Welcome to yet another Foodie Friday, dear reader. October is a month filled with birthdays for us. My birthday, The Bibbed Wonder's birthday, and October 31, my girl's BFF's birthday. Raylee, aka Ray-Ray, is Jordan's best friend. The girls became fast friends last year. I am always impressed with my daughter's choice of friends. Jordan is a good girl, and she gravitates toward other good kids. Although her friend group is not huge, the people she invites into her circle are great kids. Raylee is an absolute pleasure to have around. We spend a lot of time with Ray, and we have all, including GramBarb, come to consider Raylee family.
When I say we consider her family, I mean good, bad, or indifferent; she gets sucked into all our shenanigans. She helped me celebrate my birthday. She attends almost any outing we go on, and she never complains. She's always ready and willing to do whatever we do with a funny snorting laugh, a lot of head shaking, and often a pretty severe stink eye. Raylee puts my stink-eye abilities to shame. We are always happy to include Raylee and have come to think of her as an extension of our adopted family.
Celebrating Raylee's birthday was a priority, and the fact that she was born on my favorite holiday was a bonus. One of the benefits of being part of our circle is you have a personal birthday celebration. We always celebrate by cooking the birthday boy's or girl's favorite meal and buying or making their favorite cake...or cookies if you are The Bibbed Wonder. Raylee chose steak, baked potatoes, garlic green beans, and vanilla cake with chocolate icing as her birthday dinner.
I made her birthday cake from scratch and was pleased with the result. I used a cake recipe from The Pennsylvania State Grange Cookbook, along with the icing recipe. The cake was dense, moist, and delicious. I was tickled to death to have a recipe I could use, the fancy, gourmet vanilla powder my sweet friend Christina gifted me, and it was made by my lovely friend Amanda from Sweet Home Vanilla. If you are a baker, you need this product in your life. It just so happens that if you did not purchase any at our farm event, Sweet HomeVanilla will be at The Ligonier Country Market Holiday Market this Saturday, November 4, from 12-4. Amanda's extract and vanilla powder are an absolute luxury for holiday baking.
I will share the vanilla cake recipe I made for Miss Raylee. It was a lovely, sweet cake made for a beautiful, sweet young lady.
½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (If you don't have unsalted butter, simply omit the salt listed below)
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
Four large eggs at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder (I used Sweet Home Vanilla's vanilla powder)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup buttermilk at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly greasing the sides. Set aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, canola oil, and sugar until creamy and smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined after each addition.
Stir in vanilla extract or powder.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Using a spatula, gently hand-mix, adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture. The batter should be thoroughly combined. There may be small lumps, but do not use your electric or stand mixer for this step because it will overwork the batter, making your cake tough.
Evenly divide the batter into your prepared cake pans, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. When the cake is done, the surface should spring back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Allow cakes to cool in their pans for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Frost using your favorite frosting recipe and flavor.
Although I failed to take a picture of Raylee and her cake, I was happy with how it turned out, and most importantly, I think Ray enjoyed it. On this lovely Friday, stay safe, be smart, make food that shows people you care, and keep washing your hands.