3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs (for a white cake, use 6 egg whites)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups buttermilk (or 1 cup buttermilk and 1/3 cup plain yogurt)
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tbsp. milk
How to Make
FOR CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and lightly flour your cake pans (see our list of pan sizes below). Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix the buttermilk, vanilla extract and butter mixture into the dry ingredients, 1/3 at a time, scraping the bowl frequently. To create the heart shape, place a small marble or a 1/2-inch ball of aluminum foil between each liner and one side of the tin (a great job for kids). This will push the paper into the batter to form the notch in the heart. Pour into the prepared pans and bake according to the times listed below, but check for doneness a few minutes early or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool, then remove the marbles or foil balls. Serves 10 to 12.
FOR BAKING: Two 8- or 9-inch rounds or squares; bake for 20 to 35 minutes. One 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan; bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Two Bundt or ring pans; bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Two 12-cup cupcake tins; bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Two 6-inch half spheres (available at cake supply stores) or two 1 1/2-quart ovenproof bowls (stainless steel or Pyrex); bake for 30 minutes. Two rimmed 12- or 14-inch pizza pans; bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Five mini loaf pans; bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
FOR FROSTING: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Makes 4 cups.
Home Made for the Holidays
- Avoid clutter. Keep the background simple -- your cupcake or sweet treat is the star!
- Daytime, natural light is best. If your area is bright enough, try taking the photo without the flash.
- Upload a horizontal photo. If you crop the image on your computer, make sure you keep a landscape 4:3 aspect ratio.
- For best results, make your image 1200x900 (or "save for web").
- With a digital camera, you can take as many photos as possible and choose the best one. Have fun!