‘Cereal for Dinner, Cake for Dessert’ Author Shares Recipes
Local author Laura Wells McKnight, author of “Cereal for Dinner, Cake for Dessert,” explains the meaning behind the book and how the cakes she bakes all have some special meaning that you can relate to. Each month she bakes a cake and gives it to a charity. June’s white fluffy cake is for Variety KC.
McKnight will be available for a Q and A on Tuesday, June 26, at 7 p.m., at Unity Temple on The Country Club Plaza, located at 707 W. 47th Street in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, visit diaryofagoodgirl.com.
Fluffy White Cake Recipe
- box of white cake mix
- 1/3 cup oil
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 ¼ whole milk, room temperature
- dash of salt
- teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
About an hour before you begin to make the cake, put the eggs (3), whole milk (1¼ cups), and stick of butter (for the frosting) on your counter to reach room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray three (even though Betty Crocker suggests two) 8-inch round pans with non-stick baking spray — the kind that contains flour is best. If you use non-stick baking spray without flour, dust the greased pans with flour, turn upside down and tap to remove the excess flour.
Slowly blend Betty Crocker white cake mix and oil together in a large bowl. With a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl until the cake mix and oil are well blended. Next, slowly (at medium speed) alternate adding the egg whites and whole milk. (Betty Crocker uses water, but whole milk is the key!) Adding a third of the egg whites and then a third of the milk each time works like a charm. Mix well after each addition, and continue to scrape down with your spatula.
Now add the magic: a dash of salt, ¾ teaspoon almond extract, and about a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract. Mix the batter slowly until all ingredients are blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees until the cakes smell done (and fantastic!) and the centers of the cakes just barely jiggle. Depending on the oven, this will take between 22 minutes and 35 minutes.
NOTE: Many cake recipes suggest rotating the cake pans halfway through the baking process. One Celebrations has never adopted this practice and is happy to report that the cakes have turned out perfectly fine!
Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Then invert and remove the cakes from the pans until they cool completely.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 lb. box (or more) of powdered sugar
- whole milk (about 1/4-1/2 cup)
- dash of salt
- vanilla extract (about 1 teaspoon)
- almond extract (about 1 teaspoon)
While the cake layers cool, make the frosting. Cream the unsalted butter and gradually alternate adding powdered sugar (usually a little over a pound works great) with splashes of whole milk.
When the frosting is the consistency you want, add a couple of small dashes of salt. Keep tasting so you get just the right amount. Then, add vanilla extract and almond extract to get the taste you want.
Place the bottom layer of the cake on a gorgeous cake plate. Spread a liberal amount of frosting on top of the layer. Make sure the frosting mixes with crumbs on top of the layer. The combination of frosting and cake is delicious! Add the second layer and do the same thing. Then put on the third layer.
To frost the top and sides of the cake, heat the remaining frosting in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Pour the frosting over the top so that most of the icing sticks but some of it off the sides to create dramatic drips. Beautiful!
Crown the cake with a single candle — even if it is not a birthday cake. Every day is worth celebrating. Light the candle. Make two wishes, a wish for yourself and a wish for others.