By Virginia Willis
"This cake has been a constant in my life and it has been my birthday cake many times. Our family holidays would not be complete without it. The best part is the crispy, dark-brown sugary edges. Much to my mother’s consternation, more than once, little pesky elves raided the opaque Tupperware cake container and nibbled away those tasty bits."
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
- 3 cups White Lily or other Southern all-purpose flour (or substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour; see variation below)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean split and scraped, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, preferably Crisco, at room temperature
- 3 cups sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
2. Generously butter a 16-cup (measure to the rim) Bundt pan with butter. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, eggs, and the scraped vanilla seeds.
3. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the 1 cup butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour and milk mixtures to the butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating between dry and liquid, occasionally scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fill the prepared pan with batter (it should be no more than 2/3 full).
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C) and bake an additional 45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Place on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack to cool completely. This cake will stay moist in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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