I love Dorie's recipe for the Perfect Party Cake but I made it twice last year - the first time for Daring Bakers and the second time for a special order for one of my co-workers, who was having a party at his home. I got it right the second time - it rose quite nicely and I am told that everyone loved it.
However, I'm going slightly rogue this week as I am trying a recipe from Cook's Illustrated -(am not sure if I will get TWD credit). Just needed a change and this recipe looked very interesting. It has an unusual mixing method, rises beautifully and it seems to avoid the "air holes" problem that sometimes happens in white cakes. (Haven't cut into it yet so am not absolutely sure.)
Here is the recipe:
Cook's Illustrated White Layer Cake
Cake layers can be wrapped and stored for one day. Once assembled, the cake should be covered with an inverted bowl or cake cover and refrigerated.
2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature 6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature 2 teaspoons almond extract 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces) 4 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon table salt 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
Set oven rack in middle position. (If oven is too small to cook both layers on a single rack, set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer. Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. (I think this is way to low - mine took about 35 mins.)Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
And everything else... I used Dorie's buttercream recipe; it's absolutely delicious and makes up fairly easily. Instead of raspberry jam I used Morello Cherry Jam (gave it a few whirrs in the food processor to smoothe it). It has a slightly sour taste, rather nice, as the buttercream is rich. Unfortunately I slathered too much jam on the middle layer so it was difficult to frost.
Tomorrow at the Office I will serve this pretty pale pink cake. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not dry. In fact, it's the next morning and I have just eaten the slice in the pic. It's delicious, and not an air hole in sight. This recipe is another keeper. It got rave reviews at work and there was some left over for today, Tuesday, so they can enjoy a second slice. It's a large cake with only about 6-8 people to eat it.