Old fashioned butter cake

“I like things to happen . If they don’t happen , I like to make them happen”- Winston Churchill.

Why does it seem so long since I’ve been here? Been a week I think … a not particularly busy one. Not much baking though. And too much cricket ! For a change my social media feed had less pictures of beautiful cakes and more of “no ball” jokes and Kohli worship !

So anyways , until the IPL hits the screens , I thought I’d get a post or two in!

Now this old fashioned cake is actually “old” fashioned ! 100 years old ! It was first published in McCall’s cookbook in 1910. A number of websites and blogs feature it and thats how I came across it. I think its called old fashioned because its a simple , dump it all in one bowl kind of , fuss free recipe.

I didn’t change a thing in the recipe. If it was good enough for a century’s worth of bakers , its good enough for me!! Actually it was great ! So soft and fluffy and moist. What makes it even better is , it makes a high enough cake to slice into three for a perfect layered cake.

Recipe courtesy : Mc Call’s cookbook

You’ ll need:

  • 250 grams or 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 250 grams or 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 240 ml or 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 114 gram or 1/2 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 eggs , at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Makes : 1 8 inch cake
Time : 15 mins prep + 45-50 mins baking time

Lets get started:

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F . Line one or two 8 inch round pans with parchment ( or grease with butter and dust with flour).

In a large bowl , sift or whisk together the flour , sugar , baking powder and salt

Add the butter , vanilla and milk . Beat for two minutes . Scrape bowl as needed.

Add both the eggs. Beat for two minutes. Scrape bowl as needed.

Pour batter into prepared pan or divide among two pans.Bake at 180 c / 350 F for 30 to 35 mins if baking in two pans or 45- 50 minutes if baking in one pan. A toothpick inserted in centre will come out clean and the cake will spring back when you touch the top.

Cool in pan for ten minutes , then remove from pan and parchment , cool completely on wire rack.

Also :

  • Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days
  • The recipe can be halved for a thinner 8 inch cake. Half the recipe also bakes up high in a 5 inch round pan.
  • You can also bake it in a loaf pan for 45 to 50 minutes and add in chocolate chips or candied fruit. 

This is the quintessential butter cake.. fluffy and moist at the same time. That it is so simple to make, is a bonus ! The sweetness is spot on and its as good to eat on its own as it is slathered with any yummy frosting of your choice !

This is a great cake to layer and fill. For other  “building block” cake recipes ,check out this sponge cake or this buttermilk cake.

Photo Update (27.03.2017): The same cake baked in a loaf pan with a handful of chopped candied fruit thrown in for that little something ! 

29 thoughts on “Old fashioned butter cake”

  1. I baked it last night and had a bite now in the morning. I think my day is made! Packing it for a picnic today and looking forward to taking all the credit 😉

  2. Hi…Tried your white chocolate sponge cake & hot milk sponge cake.Both were super hit in my house.Thank you very much for these wonderful recipes. Next week is my niece’s birthday, planning to make a castle cake. Can I use this butter cake under fondant?

    1. Hi Divya… I hope i am not too late in replying ! glad you liked the two cakes , and you can use both recipes under fondant… happy baking !

    1. Hi Cherry , you could try 1/4 cup thick curd for each egg , i would use two teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon of baking soda also.

    1. Hi Jwala , I use a hand mixer and use a medium speed ( speed 3 or 4 out of 6 speeds on my mixer).

  3. mam in this cake to replace egg 1/2 cup thick yoghurt should be used . Any change in baking powder . Baking soda should also be added

    1. hi Khudija…Butter is very important here for the flavour and the texture… I really wouldn’t suggest replacing it. But if you have to, you can experiment. Equal quantity of oil and the remaining steps the same.. do let me know how it turns out…

    1. Hey Lea… It makes one 8 inch round cake . But if you plan to layer the cake or prefer thinner layers , you can also split the batter into two 8 inch pans to get thinner cake layers. Hope it’s clearer now !

  4. Hi.. earlier I tried your hot mill sponge cake recipe.. it came out awesome.. I just wanted to know can I replace the eggs with dried egg powder in this recipe? Please help.. thanks in advance.. ☺

    1. Hey Anusha !sorry for the late reply . Had some issues with the site ! Glad that you liked the cake. I haven’t used dried egg powder so I am not too sure about that. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  5. Can I use this cake to make a strawberry cake .
    if yes then how I will do.
    If no then also how can I make astrawberry cake
    Plz help me

    1. Hi Susovan… you can add chopped strawberries into the batter ( after dusting with a little flour). Fold it into the batter and add some more on top after the batter is in the pan. Bake immediately so the strawberries don’t sink down. If you want to make a strawberry flavoured cake, that might not work so great with this recipe. I haven’t had the greatest result with strawberry flavoured cake, as either the colour or taste is not upto the mark..

    1. Hi Susovan…. i would suggest a light cake as you would be soaking the cake. I prefer a fatless or low fat sponge ( you will need double recipe or bake two cakes if you are planning a layer cake) or if you find such cakes too difficult to handle, you can try a buttermilk cake that i have used in the butterscotch cake recipe.. sharing links below.

      Do let me know how it works out!!

  6. I baked this for my daughter’s 6 months birthday and did whip cream fasting, it was a super duper hit. Baking today for my husband ‘s birthday.

    1. great to know Rebecca – happy 6th month to your little girl ! And i hope the cake turned out equally well on your husband’s big day too. Wishes to him as well!

  7. I made this and accidentally melted the butter and added berries. Wow it was fabulous! I used it as a desert on the third day with a berry sauce MMMM MMMM yum

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