For many baking rookies, this seem to be one of the basic cakes to try out with right? I was one of them. However, I soon found out that this cake was not as easy as it may have seemed to be rated by most of the recipes.
When baking butter cake, I bet many of you might experience one or both of the following problems, which to me was really demotivating.
1st – Why my butter cake taste dry?
So far, I had attempted 3 times, with 3 different types of butter and experienced 3 different consistency of moistness. Apparently, to yield a moist buttery butter cake, the key is very much depending on the type of butter and liquid used in the recipe.
2nd – Why my butter cake crack in the middle? So far, out of the 3 trials, only the recent birthday cake that l made for my son turned out with perfect flat and smooth surface. In my previous two attempts, the cakes cracked miserably in the middle like an earthquake. So, what did I do in my recent trial that made a difference from the previous ones? For this trial, even though I did use a different recipe but I believed the key change was more of using a round cake pan rather than a loaf pan, which I happened to use for my previous 2 butter cakes.
Thanks to Joy of Baking that helped to solve my mystery. In her blog, she pointed out most cakes baked in loaf, bar or ring pans crack slightly due to the confined space. Hence, if smaller cake pan is used, it is much easier for the cake to rise and crack in the center. In addition, oven temperature also plays an important factor - too hot an oven temperature causes the cake to peak faster in the middle and erupt, resulting in cracks.
To avoid too hot an oven, it is best to bake with lower temperature in the beginning ( around 160/170 degree Celsius) and adjust placement of the cake to bottom rack of oven instead of the middle rack to make the top brown slower than the sides.
The following were the loaf butter cakes I made comparing to the one bought in a store. Both had the same crack effect in the center. I baked these 3 loaf of butter cakes in April during Qīngmíng festival (清明節) prayer to pay honour to my late mother and parents-in-law.
Initially, it was disappointing seeing the cracked cakes came out from the oven. However, when my family members especially my father who tasted the cake and praised highly its moistness and buttery taste with positive comments that the cake was tastier than those from the store, I felt so much relieved!
This butter cake recipe is adapted from Agnes Chang's Baking Made Easy, (蓝赛珍，轻轻松松学烘焙） but I added more milk in the recipe to give it more moisture. For this recipe, I used Buttercup brand butter which was not really butter but margarine. I was surprised that the cake turned out to be as moist and buttery as a branded butter.
Last month 14th of July, in celebrating my son’s 10th birthday, I did another attempt by using an expensive branded butter, SCS butter. This time I opted for a different recipe, adapted from Christine’s Recipes Butter Pound Cake. Click the link to access this recipe directly from her famous food blog.
I was pleased to see a crack free round butter cake. However, my family felt that the taste of this cake was drier and not as moist as my previous butter cake. I was not sure whether it was due to the change of recipe or the butter that I used.
Thanks to hubby’s great calligraphy writing skill that transformed this plain looking butter cake into a nice looking birthday cake.
Shared below is the butter cake recipe adapted from Agnes Chang’s Baking Make Easy.
Source: Agnes Chang’s Baking Make Easy
250g butter, at room temperature
250g self rising flour
200 -250g castor sugar ( I reduced to 180g)
4 tbsp. fresh milk ( I added 6tbsp.)
1 tsp. vanilla essence