This recipe was in the cookbook that my Grandma Piper customized for me. This is apparently the cake that the Piper family always made for weddings (so my great-grandma’s recipe on my Grandpa’s side, I think), and my Grandma made it for birthday parties. I made this for the first time last week for B’s birthday party on the weekend.
It results in an exceptionally smooth batter, it almost feels a bit too fancy for a kid’s party. But it’s a lovely cake! It also stored well double-wrapped in the fridge for a few days before I iced it. I haven’t tried freezing this cake, but I think it would probably work nicely.
Grandma would have always used her KitchenAid, but it was no problem making this with handheld electric beaters. Her recipe didn’t specify salted or unsalted butter. I used salted and quite liked it. Likewise it didn’t specify the sugar. I’m almost certain she would have used granulated, but I used caster which worked fabulously. If you use caster, just make sure to go with the weight measurement, not cups.
Apparently this recipe makes 3 dozen cupcakes and you have to bake those for 25 minutes. But I’ve never tried it, and there is no more instruction from her on that.
Goes well with this classic white frosting recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 325F (165C).
- In a KitchenAid, or in a large bowl using electric hand beaters, cream together ⅔ c (150 g) butter and 2 c (400 g) granulated sugar until very smooth. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, sift together 3 c (360 g) cake flour and 1 tbsp baking powder.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in to the butter mixture alternating with 1½ c milk, blending after each addition. Do not overbeat.
- Butter and flour two eight-inch cake pans.
- In a separate bowl, beat together 4 egg whites until stiff but moist. Make sure that the beaters and bowl are very clean, any fat will prevent the egg whites from frothing up nicely.
- Fold the beaten egg whites in to the rest of the batter using a large metal spoon.
- Pour in equal parts in to your two prepared layer pans. Then bake at 325F (165C) for 10 minutes, and 25 minutes at 350F (175C).
- When done*, remove from the oven and let cool in their tins for about 10 minutes. Turn the layers out on to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before icing the layers or double-wrapping in cling film to refrigerate or freeze them. If storing, try to store them side-by-side to preserve height.
* This cake is sort of hard to tell when it’s done. When done, it will have picked up a little bit of color on top and should pull away from the sides of the pan slightly. If you listen to it you shouldn’t hear much crackling, and if you very lightly press the top, it shouldn’t feel like you pop too many bubbles.