This is one of those recipes you'll want in your hip pocket, ready at a moment's notice to use any number of ways. This is a basic cake made from staples we all have on hand, useful for cupcakes, layer cake, in a truffle, or dressed up like the cake above. This is my adaption of a recipe from the old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, which I've nearly worn out after using it for 44 years!
This recipe can be baked in any of the following sizes: 2-9-inch layers, round or square, or 1 9-inch round or square layer + 4 cupcakes, for a thicker layer for splitting into 3 layers, as pictured above. Cupcake number for this recipes depends on size.
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons milk
Prepare baking pans by cutting parchment to fit the bottom of each pan, greasing the pan, and laying in the parchment, then greasing the parchment.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 12 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, beating until well-blended.
With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, followed by 1/2 of the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, beating after each addition until it is smooth.
Divide into selected pans and bake until firm to the touch, and a cake tester comes out clean. Start at about 20-25 minutes for 9-inch layers. Use your eyes and nose rather than the timer!