Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Piece of Cake!

I'm one step closer to one of my goals!   Remember that trip to Walmart we took Friday?  Well, I wasn't really just going for milk and spray paint, I just didn't want to spoil the big surprise:  I baked a cake!  (Almost) From scratch!  And it was edible really good!

First, I hopped on over to , which is also where I found my red beans and rice recipe, to look for an easy-looking recipe.  I scanned a few of them, but there were too many ingredients and steps!  Color me intimidated.  Finally, I searched for "basic yellow cake", and picked the first recipe on the list, "Scottley's Basic Yellow Cake."

I read over the ingredients list: pretty basic stuff.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
Here's the part where I realized how little we actually use our kitchen:  out of the eight ingredients, we only had two on hand (vanilla and salt), and one of those (salt) was purchased just a week before.  Of course, we do typically have milk, but I had drained the last of it into my raisin bran that morning.

After googling a few things (like how to soften butter, cream butter and sugar, and what exactly "just until incorporated" looks like) and buying my ingredients (along with a cake pan and sifter), I was ready to get started!
I started by leaving the butter margarine (I know, I'm terrible) out for a little while to soften.  After about twenty minutes, I mashed it around a little:
 And saw that we were ready to go!  I added my sugar and creamed them together until they looked sort of like my mom's mashed potatoes:
 After tasting (and promptly spitting out) a bite, I beat in the eggs:
 Then I sifted together the flour, salt, and baking powder (top right) and measured out the milk (bottom, duh):
 Side note: is sifting flour supposed to make your wrists sore for two days, am I a sissy, or did I buy a too cheap sifter? 

Anyway, here is the batter all mixed and ready to go:
 Remember how I said I bought "a cake pan"?  That's exactly what I meant.  I bought one cake pan, even though I knew I planned to make two layers.  Why waste $2.50, right?  So I poured out the first half and stuck it in the oven, then covered the rest of the batter:
 After baking both layers for about thirty minutes at 350 degrees, then letting them cool, I brought out my secret ingredient:
 Mmmmm, butter cream.  Sadly, I had to use the whole can on the cake.  There was none left over for mindless gnoshing in front of the tv. :-(

After letting Madison decorate the top with colored sugar (okay, it was me, they were supposed to be leaves, move on already!), I was done!
I'll admit it doesn't look all that great, but it tasted pretty heavenly.  As a matter of fact, as of about noon-thirty yesterday, it's GONE!

I'm pretty excited; my first attempt turned out pretty well!  Pat even asked me to make this instead of his typical (box) chocolate on chocolate cake for his birthday!  We'll see about that...I kind of hate to break tradition.

Have you done any baking lately?  Am I the only female over twenty that had no idea how to soften butter?  Do you blame your kids when your attempts at cake bedazzling go awry?



  1. Nothing like success:)!! Know Pat appreciated it. dorothy

  2. I baked some bread for the first time last week, it was pretty tastey.

  3. Baking bread-I bet that smelled really good!

  4. I don't sift even when it calls for it. I keep things simple and they usually turn out just fine. I also soften my butter in the microwave or let it sit out. Your first layer turned out beautiful and doesn't look crumbly which is oh so nice when it's icing time. Awesome job!! :)

  5. Oops. That last post was me.

  6. Kelli, you need to google the health hazards of using margarine vs butter!! Proud of you for making a cake from scratch!

  7. Okay, Mom(at least I think you're my mom, but since there's no signature I'm not sure), I did google it. And what I found was kind of surprising! It turns out that the "bad guy" in margarine is the trans fat, while the "bad guy" in butter is the saturated fat. Although trans fat is a somewhat badder bad guy than saturated fat, the danger is the same from both: cardiovascular disease. The difference is that while saturated fat merely raises LDL (bad cholesterol), trans fat raises LDL AND lowers HDL (good cholesterol). However, this difference is not widely considered significant enough to distinguish between these fats. Therefore, many nutritionists suggest combining the saturated fat and trans fat info. on each nutritional label and comparing the combined value before selecting a product.

    Long story short: after comparing my great value butter (with 7 saturated and 0 trans) to my imperial margarine (with 1.5 saturated and 1.5 trans), the margarine would, by that criteria, be considered more heart healthy than the butter. Phew! I feel better now.