I don't believe that cake is only meant for special occasions. After all, it's relatively easy to make, and it goes with absolutely everything. But, for some reason, we as a society seem to think of it as something meant for birthdays and dinner parties. I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be like that.
That's right. I want you to liberate cake from its a-couple-of-times-a-year shackles. Loose it from its guests-for-dinner chains. Work with me, people.
To help you along, I thought I'd share one of my favorite everyday cake recipes. It's a simple buttermilk cake, and it bakes up like a light and fluffy version of pound cake. (Don't have buttermilk on hand? Use some plain yogurt instead.) It goes well with everything from macerated fruit to hot fudge to ice cream to whipped cream. When I made it last week, I had a slice with a bit of lightly sweetened whipped cream for dessert, and then brought the rest in to work, where people ate it plain - and loved every bite.
The best part? It takes about ten minutes to prep. All you need to do is remember to soften the butter a bit ahead of time. Seriously. It's so easy.
So, please - won't you help me save cake from a lifetime of celebrations and usher it into your regular routine? You won't be sorry.
Everyday Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Gourmet
2 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (I use low-fat), well-shaken
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-inch, round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and set the pan aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the salt.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment - or a large bowl and a hand-held electric mixer fitted with the beaters - beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
With the mixer or beaters on low speed, beat in the buttermilk until just combined. Add the flour in three batches, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition, until the mixture is just combined.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula, or the back of a wooden spoon. Rap the pan on the counter several times to get rid of any air bubbles.
Place the cake in the oven and bake until it is golden and a wooden pick inserted into its center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.
Place the pan on a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, and then invert the cake onto a plate. Invert the cake back onto the rack to cool completely.
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Keeps well wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to two days.