All of us like to walk down Memory Lane, and tell the tales of
celebrations past. When we think about those signposts of our lives, nearly all
of them involved a cake. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries,
retirements: all were accompanied with fluffy layers, and creamy frostings. If
you were fortunate, you also can recall the loving hands that labored over those
delights. It may be that the best taste memory of your life is of licking the
beaters used to make the frosting. At party planning time, our first thoughts
are too often about fancy decorations made by strangers. If you look at empty
tables after a gala, you will see the half eaten remains of those elaborate, but
tasteless purchases. Ten years later, not a soul will recall the bakery
involved. An absolute truth about cakes is that a tasty one, made by someone who
cares is best. No, it will probably not have the symmetric perfection of one
prepared commercially. Yes, it will be the subject of happy conversation for a
lifetime. This recipe is for a classic Golden Butter Cake and Butter cream
frosting. The frosting is a cooked one, the real thing not a powdered sugar
concoction. It is a perfect party cake, the sort of which dreams and happy
memories are made.
Cake 1 cup unsalted butter or margarine
2 cups superfine granulated sugar 5
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup milk or non-dairy creamer
2 3/4 cups self-rising flour Method-Cream together, the unsalted butter and
superfine granulated sugar, until light and fluffy. Do this at a low speed, so
the butter will not start to melt. It will probably take about 5 minutes. Never
stint on the time to cream. During this process, tiny air bubbles are formed.
Those bubbles will expand during baking, because of the gasses released by the
baking powder. If there is not enough air incorporated during creaming, the cake
will be heavy.
One at a time, beat in the eggs. Beat each one in thoroughly, before adding the
next. Egg yolks are an emulsifier and must be thoroughly incorporated to support
the mixture of fat and liquid. Some butter cake recipes call for beating the egg
whites separately and then folding them into the batter. If you would like to do
that, only do so with half of them. Beating weakens the structural support given
by the proteins in egg whites. If they are all beaten separately, there is a
greater danger that the cake will collapse.
Beat in the vanilla. Add 1/3 of the self-rising flour, and milk. Beat only until
smooth. Do the same again so that the flour and milk go in 1/3 at a time. Do not
over beat. Divide the batter evenly among 3 greased and floured 9 inch layer
pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. When the cake is done, it will
shrink slightly away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool in the pans for 10
minutes, then turn each layer out onto a rack that has been covered with waxed
paper. Cover the top of the layers with waxed paper, and allow them to cool
Butter cream frosting 1 cup half and half or non-dairy creamer
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups superfine granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla Method-Whisk together the flour, egg yolks and half and
half, until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, over a medium heat until the
mixture thickens to a paste. Scrape into a small dish, and place a piece of
cellophane wrap or waxed paper, directly on top of the hot mixture to prevent a
skin from forming. Place in the refrigerator until cooled. Cream the butter and
sugar together by using an electric mixer at low speed until light. This is not
a fast process, and should take at least 5 minutes.
Add the cooled flour mixture and vanilla, then beat at
high speed until creamy. You can vary the flavor of this frosting by using
different flavoring extracts, or adding 1/3 cup cocoa powder. Another variation
is to use 1 cup of undiluted frozen juice concentrate, or espresso in place of
the half and half.
With a finely serrated knife, trim the tops of the cake layers, until they are
flat. For a 3 layer cake: place a layer on the plate, and spread with 1/2 cup
frosting. Place another layer on top, and repeat. Place the third layer on top.
Spread frosting around the sides of the cake. Then pile the rest on top, and
swirl by drawing circles with your spatula, lifting as you complete each one.
For a 6 layer cake: split each layer in half by wrapping a piece of dental floss
around it, and pulling the two ends. This will cut more neatly than a knife.
Separate the 2 halves and spread with a jam or fudge topping of your choice. Put
the layers back together, and continue as for a 3 layer cake.
copyright1999 Eddy Robey
2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
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