A Beginner's Guide to Baking Butter Cakes | Amy Kimmel | Skillshare

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A Beginner's Guide to Baking Butter Cakes

teacher avatar Amy Kimmel, Baking and Pastry Arts Instructor

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is Butter Cake


    • 3.

      Butter Cake Important Considerations


    • 4.

      Butter Cake Mise En Place


    • 5.

      Creaming Method


    • 6.

      Reverse Creaming Method


    • 7.

      Thank You!


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About This Class

Level: Beginner

Prerequisites: An electric mixer, counter top or hand, will be useful for this class.

Are you interested in making elaborate, sculpted cakes?  Do you want some delicious recipes to add to your recipe box?  Will you be making cakes to sell in the future? 

If you answered Yes to any or all of the above questions, then this class is for you.  Butter cakes are delicious, versatile in their flavor capabilities, and sturdy enough for sculpted cakes.  They possess every characteristic necessary to be the perfect all-purpose cake. 

There are two methods to butter cakes:

  1. Creaming Method
  2. Reverse Creaming Method

You will learn both in this class and will be able to decide which you prefer.  Both have their purpose from home kitchens to commercial kitchens, but it's a bonus if you understand both.

Butter cakes are timeless and a must-have for every good baker's recipe stash.

Want to learn more about cake baking and decorating?

Cake Courses

Meet Your Teacher

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Amy Kimmel

Baking and Pastry Arts Instructor


I’m Amy. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and grew up on stick-to-your-ribs desserts. Think pecan sticky buns and fresh made fruit pies…straight from my grandma’s house!

I always loved to bake and when I was 18, I started my first pastry job at a ski resort decorating cakes, baking cookies, and running registers. I spent a lot of years moving around the country and trying out different ways of following my passion. Everything from large volume pastry baking to having my own little tent at a farmer’s market in Kalispell, Montana. I loved every minute of it and collected so many amazing memories.

