April 12, 2011

Let Them Bake Cake

I won't say I'm lazy. After all, I have been making my own yogurt recently. Although it is possibly the laziest way you can make yogurt. In a crockpot.

Okay, okay, I am pretty lazy. But my theory is that it's not a character deficiency if you want to sit around and read books. That's called book learnin'. So there.
But I try not to be lazy when it comes to cooking. I try to make things from scratch because they taste better, are cheaper and, well, because it makes me happy.

But I have always been lazy when it comes to cake mix. After all, the box is cheap, easy and tastes yummy. I have baked many a yellow cake from scratch that wasn't as good as boxed cake mix. So imagine my chagrin when I promised Sadie we would bake a cake and pulled a box out of the pantry only to find that every brand I have has artificial coloring in it.
Isn't yellow cake just supposed to be yellow naturally? I've never had to add yellow 5 & 6 to a recipe. And devil's food- of course it requires red 40 and yellow 6 to be brown? What?

So the boxes will be going to the food pantry.
And I found a recipe that's a keeper. While it does require measuring and such it does not make you separate eggs or give up your firstborn child.*
And both Sadie and Silas love to measure ingredients and stir. So it's not all bad, even for a lazy gal like me.

But one thing I love about boxed cake mix is the fact that my kitchen doesn't look like this when I'm done. Does yours look like this when you cook?

Oh. Well, me neither. Just ignore that picture.

And look at what the stinkers did while I cleaned up the mess. They sat around eating strawberries. Can you believe it?

I wish I could blame the mess on them. But, sadly, it looks like that whether I have help or not.

Our delicious, beautiful cake was even better than a box mix. Denser and buttery.

And the icing was PINK. Colored naturally. And delicious.

So there, Duncan Hines.

My notes in bold.

Best Yellow Layer Cake

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me) I made a bundt cake.

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising) I used a substitution of 2 TBS cornstarch with AP flour added to make a cup. I imagine with actual cake flour it would be really fluffy. Plus, I didn't sift. I'm lazy, remember?

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken- I subbed milk with 1 TB lemon juice per cup- can use vinegar too.

Preheat oven to 350°F.I used butter and flour spray, but I also recommend making a crazy concoction of 1/3 flour, 1/3 oil and 1/3 shortening and storing this in your fridge. Whip out whenever baking and brush/rub into pan. Lasts forever and works like a charm.

Sift (haha- this is assuming you aren't lazy) together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then add vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan.Turn onto rack, cool and do whatever you want to it.

Bundt cake took about 50 minutes. Popped right out of the pan. I am eating a slice right now. It is gooood.

1 comment:

LindaT said...

Oh, well. Looks like you inherited the not-so-neat cooking gene from your mother. My kitchen always looks like that when I cook. Just ask Larry. Also when I paint. :) We NEVER wash the floor BEFORE I cook.

BTW - I don't ever sift the dry ingredients either. Throw them in a bowl and stir with whisk. Works like a charm. And even when I used to sift I did so with a strainer. Much faster...a bit messier, though.

Cake looks yummy. Looking forward to many baked items this summer.