This cake may be plain, but it's not lacking in finesse!
It's featherlight, moist from the buttermilk, and nutmeg scented - simply scrumptious. Because it's so restrained, it's versatile, good with pear compote and crème fraîche or whipped cream, or in season with juicy ripe fruit (like peeled, lightly sugared peaches, pitted sliced plums, or berries), or just pristinely on its own. P.S. Don't skimp on the multiple siftings - it ensures the featherlight texture.
Makes one 9-inch, 2-layer cake. Serves 8.
- About 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (¼ pound) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Buttercream filling
- Confectioners' sugar (optional)
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake tins. Line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper cut to fit. Butter the paper, then flour the tins and tap out the excess.
- Onto a piece of wax paper, sift the flour. Spoon the sifted flour into dry measure cups and sweep level; return the rest of the flour to the canister. Onto a piece of wax paper, sift together three times the 2 cups sifted flour, the nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, cream the butter. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy. One at a time, beat in the eggs until just incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
- Bake until golden and the center, when pressed gently with a finger, springs back (20 to 25 minutes). A tester inserted into a layer should come out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn the layers out onto the rack, turn right side up, and cool completely.
- Invert one layer onto a cake plate. Spread buttercream filling over the layer almost to the edges, using it all. Top with the second layer, right side up. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar if desired.
From Great Get-Togethers: Casual Gatherings and Elegant Parties at Home by Anna Post and Lizzie Post