Say “butter cake” and the first thing I think of would be my wedding cake. It was the most delicious cake without being overly biased. Now, how do you go about baking a cake that has set the bar up so high? Well, it was not easy. The first thing to overcome was hesitation. I hesitated for the longest time to attempt on it. I have never baked a butter cake. It sounds very simple but I was afraid. Afraid that I would be disappointed with my efforts, especially if it turned out to be not anywhere near this wonderful cake in our memories. Of course, in the end, curiosity overcame hesitation. You see, in Malaysia and Singapore, there is a butter cake recipe circulating among baking aficionados. It is rumored to be foolproof (nearly!) and yields the most amazing results. And we know, for bakers, a good recipe is part of the road to successful baking. Well, in my opinion, at least!
I had a chat with my mom about it too. And told her about this recipe. As it turns out, it is a similar recipe from a book that she has. A very old book, that is. However, to keep it fair to the lady who revived it, thanks to the gracious sharing of her friend, I will still refer it as the “Mrs Ng SK’s Vanilla Butter Cake”. I took two attempts to get it right. The first was not so good as it had a dark line at the bottom of the cake. I asked around what could have gone wrong. The answers were (1) butter melted (2) too narrow a pan that expansion was hindered. I had used a loaf pan for the first attempt and a 23cm round pan for the second attempt. Based on that, I would say if you do not have a square pan just substitute with a round pan that has a near similar surface area. However, I will try using the load pan again just to make sure theory (2) has basis when I have extra time somewhere in the future 🙂
250g salted butter, at room temperature (Softened so you can beat it easily but not melting)200g eggs, weighed without shells (This should be 4 medium-sized eggs or Grade B)
50g & 150g sugar (weighed separately)
200g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Line and grease a 8inch/20cm square pan with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Separate the eggs, making sure no yolk residue is in the egg whites. In a clean medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites till soft peaks form (when the egg whites begin to hold shape for a second or two before merging back with the rest). Sprinkle in 50g of sugar gradually, beating the egg whites as you add. Beat until stiff peak forms. (when the egg whites hold its shape and the egg whites on the whisk are standing up when you overturn the whisk). Set aside.
3. In a different bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale and light. That should take about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated. Add in the egg yolks one by one, beating well after every addition.
4. Incorporate half of the flour with mixer on low-speed. Mix well before adding the milk in 2 additions. Beat well each time. Add in the rest of the flour and incorporate well.
5. Gradually fold in the egg whites, in 2 additions.
6. Pour batter into the pan.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Adjust accordingly if you are using a pan of different size. If the surface browns too soon, cover it with foil or lower the temperature in the last 15-20 minutes.
8. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling it completely on a cooling rack.
I am still considering about getting a set of square pans. I have been admiring at some. Hopefully, our household space and budget will allow me to acquire some soon! Meanwhile, happy baking!