A Special Cake for a Special Lady

One of my nearest and dearest is getting hitched in just a few short months and I have been given the honorable task of making the wedding cake. Needless to say, I am pretty excited to be part of the big day! She is marrying her betrothed on her family's ranch just outside of Austin, TX and it is shaping up to be a boot-scootin' good time. When her lovely aunts and cousin decided to throw her an engagement tea I immediately offered to make a mini wedding cake so I could test my recipes with some folks in my target audience. The bride requested a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, so I turned to the incredible pound cake from Saveur that I have made loads of times and my standby vanilla buttercream that I know she loves. Then I filled the cake with a thin layer of raspberry preserves mixed with fresh raspberries to cut the sweetness and add a pretty pink surprise in the middle. Well, it was a big hit and all of the ladies at the party told me they can't wait to eat it again at the wedding!

If you aren't feeling ambitious enough to make a layer cake, this pound cake is great on its own or with fresh fruit and whipped cream or maybe even a little chocolate sauce if that's what you're in the mood for. Use the best butter, eggs, and vanilla you can afford, this cake is so simple that quality ingredients really do make a difference.

Vanilla Pound Cake

adapted from Saveur

12 oz softened butter

3c flour

1t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1c milk, room temperature

1T vanilla extract

3c sugar

6 large eggs, room temperature

1. Heat oven to 325 and generously butter and flour a 10'' tube pan*. Pat out any excess flour and make sure the entire inside surface of the pan is covered, no one likes a stuck, broken cake

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup

3. In the bowl of a standing mixer cream butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on med-low speed, gradually pour in the sugar, scrape down the bowl and beat until smooth, light and fluffy, about 3 more minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture beating for 15 second before adding another and scraping down the bowl often.

5. Reduce the speed to low and alternately add the flour and milk mixtures in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour. When there are still a few streaks of flour left in the batter, take it from the mixer and finish the mixing by hand.

6. Pour into the prepared pan and firmly tap to remove any air bubbles. Bake until light golden, about 75 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30min, then invert onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.

This cake is awesome the next day, or even two or three days after you bake it. I baked my cake on a Friday and served it on a Sunday and it was still moist and delicious. It also really doesn't need any frosting, but if you would like to make a layer cake as I did, I have provided a great simple vanilla bean buttercream below.

*I multiplied this recipe 1.5 times and baked 3, 7'' layers and 4, 6'' layers to make my two tiered mini wedding cake

Simple Vanilla Bean Buttercream

1 lb softened butter

2 lbs sifted confectioner's sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped

1t vanilla extract

1/4-1/2 cup room temp milk

big pinch salt

1. Cream the butter, salt and sugar together until very light and fluffy, about 5 min.

2. Add the vanilla bean and extract, then slowly stream in the milk until you reach your desired consistency

Here is a great photo tutorial on putting together a layer cake from my girl Martha.