Basic Yellow Cake
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 1 1/3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for pans
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup milk
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-by-2- inch round cake pan, line with parchment, and coat parchment with more butter. Flour the buttered pan, and tap out excess flour; set pan aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, and then the eggs, one at a time, beating each until fully incorporated before adding the next.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture and milk to the egg mixture in three additions, beginning with the milk and ending with the flour, and alternating with the milk.
Transfer batter to prepared pan, and bake until the top of cake springs back when pressed and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan, transfer to cooling rack, and cool completely. Note: To make the baked Alaskas, bake this cake in an 11-by-17-inch baking pan until the top springs back and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and cool completely.