I hadn't been able to bake since finals started. Which means that the minute I got a chance, I went on a binge. I was invited to a potluck, and I saw this as the perfect reason to make not one, or two, but THREE desserts. Two for the potluck and one for us to start gnawing on immediately.
Because I wanted our dessert Right Now, I decided to make my quickest cake. It's easy, fast, and is good for breakfast, snack or dessert (I accidentally wrote "dinner" because sometimes, it's that too). I usually eat it plain but you can also have it with berries or some whipped cream or creme fraiche. I use as much nutmeg as I feel like grating.
This is my gift to you: the easiest, most versatile cake you'll ever make. And because the flavor is so mild, you never get sick of it. Trust me. I've made it almost once a week since I found the recipe. It keeps well and it's great to grab a slice on your way out the door when you're running late for the bus. Not that that ever happens to me.
Edna Lewis' Busy Day Cake. (stolen from Orangette.)
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ - 4 tsp. baking powder (see headnote, above)
¼ tsp. salt
1 good pinch freshly grated nutmeg, or more. LOTS more. and I promise, freshly grated is worth it.
½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9” springform pan with butter or cooking spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. One by one, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, and beat to blend.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
Add about ¼ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat on low speed to incorporate. Add 1/3 of the milk, and beat again. Add the remaining flour mixture in three more doses, alternating each time with a bit of milk, and beating to just combine. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir to incorporate any flour not yet absorbed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly across the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This cake has a tendency to brown quickly on top, so after about 20 minutes, you might want to peek into the oven and tent the cake with aluminum foil if necessary.
Serve warm. Or cool, for breakfast.