Friday, March 19, 2010

Two Cakes, One Success

I baked both of those cakes.  Only one was edible.  Sometimes that is how the game goes.  My future mother-in-law had a “gün,”  literally a “day.”  It refers to a tea party or women’s get together.  She asked me to make “American Pasta,” or “American Cake.”  She had a vanilla cake at a military base once and has been searching for it ever since.  The closest explanation was it was cake, vanilla and had frosting.  I thought it might be yellow birthday cake.  So that is what I made.   I searched for a great recipe, and found it.  She said it was a wonderful cake, though not what she had an American military base.  I suggested since I had been trying to match this described cake from her memory for a year now --her best bet would be to appreciate the memory as I have NO IDEA what she is talking about.  I have exhausted all the possibilities of cake I thought it could be tfrom the description.
This cake is billed as the “Best Birthday Cake.”  The author is correct.  The Smitten Kitchen is an awesome blog.  She does amazing things with food.  (Hint: Check out her oatmeal raisin cookies.)
To achieve the mess on the left only use 2 cups of flour because maybe you were drinking wine while baking—not recommended.  To achieve the height on the right, use the right amount of flour.  In Turkey they do not sell buttermilk, so instead of adding vinegar to milk (“my normal substitute) I used Kefir, and the cake turned out great)

Yellow Layer Cake
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken (or kefir)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (Smitten Kitchen recommended this and I found it to work like a charm.  No weird bubbles. Bake until gold and a tooth pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Turn upside down onto rack cool complete. 
Makes two 9 inch layers


  1. How funny! Sometimes I think a memory of a food is always going to be better than anything else. Once when I was a kid I had the best Grilled Chicken Sandwich EVER at a TRUCK stop. I ate Grilled Chicken Sandwiches at every restaurant I went to for a YEAR trying to replicate that taste. I've since decided I must have just been really really hungry that day to have eaten at a truck stop and anything I ate at that meal would have been the best ever!

    BTW... the cake on the right... it looks GREAT! ;)

  2. I had a friend who called that the "silver box experience". She said she had an imaginary silver box that she used to keep her perfect memories. When she spoke of her "silver box chocolate cake" experience, her eyes would roll and she would literally shiver. Not all silver box items are food; I have memories of a silver box summer day at the lake.


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