My mother has never really been fast to embrace next generation technology, say for example, cordless telephones. After months of cajoling, she finally gave in. As for our geriatric Curtis television set – that has to be manually turned on – there’s no trade-up in sight.
So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my mother also refused to give up her 30-year-old Sunbeam Mixmaster. According to her, the mustard-coloured artefact is “still good.” Yes, it only fits a teeny mixing bowl on its turntable. Yes, the bowl turns on a wonky spin-cycle. And no, you can’t use it as a handheld for more than 2 minutes straight, as it weighs about 100 pounds. But other than that, the Mixmaster works like a charm!
Old as it may be, the Mixmaster served me well as I embarked on my second attempt at Martha’s Versatile Vanilla Cake with fluffy whipped frosting. I first tried the chocolate variation of the recipe, and woefully under mixed the batter and frosting. The consistency of the cake was way off, but strangely, the cake still tasted pretty good.
This time around, I kept the mixer on its stationary unit and fully mixed the batter. Same with the frosting, which dare I say, had stiff peaks! The only thing I added to the recipe was sliced strawberries in between the two layers of cake, and a little shaved chocolate as garnish.
I was really happy with the consistency of the cake this time around, which was moist and sweet. The egg white-based frosting was fluffy and relatively calorie wise, compared to the butter-laced cake.
Here’s the recipe from the May 2009 issue of Everyday food, with a few additions from me:
Versatile Vanilla Cake
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 6-8 sliced strawberries
- Shaved chocolate (for garnish, if desired)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
- Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove, and let cool completely.
- Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with Whipped Frosting (recipe below). Lay sliced strawberries on top of first layer. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides. If desired, garnish with shaved chocolate. (Store unfrosted cakes at room temperature up to 1 day. Once frosted, serve within a few hours.)
Fluffy Whipped Frosting
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.