Never-Fail Cake

  • 1/4 pound butter, softened, plus butter for the pan
  • Wax paper and flour for the pan
  • 4 level tablespoons Crisco or other
  • vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Butter-cream icing (see recipe)
  • Sweet ground chocolate (preferably Ghirardelli’s; do not use unsweetened cocoa) or grated bittersweet chocolate, for garnish (optional).
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Butter, line with wax paper, butter and flour two 9-inch cake tins.
  3. In a bowl, cream the butter, Crisco and sugar.
  4. Fill a measuring cup with the milk and half-and-half. Crack the eggs into this liquid. Add the vanilla. On a sheet of wax paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the liquid and dry ingredients alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into the cake tins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just dry. Cool one layer on a cake stand, the other on a wire rack.
  6. Frost the bottom layer of the cake (the one with the cake stand) with the butter-cream icing. Set the top layer in place. Frost entirely.
  7. Garnish with ground chocolate or grated bittersweet chocolate, if desired.

Yield: One 9-inch layer cake.


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