I have afavorite chocolate cake recipethat I use for almost all cake requirements. I’m thrilled when my kids ask for chocolate for their birthday cakes because IknowI’ve got it covered. But vanilla? I wilt a little when they ask for that because the recipes I’ve tried before have fallen flat.
The cake is too dry or the texture too tough—nothing like the exquisite moist, soft perfection ofmy chocolate cake.
And then last week my sweet next-door neighbor asked for a vanilla cake for her birthday. Her *91st* birthday. And I knew—I just KNEW—I had to find the perfect recipe for her.
Lucky for her, I’d just made these amazingmaple muffins with oat streusel, but I’d baked it as a coffee cake and the cake was…gah! SO soft, SO moist, SO perfect. So I started wondering if maybe—MAYBE—I could turn the maple cake into a vanilla cake.
A little research here and a little research there, some figuring on how to replace the maple syrup with sugar, and then a stumbling upon anew-to-me cake mixing methodcalled the paste (or reverse-creaming) method. It was supposed to result in a moist, tender, denser crumb—a sturdy cake that slices with minimal crumbs.
Color me SOLD. I had to give it a try.
Though, I was nervous. The cake HAD to be good. Not only for the sake of my sweet 91-year-old friend, but we were bringing it to her birthday dinner where there would be several other people. Talk about pressure! I did not want to bring a substandard sweet to the shindig.
So I crossed all the things, made a butter sacrifice to the baking gods, said a few incantations, and jumped in.
I’m gonna be honest here. It was a REALLY strange way of mixing things. You put all the dry ingredients into your mixing bowl and mix in softened butter until it looks sandy. Then you add the milk and vanilla ingredients, then the eggs one at a time. Beat it for a couple of minutes on medium speed, and you end up with this amazing poufy, thick batter.
And the cake? Melt-in-your-mouth tender, moist, and vanilla-y. The consensus around the birthday table was “It’s DELICIOUS.” Huzzah! (And WHEW.) Plus? The “several other people” planning to be at the birthday dinner turned into 18, so the cake was cut into 20 small slivers, and it sliced LIKE A DREAM. I have never had a cake slice so easily and cleanly. I *wish* I had pictures to show you.
The Verdict: A perfect vanilla cake.
Because I didn’t get any pictures of the sliced birthday cake, I had to make cupcakes so you could see the crumb. (I know, I know, poor us.) Also? I am not terribly talented at decorating cakes/cupcakes, but hey, they taste good, which is what REALLY matters.
- 3cupsall-purpose flour
- 1 1/2cupssugar
- 1 1/2teaspoonsbaking powder
- 1teaspoonbaking soda
- 1cupbutter, softened
- 1cupvanilla Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 F/177 C. Prepare baking pan(s): grease and flour a 13 x 9 or two layer cake pans; place cupcake papers in two muffin pans.
Put all dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix well until the ingredients look sandy.
Add yogurt, milk, and vanilla into the dry ingredients and mix well. Then add eggs one at a time, until combined. Turn mixer on medium speed, and mix for 2 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake cakes for 30-35 minutes, cupcakes for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
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