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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Butter Cake

It feels as if the basic to cake baking always starts with making the butter cake. I know it was the case for my mom, and it certainly was for me. I started as an assistant to my mom even when I was a kid still. And I think I actually took commands from my mom pretty well back then lol. That was where I got my very first exposure to cake baking - with weighing, sieving, beating and mixing. And those pretty much summarized my experience in cake baking prior to my very first attempt in baking a cake, all on my own ever.

That, started pretty soon after I moved here, motivated by none other than the endless cravings that tagged along with me as I made the choice moving abroad lol. Mom has an exclusive butter cake recipe that she has been using probably for decades now. No, not this one featured here, but someday, someday I'll make sure that that specialty of hers gets featured here.

This recipe is one I adapted from Amy Beh at Kuali. It marked the first ever baking recipe that I have actually noted down in my personal recipe notebook, tried and tested a couple of times along the journey of my cake baking here.

Minor modifications were made here and there as I baked it again and again from time to time. Some intentional, some not. Specifically, the amount of sugar used has been reduced intentionally since the very beginning and evaporated milk was used in replacement of the fresh UHT milk specified in the original recipe. Unintentionally (and as silly as it may sound), I omitted the salt, again for a silly reason - I ran out of unsalted butter and resorted to topping the rest with the salted butter and thus explained the absence of any additional salt. Well surprisingly, it turned out yummy!

So this final edited version to the original recipe (with all the changes in between - intentional and unintentional) has been one that I have been sticking to for probably a year plus now, now a favorite of ours at home and among some friends who have actually tasted it too.

Butter Cake 
Adapted from Kuali
Makes an 8" round cake
14 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tbsps salted butter, room temperature
190g castor sugar, sifted
200g selt raising flour, sifted
4 large eggs
4 tbsps evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Line a 8" round cake pan with the parchment paper and lightly grease it. Preheat the oven at 355°F.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
3. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is light and fluffy.

4. Add in the vanilla essence next.

5. Adding in 1/3 of the sifted flour at a time, mix on low speed until all the flour gets incorporated well.
6. Add in the milk next. Mix until well combined.

7. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Level out the surface while creating a shallow well right in the center. That should allow enough space for the cake to rise when baked later.

8. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes or until a test with the skewer comes out clean.


  1. I made your butter cake and it turned out very nicely but somewhat dense. It still tasted fabulous. Could you tell me if I used the correct quantities and type of flour? I used 1 1/2 cups of fine sugar and 1 3/4 cups of all purpose Lilly flour as that was what I had on hand. Also, I would like to make the next one with a lemon flavour. I thought of zesting and juicing one lemon but would I need to decrease the amount of milk? I am a novice cake maker so any suggestions you have are appreciated. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi there! I think what differed were both the type and amount of sugar and flour you used. The recipe calls for castor sugar (instead of fine sugar) and self-raising flour (instead of all-purpose flour). Here is a rough calculation as to how much they are needed in cups:
      - castor sugar ~1 cup
      - self-raising flour ~1 1/2 cups

      I'm not totally positive about this, but I feel that the dense texture of your cake could be due to the excess sugar and especially the different type of flour used. Unlike all-purpose flour, self-raising flour contains a leavening agent added to it; it traps air, raising the cake and giving it a lighter texture in general. So give it a try :)

      As for the lemon butter cake, I think your idea may actually work! I may even exclude the milk altogether. Good luck trying, and I hope it turns out great!

    2. Thank you so much for your suggestions and information. Is Lilly flour OK to use with cakes? I know it is used in the South for biscuits. Also, what is the difference between castor sugar and extra fine sugar? I bought extra fine because I couldn't find castor sugar in the grocery store. I'll let you know how my next lemon experiment turns out.

  2. 1 tbsp. of butter equal to how many gm of butter. Thanks


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