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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Basic butter cake

Because there wasn't enough decadence already on the menu for the holidays, we had a retirement party at work for a co-worker and brought in more.  This was my contribution.  I needed something that would come together with minimal fuss.  This recipe  uses an unconventional mixing method, but it worked!  I did not beat the batter very long at all, just enough to mix well, due to her caution, but I saw later by her photos that she would have had me beat it longer, until it was fluffy. Whatever, it wasn't a problem.  The cake rose beautifully, done in just an hour, and was delightful.  I made a simple spiced fruit compote as a tangy side to the sweet, buttery cake.

Here's what I used:

3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

In a stand mixer bowl combine the cake flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix to combine.   Add the buttermilk, butter, vanilla and almond extract and eggs. Mix well. Do not over beat, mix just until ingredients are combined, about three and a half minutes. Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1- 1¼  hours or until cake tester comes out clean.  (Do not overbake!  Baking times depend on many factors so start testing for doneness after 50 min. Depending on pan size and oven variances, you could under or over bake.)  In the pan, pierce the hot cake with fork tines or a bamboo skewer. Pour half the glaze slowly over the cake.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then flip out onto a cake plate. Pour the remaining sauce over the cake.  Serve with fruit or ice cream.

Glaze:  Combine all the ingredients, except vanilla, in a sauce pan. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat . Stir in vanilla, set aside to slightly cool.

Conclusion:  This is a very good basic butter cake, very light.  I'm not sure about the almond flavoring -- seems like almond needs to be part of a bigger picture -- and I wasn't keen on the glaze.  The glaze crystallized (judging from the other photos, this was everyone's experience), became slightly chewy and was overly sweet.  It also wasn't very attractive.  But the cake is a versatile recipe; it would be good as a layer cake, in a Bacardi rum cake, or with just a plain bittersweet ganache.  It also could be flavored with spices, citrus, etc.  I will make this again, but in a different incarnation.

Cake recipe:  Bust Your Buttons Butter Cake by Angela Gray for Just a Pinch.
Original compote recipe:   Spiced cranberry sauce via Taste of Home, with added mixed berries and apple.

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