Fast forward 10 years and I started teaching baking online. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I spent 6 solid months lea... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome!: Hi, I'm Amy Kimmel. In this class, we're gonna take a look at butter cakes. You'll learn how to make an almond butter cake with the cleaning method and vanilla butter cake. With the reverse screening method, we'll talk about things to watch out for when making butter cakes, how to prepare ingredients and the proper pan preparation technique for these types of cakes. And then we'll jump into the actual methods and you'll get to see step by step, how to whip up the perfect batters and ultimately, a moist, delicious butter cake. In the end, I can't wait to get started. I'll see you in the first lesson. 2. What is Butter Cake: this'll point. You know a lot about what you need to get started baking cakes. So now we're going to get into talking about the different types of case themselves. In this lesson. Gonna briefly explain what is a butter cake briefly? Because it's very simple. Ah, cake, where butter is one of the main ingredients. It's the main source of fat, and they're the most popular because they have a great flavor and they also stay moist. They have a moderate shelf life. They have a lot of versatility. You can use them in multi tiered wedding cakes. They'll hold up their shape. You can also use them for sculpting There. Even gray just is one layer with almost any flavor of frosting, and you can put any flavor of filling in there as well. You could even flavor the cake itself with herbs or extracts, fruit powders, whatever you can come up with. So in this section we're going to talk about how to make the perfect butter cake a little bit of the history, and then I'll walk you through two different methods of butter cakes themselves, and we'll go through step by step off the recipes. I'll see you in the next lesson. We'll talk about the history 3. Butter Cake Important Considerations: I wanted to go over some important considerations to keep in mind. While you're baking butter cakes before we get into the actual cake baking lessons. The biggest thing you wanna watch out for is once you pull the cake out of the oven, does it look the way it's supposed to are properly mixed and baked? Butter cake should have a nice golden crust, and it shouldn't be too thick or too scent of across. And it definitely shouldn't be burnt if it's really domed and cracked on top or even sunken in the center, then something definitely went wrong, and I'll include a cheat sheet and troubleshooting sheet so that you have something to reference later if it doesn't turn out the way that it's supposed to. The recipes in this class have been tried many times, and if done properly and the rest peace followed correctly, they should turn out really well every single time and also as their cooling. You'll notice, too, if they were slightly domed, that's okay, because as they cool, they'll flatten out, and they'll be really perfect and easy to stack later on. Also, keep in mind that once the cake is baked. It should be firm, but it should never be tough, and it should definitely keep its moisture. Always make sure that you let the cake cool completely before you would frost it or store it. And if you're gonna store it for later, always wrap it in at least two layers of plastic wrap. Butter cake is best stored at room temperature for two days in the refrigerator for five days or in the freezer for up to two months. So if you want oh, bake some extra and save them for later than that's a great thing to do. And from my experience, I've frozen butter cakes for long periods of time, and I personally don't feel that they ever deteriorate in flavor. It's also best eaten at room temperature, obviously, because it has butter in it, and butter in the refrigerator is going to be firmer than if it was at room temperature. So I always recommend that before you're ready to serve it, pull it out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you eat it 4. Butter Cake Mise En Place: Now that you're ready to start baking, the first thing you want to do is check your recipe to see if anything needs to be room temperature for butter cakes. You wanna watch out for the butter, the eggs and the milk. Some recipes will ask for these to be at room temperature, so make sure those air ready to go. Typically, they should be at the right consistency or temperature. By the time you're ready to use them in the recipe, the next step is to prepare your pans. Here I have to eight inch round pans, which are pretty standard across the board for butter cakes. Almost every recipe that I've ever encountered 28 inch round pans will work just fine. The biggest thing to remember with butter cakes is they liked stick, so you really want to make sure that you prepare them properly because of the cake sticks. Then it could chair in half, even when you go to remove it from the pan. So how I always prepare my butter cake pans is I start out by coating the pans with a little bit of butter, and I just do it by taking a stick and running it right in there. And this is not the same butter that we're going to use in the recipe. This is an extra amount. So I typically just keep a stick of butter in the fridge that I use for this because I bake kicks enough that I could can have a. And then once you do that with both of your pans, I take some parchment paper and this is the way I do it because I don't like toe weights, and I feel like this is just an easier way to do it. I pull out how much I'm going to need no wider than my pan, and then I'm gonna take my scissors and cut off my personal paper, I think is a good way. And then I just got this piece in half. If you feel more comfortable cutting an actual round of apartment paper, go ahead. But I find this to be easy, and then I don't have any wasted parchment, and this is more than enough to get my cake out of the pan and make sure it doesn't stick. And then I just take the same stick of butter and run that over my parchment. It's about a tablespoon of flour. So I'm just gonna put that in my pan and you continue it on its side and let the flower coat the sides of the pan, and then whatever is left over and you can see the little bit that's just twirling around in there, and I knock it off really well. And whatever is left over in this pan, put in the other pan. You prepare them both the same way and go ahead and set these aside. They'll be ready for the batter once you mix that up. Once you have both pans coated, make sure that you tap the 2nd 1 really well and then just dump this flower out. Don't dump it back into your bag of flour. Have your story flower. Just dump it in the trash because you can't reuse it. It will have little particles of butter in