Where does one begin when trying to sum up a lifelong dream and journey? Perhaps starting with a tidbit of advice is a good place. Never give up—that’s what I want you to walk away from this post repeating to yourself. They are just three seemingly simple words, but so valuable to remember when dreaming big. The things we want most in this world often require a lot of hard work. I recently wrote on my blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen, that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Set your goals, plot your course, then remember to pace yourself, and take a few deep breaths along the way.
That’s what I did when I decided to write a cookbook back in 2009. Four years later, that dream became a reality in the form of Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie’s Kitchen. After a six-week schedule of traveling to a few U.S. cities, I can honestly say promoting a cookbook is as challenging as writing one. It was rewarding, getting to put faces to so many of my readers, but man was it exhausting.
My book tour was made possible partly with generous support from KitchenAid. Partnering with KitchenAid in the promotion of Homemade with Love made perfect sense. My very first stand mixer was a gift from my beloved uncle, so KitchenAid holds a particularly special place in my heart (and boy did it make baking over 100 dozen cookies much easier that holiday season!).
With all I do for others, it is easy to overlook my own needs. When I need to reconnect with myself, the kitchen is still the place I know how to do that best. This past Mother’s Day I decided to bake myself a cake. I figured it was time to give myself a little homemade TLC. It seems only fitting to share the recipe for that cake here with all of you, since KitchenAid is celebrating the launch of their new blog. So, without further adieu let’s go bake a cake!
These directions may seem contrary to everything you’ve been told about making cakes. The wet and dry ingredients are added together, the batter is beaten on high speed—something we’ve all been told is a no-no if you want light and airy cakes. Well, just trust me here and you’ll be rewarded with the most delicate, buttery crumb imaginable.
I love to frost this cake with vanilla buttercream or a rich chocolate ganache icing. In the summertime, I serve just a single layer topped with fresh whipped cream and a pile of whatever berries are in season. In that event, you can freeze the second layer to have as a back up for an easy dessert. Just wrap it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and store it in a ziptop bag in the freezer. It will stay fresh for up to two months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight, and let the cake come to room temperature before serving it.
Golden Vanilla Birthday Cake
Makes two 8-inch cake layers
3 1/4 cups (471 grams) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (5 grams) sea salt
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (437 ml) milk
2 sticks (8 ounces/224 grams) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated natural cane sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease the bottom and sides of two 8-inch cake pans. Place an 8-inch circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan. Lightly flour the sides of each pan, and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until combined; set aside.
In a small measuring cup, whisk the milk and vanilla together until combined; set aside.
In a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs and beat again until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Pour in the milk and flour mixtures, and starting on low speed, mix until all the ingredients are just combined. Turn the speed up to high and beat for 10 seconds. Scrape down sides and beat for 10 more seconds.
Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans. Gently tap the bottom of the pans on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake, side by side on the center rack of the oven, for 32 to 35 minutes, until tops are golden and a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.