Preheat oven to 350
1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups cake flour (or substitution below)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
A word about cake flour. I have used it before but I did not this time. Cake flour has less protein than all-purpose flour, so simply using less will give you similiar (or near-perfect) results. I used this formula: 1 cup all-purpose flour - 2 tablespoons = cake flour
Cream the butter, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, salt and vanilla very well together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix the flour and baking powder together well and add this mixture and the milk in alternate portions to the creamed blend. Beat smooth and then beat in the last 1/2 cup of sugar.
Grease, flour and line three cake pans. I line mine with either wax paper or parchment by tracing the pan with a pencil and cutting out the circle.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine were perfect at 23.)
Let cakes cool completely before icing.
Chocolate Butter Frosting
3/4 cup softened butter
5 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons milk or cream
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup cocoa
Cream butter until fluffy and work in 1 cup of the sugar. Add salt, milk or cream and vanilla, then work in cocoa and the remainder of the sugar (or enough to make a spreadable frosting.)
Time for frosting! I iced mine right on the cake stand and slipped a few pieces of parchment paper under the edges of the first layer. When I finished icing, I pulled them away and my stand was clean and free of stray frosting.
I thought this cake called for simple decorations, so I let the boys stick it all over with little red and blue flags I bought from Micheal's for $1.
This is a long post, but I had to tell you about our "Happy Birthday, America" song. I put candles on the cake and the boys sang their own made-up birthday song before blowing them out.
Happy Birthday to America
You're the greatest country in the world
You have fifty states
And they're all fun, too!
Hope your 4th was as fun as ours! Happy Birthday, America : )