2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour (don't pack it or shake it)
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
The most important trick in making a great, moist cake is to beat the butter and the sugar in the mixer until you can't feel any sugar granules and is very creamy. (About 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Lower speed and add to butter mixture, one bit at-a-time, alternating with little bits of milk. Beat only until it is mixed. Pour in two 9" round pans and bake at 325°F for about 1 hour or until a knife in the center comes out clean.
RICHEST EVER SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
I found this recipe recently and it is absolutely fabulous. This is not for anyone on a diet though:)
Swiss Meringue Frosting is made by making the Swiss Meringue and then adding in butter and flavorings. It uses egg whites and the finished product is smooth, creamy, and delicious. It is a little time consuming but it is quite worth it.
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
This requires a double boiler. If you don't have one you can create one by placing a mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of the bowl). Otherwise, in a double boiler, put the sugar and egg whites in the top pot and cook at medium heat, stirring continuously until the temperature reaches 140F / 60C. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you are looking for the point where the sugar has completely dissolved. Test this by dipping a spoon into the mixture and running your finger over it to check for granules remaining.
When the meringue mix has reached the correct temperature, take off the heat and whisk (using the balloon whisk attachment) until the meringue is cooled and forms thick, silky peaks. This may take up to 10 minutes.
Now add the butter, a tablespoon or so at a time and mix well. There is a risk of the mixture appearing lumpy and curdled: if this should happen, don't despair. Just keep mixing and it should come together OK.
Once you have a glossy, smooth and creamy mix, add the vanilla and pinch of salt. Mix this well. If the frosting is runny, put it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes then take out and mix again until smooth.
Pipe onto cake using the nozzle of your choice.
Swiss Meringue Frosting can be frozen; so, If you want to make a larger batch and put some aside for another time, it should be fine up to 8 weeks int he freezer.
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
In top of double boiler, with a mixer at high speed, beat all ingredients with a 1/2 cup water* until blended, about 1 minute. Place over rapidly boiling water; beat at high speed until soft peaks form (this may take more than 7 minutes). Pour into large bowl; beat until thick enough to spread. Use immediately! Fills and frosts two-layer cake; frosts tube cake, 13" by 9" cake, or 2 dozen cupcakes. This frosting does not work in very hot weather. I had a terrible time with it on a hot day. It melted off of the cake and pooled on the platter.
* For crusty surface, use only 1/3 cup water.