– Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun: Weddings and Birthdays 2

The Ackert family doesn’t do anything by halves. It wasn’t enough to have one wedding last, year … we had two. Meghan and Paul were married four months after Meliss and Jake.

Then we up and moved away from our long-time home in Williamsburg.  As a result, I’ll get to make Meg a birthday cake for the first time in about ten years since Austin is only 30 miles from Wimberley. She hasn’t placed an order yet, but I’m guessing she’ll want Vanilla Vanilla Cake.  I actually earned an award with this cake, back when I was a Girl Scout (which is to say, a very, very long time ago). Another cake won first prize for decorating, but mine got honorable mention for taste. As with the Peach Cobbler, this recipe has Bisquick in it, which is weird because I like to think of myself as a “scratch baker” and a “whole foods” locavore-wannabe.  Translation:  I do whatever works best for the recipe at hand.

In any case, the recipe came from my Grandma Barnett (my dad’s mom) and is one of the few that I haven’t messed with too much over the years. Grandma always made it in a loaf pan (hence the original name “Mom Barnett’s Loaf Cake” in my mom’s recipe file), although it can also be made in a tube pan or a 9” x 13” sheet pan … I’ve even tried layers and cupcakes from time to time. It has a terrible tendency to collapse in the middle, but you don’t want to overcook it because it’s better too moist than too dry. Meg likes it iced with vanilla and has always called it Vanilla Vanilla Cake. If I’m making for myself, I ice it half in vanilla, half in chocolate, because I can never decide which I like best.  BTW, if it does get a bit dry, a scoop of vanilla Haagen Dazs helps.

Vanilla Vanilla Cake

½ cup Land O Lakes butter with canola oil
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 eggs or ¾ cup of Better’n Eggs (pasteurized so you can lick the bowl)
1 ½ tsp. vanilla (remember, Nielsen-Massey)
3 cups Bisquick
¾ cup milk

Bake at 350 degrees, 45 minutes for a loaf pan, 30 minutes for a tube pan, 20 minutes for a 9”x13” pan

Vanilla Icing (update: now I make Smitten Kitchen Buttercream)

½ cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
Milk or cream as needed

Melt butter, add vanilla and half the sugar. Beat with a handmixer, adding sugar and milk (or cream) until you reach a spreadable consistency.

Chocolate Icing

1/3 cup butter
2 or 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
Milk and/or coffee as needed

Melt butter and chocolate. Add vanilla and half the sugar. Beat with a handmixer, adding sugar and milk and/or coffee until you reach a spreadable consistency.

Note: If you plan to ice the cake with both vanilla and chocolate icing, cut the recipes in half.