This cake is so good I made it twice. Edna Lewis called this her Busy-Day Cake and we’ve had lots of busy days around here. Visits from friends and family, events to attend, and work all mean that I haven’t been in the kitchen as much as I like. I first made this cake at about 10pm on a Sunday, I was desperate. Before the cake even left the oven I knew I was happy I didn’t wait for a more appropriate time to bake.
The scent of butter and vanilla filled the apartment and out of the oven came a perfect simple little cake. This isn’t fancy or showy, its beauty lies in its simplicity. The moist and airy cake is subtly sweet and flavored with vanilla and freshly grated nutmeg. Lewis notes that the cake is especially delicious with some fresh-cooked fruit left over from canning—an excellent suggestion. I don’t think it needs anything other than a cold glass of milk. Cut yourself a big wedge and stand over the sink eating it. Perfect.
Because this cake is so simple, ingredients are important. Good butter and eggs, pure vanilla extract and freshly grated nutmeg. They will all make a big difference here. And this cake really is so good that I have made it twice in the past week. I am kind of obsessed with it. It is hard to believe that something so simple can be this satisfying. Just one more reason to be grateful for Edna Lewis.
Busy-Day Cake (adapted from a recipe by Edna Lewis)
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the flour in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Make sure each addition is incorporated before adding next. Add the salt, vanilla, baking powder, and nutmeg and mix until combined.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until top is golden and tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.