Layer cake, cupcakes, or loaf cake? One basic batter makes all these and more. It may be the only recipe you will ever need -- a boxed mix just can't compare.
Batter Up! Tips for a Greater Cake
- Plan ahead: Butter, eggs, and liquids (such as buttermilk) should be at room temperature to combine evenly and thoroughly. Butter can be microwaved in short increments at 50 percent power to speed up the process; whole eggs can be placed in warm water.
- Don't rush when mixing the butter and sugar. This important step, called creaming, aerates the batter for a light and fluffy texture.
- Choose ingredients carefully. Use cake flour instead of all-purpose for a softer, finer crumb, unsalted butter to control the saltiness, and pure vanilla extract -- not imitation -- for the best flavor. Be sure to use large eggs.
- Measure flour in a dry-measuring cup. Don't pack it in, but lightly spoon it in, then level it off with a knife. Measure liquids in a liquid-measuring cup and check for accuracy at eye level.
- Alternating dry and wet ingredients when beating them into the batter helps prevent toughness. Always begin and end with the dry ingredients.
- Cake batter can't be made in advance, but unfrosted cakes can -- and they freeze beautifully. Let them cool completely, then wrap in plastic before refrigerating for 2 days or freezing for 1 month. Let thaw completely before icing or decorating.