Friday, March 18, 2011

Yellow Butter Cake

I have so often used potato starch as a thickener for sauces, soups, and stews but for adding it to my flour for baking, this is my first.  Potato starch is not potato flour.  Potato flour is dehydrated potatoes ground into powder and is much heavier and denser.  Potato starch is the result of an extraction process removing the starch only from the potato.  Think of the white foam that floats to the top when you boil potatoes, that's potato starch.   Potato starch has no gluten.  It is used in recipes for those who are gluten intolerant. 

Potato starch tolerates higher temperatures than cornstarch when used as a thickener, but for baked good, it's a natural way to add moistness, therefore  a fine crumb and soft textured cake..
You can find potato starch on the baking aisle at most of your local supermarket and and health-food stores.  I get mine from the asian stores here, they are very much cheaper and a variety of brands to choose from. 

This Yellow Butter Cake recipe has  1/3 of the wheat flour replaced with potato starch which is 1/2 cup/2 ozs by weight.  This replacement made the crumb fine, soft and moist, in fact, the cake tasted better the next day.


6 3/4 oz/1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ozs/1/2 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup fine granulated sugar(add more if you like a sweeter cake - max another 3/4 cups)
6 ozs/10 tbsp butter - softened
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tbsp bourbon (optional)
1 tbsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 f

Line bottoms of 2(9 inch) cake pans with parchment paper, grease cake pans and parchment paper.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife.

Weigh or lightly spoon potato starch into dry measuring cups, level with a knife.

Combine flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt, stirring well with a whisk.

Place 1 cup sugar and 6 ozs butter in the stand mixer bowl, beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Scrape down sides of bowl, now and then.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine milk, half-and-half., vanilla extract and bourbon(if using)

Turn speed to the lowest , add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Beat just until combined.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake at 350 f for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Cool in pans 25 minutes on wire rack; remove from pans.

Cool completely on wire racks.


Rebecca Lee said...

Hi Lily, If I'm not mistaken, potato starch is 淀粉 that we make Chye Kuih, right ? It is new and will be happy to try, thanks for sharing the information. I often add in 10% of cornstarch to in most of my recipe of cakes as I found the cake will be more smoother !!

Reese Darragh said...

Aunt Lily,

That looks good. Does the texture and taste resemble the butter cake we can find in the old school Hainanese Kopitiam in Malaysia?

MeRy said...

May I know what is half and half?....

lilyng said...


the chinese word you gave 淀粉, i googled and found that it is for 'starch'. There are many types made from different tubers or vegetable and potato starch is made from potatoes.

lilyng said...


this cake is delicious especially made with european butter, i used Plugra. Please make one and tell me if it tasted like the one that is the old school Hainanese Kopitiam in Malaysia.

lilyng said...


half and half is richer than whole milk but has lesser fat content than heavy cream. read about cream

Reese said...

Was planning to do that :) as soon as I go to the Asian store to get some potato starch and to the grocery to get some european butter. I am not sure if they carry Plugra but I am pretty sure I can find Kerrygold Irish butter. Will that do or should I go hunt for Plugra?

lilyng said...


kerrygold is too expensive, plugra is half the price. I think i have seen european butter Challenge brand in our local supermarkets.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

this is new to me, must try one day.

Little Corner of Mine said...

This is new to me, wonder how it tastes like. I made a orange butter cake but failed as it sank in the middle. The texture was not what I expected as well. I never failed when I used this recipe in Memphis, but this recipe never work in COS. Not a high-altitude friendly recipe I guess.

Reese Darragh said...

Challenge. I'll try to look for it too. I went to the store yesterday and true enough they only carry the imported Kerry Gold butter for $5.99/lb.

lilyng said...

little corner of mine

yes, baking is very challenging in high altitude. Try this recipe, i have tweaked for high altitude

Reese Darragh said...

Aunt Lily,

I have died and went to yellow butter cake heaven. That is how good it is.

Moist, buttery and light. I will be using this as my yellow cake base whenever I am making other cakes in the future :P

Good Job!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lily

What can I substitute half and half milk with? Butter cake is the only cake my husband will eat so am dying to try it after the rave reviews.

Thank you.


lilyng said...


replace with whole milk is ok but half and half is slightly richer, so if you remove a tbsp of whole milk, replace with 1 tbsp heavy cream.

PinkLibra said...

Hi Lily, I always admired your creativity in baking, and how your recipes always seem so simple. I tried to bake your yellow butter cake, but failed miserably 3 times! I am fearful of trying again, but am wondering if you have any idea what went wrong. All 3 times my cake ended up dense, more like a sweet kuih instead of your soft springy version. i tried to follow your recipe to the T....
I live in hot tropical climate - does that change any of the proportions?


lilyng said...


since you are in the tropics, your flour has more moisture and the eggs used must be bigger than the large eggs here. I would suggest that you reduce the milk to half cup and add the rest as needed.

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