Classic Butter Cake

Back in the day when the electric mixer was yet to be invented, I wonder how people discovered that you have to beat your butter and sugar really hard to make a successful butter cake. Then when it was established that you do have to beat it real hard, I can’t imagine doing it by hand every time you feel like homemade butter cake.

My granny is a self-taught cook and she usually succeed in whatever she attempts to cook after watching someone else do it. She remembers every detail of every recipe by memory, until today! Plus, she never depended on any kind of measurements for her recipes or the “stir in one direction” or “eggs and flour alternately”. She goes by the “look and feel” method and it works everytime. She is such a talented cook like that.

This is the butter cake recipe in which she used to make birthday cakes for my mom, aunties and uncles every year  without fail when they were kids. Armed only with her bare hands and a large stove top um….”steamer”. As a result, my mom, aunties and uncles are all big fans of butter cakes ’til today. Real rich homemade butter cakes that is.

Luckily for me, I have an electric mixer to make things much simpler and my granny passed me her recipe for a very basic but delicious and fluffy butter cake. “It stays soft even overnight!” she used to tell me. And it does! This is what I usually make when I am craving for some good ‘ol butter cake. This post features the time I made it with chocolate marble, a little bit fancy 😉


  • 250 grams butter (1 block) – soft at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups self-raising flour – sifted
  • 4 medium eggs
  • Approximately half a cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 160 degree Celcius.
  2. Put butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, beat on high-speed until pale and fluffy.
  3. Crack in eggs, one at a time, beating in with the mixer after each addition.
  4. Add in vanilla essence and mix through.
  5. Using a spatula, fold in flour in 4-5 batches until fully incorporated.
  6. Fold in milk, a little at a time until batter slides off the spatula easily when scooped up and tilted.
  7. For plain butter cake, pour batter into cake pan and bake for an hour or until a skewer inserted at the center comes out dry.
  8. For chocolate marble butter cake, mix 2-3 tablespoon batter with cocoa powder and swirl it into the rest of the batter in the cake pan before baking it.


25 comments on “Classic Butter Cake

  1. Khanum says:

    looks yummy! 🙂

  2. D... says:

    I think it must have been trial and error. Keep going till you get the right measurements and technique. There must have been a lot of bad cakes in the world (I’ve baked a few stinkers myself).
    I remember when I wanted to go to for a culinary degree I decided to try and beat egg whites by hand. For this one needs a copper bowl (didn’t have), cream of tartar (did have), and egg whites. It took forever and my arm was so soar by the end. I am so glad there are electric mixers. Or else we’d have one large right forearm. How weird would that look?

    • Tien says:

      Oh, beating egg whites by hand…I can’t imagine the horror! Yes, it would look real weird Danielle haha! Don’t think I will pick up baking at all without an electric mixer! I tried making this butter cake by hand and the next day I bought a mixer sans discounts LOL!

  3. Jane says:

    Lovely, Tien! I love family histories like this one.

  4. Eva ZHOU says:

    It’s beautiful. I think your granny can make a cookbook herself so that her talent and skill are known by those who want to learn cooking. 🙂

    • Tien says:

      Thanks Eva! Don’t think that’s a good idea though. I would want to keep her recipes to myself and impress my friends by using it to cook tee hee! 😉

  5. I’ve also wondered how people knew you could whip something into a certain consistency before electric mixers. How did people figure out egg whites could be beaten until they became stiff and formed peaks?

    • Tien says:

      I am always puzzled by this too, Paul. I mean how did they even come up with the idea of separating the yolks out (so that peaks can form) in the first place? Thanks for dropping by to comment 😉

  6. Claire says:

    I don’t have a mixer and that’s probably I don’t bake cakes hahaha….

    I’ve tried baking cookies though and I’ve gotta tell you – creaming butter and sugar by hand…. is bloody tedious! 😛

  7. Nicole says:

    Hmmm, that looks so good!! 🙂

  8. WOAH! You know how I feel about cake 😉

  9. Patti says:

    Yum! I’ll have to try this one – though I will use a mixer. My forearms aren’t up to beating eggs till “fluffy.”

  10. Jaclyn Rae says:

    That looks amazing! 🙂

  11. fariza says:

    wow! that lokks yum, Tien! Bravo!!!
    Now you make i nak pergi masuk dapur ;D

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