Swan’s Down High Altitude White Cake Recipe
(Original cake recipe from a tattered magazine page stuck in an old church cookbook. I finally found the origin online here. )
This is the original Swan’s Down high-altitude white cake recipe. It’s been in use since around 1894, so I’d guess it’s pretty solid. And Swan’s Down is still around today, which is pretty remarkable as well. I use their cake flour and have had great results with it.
Baking at high-altitude (above 3000 ft.) can be problematic as the bubbles that cause the cake to rise form too fast. This causes the cake to rise really quickly, before the batter has been baked enough to set. Without a structure, the cake will rise, then fall. The problem is usually too much leavening (baking powder or baking soda).
Swan’s Down cake flour offered one solution: Whip the egg whites just a bit before adding to the batter. That way, you can use less leavening, but still get that light, fluffy cake you want.
There are other options, and I share some in my post about high-altitude baking here. But if you want to go with something tried-and-true, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.
Swan's Down High-Altitude White Cake
For Meringue in Batter (Prepare beforehand)
- 3 lg Egg Whites
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 2 cups Cake Flour I'm sure Swan's Down would appreciate a purchase.
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1* cup Sugar (*If the shortening used is butter or lard, decrease sugar and milk. Use 1 cup minus 1 Tbl sugar and 1 cup minus 2 Tbl milk.)
- Have the shortening at room temperature. Grease and flour or line bottoms of pans with paper and grease the top. Use two round 8-inch layers, 1 1/4 inches deep. Start oven for moderate heat (375° F).
- Prepare meringue by beating 3 egg whites with hand mixer until foamy; add 1/4 cup sugar gradually, beating only until meringue will hold up in soft peaks.
- The Mix-Easy Mixing Method (I actually use this. At high-altitude it works well, as you really don’t want too much air whipped into the butter/sugar.)
- Stir shortening just to soften. Sift in dry ingredients. Add 3/4 of the milk and mix until all flour is dampened. Then beat 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl.
- Add remaining milk, blend, then add meringue mixture and beat 1 minute longer.
- Turn batter into pans. Bake in moderate oven (375º F) 25 minutes, or until done.
- This cake may also be baked in a 9X9X2-inch pan or a 10X10X2-inch pan in moderate oven for 30 minutes, or until done.
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