Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Best Butter Cake (with something extra)

Cake [keyk]:Macquarie dictionary defines cake as a "sweet baked food in loaf or layer form, usually made from flour, butter, sugar, eggs, etc.

Question: what do you do when you feel like baking, but don't have anything all that special in the house?
Answer: make a butter cake!

The picture really doesn't do it justice.... I could maybe have sprinkled icing sugar on it.... but we've all seen my attempts at "sprinkling" that stuff!

I want to share with you the best all-purpose butter cake recipe I've ever used. It came in a book my mum gave me (thanks mum!) when I was... quick look at the note... just a wee young thing for my 17th birthday. The darned book is HUGE, it's got almost any recipe you might want, and anything it DOESN'T have will be picked up in the book mum gave me for my 18th! As you can see, I've been interested in food for a loooooong time.

This recipe, although a little fiddly, is really very basic, and also works as a good base for adding things. I've added cocoa to make it chocolate (and a little more milk for that one), mashed up banana, and today I tried something new! I had about a handful of dried apple left that I hadn't scarfed, and some cinnamon in the cupboard... there's possibly not enough apple, but it tastes good anyway!

Easy Butter Cake
125g unsalted butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare a 20cm round cake tin... I don't know about anyone else, but I spray the tin with canola spray then lay baking paper on the bottom - never had a cake stick doing this! Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, then gradually add the eggs , beating really well the whole time. Add the vanilla essence and beat until combined. If it's not already, transfer the mix into a large bowl.
Using a metal spoon, fold in the sifted flour alternately with the milk - a bit of one, then a bit of the other, until they're all in. This is also where I add anything extra, like today with the dried apple (chopped up pretty small) and cinnamon. Next time I'll add about two handfuls of apple and about the same amount of cinnamon... I just gave the bottle a shake so not sure of the amount, maybe half a teaspoon? I'm not a cinnamon fan, so others might like more! If all else fails... taste test :) Stir it all until it's just combined and the mix is almost smooth. Spoon it into the cake tin and smooth the top (it looks nicer). Bake for abour 45 minutes or until the cake is cooked (ie. the top springs back when you touch it, or a skewer to the centre comes out clean). Leave the cake in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack.

If you made this cake often you'd built up some great arm muscles with all that folding, and that's the fiddly part, but it is SO worth it. And I'm quite happy with the way it turned out, quite edible. With a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of thickened cream.... oooooooh, that'd be nice!


Anonymous said...

This invention of your did taste okay. However the cake is sticky in the mouth which kind of surprised me, as this has never happened before. I've been using the same type of flour, sugar and butter so the only reason would be the combination of your recipe.

Thanks for sharing anyway!!!

Anna said...

Hi Anonymous.

Thanks for your comments. All I can think is that you didn't cook the cake long enough - sticky usually means either too moist or not cooked enough.

While I've never been let down by this recipe, I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out for you.