Images courtesy of The Art of Simple Food (click to actually be able to read the text)
I've been on a baking kick lately. It started when I was flipping through Alice Water's The Simple Food, searching for recipes for the Time Bank potluck.
I came across the most detailed description of how to make a basic cake. When it comes to cooking, I am a direction-follower. The more specific, the better. Imagine my delight when I learned that you're supposed to bring all the ingredients to room temperature in order to prevent the batter from seizing. Or when they say "cream the butter and sugar" they really mean beat those suckers for 5-10 whole minutes. Who knew? (I guess those of you who have families that bake things from scratch rather than boxes.)
It took me 31 years to realize I am a baker, not a cook. When I mentioned my revelation to my new friend, Stephanie, she said, "Yeah, I could have told you that based on your personality."
At least being Type-A has its benefits, right?
Anyway, if any of you are looking for a delicious cake recipe (perhaps to make your own wedding cake?), this one is great! (Be sure to click on the images to read the basic cake-baking directions first.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Butter the cake pans and line the bottom of each with parchment paper
- Butter the paper and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks and keep them in separate bowls
- Sift and then measure 3 cups cake flour
- Stir in 4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (use 1/4 teaspoon if using salted butter)
- In another bowl, beat until light and fluffy: 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter and 2 cups sugar
- Cream until light and fluffy
- Beat in the 4 egg yolks, one at a time and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- When well mixed, add the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with one third of the flour
- Stir just until the flour is incorporated
- In another bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks
- Stir one third of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (30-40 minutes)