It is always nice to have a cake around the house. My grandmother might say that you need to have something sweet on hand in case company shows up, because it is always polite to offer guests something to nibble on with their coffee. I personally like to have some cake around because I like to have something to nibble on with my own coffee – although I think that the company argument is fair if you have relatives who like to drop in unexpectedly. For these “everyday” cakes, I like recipes that are easy to make and don’t require a lot of special ingredients, so I can whip them up anytime I’m in the mood for a piece of cake.
This Everyday Vanilla Cake is a recipe that you probably have the ingredients for in your kitchen right now. But don’t be fooled by how simple this cake is, because it is very tasty and could be just the thing you need to satisfy a cake craving. It has a tight, soft crumb and is reminiscent of pound cake, although this cake is lighter in texture than a pound cake is. It has a subtle vanilla flavor and there is just enough sweetness in the cake to let it shine. You really can’t go wrong – especially if you are a vanilla fan. If I want to boost the vanilla in the cake even more, I might scrape half a vanilla bean into my cake batter along with the sugar, though the vanilla extract does a very nice job flavoring this cake, too.
I like to keep this cake plain and serve it as-is, much as you would with a pound cake. It is quite good on its own and very versatile this way. For instance, you could serve two slices with fresh berries for a take on strawberry shortcake or toast a slice and top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If do you prefer your cake a little dressed up, however, you can top it off with a little vanilla (or other flavor) glaze made with confectioners sugar.
Everyday Vanilla Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, adding them one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Add in remaining flour mixture, stirring just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 loaf. Serves 8-10.