This cake is absolutely my new favorite thing. Really, it is about finding a vessel for getting this icing into my mouth. It’s AMAZING. (And so easy!!)
The cake is called a 1-2-3-4 cake. (easy!) Know that it is very rich, and a little more dense than a box cake. (SO much better tasting, though.)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups cake flour
OR 3 cups a.p. flour minus 6 Tbsp. plus 6 Tbsp. corn starch
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
OR 1 cup 2% milk plus 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
For the Icing:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla (not immitation)
3 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. whole milk
*optional: 1/4 tsp. salt
Bake the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Generously grease and flour 2 8″ or 9″ cake pans, 3 6″ cake pans, 1 9×13″ cake pan, or 24 cupcake cups. (I use pan goop.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the 3 cups cake flour*, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. salt.
*Substitution: To make “cake flour” if you don’t keep it on-hand (I do not), measure 3 cups of all-purpose flour. Then remove 6 Tbsp. of the flour. Add 6 Tbsp. of corn starch.
1 cup all-purpose flour MINUS 2 Tbsp. flour PLUS 2 Tbsp. corn starch EQUALS Cake Flour.
In a separate bowl, cream together 1 cup butter with 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy (1-2 min.). Add Each egg, one at a time, and mix completely after each addition. Add 1 tsp. vanilla.
*Pro Tip: Add 1 Tbsp. of the flour mixture after each egg to help keep the butter mixture from separating.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix well.
Add milk. Mix well.
Add last half of flour mixture. Mix well.
Bake at 350-degrees. 8-9″ pans should take 20-30 minutes. 6″ pans should take 35-45 minutes. 9×13″ should take 25-35 minutes. Cupcakes should take 15-20 minutes.
Cakes are done when golden brown, and a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean and DRY.
Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes on a cooling grid. Turn out from the pans to cool completely.
Make the Icing
Seriously, this icing is SO amazing. I want to eat it all day every day.
Melt two sticks of butter on medium heat in a light-colored pan. (This is important because you need to see the color change.)
Stirring constantly, watch the butter as it first forms a white foam…
Then gets separated and very bubbly and spluttery…
Then the bits begin to turn light brown on the bottom of the pan.
REMOVE from the heat immediately, when the browning happens. It can burn quickly. You will smell a major difference when it starts to brown. It smells like heaven.
When the butter is at room temperature, alternate adding 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp. of milk. Mixing completely after each addition. So, 1 cup powdered sugar. Mix. 2 Tbsp. milk. Mix. 1 cup powdered sugar. Mix. 2 Tbsp. milk. Mix. 1 cup powdered sugar. Mix. 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix.
Cover the Cake