This recipe makes enough batter to fill: three 8×3 inch round cake pans, four 8×2 inch round cake pans, or two 10-inch round cake pans. The bake time listed in the recipe is for three 8×3 inch layers. If baking 8×2 inch layers the bake time should be reduced by 10-15 minutes. Check for doneness after the cakes have been baking for 25 minutes. If baking two 10-inch layers, bake time will need to be increased by 10-15 minutes. Start checking for doneness after the layers have been baking for 45 minutes.
- 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp salt
- 3 sticks of butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups light or dark brown sugar
- 9 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 + 1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 4 tsp pure vanilla extract
NOTE: This recipe makes a lot of batter and is best made using a 6-quart mixer. If you have a smaller mixer, you may need to mix the batter in two batches.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using vegetable shorting or butter, grease three or four 8×3-inch cake pans. Cut a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom of each cake pan and lightly grease the top of the parchment. Shake flour around in each pan to coat.
- In a medium size bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk until well combined.
- In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy – about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating on medium speed for 30-60 seconds after each addition.
- Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in 4 additions, beginning and ending with the flour. With each addition, beat on low speed until incorporated, just so your ingredients don’t fly out all over the counter. Then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until smooth, before adding the next addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before each addition. Mix in the vanilla on low speed until incorporated.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Incorporate the egg whites completely, but take care to not beat all the air out of the egg whites.
- Distribute the batter evenly into cake pans, smoothing the tops with a spoon or spatula and bake in the center of your oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, with only a crumb or two sticking to it. The cakes will be a deep golden brown.
- Remove the pans to wire racks and allow to cool for 5 minutes before gently turning them out of the pans onto the wire racks to cool completely.
*If not frosting immediately after the cakes are cooled, they can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 month. If freezing, wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil.