My birthday was Saturday. And if I want a cake, I have to make it myself. Since I was already making chocolate chip cookie cupcakes for a friend’s daughter’s birthday party, I wasn’t feeling super creative on what I wanted for myself. I just wanted something I knew I could make easily to take to the Northwestern tailgate. The answer is deliciously simple: my favorite yellow cake. It’s super quick to throw together, and it tastes so good!
Favorite Yellow Cake
- 1 c butter, at room temperature
- 1½ c sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 c sifted flour
- 2½ t baking powder
- ¾ t salt
- 1 c milk
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 t almond extract (if you have none, go with 2 t vanilla)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare your pans either by using the lazy man's way out (Pam) or butter and flouring them. You can use a 9x13 pan or 3 9 inch rounds. Guess which I usually do....
- Beat together the butter and sugar until they are fluffy and lightened in texture, just as you do with most recipes. It is important that the butter be room temperature. When it's cold, it doesn't fluff as well, and you don't get the same light texture to your cake. Trust me.
- Add your eggs one at a time. Beat well between each addition. You want the light texture from your eggs, too, but you don't want to overbeat these, so don't leave your mixer on for minutes at a time.
- Add the salt and baking powder, mixing well. Add 1 cup of the flour and stir gently. This is when I stop with the electric mixer and move to a large spatula to ensure I don't overmix the batter, which results in bubbles in my cake and a too dense, crumby texture. Add half the milk, as well as the vanilla and almond extract. Mix with your spatula until incorporated, stirring from the bottom to the top. Add another cup of flour, stirring again. Add the remaining milk, stir. Add the last of the flour and stir until just combined.
- Pour your batter into your prepared pans. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 24 minutes for the rounds or 30-33 minutes for the 9x13 pan, testing to ensure the middle is baked before removing the cakes.
- Let cool for ten minutes in the pan, then turn out to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. Frost as desired and eat within a day or two.
I made a mocha frosting for this that was awesome. It’s super easy to make frosting and so forgiving. One day I will make a video showing how to rescue frosting from various issues because no matter how much I’ve accidentally put in too much milk or powdered sugar or whatever, I can always bring it back to a wonderful frosting – and you can, too, if you have the confidence.
Mocha frosting? A little espresso, half a stick of butter, half a cup or so of cocoa powder, a couple tablespoons of milk, and 2-3 c powdered sugar. Mix together the butter and sugar, add the milk, add the cocoa powder and espresso and mix again. Then beat until it’s fluffy. Adjust your ratios until you like the texture, then frost immediately.
Oh, and then sing happy birthday to me. Loudly, please.