I recently ordered Rose Levy Beranbaum‘s brand new Heavenly Cakes book. Although it’s yet to arrive, I’m already excitedly caking. Here’s my newest cake recipe. A full two-thirds whole grain, this formula nevertheless yields a soft and light layer, perfect with a touch of spice, or a blanket of buttercream.
LIGHT OATY LAYER CAKE makes one 9″ round
- 4 ounces (1 stick) organic butter, softened but cool. I like Organic Valley.
- 200 grams (1 cup) organic sugar. Central Market’s brand costs $2.99 for a two-pound bag. If you do Costco, Wholesome Sweeteners 10# bag sells there for only $7.79.
- rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 local eggs. Crack ’em, blend them a little with a fork and bring ’em to room temperature for a while.
- 56 grams (about ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon) organic oat flour. I use Arrowhead Mills. I don’t recommend grinding your own from oats for this recipe.
- 56 grams (½ cup) organic whole wheat flour
- 56 grams (about ½ cup minus 2 teaspoons) organic all-purpose flour. Whole Foods usually offers the best price on their 365 brand.
- 1 teaspoon plus a heaping ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup local milk–I love Swede Farm Dairy and Wateroak Farm goat milks, both available at Sunset Valley Farmers Market. Whole Foods sells Wateroak Farm as well. Take the milk out ahead to take the chill off.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional spicing (whisk into dry ingredients): ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat your oven to 350º and grease up your 9″ round pan–you’ll need at least a 2″ deep vessel for this batter. Lately I’ve just been oiling my pans with organic virgin coconut oil (use a brush or even your fingertips). Makes ’em smell like a bakery. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of waxed paper, parchment or a reusable non-stick liner and dust the pan with flour. I like the non-stick liners. I bought two pair of rounds (8″ and 9″) at Big Lots years ago and I just throw them into the (clothes) washing machine to clean them. Air dry them, of course!
Using a stand mixer (my recommendation), hand mixer or wooden spoon if you’re up for a workout, cream the sugar gradually into the butter on medium high speed until light and fluffy. For the lightest texture in your finished cake, don’t undermix. With your mixing apparatus running, gradually beat in the eggs, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary to homogenize the ingredients. Whip for half a minute to blend up the batter light and smooth. Using a lower mixing speed, add the flour mixture in three parts alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl and blend the mixture together with your flexible spatula before turning out into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick or bamboo skewer (washable and reusable!) inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, but not raw, wet batter. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before carefully running a metal spatula around the edge to loosen the sides, and unmolding the cake. If I’m not frosting the layer, I usually prefer to re-right the cake and serve it top side up. When I’m frosting or glazing a cake, I often choose to show off the flatly perfect bottom. You choose!