A plain butter cake, from a time when cookbooks would fit four recipes per page and eating butter was normal. It isn’t fluffy. It is dense, buttery, rich and breaks into thick moist crumbles.
I am calling the cake Grandma’s cake really because I got the recipe from a 1938 Watkins Cook Book. This isn’t my grandma’s recipe or anything and actually my friends’ first reaction was calling it a “mom cake.” I served it next to tea. “It’s good, it reminds me of my mother’s cake. It’s a very mom cake.”
A thing about old cookbooks is they don’t pamper you at all. No big photo nor step-by-step images; no serving suggestions or insightful tips. They cram 4-6 recipes per page and present the instructions in little dense paragraphs. You need to understand instructions like “roll up like jelly roll,” “blend all ingredients like pie crust,” “soak gelatin in 1 pint cold water, later dissolve in boiling water,” and “add flour mixing with little oil, then tomatoes after putting through sieve.”
Still, there is something refreshing about having recipes treated so nonchalantly. Like someone telling you: “don’t fuss about it too much and just do it”
A plain butter cake, from a time when cookbooks would fit four recipes per page and eating butter was normal. It isn’t fluffy. It is deliciously dense, buttery, rich and breaks into thick moist crumbles.
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 cups flour (I used jovial's einkorn flour)
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cream butter, add sugar gradually, blend thoroughly.
- Beat eggs well, add to first mixture.
- Mix flour, salt and baking powder, combine alternatively with milk.
- Lastly, add vanilla.
- Bake in buttered layer tins, 25 minutes.*
I wrote the instructions as came in the book. Households didn't have electric beaters back then so I imagine you could facilitate the process by just mixing dry ingredients, beating wet ingredients separately then adding them together.
* I baked the cake in a round, 9.5 in pyrex
* I drizzled Hammond Farms' cajeta but it seriously doesn't need it. It is sweet and gloriously delicious on it's own.
fun fact: I got the cookbook at the Spring Antique Mall for $8. Back in 1938 this book was sold for $1.50 which is equivalent to $25.30 right now. That’s kind of like I made $17.30 dollars! ;P but shhhh don’t quote me to economists.