Thursday, August 29, 2013

Old-Fashioned Butter Cake

Old-Fashioned Butter Cake - made August 18, 2013 from Food for a Hungry Soul
When I was a kid, I used to be fascinated by those Betty Crocker cake mix boxes.  You know, the ones that pictured a luscious two-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  We were new to the US, came from a tropical country where ovens are not the norm in a kitchen, and yellow layer cakes were not every day fare in our cultural culinary repertoire.  When my mom baked, it was things like bibingka or puto.  The Betty Crocker cakes were the stuff of birthday cakes that I only got a taste of when I went to a childhood friend's birthday party.

As I grew older and was learning how to bake, a cake mix was a safe bet to use, as was the can of ready-made frosting.  I look back now and shudder what I used to bake and eat but back then, that was all I knew and those box mixes and frosting cans look really, really good (and doable) when you're 10.  Flash forward a(n undisclosed) number of years and now I'm a bake-from-scratch snob whose culinary pride wouldn't be caught dead baking those mixes or using those ready-made tubs of frosting. But there's still some nostalgia whenever I think of a two-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  So I made one from scratch.

This recipe is as easy as a cake mix but sadly, I managed to mess it up, not in the mixing but in the baking.  Meaning I was busy doing other stuff while the cake pans were in the oven, never use a timer and subsequently almost forgot I had these in the oven so I overbaked them a trifle.  So the texture came out a little dry for my picky taste buds.  Beyond that, I didn't get a really robust butter flavor from the cake.  I don't know if it's because I overbaked it or if  that's just the way the cake is supposed to taste. If you look at the picture from Food for a Hungry Soul's blog (click on the recipe title to take you to the direct page), you'll see how much better that one looks than mine.  I've got to think something that looks that good has to be taste much better than what I ended up with so I will have to put this in my "try again" file to see if I can get a better result when I bake it properly.

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 8 inch x 2 inch baking pans and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add butter, milk, and vanilla.  With a hand mixer, beat for  2 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. 
  4. Add eggs and beat for 2 minutes more.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally between the pans.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven.
  6. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Frost with your favorite frosting.
Chocolate Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk  (plus an additional few drops to make a nice consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Melt butter.  Stir in cocoa.  Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Add more milk if needed.  Stir in vanilla.  About 2 cups frosting

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