9.25.2011

Super Easy Yellow Cake

I am not a baker.
There are lots of things that I cannot do and do not understand.
I am bad at math, I can’t change radiator fluid, I burn every pancake I try to make and I don’t understand how the players can walk on top of the CGI down line during football games.
But do you need me to name a movie by some obscure line, tell you which spices go best on rabbit or answer some crazy diet question?  That I can do. I do know the best angle at which to Parallel Park and can always figure out which way is west and that birthdays, no matter what, are a big deal; and that first birthdays are an even bigger deal.
That being said there was a very important birthday in my life recently, my dear friend’s baby Noah’s 1st birthday. I was asked to bake the cake for this celebration and that made me very nervous. Cooking is natural to me, you can taste as you go, recognize what is lacking and then add it, a handful is a countable measurement and even if you mess it up, there is usually a way to fix it. But baking?? There are precise measurements that sometimes need to be halved or fourth-ed, all these ingredients that you wouldn’t normally have and then you just banish your batter to the oven for 35 minutes sweating the whole time hoping it comes out right. There are so many things that could go wrong. I mean buttermilk? Why would I have ½ a cup of that, do you know how fast it spoils? Baking powder and baking soda? Why do I need both, I am pretty sure they are the same thing! “You got me throwing cookies up in there, pushing all these buttons, oh no, you can have a coke!!” You promise this is going to double in size? Do I look like some kind of mad scientist or something? But…
I didn’t want to let this little guy down.
I found a fool proof cake recipe, that is moist and has a dense crumb and can stand up to a rich frosting. Use it, you cant mess it up. This is translated from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans.

Sift 2 ½ Cups Flour with 1 TS Baking Powder and ½ TS each salt and baking soda, set aside. Beat together 3 eggs and 2 cups superfine sugar for about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of canola oil, 2 TS vanilla and 1 cup sour cream. Mix until combined. Mix in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Eat. Or frost then eat. Want to get fancy? Add some pineapple and rum, add some rose water and make a pistachio buttercream, Maybe Guinness and candied bacon, or just lots and lots of chocolate.

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