I have needed a standard birthday cake recipe for yonks. K's birthday party was this week, so I decided to just go for a classic butter cake recipe*. I can't take any credit for the decoration since my MIL offered to do it, but I figured the cake recipe was definitely worth writing down here for future reference.
I actually made this cake twice this morning, because I'm currently so scatteredbrained from Moving Hell that with my first attempt, I not only forgot to pre-heat the oven, I also forgot that I only have plain flour in the house, and didn't add baking powder to my mixture. The resulting cakebrick was still tasty, if dense, but the version which actually contained raising agents had a lovely fluffy crumb.
125g softened butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups self-raising flour (or 2c plain flour + 4tsp baking powder)
2/3 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 180C (unless you are a dingbat like me) and grease and flour a cake tin. Let the birthday girl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Hold the beaters steady as she adds the eggs and vanilla essence, and then let her beat them until well combined. Add the flour a half-cup at a time, alternating with the milk, then share the beaters out between your children to lick. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Splat it into the prepared tin with a spatula and scrape down the sides of the bowl, but not too carefully, because your children will probably be finished with the beaters by the time you have the cake mix smoothed down and the tin in the oven, and they will be wrath with you if you haven't left them enough mixture in the bowl to share. Cook it until it is done, and if the top cracks like mine did, don't worry about it, your MIL can always just add extra icing. Or you can, if you don't have a MIL to subcontract your cake decoration out to.
Serve with the traditional accompaniments of out-of-tune renditions of Happy Birthday in three different keys, and an embarrassed birthday girl who wishes everybody would stop singing so she can eat.
[* Acute readers may have gathered from this that I'm no longer dairy-free. I've given up on any attempts to get cute and creative with my diet, or my blogging for that matter, because our upcoming interstate move is monopolising most of my brain power].