Healthy White Cake – Fail!

Cake Disaster

by Kathy | Disclosure

This sad, sad cake is definitely not Mrs Dull’s cake. Mrs. Dull’s version of this cake is delicious and decidedly old fashioned. I’ve made her version many times and it’s wonderful! Back in the day when people ate less sugar overall, cakes were not as sweet as they are now. So relative to a modern cake recipe these old recipes are already an improvement! And if the modern cake is from a box mix, even more so since we’ll be leaving out all the additives and hydrogenated oils. And I think it’s even, even :-) better than buying a cake at the store. I’m not sure why it should be, but these cakes just smell of chemicals to me.

cake cooling

Broken in half

Today, I decided to bump up the nutrition factor a bit by converting Mrs Dull’s recipe to a soaked whole wheat cake recipe, just to see how far I could take it and have it be anything like the original. Things did not go so well as sometimes happens when modifying recipes. I thought I’d share my little cake disaster as a cautionary tale. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour and soaked the flour in buttermilk, too much buttermilk as it turns out. What’s life without a little adventure ;-). This recipe took double the time of the original to bake and then when I removed each layer from the cake tin, they broke in half! Arrrggghhh! So I did the only thing I could think to do … whip up an icing with way too much sugar, and glop it on to cover up all the cracks. Not a healthy solution, to be sure but it was delicious! So I give you this version, in the interest of education … use at your own risk ;-). I’ll try and post a hopefully more successful version of this in a future post.

cake stacked

I stacked the bad sides together.

Mrs Dull’s recipe is on page 247 of “Southern Cooking”.

  • Replaced the water with buttermilk.
  • Replaced the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour.
  • Soaked the flour for 7 hrs in the buttermilk.
  • Replaced the sugar with sucanat.

Whole Wheat White Cake

Cake Disaster

Ugly but delicious!

  • Whole Wheat Pastry Flour3 Cups
  • Traditional Buttermilk2/3 Cup Edit: Forgot to add that I about doubled this by adding just a little more, than a little more till it was a lot more :-O
  • Egg Whites6
  • Sucanat1 1/2 Cup
  • Vanilla1 teaspoon
  • Baking Powder4 teaspoons
  • Butter3/4 Cup
  • Mixer (optional)
  • 2 Bowls and a spoon
  • 2 Cake Tins
  • Cooling Rack
  • Blend the buttermilk with the whole wheat flour and put aside for at least 7 hours. (This is where I went wrong, I’m embarrassed to admit. I added more buttermilk to ensure all the flour was soaked. If I were trying this one again I think would still add more buttermilk, till saturation, then adjust the eggs and baking powder more to allow for it.)
  • Mix the butter and sucanat together, then add the egg whites.
  • Add in the flour and buttermilk mixture. Mix in the baking powder and vanilla.
  • Butter the tins well and pour into the tins.
  • Bake about 20 minutes at 425, this was the plan anyway. Ended up taking about 40 minutes until the center was done.
  • Remove from tins and place on a cooling rack.

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Granny LOVES a great discussion! A thoughtful, in-depth look from all angles benefits us all. If you disagree let us know! But please remember you're in Granny's house and be respectful of that. If you wouldn't say it in your Grandma's hearing please don't say it here! No name-calling or foul language. Those comments that don't respect Granny's home will be deleted.

Elizabeth May 17, 2012 at 8:17 am

Thanks for sharing! So glad to know I’m not the only one who has a flop when trying to healthify recipes. Can’t wait to see you the next attempt turns out.

Angela May 17, 2012 at 9:51 am

I have a few of these too, but I promptly throw away the recipe. . .I can’t fathom putting it out for everyone to “benefit” from. What is the point?

Kathy May 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

Well, I think it’s of benefit to share that when you experiment things can go wrong. Usually you don’t get it right on your first try. I think it helps to know that while I’ve modified all the recipes on this site and have been doing this for awhile I still have things fail. And now we all know exactly what happens to a cake with too much liquid so if you happen to be working on a recipe and are having similar problems you might have a look at reducing liquid. And it’s encouraging to novice cooks to know that we all fail sometimes, often you can salvage a mistake at least partially (my son loved this cake btw) and that it’s ok. We’re all just “Good Enough Cooks”.

Jen May 18, 2012 at 11:56 am

Love that I am not the only one that this happens to. But love it even more that you shared it! By the way . . . where do you get whole wheat pastry flour? Never seen it anywhere. I avoid it now because all I find is the bleached white flour junk.

Kathy May 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I make the whole wheat pastry flour myself with a nutrimill and a Bosch universal with the sifter attachment. Makes a lovely light pastry flour … I love my Bosch! I love reading others kitchen disasters too … You can learn so much from mistakes! I think I’ll add a few links here to some other disaster stories for those who are connoisseurs.

Raising Isabella May 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I have the same time I try to alter a baking recipe to be more healthy. I have just about given up on baking anything but oatmeal.

Jimmy May 28, 2012 at 4:48 am

You can’t win them all, although I’ve never posted my failures but I can see the advantage for others by doing it. 😉

But Ill give the other version a go, even though your son liked this one aslo… 😉

Best Regards from Denmark.!

beevee June 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm

So, I googled, “whole wheat flour cake disaster,” and I stumbled on this blog =(. The same thing happened to my cake, it split right in half. So much for trying to eat healthier.

Kathy June 25, 2013 at 3:55 am

How funny Beevee! Did you see this post? I did get it figured out the following week!

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