Most girls I know would make their boyfriends elaborate cakes for their birthdays. You know, the kind that’s usually in multiple pans, layered between with a delicious filling, covered with a dreamy frosting and finally adorned with fruits or chocolate curls and a birthday message.
Well, as it turns out, I’m evidently not most girls. For I made my boyfriend a loaf of butter cake for his recent birthday.
Okay, if you have the same look my dad had when he saw the loaf (although his had a slight tinge of disappointment because it meant he couldn’t have a slice of the cake), let me explain.
You see, this is how most desserts you see on this site (sans the cookies and occasional unadorned cake) go with my boyfriend- he takes an obligatory bite, makes an appropriately pleasant comment and goes back to whatever he was doing.
So when it comes to making a birthday cake he would actually love, my options were pretty much as wide as the variety of unadorned cakes.
Thankfully, this really moist and delicious butter cake (thanks to the addition of vanilla in two forms- extract and a vanilla bean) was one dessert the birthday boy lapped up.
And even I, who would pick a frosted chocolate layer cake over a slice of butter cake any day, have to say that it was some pretty damned good cake.
What can I say? The guy has, in more ways than one, taught me to appreciate the simpler things.
So until his next birthday rolls around, I’ll definitely keeping an eye out for any fantastic unadorned cakes that come my way.
Double Vanilla Butter Cake [Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible]
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g sifted cake flour
150g caster sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
184g salted butter, softened
- Preheat the oven at 175C. Grease a 4 cup loaf pan and set aside.
- Heat the milk and vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Bring the milk almost to a boil. Remove the saucepan from heat and let the mixture stand to infuse until cool to room temperature. Scrap the black vanilla seeds from the pod into the milk. Set the pod aside†.
- Combine the vanilla-infused milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, mix the dry ingredients to blend. Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn to speed up to medium and beat for a minute.
- Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.
- Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool for ten minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack. Makes one loaf