Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

A Far, Far Better Cake

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 2 (9-inch) round cakes
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Special equipment:
Digital kitchen scale, measuring cups, measuring spoons, 2 (9-inch) round aluminum cake pans, 2 (9-inch) round parchment paper circles, flour sifter or fine-mesh sieve, electric stand mixer with paddle attachment, rubber spatula, digital thermometer, toothpick, 2 wire cooling racks
  1. Place an oven rack in the top third of the oven and crank the box to 350 degrees F. Then prep two 9-inch round aluminum cake pans by rubbing on a thin layer of butter on the bottoms and sides and then flour. Finally, line the bottoms of both with a round of parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flours together with the baking powder and set aside. (You can use a sifter for this or a fine sieve.)
  3. Load the paddle attachment onto your stand mixer and beat the butter on low speed just until smooth, about 1 minute. Follow with the sugar and salt, boosting the speed to medium. Continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each minute or so.
  4. With the mixer still on medium, add the egg yolks one at a time, fully incorporating one before adding the next. When all eight are in, kill the mixer and scrape the bowl. Return the speed to low and slowly add half the flour mixture. (I like to use a paper plate to dose in the flour … great multitasker.)
  5. When the first half of the flour mix is worked in, add half of the milk and all of the vanilla. Stop and scrape the bowl yet again then return to low and slowly add the remaining flour. Then scrape one more time, making sure there's no dry flour hiding in the bottom of the bowl. Congratulations, you've conquered the creaming method.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two pans. I use a scale to ensure even distribution and that means about 660 grams per pan. Smooth the tops with a rubber spatula and tap the pans against the counter to remove any air pockets.
  7. Bake until the cakes reach an internal temperature of between 207 and 210 degrees F, which typically takes between 30 and 35 minutes. The cakes should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes should come out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and cool cakes on a wire rack for 15 minutes then de-pan onto the rack and cool to room temp before frosting.

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