To sculpt a masterpiece out of cake it helps to start with the perfect base. If you're wondering what "perfect" means in this context, I define it as a tight yet tender crumb and a firm texture that won't fall apart as you carve and shape it .
And since we're talking about cake, you want taste as well as texture. Is it possible to create a cake that has both? As this recipe proves, the answer is YES.
While most of the ingredients are similar to those you'd use in any birthday cake , there are a few differences that make this cake ideal for sculpting. More eggs than usual increase the binding power and protein in the batter. Then there's the cornstarch, which guarantees a tender crumb.
The result: a cake that's denser than your typical foam cake and closer to pound cake . It also has a subtle vanilla flavor that goes with just about any type of frosting or filling. Bake it once, and it'll be your go-to recipe.
The Best Cake for Sculpting
Yield: Two 8-inch cakes
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 7 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream (milk or half-and-half is fine too)
1. Prep and preheat
Adjust an oven rack in the middle position; preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease, flour and line the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
2. Whisk and mix
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
Using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy and combined, about 3 minutes on medium-high speed. Stir in the vanilla.
3. Add the eggs
Pause the mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to combine each egg into the batter before adding the next one. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Keep mixing
Add half of the flour mixture into the batter. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Mix half of the cream into the batter, again mixing on low speed until smooth. Add the remaining flour, then the remaining cream, until the batter is free of lumps.
Divide the mixture evenly between your two prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans at the 20-minute mark. To test if the cakes are done, insert a toothpick in the center of each one. The toothpick should be mostly clean when you pull it out.
6. Let it cool
Remove the cakes from the oven and immediately run a sharp knife around the edges of each pan to loosen the cake. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then turn the cakes out on to a wire rack to cool completely. They should release easily from the pans.
Once cakes have cooled, level them if needed and proceed with your sculpting project. See how easy this cake is to shape?!
If you're not going to sculpt right away, wrap the cakes in plastic and put them in the refrigerator. You can leave them there for several hours or even overnight. You can even store the cakes in the freezer for up to a month. Just let them thaw at room temperature before you start sculpting your masterpiece.