After that I learned about pound cakes, fruitcakes, and layer cakes from all the women in the family, who were old-fashioned scratch cake bakers.
Because of this, I now feel guilty if I ever use a boxed cake mix, although that's still a rare occurrence.
Another of my favorite butter cake recipes was actually a coffee cake, that dripped with butter, brown sugar, and sometimes a scattering of nuts or a drizzle of chocolate.
I gave those coffee cakes to friends and family at the holidays as gifts.
You may be new to baking and are wondering what exactly a butter cake is.
Well, a butter cake or shortening style cake, is the type of cake that uses either butter or some other type of fat, like shortening.
This is as opposed to a sponge cake, which does not use any type of fat, but instead relies on eggs and air for fluffiness.
Butter cakes need baking powders or baking soda or both to create the rising effect that makes cake so characteristically fluffy.
Good cake bakers should only use high quality ingredients, which means real butter or unprocessed shortenings, like coconut oil, olive oil, NOT margarine.
Even tallow or lard from grass fed meats are better than margarine, in my opinion.
Ok, I won't lecture on this point, even though I feel strongly about it. If you must use margarine, just don't tell me about it, and we'll both be better off.
Do you know why it's called a Pound Cake? Can you guess?
I've heard that it's because the primary ingredients in an old fashioned pound cake were measured by the pound. So a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, and a pound of flour. Toss in the eggs, baking powder and any flavorings, and you have a classic pound cake.
The only problem with using the traditional old fashioned pound cake recipe, assuming that's how they came to be, is that it's a lot of cake! If you were an old fashioned family, you might need to feed 12 people just for a family meal, not to mention on Sundays when you might have had extras.
So this recipe is for today's cake baker and smaller families.
Preheat to 350°F. Prepare a large loaf pan or two smaller ones by greasing with coconut oil or vegetable shortening.
Blend together the butter and sugar until smooth and light. Add the eggs, blending well after each.
Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients, then add to the creamed mixture, a 1/2 cup or so at a time.
Pour the pound cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, then begin checking for done at 10 minute intervals.
A rich and satisfying butter cake everyone will love.
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