2 cups (8 1/2 oz./240g) plus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks/230g) lightly salted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 oz./300g)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract (vanilla extract can be substituted)
Confectioners' sugar (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Spread solid shortening on bottom and sides of a 9-inch tube pan OR two 9-inch round cake pans, dust evenly with flour; tap out excess flour.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.
3. With a wooden spoon in a mixing bowl or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Alternately add the dry ingredients and milk, beating after each addition, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Stir in the almond or vanilla extract.
4. Spoon batter into the prepared pan(s), level the top, then spread the batter slightly toward the pan edges. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes for a tube cake or 30 to 35 minutes for layers, or until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Cool the cake in its pan(s) on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then run a knife blade around the edge of the cake. Top with another rack or plate, invert, and lift off the pan(s). Cool the cake completely before sifting on confectioners' sugar or adding a frosting of your choice.
Makes 12-16 servings.
Orange Butter Cake
Prepare Swedish Butter Cake, but add the grated zest of 1 1/2 oranges and replace the milk with 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice. Use 1 teaspoon orange extract instead of almond or vanilla. Ice with Orange Buttercream Frosting or Orange Glaze or Orange Wine Icing.
Chocolate Butter Cake
Prepare Swedish Butter Cake, but replace 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-process, and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
Date: May 22, 2003