I know, I know – what is this, the fifth butter cake recipe on the blog! but I am approaching butter cake mastery – and while I can’t bring you slices of cake, I can share my newly-learnt trick o’ the trade.
this one came out crazily fragrant with butter, sweetened just enough so you taste the cake for all its homely, buttery rusticity, and with a notable lack of smeary oiliness – it’s the perfect tea-time-whenever-time cake.
when you get it, the fragrance of butter is something to behold – I know browning butter is the oft-suggested trick in baking, but this cake requires creaming, for one, and traditional butter cake tastes of creamy butter, not its darker, more sophisticated relative. the commercial solution to this elusive flavor is to use butter flavoring – but I rather fancy that cheating, and with some undesirable chemicals, so we’re sticking to home-made-from-natural.
some recipes have a tendency to swallowing the flavor of butter – it gets lost either in egginess or vanilla – which is why I’ve been on the constant search for the holy grail of proportions, and I might have just about found it.
I’m not sure what I can tell you that the photos don’t already – the cake bakes up soft, and fluffy, with fine crumbs that are tightly bound; so that it bites like the softest of clouds but satiates like the richest of these plain cakes. plain lovely, it is, and the smell of butter wafting through the air was something to behold.
I get poetic at good cake, so sue me.
but the trick here – ladies (and the few gentlemen who have bothered to click into a recipe post) – is that elusive something that I’ve been trying to find: in other to bake the best butter cake you could aspire to – moist and finely-bound, but light and fluffy – you need to add enough liquid to your batter so that it does a one-thousand-two-thousand-three-thousand-plop when you lift a spoonful of batter, overturn it, and wait for it to drop off.
I haven’t put the exact amount of milk here, because it depends on the size of your eggs, the absorbency of flour – so many things. add gradually and fold in thoroughly but gently (we don’t want to overwork the batter), and veer on the less-liquid side of things if you’re afraid – the original recipe didn’t even contain any milk – but I certainly ended up using more milk than I expected, checking ever so often for the three-second-plop; and this definitely has been the best butter cake I’ve made to date.
let me know if you give it a try? and good luck!
walnut butter cake (adapted from christine’s recipes)
120g self-rising flour
2 eggs, room temperature
50g walnuts (which meant 18 of them)
milk, as needed
- preheat your oven to 180C, and grease a loaf tin, or use my favorite liners.
- cream the butter until smooth. add sugar gradually, and continue creaming until smooth.
- whisk the eggs in a small bowl separately, and add gradually to the butter-sugar mixture, and continue mixing until smooth. fold in the flour gently but thoroughly.
- now the magic step: add milk gradually – I think I used upwards of up to 5 tablespoons of milk. test ever so often, until the batter is smooth and a spoonful falls off your spoon with a one-thousand-two-thousand-three-thousand-plop. be patient – and firmly but gently fold in the milk, because we don’t want to overwork the batter – and you’ll be rewarded with a loose, silky batter so lovely you want to spread it on like moisturizer. (or maybe not.)
- when you’ve reached this magic stage, fold in your walnuts gently and then pour your batter into the pan. bake for 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
- leave to cool completely on a rack.