it and would go rancid leader on. So just don't forget to get rid of that extra flour. You want to keep preparing your means on class for the rest P Here, I'm going to show you how to properly measure flower. I know measuring flour doesn't seem like a big deal, But when you're putting it into a measuring cup like this, if you're not properly air raid in the flower in the bag first your flower will be more compacted and it's actually going to be adding more flour to your recipe, which is going to dry out your cake and make it tougher. So you really want to make sure that you're getting the proper amount of flour into your cup that's going to go into your batter. So I always start by just taking. I always have a knife and a bowl that I'm gonna measure my flower into my measuring cups, Whatever the recipes says I'm going to need and then just my bag of flour and I take the knife and I put it into the flour and kind of break it up. I just want to make sure that it's not packed down in there. It's nicely a rated so that I'm gonna get a good, accurate scoop and then I take my measuring stuff, and once I have the flower in there going to want to take the back of my knife or whatever , flat edge you have on if there was a little bit of the cup that wasn't filled in, just gently pushed some of that heaping flower over, and then just one good scrape across the top. And there I have a nicely flat, measured cup of flour with the proper amount of air into it, and then I'm just gonna put it in my bowl. Measure out the full amount of flour that I need for the recipe and set that aside for my museum, plus to measure dry ingredients using measuring spoons. Staying to keep in mind is just to make sure that once the ingredient is in the spoon that it's level on the top. You don't ever want to use a heaping tablespoon or teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda because every little bit of Levin er that's in your batter is going to affect the outcome of the cake. So the nice thing about baking powder is they have these little lips on them, so it makes it really easy to measure your dry ingredients and scrape off the top and just get it really level. You spent a measure any small amounts of dry ingredients that use measuring spoons. Measure those in tow their own little bowls or containers and said those aside. Once you've measured out all of your ingredients, make sure that you gather all of the equipment that you're gonna need for the recipe. Anything such as sifter or extra mixing bowls or your mixer or even rubber spatulas. Make sure you have those handy, and it's ready to start your recipe. 5. Creaming Method: way made it to the fun part where we get to mix the batter and bake the cakes. In this lesson, we will look at the creaming method for an almond butter cake. The creaming method takes butter and sugar and beat them together with a paddle to incorporate air into it so that it gives your cake a nice light texture. Once I prepared my pans and preheated my oven, the recipe tells me to sift my dry ingredients together. So I have an extra bowl with the sifter sitting on it, making it very easy to sipped it. What I like to do is, if I'm sifting, are really small amount of dry ingredients into a large amount of dry ingredients. I'm gonna put about half of my flower in there and then on my salt and baking powder topped with the rest of the flower. The reason I do that is just because it's going to help disperse those smaller ingredients a little bit better into my flour mixture. Sit back and then I'm gonna sit this aside and get started on creaming my butter and sugar . Together, we pulled out the butter before we started preparing armies on plus, and I know it's at the right temperature, because when I squeeze it, it has a little bit of give to it. But it's not super soft. If you let this sit out for a really long time, it's gonna get really soft. And it's gonna be way to stock, because when you put it in the mixer, what when the paddle hits it and it's pushing it up against the bull, it's actually creating more heat, and it's gonna soften your butter and melted even more, and we don't want that. So you wanted to still have a slight bit of firmness. You condemn f innately squish it in your hands, but it still feels a little bit cool to the touch, and it hasn't completely lost all of its structure. I have my stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and I want to put my butter into the mixer, not with paper with sugar. Make sure you lock it and always start on low speed, and I like to pulse to get it started just so that sugar doesn't spray up out of the bowl at me and you'll see it start to come together and form smaller and smaller clumps as the butter breaks up. Once the butter is pretty well broken down, you want to turn the mixer up. Teoh. Medium high speed. I let it beat for about two minutes after he's cream the butter and sugar for about another minute, it will be ready to go and you know it's ready because it will be lighter and color. It will definitely look fluffy. It will still have the grains of the sugar in there, but you just wanted to be lighter and you'll be able to tell. The air has been incorporated into the cream, butter and sugar, and at this point we can go ahead and add our eggs. Once your butter and sugars cream, do you want to crack your eggs into a separate bowl and then add them one at a time while your mixer is on low speed and then beat those until fully incorporated and your mix should look like this. It's little bit lumpy, but I just want ahead and scraped the sides and bottom of my bowl and made sure to get any extra butter and sugar off the paddle. And then I can turn my mixer back on for just a 15 seconds and make sure that it's fully incorporated. Now that my eggs Aaron, I'm going to start adding my final ingredients. I have my almond extract all minute already measured out, and I just typically pour that right into my milk. I actually used whole milk. So a fun tip is if you don't have buttermilk, which the recipe calls for, go ahead and put a tablespoon of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar into measuring cup and then continue to fill it up to one cup with whole milk or 2% milk. And it's a great buttermilk substitute. So with these final ingredients, I'm going to add them into my butter, sugar and egg mixture, starting and ending with my dry ingredients in three stages, alternating with the buttermilk. So what that means is, I'm going to start and at about 1/3 of my dry ingredients and the bull is locked into place , so I'm just gonna turn it on low and mix it. You want to mix it just until the dry ingredients are moistened. It doesn't have to be fully mixed because we really want to avoid over beating our mixture , and then I'm gonna add half of my