On the heels of last week’s exceptional recipe for carrot cake, I hope you’ll forgive me for toying with your sweet tooth once again. In honor of my mother’s 85th birthday, we enjoyed a sensational Vanilla Buttermilk Cake that you just might want to know how to bake for an upcoming special occasion of your own.
The cake is similar to one my mother made in the 1950’s, easy to make because it’s mixed in one bowl with an electric mixer, based on the then relatively new “quick-mix “ method of mixing cakes. The frosting for the cake, “Creamy French Icing,” is adapted from the 1948 edition of “New Recipes for Good Eating,” a publication by the Procter & Gamble Company utilizing Crisco, a product the company introduced in 1911, twenty years before my mother was born. Please don’t tell the folks at Crisco, but my mother, who is an excellent baker, always preferred the taste of butter in her cakes and frostings (and so do I), so the icing recipe has been altered – not only for the butter, but also for the tripling of the recipe to accommodate a larger layer cake.
For her mixing tasks, my mother used a Dormeyer stand mixer, which served her admirably for decades. I use a workhouse of a stand mixer by Kitchen Aid in my kitchen, but I also value my own vintage Dormeyer stand mixer and a neat little Dormey hand-held model because, though retired, they still work. Honest. The mixers of the 1950’s did not possess the power of today’s mixers, so the directions in the cake recipe calls for setting your mixer at medium speed for a comparatively short mixing time, and it’s important not to overbeat this cake.
Special events deserve the best your baking skills have to offer. Be you experienced, or fairly new at baking, sometimes it’s good to step out of the box and into the delicious world of tried-and-true memorable recipes that last a lifetime and for the lucky, many years beyond.