Recently I was given a recipe by a long time friend, Heather. Her grandmother, fondly known as Mao, was featured on a local newspaper in Singapore and she generously allowed them access to her butter cake recipe:
I love Mao. I am looking forward to meeting her one day. Old people are the best to be around, especially when they cook. My own grandmother has given me plenty of recipes, all of which have been tried, tested over many many years, and very delicious. I hold on to these, especially since my grandmother has memory issues.
So I was eager to give the recipe a try, with lovely consequences.
Some adjustment was necessary, since I didn't want to end up with four cakes, so I halved the recipe and really put in some elbow grease as I don't own a mixer. (I never saw a need to buy one, but recently I am starting to wonder if I should. Some of my cakes could stand to be more aerated!)
So, according to Mao's recipe you need:
500g butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence/powder
2 cups self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 140C
With your mixer of medium speed, cream butter and sugar till fluffy
Add in vanilla
Crack in eggs one at a time, with mixer still on medium
Slowly add the flour until you get a smooth batter, you cannot have any lumps
Spoon batter into cake tins (20cm)
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes
Insert toothpick and if it comes out clean, rest for 10-15 minutes before serving
I halved the recipe, used fresh vanilla, and it is essential that you sift the flour. This cake needs it. You owe it to the recipe to sift the flour, don't miss this step unless you use fine flour, in which you should add some bicarb to make sure your cake isn't flat.
I would have liked my cake to be fluffier but that's where a mixer comes in. Still, I had a lovely, buttery cake, which was good on its own or even with a nice drizzle of honey/ice cream.
By the way, this is also a birthday shout out to Heather. So belated birthday, my dear friend, and I cannot wait to meet you the next time I am back in Singapore.