milk. Then I'm gonna repeat with half of the drive it's left, finished off the milk, and then add remaining dry at the end and then make sure that I scraped the bowl. Really? Well, I now have the you dry and the wet ingredients all in here, and you can see there's still a little bit of flour left upon the sides. So I'm gonna scrape sides my bull. Really well, mix just until combined. You do not want to over mix this, you'll get a really tough cake. So then I'm just gonna scrape this and divide the batter evenly between my two pants. I like to just smooth out the tops a little bit. We'll get more smooth in the oven. That was it heats up in the better liquefies a little bit, and then these are gonna go into the center of my oven at 3 50 for about 30 to 35 minutes. Way, Theo 6. Reverse Creaming Method: This'll Essen, we'll take a look at the reverse creaming method for a vanilla butter cake. We've already talked about me is on class for butter cakes, so I'm just going to jump right into the demonstration. I'll see you there to do the reverse creaming method. You start out by putting all of your measured and weighed dry ingredients into your main mixing bowl. So I have my flower and you'll notice I didn't sift it because we're actually going. Teoh. Mix the dry ingredients together before adding the butter so sifting is not necessary with this recipe. So I have my dry ingredients in my large mixing bowl, and then I'm just gonna pop that onto my stand mixer, and I want to turn this on the lowest speed just until the dry ingredients are all combined . I'm checking my butter. I'm doing the squeeze test, which is telling me that the outside is soft and the center is still a little bit firm, which is perfect. I pulled this out before I got all my other ingredients ready, which makes it ready to go by the time you get to this point. So when I put my butter into the dry ingredients. And then I just like to pulse it so that I don't have ingredients. Fly about of the bull at me. If you find that the butter is sticking to the paddle, just take a rubber spatula and knock it off. It's okay if a little bit flies out of the bowl, that's totally normal. And once the butter's pretty broken up and all the dry ingredients won't come up out of the bull at you, you can go ahead and turn it on toe low speed, and you're gonna wanna mix this until it looks like a course crumb. So this is exactly what it should look like, and it's a nice, fine course. Crumb on. There's a few larger pieces of butter in here, which is fine. You just don't want them to be any larger than about the size of a pea if you were to roll it into a ball, so this is perfect. If you go be on this, it's going to turn into a dough, and your cake won't turn out the same. And if you do it any less than this, there's the texture of the cake won't be consistent. There'll be too many pockets of butter in the cake. I have my eggs, milk and vanilla extract ready to go. I put my eggs in a larger container because we're actually going to whisk all these together. You can use a whisk or just a regular old fork. That's what I have here. So I'm just gonna pour my milk in with the eggs and then put the vanilla in there as well. And you want to whisk this, you want a. Whisk it until the eggs are broken out pretty well on, and the make sure itself will just have a really pale yellow color to it once that's ready to go. Going to put all but about 1/2 a cup, which turns out to be about 1/3 of the wet mixture so that I have poured about 2/3 of my wet mixture into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients in the butter going toe lock This in place, I'm gonna turn this up, Teoh medium high, and I'm gonna let it beat for about 1.5 minutes. It will be nice and light and fluffy once it's done. This is what your batter should look like. At this point. It's paler and color, and it's pretty smooth, and it's definitely gained a little bit of volume. So at this point, I want to take my spatula and scrape from asides Really well. Make sure that there's no pockets of dry ingredients or anything stuck in there. Make sure to get down to the bottom as well. This point. I want to turn on my mixer on too low and slowly pour in the rest of the wet mixture. Continue to mix it on low just until combined. It's gonna look like it's starting to curdle a little bit, but that's fine. It's OK. Scraped the bowl once more and mix it just until combined. There we go. Looks awesome. This is ready to go into our prepared pants. Your pan should be prepared with butter, flour and parchment paper. I have to eight inch pans here. I'm just gonna divide my batter evenly. - There we go, and these can go into our 350 degree oven on the middle rack to test your cake. You could take your cake tester or a toothpick, and you want to insert it directly into the middle of the cake and when you pull it out, if it's completely clean, orders has a couple crumbs clinging to it. Then your cakes are ready to come out. If there's any wet batter, you're gonna want to put it back in for another 2 to 5 minutes until it's ready to go. Once your cakes have cooled for about 10 minutes in their pants, you want to remove them. If you let them cool the whole way bell, stick to the pan and be really difficult to get out later on, so make sure you have oven mitts on. For this. Don't want to burn yourself stern out by running a knife or spatula around the edge of your panto. Loosen the sides. You'll see that the cake has shrunken from the sides a little bit, which means that it's a well baked cake and that it's also done so once your sides were loosened. You want to take your plate or cooling rack, whichever you're using. Put it on top, flip it over. You should feel the cake hit for fall onto your plate. Carefully remove the parchment papers and then you'll take your other plater cooling rack and flip it back over. Do that with both of your cakes and allow them to cool at room temperature for at least an hour before you frost them or wrap them up to be stored for later. 7. Thank You!: congrats. You finish the course. If you have any questions about anything that we went over in class, please don't have the Taito ask. Just post your questions to the flat more, or if you just want to leave a comment on how I can make course better, that would be awesome to I'm always teaching classes on cake, baking and cake decorating. So go ahead and check out my other classes on skill share. If you want to follow me on social media and stay up to date on what I'm working on, you can find me on Facebook, instagram or Twitter. And as always as you're working on your projects, please post them to the platform or social media. And be sure to tag me that way. We can share with other students and other followers and cheer each other on thanks so much for taking this class