You want that, cake cake cake cake cake cake…okay, I’ll stop now.
If you ask me, cake if the perfect dessert for any and all occasions. Great for sharing (or not…), crowd-pleasing, and simple. Cakes come in endless shapes, sizes, and flavors and can be made healthier or less healthy, depending on the crowd you aim to please. (Side note: if anyone ever aims to please me with a cake, I like chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Just saying. My birthday is in April.)
Some of you are thinking to yourselves, “simple?! Cake is far from simple.” Calm down, my good people. Keep reading.
Though some cakes are more challenging and time consuming (pina colada cake, multi-tier cakes, dacquoise) than others, cake is a generally easy dessert to make. Mix ingredients together, pour them in a greased pan, bake until the middle is cooked through, let cool, and smear on some icing. That’s not so hard, right?
One of my family’s favorite cake recipes could not be easier or tastier. Buttermilk cake is just a yellow cake that you can top with any frosting you like. It’s simple as can be: mix everything together, pour into the pan, bake, cool, ice, eat. Emphasis on the eat. It’s ideal for a last minute party, a birthday you forgot, or a craving that can’t be satisfied with some dinky, healthy, sad-excuse for a dessert.
1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 beaten eggs
1 cup buttermilk***
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa IF MAKING CHOCOLATE CAKE***
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one rectangular or 2 round cake pans.
In the microwave, melt the butter with the water.
Add all ingredients together and mix well by hand. Don’t literally use your hands–use a mixing spoon rather than a mixer. Be careful when adding the eggs–if you add when the butter-water mixture it too hot, the eggs will scramble, and you did not sign up for scrambled egg cake. Nope.
Pour the ingredients into your greased cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on the pan size. Test the center to make sure that it has cooked through. Let cool for at least one hour before icing.
*** To make a yellow buttermilk cake, omit the cocoa and substitute the same amount (1/2 cup) flour.
***In place of buttermilk if you do not have it readily available, add 1 tbsp white vinegar to 1 cup whole milk. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes before using.
Basic Buttercream Frosting (this recipe is ever-realiable)
3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar (a full 1 lb. box)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened (not melted)
3-4 tablespoons milk (amount will vary based on how thick you want you icing)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix sugar, butter, milk and vanilla with a hand mixer at a lower speed. Increase the speed for 1 to 2 minutes until the icing become creamy. If you like a thinner icing, add more milk until frosting is a spreadable consistency.
For chocolate icing, add cocoa powder until the icing reaches the chocolateyness of your liking. You’ll have to add more milk to combat the thickness of your icing with the added cocoa powder. Add milk bit by bit–by pouring too much in, you risk messing up the taste and consistency of your icing. I’d say add no more than a half tsp per pour once you’ve added the amount that the recipe calls for.