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This old stand-by is a versatile foundation for many a dessert. The cake freezes well, so this recipe makes two. It can be cut into slices and wrapped for the freezer, ready to pop into lunch boxes.
Serve topped with fruit preserves, pie fillings, fruit syrups, ice cream, Cool Whip, drizzled with melted chocolate, topped with nuts and sprinkled with rum, or any combination of the above.
Slice it thinly and sandwich with partially melted vanilla ice cream and sliced strawberries in syrup, then refreeze before serving for a cool Summer treat!
For a different flavor, substitute fresh lemon juice and lemon peel for the vanilla, or do the same with orange juice. Top with coconut icing made with coconut rum for a tropical flair.
If there is any cake leftover after 2 or 3 days, toast it and toss it in the food processor to make an easy no-bake pie crust by blending with with a little melted butter (just as you would graham crumbs). Press into a pie dish; fill with your favorite custard, cheesecake filling or no-bake pudding.
4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon mace (optional)
1 lb. butter
3 cups sugar
8 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons rum or amaretto (optional)
Remove butter from refrigerator in advance, long enough so that it is slightly softened. It should be slightly waxy but not greasy.
Grease and lightly flour (tapping out any excess) 2 9 inch square cake pans or 2 4 1/2 x 8 inch loaf pans.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift the cake flour with salt, baking powder and mace.
In an electric mixer, cream butter, gradually adding in sugar until light and fluffy, and no granules of sugar remain.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the flour mixture alternately with 1 cup milk blended with vanilla or rum (1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 milk) etc., until all ingredients are incorporated. It is important to mix the cake for as little time as possible so as to avoid toughening the cake.
Bake layers on center rack for 15-20 minutes or loaves for 60 minutes, or until cake tests done (a tooth pick inserted in center comes out nearly clean). If using a convection oven, reduce temperature 25 degrees and shorten cooking time (differs according to your oven).
The cake should be lightly golden brown on top. Reduce heat or cover with foil if cake is browning too quickly.
It is well worth the effort to line pans with wax or parchment paper for easy removal and cleanup.
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