When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

The Ultimate Butter Cake February 4, 2009


Some people eat lots of bread. Some people load up on rice. Yet others just stuff themselves full and hope something sticks. What am I talking about? I’m talking about what food to eat prior to a night of drinking so you won’t get so drunk that you wake up the next morning with your kidneys missing.

But I’ve discovered something that’s 100% resistant to the effects of alcohol and it tastes way better than rice or bread – Amy Scherber’s Simply Delicious Yellow Cake. It is buttery, eggy, moist and fluffy, easily the best butter cake I’ve ever made.

Apart from some leftover rice and steamed egg, this cake was the only thing I ate last Saturday before I went out on the town with 5 of my girlfriends.

Ostensibly, it was to celebrate 3 of our birthdays. It was also for us to catch up, now that new jobs/marriage/children have set us on different paths over the past few years.

But seriously, we just wanted to get sloshed.

We wanted to dump our husbands/boyfriends for just one night, and relive the same stupid antics we were up to years ago – you know, the kind of foggy revelry that makes dancing the conga thoroughly fashionable.

And boy did we max out our night. We started off at Overeasy, walked over to One On The Bund, popped by Bellini Grande and revisited our old haunt, Zouk. It was non-stop partying action from 9pm to 3am.

I was expected to be the first to succumb. After all, even in my partying prime 5 years ago, I was a self-proclaimed “cheap date”. I was proud of it too, because I was cost-efficient – just buy me two lychee martinis and I’ll be thinking I’m Beyonce.

And now that two years of abstinence has reduced my alcohol tolerance to almost zero, I was positively a “free date”. I could probably attempt her Single Ladies dance routine on the strength of one whiff of champagne.

So this is what I drank that night:

3 Sex On The Beach shots, 1 sundried tomato and raspberry margerita, 1 Bellini, 2 apple vodka shots, part of a Flaming Lamborghini, 2 Cowboy S*** D*** shots, and 1 Tequila shot.

How drunk was I? Let’s put it this way. I was even more sober than Obama’s bodyguards on Inauguration Day when he and Michelle were walking unshielded down the parade path.

My girlfriends? Oh, they drifted onto a higher realm. They were bear-hugging each other, happily doing the bitch-slap atop the podium in Velvet, and making up a new hybrid dance move that’s part-Vogue and part-Walk Like An Egyptian.

And what was I doing? I was doing what losers always do at parties: I was guarding the bags.

All because I ate a big slice of that cake.


Okay, I could be jumping the gun – I may find another recipe that’s better than this one day. But right now, this is seriously the ultimate butter cake as far as I’m concerned.

Moist, tender and amazingly fluffy, it’s even better than The Perfect Butter Cake I wrote about here.

Both recipes are very similar, but this one has less butter and eggs, more milk, and uses unbleached flour. I haven’t quite figured out how the various proportions, especially the use of unbleached flour, contribute to this stupendous cake. But I’ll write more about it when I find out.


Simply Delicious Yellow Cake (adapted from The Sweeter Side Of Amy’s Bread, by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree)

210g unbleached flour (you can get Gold Medal brand at Cold Storage in Holland Village)

1/2 Tbs + 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

170g full-cream milk, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

160g unsalted butter, slightly softened

210g castor sugar

130g eggs (about 2-1/2 eggs), at room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Line bottom of a 9-inch pan with parchment. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of pan.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt together, then whisk with fork for even distribution.

3. In a separate bowl, combine milk and vanilla.

4. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium for about 30 seconds (if you have a KitchenAid,  turn on to power #4). Add sugar slowly and beat on medium-high (KitchenAid #6) for 2-1/2 minutes. Then add eggs slowly and beat on low (KitcheAid #2) until just mixed in. Scrape down the sides occasionally to ensure thorough mixing.

5. Reduce speed to the lowest possible (KitchenAid #1) and add in flour mixture  in three parts, alternating with 2 parts of milk mixture – beginning and ending with flour mixture. Do not overmix. The final batter should be smooth and luxuriously runny, almost like whipped cream.

6. Bake for 1 hour or until the cake is just beginning to shrink away from the sides of the pan.


Note: The cake has the perfect fluffy texture when it is baked in a 9-inch pan, and comes out about 1-1/2 inches tall. If you prefer the cake to be taller, bake it in an 8-inch pan and it will emerge at 2 inches. But be sure to lower the oven temperature to 160 deg C in this case, or the cake will cave in after you take it out due to uneven doneness.


