Esther Foskett's Birthday Cake


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for pans
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (or unsalted butter), plus extra for pans
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs at room temperature
Icing (see accompanying recipe)


Preheat oven to 350° and set a rack just below the middle position. Grease and flour two standard round cake pans.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add shortening (or butter), then milk and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat 2 minutes.

Bake in two pans until layers are golden-brown and a cake tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. (This is a good time to make the icing; see the accompanying recipe.) Remove from oven. Let layers sit in pans 5 minutes; then remove gently and let cool 15 minutes on wire racks.

When cool, frost the top of one layer with icing; then stack the second layer on top. Set a cooling rack into a rimmed baking sheet; then place cake atop rack. Pour remaining icing over cake, letting it drip down sides and into pan. Serve.

Esther Foskett's Vanilla Icing


8 to 10 servings

Preparation Time

20 Minutes

Total Time

1 Hour

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