Written by David Fisco
26 May 2011
Word count: 586
I recently tried experimenting with making classic white cake using canola oil and the "fat jacket" technique. The result exceeded my expectations of taste and texture. (If you'd rather make yellow cake, I've developed a recipe for that too.)

In the first experiment, I began with the recipe for the classic 1-2-3-4 Cake, but made two ingredient substitutions:

  1. one cup of canola oil for the two sticks of butter
  2. bleached all-purpose flour for the cake flour

Then I substituted the "fat jacket" technique for making the batter. In this technique, instead of creaming your butter and sugar together, you begin by tossing all of your dry ingredients, except the sugar, with a fork, then adding your canola oil to the dry ingredients and mixing slowly with the fork until incorporated. This coats the flour with the fat, forming a jacket that prevents gluten development and results in a better cake texture. Once the oil and flour are combined, add all of your wet ingredients and stir slowly with a fork, until incorporated, then add your sugar and with a hand whisk, beat until incorporated. I baked the batter in a sheet pan for 28 minutes. The resulting cake was of superior texture and had a very light flavor as canola oil tends to be flavor-neutral.

In the second experiment, I separated the eggs and divided the sugar into 1.5 cups and .5 cups. I used an electric beater to whip the egg whites until stiff peaks formed, added .5 cups of sugar and continued whipping the eggs until glossy. (This was the only time I used an electric mixer. I mixed everything else by hand.) Then I made the batter as above but substituting 1.5 cups of sugar for the 2 cups and the egg yolks for the full eggs. Finally, I folded the batter into the whipped egg whites, in thirds, until fully combined but not deflated. As in the first experiment, I baked it as a sheet cake for 28 minutes. The cake rose a bit more due to the extra air incorporated in the egg whites. This variation had the same flavor as the first, but the texture was even better. It was one of the best, if not the best, cake textures I've encountered.

I highly recommend experimenting with canola oil in cake. Combined with the fat jacket technique, you get a superior product for a small amount of extra labor. Looking for a vegan white cake? Try my Vegan Canola Oil White Cake.