30 Responses to “The Ultimate Butter Cake”

  1. tellaure Says:

    oh god. thanks for metrics measurement. hate the cups thing.

    and i’m DEFINITELY going to try this cake tonight. wasn’t that pleased with the yellow cake in rose’s book and am in need of a butter cake recipe to adapt into a cupcake one. besides, the fact that it uses one round pan is the cherry on top (something is definitely wrong with this expression).

    and if i remember correctly, unbleached flour = coarser texture but better taste?

  2. crummb Says:

    coarser texture but better taste: really?! ah, this could be it! this is probably why i also didn’t like any of Rose’s butter cakes – too fine and flat for my taste. i like ’em springy and bouncy!
    lemme know how it turns out tonight!

  3. Clare Says:

    hahaha. reading your account is the next best thing to being there.

    As a reader, it’s like I can see people’s lives (yours included) and memorable moments flash at me through the cakes. In that sense, your blog is kind of like Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries, but way funnier, more intimate and less show-offish.

  4. crummb Says:

    sweetie. to have you say this is like having angelina jolie say i’m drop-dead gorgeous. *mutual admiration society hug!*

  5. crummb Says:

    tellaure: dahling! the recipe calls for baking powder, not baking soda! could this be why it was done in half an hour? cos baking soda is A LOT stronger than baking powder? (I swear mine took one hour). also, mine didn’t dome. it was pretty much flat.

    as for updating this blog daily, I WISH! get somebody to pay me to write this thing so i can quit my job! i’ll throw in TWO posts a day even! haha.

  6. tellaure Says:

    oh god. now i feel stupid. i swear reading food blogs during work time kills you. you get so jittery (afraid that the boss might walk pass) and excited (baking withdrawal symptoms) that you read and remember the wrong things.

    i guess that would explain the muffin like texture … the 1/2 hour difference … on hindsight, seeing how i put the wrong leavening, i’m probably even lucky that it didn’t collapse. now i need to remake this to taste it in its full glory.

    and also, please do me a favour and delete the comments because i probably sound like a blabbering idiot.

  7. Midori Says:

    Cowboy S*** D*** shots!!! Is that what they were called?! Too noisy, couldn’t hear properly! It was so fun! You rawk, sexy mama!

  8. Charmaine Says:

    crummb: hey i tried the recipe last night and it came out beautifully! a tad sweet for my liking but really good nonetheless! super bouncy!

    tellaure: “you get so jittery (afraid that the boss might walk pass) and excited (baking withdrawal symptoms) that you read and remember the wrong things. ”
    i totally know what you mean. sometimes if i really wanna read the recipe properly, i cut and paste it into an email and pretend im reading a work mail HAHA. oh the things we do for our passion.

  9. crummb Says:

    tellaure: at least it was because you misread the recipe. as recently as last year, i thought BP and BS were the SAME THING! and i kept wondering how come those bloody cupcakes always tasted so bitter, haha! oh, my mistake: the baking time should be around 45 mins only. one-hour is for baking it in an 8-inch pan at 160 deg C. yes you MUST remake this. lemme know outcome! (oh, deleting nowww..)

    midori: no no nooooo, YOU rawk, you bitch-slappin, hip-grindin, booty-shakin ANIMAL! will post pics up on flickr soon!

    charmaine: yay, glad it turned out well! just reduce sugar next time. don’t think texture will be affected 🙂

  10. Faridah Says:

    Oh my….my……simply yummy looking! can’t resist it.
    I’m gonna try it, but donno when, I have to get the unbleached flour first.

    Let me get that first & will let you know the result.

  11. Hanes Says:

    Looks gorgeous, and it’s (pleasantly) un-fancy enough for the family to eat. Will try the recipe and get back to ya. How’s the prices of unbleached flour compare to the regular one? Might just try the recipe with regular bleached flour though.

  12. crummb Says:

    hanes: i forgot how much that 2kg pack of Gold Medal unbleached flour costs. but i think it was only a little more than regular flour. yup yup please tell me how it turns out with regular flour – been wanting to test it too, but think i should stop cos i’ve been subjecting my family to this butter cake for three weeks already. haha.

  13. Ah Pei Says:

    Saw unbleached flour at Phoon Huat @ Toa Payoh that day, i think they just brought it in! But i think its available only at selected branches ? I got mine from jason’s market place.

    WoooOO ! can’t wait to try this recipe ! Crummb, i can’t keep up with you ! wanted to try so many of your recipes posted here cos all look so delicious !

  14. Z Says:

    actually i didn’t get to eat nothing…the baker ate it all…she and the lizard…

  15. crummb Says:

    ah pei: phoon huat sells unbleached? YAAAYYYYY! i hope they stock it at holland v, cos i go there most often. oh, and you get the taste a cake tomorrow! can’t wait to bake daphne’s present.

