped off, pipe a ring of icing around the edge of the bottom cake layer.

This ring is going to act like the ring of mashed potatoes that keeps the gravy in on your Thanksgiving plate, except it will keep the jam from overflowing the edge of the cake. Be sure to leave a little space between the icing and the edge of the cake to allow the icing to squeeze out to the edges when the next layer is added. If you pipe right on the edge of the cake layer, you will have icing lava overflow down the sides of your cake.

filling-w-jam.jpg

Spread the jam in the center of the icing ring. It may be tempting to add lots and lots of jam, but this will make for a very slippery layer in the center of the cake. Stick to about 1/4 cup.

icing-top.jpg

Carefully place the second layer on. Pipe your ring of icing again, and then pipe a few swirls of icing in the center. Again, the ring will keep your icing from overflowing. You can then spread the rest of the icing in a neat circle.

Now for the berries.

img_0001.JPG

I like to spread the berries out on a sheet pan, so that I can pick and choose them as I go along. Sometimes a skinny berry fills a space just right, or a tall berry adds interest.

begin-berries.jpg

To make a nice even presentation on top of the cake, begin with one berry in the center, and then add berries in a circle around it.

nearly-done.jpg

Keep adding berries in a circular pattern, working evenly out to the edges of the cake.

img_9944.JPG

Now that’s a cake that takes the cake! Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Tender White Cake.

Now, I know from chatting with our test kitchen and development folks that the Unbleached Cake Flour Blend wasn’t created to replace bleached cake flour, and that our Queen Guinevere flour isn’t going to be removed or discontinued. Bleached cake flours still have their place, but I like knowing that this new Unbleached Cake Flour Blend can offer me moist, tender baked goods without any added chemicals, and we think you will too.

 

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Sherri

    I only use King Arthur flour now – for all my breads and muffin recipes I sub your White Wheat flour and they come out wonderful. I haven’t tried this recipe yet – it looks great, but I had a question about subbing something in. My daughter’s favorite cake is White Chocolate Raspbery cake – the only drawback I have is that the recipe calls for a box white cake mix (since I don’t use mixes for anything else, I can taste the “box”). Any suggestions for adding 6 squares of white chocolate to this recipe? In the original recipe it is melted with the butter.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sherry, I would shave or chop the white chocolate and simply toss it in with the cake batter. Or melt it and combine it with the raspberries in the filling. Bryanna@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Kitty, all our flours, including this cake flour, are unbleached. However all white flours (other than organic flours) are required by law to be enriched. Barb@KAF

  2. TonyB

    I use King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour in the majority of all of my baking because no other cake flour has come close to the quality, reliability, taste and texture that I have come to expect from King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour. I have been to three supermarkets in my county (Muskegon, Michigan). Two of them are Meijer stores and the other was a Walmart. Now at both Meijer stores, they had the shelf tag for King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour however the shelves were completely empty. The Walmart store on the other hand had two boxes of this great product left, however, they were red tagged for clearance… What is happening? Is there a supply issue or a packaging redesign or what?! Where else can I buy your unbleached cake flour?! Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Unbleached Cake Flour (item 3502) is still alive and kicking! We encourage you to have a chat with your store manager to bring it back on the shelves for you and other cake bakers or consider an order from us directly (800-827-6836 is our customer service number and we’ll be glad to take your order). Happy baking! Irene@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Colleen, although there’s been a lot of mourning for good Queen Guinevere, we are committed to providing an unbleached cake flour alternative to remain more true to our product standards. Barb@KAF

    2. Susan

      To: Barb@KAF – You bet there has been a lot of mourning for good Queen Guinevere because the unbleached cake flour doesn’t produce the same delicious and beautiful results. I appreciate KAF needs to “remain true to our product standards” but what about the loyal customers who have kept you in business and able to uphold your standards – shouldn’t we have a choice? After all isn’t King Arthur Flour all about baking? I have my standards, too and I like a white cake – not a gray one. I never really appreciated “good Queen Guinevere” until she was gone and her replacement just doesn’t rise to the throne.

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      We value your feedback, and your opinion is being passed on to our team. Thank you for being a loyal and honest customer! Happy baking- Laurie

  3. susan

    Live at 4200 ft. in a dry climate. Made the cake but wanted to make cupcakes. In the oven they rose nicely but as soon as I took them out they fell. They were just flat tops. What do I need to do at my elevation and dryness…high desert.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      There are some changes that are made for high altitude baking, and we have a link for them on our website here: bit.ly/1xgg65Q Try asking at a local bakery to see if they’ll share any tips for your particular area, too. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  4. Michele

    I followed the exact recipe on the box and my two 9 inch layers didn’t rise very much. I tested my baking powder with vinegar and it’s good. One thing I did notice is the box recipe says to mix the soft butter in to the dry ingredients until crumbly. I took that to mean like how you make biscuits – crumbles of butter not completely incorporated. I see the directions above blend further into a paste. What size pans are those in the pics above? They look 8 inch. At least I was only making my own birthday cake 🙂 I am sure it will taste good, as it smells wonderful.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It can look paste like and it can look grainy, similar to sand. This all depends how soft your butter is so not to worry. The outcome will be the same. I believe MaryJane used 8″ pans for this recipe. Be sure your ingredients are room temperature (butter, eggs and milk). That will help to create a nice emulsion for the optimum rise. Happy birthday Michele! Elisbeth @ KAF

  5. Flora

    Not too fond of buttercream frostings, can whipped cream/cream cheese frosting be substituted? Have all ingredients to bake the cake — I hope whipped will work,

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      You can certainly use any frosting you like, it’s a cake to make you happy. ~ MJ

  6. Margaret from UK

    I wanted to try this recipe but didn’t want a big cake, so decided to halve the amounts and make cupcakes. I filled 12 cup liners. What a strange method – I was apprehensive but as soon as I added in the eggs and yogurt suddenly a beautiful, fluffy batter appeared in the bowl. I cooked them for 20 mins exactly, let them cool and topped with a cream cheese frosting. The cupcakes turned out so light and moist that I will definitely be making the full size cake. One point – here in the UK we don’t appear to be able to buy plain cake flour, only self raising cake flour, so I cut the amount of baking powder in half. This seemed to be the right thing to do as they turned out so well. Thanks KA for another great recipe!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s great to hear you were able to make our recipe work for the products in your area and thanks for keeping the faith and working through to a wonderful product! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

Post a comment

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