Mama’s butter cake

Jennifer from G.I Crockpot and I began a short exchange recently, and  she commented on my blog’s header photograph. So I suggested a recipe swap. I said I would share the recipe for the cakes in the header. She offered to share her mom’s pie recipe. I’m looking forward to trying your mom’s recipe, Jennifer!

This is a very special recipe. My mother-in-law had years of cooking and baking for her family so that when I finally got her recipe, it was very terse–more like a set of reminders to herself. So I’ve filled in the gaps.  For instance, there was no mention of cake pan sizes or how to prepare the pans. I have also added a few tips, especially for folding the batter–that always means to fold by hand–which is a key step to the success of the butter cake. The resulting cakes domed and cracked on top which is typical of butter cakes. If you are going to frost them, trim the domes with a large serrated knife–but don’t throw away the scraps! Eating the leftovers is a true guilty pleasure.

Ingredients :
8   oz.  shortening or butter
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
2  1/4  cups  all purpose flour
5 large eggs [original recipe 6 small eggs]
1  1/2  cup castor or superfine sugar
2   teaspoons baking powder

Preparation :

  1. Preheat oven 325˚F. Grease and flour one 9×3 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment or wax paper circle. In the photograph above, I used three 6×3 inch cake pans.
  2. Beat butter or shortening and  vanilla in a large mixing bowl, gradually adding sugar and eggs one by one. Cake Baker’s Tip: The texture should be smooth; rub a bit of batter  between your fingers. If you feel grit from the sugar, mix it again until smooth.
  3. In another large bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gently mix flour mixture into butter mixture by folding carefully. Cake Baker’s Tip: To fold batter, use a flat rubber spatula and cut down the center of the batter. Scrape along the bottom of the bowl, bringing the batter towards the side then flip the spatula over. Turn the bowl one quarter turn. Repeat until the flour is blended into the butter mixture. Don’t over mix.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Tap the pan a few times on the counter top to eliminate air bubbles. Bake for 35 minutes. For the smaller pans, I baked them for 25-30 minutes. Cake Baker’s Tip: Test for doneness after the shortest length of time by examining the crack in the top. If it looks wet, it’s not ready, so give it 5 more minutes. If it looks dry, poke it with a toothpick. The toothpick should come out dry.
  5. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack then unmold. To unmold, turn the pan upside down and shake gently. Remove the parchment or waxed paper circle. Turn the cake upright to cool completely before frosting. Frost if desired or simply sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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