Friday, August 19, 2016

How to make a simple vanilla cake...

Today I'm going to share a simple basic recipe for making a vanilla cake. A recipe that can be followed by anyone. For a long time I have been requested to post this but haven't done it till date. Though I bake this cake at least thrice a month as a snack for my kid. It is so easy and simple that my nine year old knows how to do it. 

This is the recipe I have seen my mother and aunts use while baking cakes in winter. It was like a ritual in our house to bake at least one cake during our winter break. I remember it was such a exciting day for us. It was more of an event. We used to announce with pride to our friends "today Ma's going to bake a cake, so we can't join you to play badminton this morning". Badminton, oranges and cake were such integral part of our winter days.

Coming back to the cake, there was an electric oven to bake the cake, a small round shaped aluminium  oven with flat top and bottom with a glass top from where you can see the cake rising. It was my father's duty to take out the oven from its box. Yes, it used to be kept in its original box throughout the year waiting to be used during winter for our family celebration of Christmas and new year.

Ma used to keep a slab of butter on the kitchen counter to bring it to room temperature, three eggs sitting next to it. After the butter was soft enough to beat, Ma used beat sugar and butter for the cake. Oh! that is the most heavenly smell and taste from my childhood days, the creamed butter and sugar. Now a days we use electric beater or a stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar, but then it was 100% manual.It took her a long time to beat that. I can still recall that sound of mixing along with the jingles of Ma's bangles. I feel food memories are not only about smell and taste, the sound is also a part of it. The particular season, the comfortable winter clothes, the process of making something other than usual, the excitement of the batter rising to a round brownish cake studded with cashews and raisins are cherished memories of my childhood days.

Now it is an weekly thing in my kitchen, I bake cakes,breads, muffins, cookies or some savory dishes. To bake, we can use a microwave oven with convection mode, or an OTG (oven toaster grill) or a built in oven (the best and the most expensive option) for baking. I use an OTG, (the brand is Morphy Richards) and I'm very satisfied with this.

The mantra is to follow the recipe to the tee. If you are new to baking do not overlook any step, as you keep baking you will be confident to tweak recipes. Make sure you use measuring cups for measuring the ingredients and good quality baking tins and trays to bake. Every oven is different so it is better  to use an oven thermometer to check the exact temperature. And above all along with the best ingredients mix a little love to make it extra special.

This simple recipe needs butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder and milk. Bring all the ingredients to room temperature before you start. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 375 F. I used  my electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Use granulated sugar, if you do not have granulated sugar then grind the sugar in a grinder, it will be easier to mix. Add eggs one at a time, and scrape the side of the bowls in between mixing. Make sure to sieve the flour and baking powder to the batter. Do not add too much batter in the pan and do not over bake the cake. I know those who are not frequent at baking finds it very intimidating, but once you start baking it becomes easier and easier.

I used Amul butter for this cake, it was salted butter, you can use either salted or unsalted butter, it does not matter. If you are using unsalted butter add a pinch a salt to the flour.

Things needed to make a vanilla cake:

(Makes a 10 inch round cake or 12 cupcakes)
  • Butter: 100 gm
  • Granulated suagr: 1 cup
  • Eggs: 3
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp (5 ml)
  • Flour: 1 cup (more to dust)
  • Baking powder: 1 tsp
  • Milk: 1/4 cup
  • Nuts, raisins, dried fruits, chocolate chips as per choice (optional)

Steps of making vanilla cake:

1. Bring all the ingredients to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 375 F.

3. Cream the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes using an electric mixer. If you are mixing with hand, it will take longer. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between.

4. Add one egg at a time, and mix. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla extract and mix.

5. Sieve and add baking powder and flour. Add one third of the flour, fold the flour into the batter gently, do not use the electric mixer. Do the mixing with hand. Add half of the milk and mix. Add half of the flour and fold in, add milk and mix. Add rest of the flour and fold in. Use a spatula for better result.

6. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, or grease the baking pan and dust with flour evenly. Pour the batter into the pan, I used a 9X5 inch loaf pan, you can use a 10 inch round baking pan also.

7. Place the baking pan in the preheated oven in the middle of the oven. Adjust the rack accordingly. Bake at 180 C/ 375 F for 20-25 min. When a skewer inserted at the center comes out clean the cake is ready.

8. Take out the cake and let to cool down in the pan for 10 min on a cooling rack. Gently take out the cake from pan and let it cool down further. Cut into slices and enjoy with friends and family. This can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Variations: Add cocoa powder (1/3 cup) to make a chocolate cake. Add various dried fruits, nuts to make the cake tastier, chocolate chips can also be added.

There are many more baking recipes, check the baking section for the recipes.

This post is going for the KFB's bake mania event conducted by fellow blogger Urmi Ghosh, who blogs at Ume's kitchen.

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  1. That looks perfectly moist! My Mom used to bake Vanilla cake quite often and it was our after school snack :)

  2. Loved reading your food memories. My mom used to bake in a round oven too and used a recipe similar to yours. In fact mom had a weighing scale similar to the one that vegetable vendors have and we used to measure flour, sugar and butter same as the weight of the eggs used.

    1. Thanks Amrita. The weighing scale is very interesting, do you still have that?