Follow these simple rules for success to make a homemade cake.
These days, baking a cake is kids' play; anyone can do it. It's easy to open up a boxed cake mix, add oil, eggs and beat. Then pour the mixture into a pan and bake. It's a little harder to actually make a cake from scratch. But it can be done and it's worth it.
While boxed cake mixes are tasty, and are what the majority of Americans are used to eating, they simply aren't as satisfying as cakes made from scratch. Scratch cakes take a tightrope balance of flours, leavening agents, liquids, fats and flavorings. Everything must be just perfect so the cake rises, doesn't crumble and tastes just right.
Still, it's not too difficult to get it right by following simple instructions. Or if you're not sure what to do, look it up or ask.
Here are some tips for baking better cakes:
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1-1/4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup chopped nuts, if desired
Bring the cup of hot water and the cocoa to a boil, and cool. In a mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and beat well. Combine the buttermilk with the baking soda and add alternately with flour and salt. Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla. Add chopped nuts if desired. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
- Amy Zielske, Naples, Fla.