A Basic Butter Cake was the first kind of cake I baked. I was in elementary and I asked my mom permission to use her oven and the mixer, a prized possession. I was not tall enough so I remember looking up at the kitchen counter, touching the smooth, yellow formica top. I was excited beyond words.
My short, chubby fingers turned the glossy, thick pages of the big red Betty Crocker cookbook and landed on a recipe for butter cupcakes. For a first try, the little cakes I baked, encased in dainty pink fluted paper liners looked a bit deflated. But oh my goodness, the buttery aroma was intoxicating.
Up until then, most of the desserts that came out of our kitchen were the classic Filipino desserts – steamed custards, rice cakes, coconut delicacies or fruity sherbets. Baking was a luxury in our household back in the day. The oven was strictly for very special occasions. But my eagerness to learn was there, so my mom didn’t want to dissuade me.
I couldn’t help but laugh at myself today, many years after the memory of that first venture into baking. But what was unforgettable though, was the creamy butter whiff in the wind, which was why I made sure to use pure Irish butter for this simple basic butter cake today. Have you ever baked with real butter or premium Irish butter? Seriously, I promise this is not a promo for any brand.
I never knew how much Irish butter could taste like a dream till now. There is something special that sets Irish butter apart. My friends who make Kerrygold have said… “in Ireland, the premium milk used to make butter comes from cows who grazed on the green lush pastures of small family farms. This premium milk is used to make Irish butter.”
So, once a year, at around St. Patrick’s day, this Asian turns Irish just like almost everyone. Well, I put on something green, wish everyone that good old Irish blessing, have some homemade corned beef. Amidst all these, you know what’s the best part? An excuse to use Irish butter! The buttery flavor is so sweet, so real, so whole and absolutely so worth it. And that luscious buttery scent? One never forgets.
Basic Butter Cake
- 11/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 whole large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup evaporated milk
- Place oven racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Prepare pan by greasing and lining the bottom of an 8-inch round by 4-inch deep baking pan with parchment or wax paper. (Note: in some countries, it is also called baking paper).
- In a bowl, sift together the dry ingredients : flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. (Note: to sift you can either strain them through a fine mesh wire sieve or else use a wire whisk and mix the dry ingredients around very well).
- Using the mixer, cream the softened butter on medium speed till light and creamy. While the mixer is running, add the sugar gradually. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula so ingredients get to the center of the bowl. Add the whole egg, then the egg yolks one at a time.
- Lower the mixer speed. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Continue mixing for a minute till smooth and well blended.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake cake at the preheated 350 F oven for 45 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing a toothpick in the center - if it comes clean, then cake is done.
- Cool cake on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes. Then invert it over a cake rack to unmold. Peel away the wax or parchment paper. Cool the cake for 30 minutes. Then keep in a covered cake container.
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