Wednesday 9 January 2008


I've had The Perfect Cake: 150 Cakes for Every Taste and Occasion, by Susan G. Purdy, sitting on my bookshelf for a while. I go back to the same butter cake recipe all the time because it's easy, not too sweet and has a fine tender crumb. It's simply delicious. It also keeps well. I've used it in all of my Wilton Cake Decorating classes when I had "homework" to do. Layers split well and there are endless variations one can achieve with the basic recipe.

"Anna's Swedish Butter Cake" is my favourite butter cake recipe (that's from Anna Olson by the way). I'm using it for Bib's First Birthday Cake. Here's the recipe.

Anna's Swedish Butter Cake
(from Susan G. Purdy's The Perfect Cake)
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces; 240 g) plus 2 T sifted all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 230 g) lightly salted butter (not margarine), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz; 300 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 t almond extract (vanilla extract can be substituted)
confectioners' sugar (optional)

  • Prepare two 9-inch round cake pan(s) by spreading solid shortening on bottom and sides; dust evenly with flour; tap out excess. Position rack in centre of oven. Preheat oven to 350degrees F.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside
    With a wooden spoon in a mixing bowl or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and well-blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Alternately add the dry ingredients and milk, beating after each addition, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Stir in the almond or vanilla extract
  • Spoon batter into the prepared pans, level the top, then spread the batter slightly toward the pan edges. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes for a tube cake or 30 to 35 minutes for layers, or until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake in its pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then run a knife blade around the edge of the cake. Top with another rack or plate, invert, and lift off the pans. Cool the cake completely before sifting on confectioners' sugar or adding a frosting of your choice.

I'm going to frost this cake with a Rose Levy Beranbaum buttercream: the Neoclassic Chocolate Buttercream. It uses egg yolks as opposed to egg whites, which is a plus because I want to minimize the amount of allergenic ingredients in the cake. Allergenic proteins are primarily found in the egg whites--babies aren't supposed to have egg whites for a while.

Neoclassic Chocolate Buttercream (makes 4 cups/1 3/4 lb/800g; enough to fill and frost two 9-inch by 1 1/2 inch layers)

(from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible )

6 large (3.5 fl oz/ 4 oz/112 g) egg yolks, room temperature
sugar (3/4 cup/5.25 oz/150 g)
corn syrup (1/2 liquid cup/5.75 oz/164 g)
unsalted butter (2 cups/1 lb/454 g) (must be softened)
optional: liqueur or eau-de-vie of your choice (2-4 T/1-2oz/28-56 g)
6 oz extra bittersweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • Have ready a greased 1-cup heatproof glass measure near the range
  • In a bowl beat the yolks with an electric mixer until light in colour. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan (preferably with a nonstick lining) and heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a rolling boil. (The entire surface will be covered with large bubbles.) Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking.
  • If using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the syrup into the yolks in a steady stream. Don't allow syrup to fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of syrup over the yolks with the mixer turned off. Immediately beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Stop the mixer and add a larger amount of syrup. Beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Continue with the remaining syrup. For the last addition, use a rubber scraper to remove the syrup clinging to the glass measure. Continue beating until completely cool.
  • Gradually beat in the butter and any optional flavouring. Incorporate the melted bittersweet chocolate. Place in an airtight bowl. Bring to room temperature before using. Rebeat to restore texture.
  • Store: 6 hours room temperature, 1 week refrigerated, 8 months frozen


Patricia Scarpin said...

I'm always interesting in good cake recipes that are great to fill/ice.
Tks for sharing!

Sara♥Kent said...

I am currently trying this recipe as cupcakes and it seems to be working out great!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting with weight measurements. I find it easier and less clean-up.


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