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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vanilla Cake

I am usually all about a chocolate cake. As I've mentioned previously, growing up, there was only one cake for us. I talked about it here. But, you know, sometimes, chocolate isn't what you're looking for (Really!). And sometimes, maybe, you want a change of pace or to offer a variety. I have a friend who is getting ready for her son's birthday. She made cupcakes out of my chocolate cake batter and loved them. Then she asked me if I had any good vanilla cake recipes. I did not, so I told her I would need to get back to her.

Six batches of cake and four pounds later, I think I have a recipe I feel good about sharing! It has a very nice crumb, and a sweet, subtle vanilla flavor. It makes great cupcakes or a layer cake. The other great thing about this cake is how easy it is to make. You just throw all the ingredients into a bowl and beat them together! The cupcakes above and below are this recipe with a nice butter cream frosting. I made a layer cake but took it to a function and felt a little too weird about trying to take a picture of a slice after it was cut.

There are two things to be careful of in making this recipe. The first is to be sure to use cake flour. Because this cake is beaten after the flour is mixed, you can't use all purpose flour. All purpose flour has way too much gluten in it; if you beat it the way you beat this recipe, you'll end up with chewy goo. That's no good! So stick with the cake flour. Secondly, don't over-bake the cake. Start testing with a cake tester a few minutes early and take it out of the oven the second that tester comes out clean. I've found if it is over-baked, it can come out a little on the dry side. It's still tasty, just not as luscious as it should be.

Vanilla Cake
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes or 2 9" layers
Adapted from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook

2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup room temperature butter
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line either 24 standard sized muffin cups with papers or oil and cut a parchment round to fit the bottom of two 9" round cake pans. Measure all ingredients together into a large bowl. Beat with an electric or stand mixer for 3-5 minutes, until the batter is smooth and thick. If making cupcakes, a size 16 disher is the perfect portion size. Otherwise, spoon batter in until the cups are about 2/3 full. If making cakes, divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and just slightly golden and a tester comes out clean. Bake cakes 25-30 minutes, also until puffed, slightly golden, and a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes and then remove from pans to cool completely before frosting.


  1. Oh YUM! Gonna try this one, thanks!!

  2. they are delicious, we made them last year thanks to Tara! She rocks


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