    Z: in this case, i shall bake one for you, this weekend.. tonight.. how bout right now! woot!

  16. tellaure Says:

    heyys! i tried the cake again yesterday night.

    it took approximately 45 minutes. the cake was great. it was slightly too sweet, but the taste of the butter makes up for everything else. texture wise, it was a bit too coarse for my liking. i might try a 80:20 mixture of unbleached and cake flour the next time i make it. also, mine was fluffy, but still had some bite to it (which i like). it was also slightly heavy/dense.

    was yours like that or more towards the light like a sponge cake, melts in mouth thingie?

    either way, this recipe is definitely a keeper! thanks again for reccing it! 😀

    charmaine: brilliant idea!!!! glad i’m not the only one. hahaha.

  17. Nick Malgieri Says:

    Me and my rotund behind be wantin’ to see the Single Ladies’ dance!

  18. Cookie Says:

    Hi there,

    I do not understand the magic behind Gold Medal flour but I swear the cookie does taste better when I bake with GM!

    It cost $6.8 for 2 over kg at Cold Storage.


  19. spots Says:

    I like Clare’s comment abt ur blog being like Nigel Slater’s Kitchn Diaries. 🙂

    Hv u even considered writing a book?

  20. crummb Says:

    tellaure: mine was fluffy and quite melt-in-the-mouth. and i suppose it was quite coarse in texture too, which is what i like. don’t think it’ll ever get to be as soft as a sponge cake though. but i got that covered too, with a recipe by my beloved chef Alex Goh! (see earlier post on The Perfect Sponge Cake!)

    Nick Malgieri: oooh yeaahh, ah be bitch-slappin yer rotund behind!

    spots: *biiiig smile* you made my day! i would loooove to write a book one day – but what about? How To Survive A Cake Disaster? haha.. I’d have plenty of material 🙂

  21. Elizabeth Says:

    Hi Crummb! I stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for a recipe for a great butter cake! I love reading your blog – I can so relate to your passion!!! 🙂

    I tried the recipe today and I quite like it, but I didnt get my mixture to be like whipped cream 😦 In fact it seemed to curdle once I added the eggs in (it was a beautiful pale and fluffy texture – the sugar and butter) – could this have done anything to the texture? I’m just wondering how I can improve. Also at the end instead of a smooth and whipped cream mixture, it was kinda bumpy – slightly curdled… any idea why? I used normal plain flour … could this be it?

    Thanks – would appreciate your help as I try to find the perfect buttercake for a cupcake! – and congrats on your baby!!! 🙂

  22. crummb Says:

    hi elizabeth,

    welcome to my blog! 🙂
    i think using plain flour shouldn’t be the problem. also, it is normal that the batter looks curdled after you add the eggs. it should smoothen out after you mix in the first batch of flour. i’m guessing maybe you rushed into adding the milk mixture before mixing the first batch of flour properly? try mixing in the first flour until the batter is smooth before adding the first milk. then let me know how it goes! hope you have better results the second time 🙂

    • Elizabeth Says:

      Thanks Crummb! Will try and let you know! 🙂 By the way, do you have a chocolate cupcake recipe that stays moist for at least 2-3days? Thanks! 🙂

  23. leemz Says:

    I’m about to bake it, wish me luck 🙂
    yours look delicious, nice work!
    Have my fingers crossed.


  24. […] You’d need a 9-inch butter cake (you could use any butter cake recipe, such as this one) […]

  25. Ant Says:

    Hello! Wonderful receipe you have! I just tried baking it earlier. My butter cake turns out to be really light and fluffy! However, the buttery taste is not strong. Is there any way that the buttery taste can be further enhanced to be stronger?

  26. Lisa Says:

    Thanks a lot for your recipe. I’ve been searching for the right cake recipe. Please, would like to know what kind of oven you used because I use a gas oven with bottom burners only. Cheers

    • CRUMMB Says:

      hi ant, i would change to another brand of butter with a stronger taste, or add more butter! try adding another 20-30g
      hi lisa, i use a convection oven with heating cores at the top and bottom. hope this helps! 🙂

  27. […] the cake: I followed Crummb’s recipe for The Ultimate Butter Cake, which I doubled to make two 9-inch layers. I also substituted buttermilk for half of the milk in […]

  28. tanyamhudson Says:

    Made this for my best friend’s bridal shower last weekend, posted about it, and linked back here. Thanks for such a delicious recipe!

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