09 July 2014

Retro-style Butter Cake 复古风牛油蛋糕

I wasn't a big fan of butter cakes, probably coz the ones I had before were dry with rough textures and tasted rather stale. This bad impression of butter cakes stuck with me for the longest time until I saw many of my blogger friends raved about a "Mrs Ng SK Butter Cake" that's moist with a finer texture. The method used in this recipe is important and good butter is also key to the success (of course, since it's a BUTTER cake). I was curious and baked it once and indeed it tasted rich and fragrant yet tender, changing my perception of butter cakes. That said, I seldom bake it coz it's a very sinful cake loaded with lots of butter, sugar and eggs! If I were to bake it often, I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to eat more than I should :p

Anyways, I mentioned previously that I'm currently participating in the SCS Dairy Singapore Star Baker Challenge, and I'm pleased to announce that I'm selected for the 3-Star Challenge! Yeah =D The theme is "Cakes" and I have one week to submit my photo and recipe.

I couldn't decide on which cake to bake, should I go for my favourites, Strawberry Ombre Cake, Rainbow Fruit Shortcake or Lychee Ombre Cake? Then my FB friends Wendy and Lynette suggested that I could perhaps try something with an emphasis on butter and "Mrs Ng SK Butter Cake" came to my mind. And since I like to play with ombre shades, I could try adapting this butter cake as well! So far, I've been using white cake base and genoise sponge base for my rainbow and ombre cakes, using butter cake base would be a new challenge!

And instead of decorating the usual whole cake, I decided to slice them into rectangle pieces and decorate each slice with butter cream, something like those old-school wedding cakes that we used to eat in the 70s and 80s. The cake turned out how I envisioned it to be, sort of retro-style with a modern touch and I like it very much, in terms of both look and taste :)

This particular cake recipe adopts the "chiffon method" of separating the egg yolks and whites; first creaming the butter with sugar, follow by addition of egg yolk, then alternating with flour and milk, and finally folding the batter with egg white meringue. This method gives the butter cake a more tender texture than the usual method.

The challenges here are (1) dividing the main batter into 3 portions and colour 2 of them orange and pink - had to do it quick because didn't want the butter batter to turn too soft (2) dividing the egg white meringue into 3 portions and folding them into the coloured batters respectively - it's tough to fold the egg white meringue into the very thick and luscious butter batter, doing it swiftly yet not deflating the meringue too much. 

Luckily the cake layers turned out quite ok, except that the pink layer was slightly flatter than the other 2.

For the butter cream, I just went for the straightforward classic American butter cream (by Magnolia Bakery) instead of Swiss Meringue or French. But realised that the amount of icing sugar used was alarming, had to reduce by half and still I found it saccharine sweet! Wendy advised me to add some lemon juice to level the sweetness but by that time it was already done :( Oh well, next time!

Used some of the butter cream for the cake layers and top and the remaining tinted to green, pink and dark pink.
Tadah, the cake slices! I know, they were not uniform and I even smeared a few :(
By then I was sweating profusely and rushing for time. #excuses

Anyways, both hubby and kiddo gave thumbs up for the cake and they didn't think it was too sweet?! Probably coz I take very little sugar these days and no longer sweet tooth? After a long day in the kitchen working on this, I was just glad that I managed to pull this off.

Retro-style Butter Cake
(makes one 6" cake, or 10 slices)

Butter cake ingredients
  • 250g Salted butter (1 block SCS Salted Butter), cubed and slightly softened
  • 200g Eggs (about 3-4)
  • 150g + 50g Caster sugar
  • 200g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp + 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 62g Fresh milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Wilton icing gel, orange and pink
  1. Preheat oven at 170 degree celsius, conventional mode. Prepare 3 x 7" square pan. Grease and line the pan with parchment paper.
  2. Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Set aside.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder together, making sure they are well mixed.
  4. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and 150g sugar using paddle attachment on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add egg yolks one by one, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add vanilla extract until incorporated.
  7. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk, until just incorporated.
  8. The main batter weighs about 712g, divide into 3 portions, each about 237g. Using toothpicks to pick up the icing gel colours, tint 2 portions of batter to desired colour tones. (The remaining portion is yellow and not necessary to tint). Set aside.
  9. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites using whisk attachment on high speed until foamy. Add 50g sugar gradually and beat until stiff peaks.
  10. The meringue weighs about 199g, divide into 3 portions, each about 66g.
  11. FOLD each portion of meringue into each portion of main batter, GENTLY and SWIFTLY, until incorporated.
  12. Pour the 3 portions of batter into the prepared baking pans and level.
  13. Bake for 20 mins at 170 degree celsius, then another 15 mins at 150 degree celsius. Transfer the cake layers to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Butter cream ingredients
(reference: http://www.marthastewart.com/255817/magnolia-bakery-vanilla-buttercream)

  • 227g Unsalted butter (1 block SCS Unsalted butter), cubed and slightly softened
  • 300g Icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp Fresh milk
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Wilton icing gel, pink and green
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine butter, half of the icing sugar, fresh milk and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed at first (to prevent icing sugar from splattering), then medium speed using paddle attachment until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually add remaining sugar (switch to low speed), and continue beating on medium speed until icing reaches desired consistency.
  3. Reserve half of the butter cream for frosting the cake. Divide the remaining into 3 portions and tint to desired colours.
  4. Spread the butter cream on the cake layers and top. Transfer to fridge to let the cake set for 15-20 mins.
  5. Trim the 4 sides of the cake. Then cut the cake into10 slices.
  6. Decorate the slices using the tinted butter cream.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Ok, will be sending this photo and recipe to the SCS Dairy Singapore Star Baker 3-Star Challenge! Only 25 participants will be selected for the 4-Star Challenge, and frankly I don't have much confidence lah. It doesn't matter to me anyway coz I join just for fun only :p Nevertheless crossing my fingers and wish me luck =D And also, big thanks to all my friends who encouraged me and gave me lots of ideas and tips!


  1. Oh you clever girl! I still follow you and just drool over your gorgeous recipes! One day I'll return to Singapore for another visit and you may find me tapping on your cake shop window :) Yup, I'm that sure of you!

    D x

  2. Halo,,
    this cake looks so traditional, may i know total how many eggs
    and what size each,,hope u can share,,

  3. Hi Meg,
    This is lovely butter cake.
    Love the rossette pattern on the cake.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Hi Di,
    Thanks! When you come back to Singapore, pls let me know :)

  5. Hi Maya,
    Thanks. If the size of the egg is 52-55g (with shell), 4 is enough. If size of egg is super big ones like 65-70g (with shell), 3 is enough.

  6. Hi mui mui,
    I love piping the mini rosettes :)

  7. Hi, may i know does the butter cream holds up well in room temperature ?

  8. Hi Sophie
    It will hold up for a couple of hours in a cool room but not outdoors or very warm environment. Towards the end it will turn a bit soupy. Coz this is pure buttercream. For those cream that can last very long, are added with shortening.

  9. Thank you sharing. Been wanting to make this sort of cake for a while.

  10. Hi Lady Coco Doodle,
    Thanks for visiting my blog :) Have fun creating the butter cake!