Often when I’m brainstorming content for the blog my mind jumps immediately to complex flavor combinations, clever twists on known classics and the need to provide something new and never done before. Like many other areas in my life, I want to jump straight to being an expert, without first being a beginner. I want the skill without the hard work and the success without the risks and failures. It is a mindset born in small part from laziness and in large part from fear of failure and an always looming feeling that I should already be great at whatever it is I’m trying to do. In this season of my life, I am trying to combat this way of thinking, and instead return to the basics in all areas of my life. I’m learning to embrace progress and growth and the importance of fundamentals.
When it comes to baking, nothing is more fundamental then the classic vanilla butter cake. It’s one of the first recipes that can coax a baker from box mix to scratch and is delicious and easy to make. If you’re thinking about trying to bake a cake for the first time, this is the recipe for you! The instructions are easy to follow and yield a soft, buttery, vanilla cake that serves well at both fancy and casual events. This specific recipe is from The Kitchn, but you will find that all butter cake recipes have similar ingredients and will vary to different degrees of moistness and strength in taste of vanilla or butter.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease two 9" baking pans and line with parchment paper.
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add in all three eggs and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow, creamy and fully mixed.
- On slow speed beat in flour, baking powder and salt. Then beat in milk and vanilla. Once fully mixed beat on high speed for about 3 minutes.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
- Let pans cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes and then run a knife around the edges of the pan and flip the cakes out to finish cooling on the rack.
- While cakes are cooling make the frosting.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat slowly until well mixed, then beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes until frosting is light and creamy and easy to spread. If frosting is too thick, add more milk, 1 tsp at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
- Once cakes have completely cooled, frost and enjoy!
*Unfrosted cakes can be wrapped in two layers of saran wrap and kept at room temperature for about a week; wrapped and frozen for a few months. Frosted cakes should be covered to protect from dust and will keep at room temperature for about a week.