Thursday, July 27, 2006

Basic Vanilla Cake

Nancy Soriano of Country Living magazine shares some secrets for that delicious homemade taste that won't take a chunk of your time

From Country Living Magazine (Recipe adapted with permission from Cakes From Scratch in Half the Time, by Linda West Eckhardt (Chronicle Books, 2005).
One 8-inch cake (8 servings)

This moist single-layer vanilla cake has a delicate texture and delectable crumb, but it's the old-fashioned browned-butter glaze that gives it a nutty flavor.

Basic Vanilla Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Browned-Butter Glaze Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon

Heat the oven to 400° F. Lightly coat an 8-inch cake pan with butter and dust with all-purpose flour. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Beat in the butter one heaping 1/4 teaspoonful at a time, using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles fine damp sand. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and milk, beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not over beat. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean — 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Unmold and cool completely. Ice with Browned-Butter Glaze.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Browned-Butter Glaze
Use this old-fashioned glaze to give our Basic Vanilla Cake a lovely nutty flavor.

Melt the butter over medium-low heat until golden brown. Whisk the sugar, salt, milk, lemon juice, and zest together. Add the melted butter in a stream while whisking until smooth.

Yields: 3/4 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

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