Butter cake

Not fancy, but straight up simple – buttery, with a tight crumb, this cake can be dressed up for a wedding or enjoyed plain with a cup of tea. Adapted from The Perfect Cake by Susan Purdy.


  • 2 cups (8.5 ounces; 240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10.5 ounces; 300 g)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
  • Confectioners’ sugar (optional)


  1. Prepare cake pan (2 9″ layers, or a 9″ tube pan, or an 8″x8″x2″ square pan). Rub with butter, dust with flour, shake to distribute and tap out excess. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt (omit salt if using salted butter).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar and softened butter until light and creamy. Using an electric mixer will result in a somewhat lighter texture than mixing by hand.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Stir in almond or vanilla extract.
  5. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk, starting and ending with flour. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and level the top. Bake in preheated oven until top is golden and a toothpick tested in the center of the cake comes out clean (about 30-35 minutes for layers or 50-60 minutes for a tube cake).
  7. Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then loosen edges with a knife. Top with a plate, flip over pan and plate, and carefully lift the pan off the cake. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar or frost.


  • Orange variation: add zest from 1 1/2 oranges and replace milk with orange juice.
  • Chocolate variation: replace 1/3 cup flour with unsweetened cocoa and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Fresh strawberry puree: in a blender or food processor, blend one pint fresh strawberries with 2-4 tablespoons sugar and bit of lemon juice (optional). Add a splash of orange juice or water if you need liquid to get it going. Serve with cake.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

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