Originally Posted by jkath
... It was quite tasty, but I need to change it up a bit, for a little lighter cake consistency. Maybe Michael can help with that one! ...
Thanks for the vote of confidence jkath - however, I'm really not a cake baker (except for my grandmother's chocolate sheet cake) ... but, "I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express
last night!" reading Shirley Corriher's Cookwise
From my experiences, upside-down cakes tend to be a little denser - except for the ones the lunch ladies at school used to make from box mixes (Jiffy white or yellow cake mixes) - years ago.
Using the same recipe - you might be able to lighten it up a little by changing the technique in the recipe.
First -make sure your baking powder is not outdated. Then, sift your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together. You might also try using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour.
The leavening comes primarily from creaming the butter and sugar together - this creates a lot of little air bubbles - and takes about 5 minutes with an electric mixer (the creaming instructions for old totally by hand cakes call for about an hour with the spoon and bowl method). If I remember what Shirley said correctly - the baking powder will not create air bubbles - it will only expand the bubbles that already exist. And, yes, scrape down the bowl frequently.
If you are going to use a vanilla bean - I would split the bean, scrape the seeds out into the milk, and add the bean pods to the milk. Bring this up to a simmer to scald the milk (180ºF) and then remove from the heat and allow to cool. When cool - remove the bean pods, and proceed.
Now, the instructions say to "beat" the mixture as you add the dry ingredients to the wet. I would cut that back to a lower speed to just "mix" the ingredients throughly - once you add the wet and dry ingredients together "beating" (or more especially over beating) will increase the gluten formation - which will increase the density of the cake.
Sorry jkath - I'm working totally from memory here ... I still have not found the boxes my cookery books are in out in the garage after the move ... but, hope this helps or gives you some ideas.
I was really hoping one of our cake bakers would have spoken up by now - but I answered so you wouldn't think I was ignoring you.