Just Cake is just that: A plain and simple (and very good) yellow cake. I fancied it up a bit with Quick Caramel Frosting found in the same recipe box, the perfect complement to this cake (though chocolate would also be nice). A slice of this beauty can transport you to a Manhattan dinner party, c. 1950 or, baked in a sheet pan, to a post-World War II backyard barbecue when life seemed (at least to our modern eyes) less complicated. (Recipes do reflect their era. It's no surprise that these one-bowl cakes were commonplace in the mid-20th century, while today we have thousand-ingredient desserts sauced with gastrics and presented in tower formation.)
Below is the entire mis en place for the cake. (I cheated a bit, adding some salt and vanilla, not pictured, so as to hide my deceit.)
Preheat the oven, prepare the pans and mix up the batter. Place into the pans and ...
using an offset spatula (preferred) or the back of a spoon or regular spatula, smooth the batter until it reaches the edge of the pan. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
When the cakes are cool, turn them out from the pan. If they have a small dome on top, place a serrated knife horizontally and cut the tops off so the cake top is flat and even. The cook must eat the trimmings. I believe it's the law.
Next, begin the caramel frosting. Melt the butter and add the brown sugar. Cook for two minutes, then add the milk. Let cool and add some confectioners sugar.
Original recipe below, and below that, is my interpretation.
1 c. (two sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 c. all purpose flour
3 t. baking powder
1 c. milk
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F
Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
Mix flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.
Beat butter. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.
Add 1/3 of the flour and blend. Alternately add the milk and flour, ending with the flour. Add vanilla.
Pour into pan and bake about 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool about ten minutes and remove from pan.
I followed the frosting recipe exactly, but at the end added more milk and confectioners sugar to ensure I had enough to frost the cake.