I’m just going to say it. A box cake mix is just fine and dandy. I will be posting a yellow cake recipe later, but a yellow batter butter recipe mix works great. I bake a lot during the holidays and have done a boxed cake mix more than once. Doctor it up and everybody will rave. Yep, they will. There’s a secret and I’m going to give it to you cause I love you guys. Oh, and for you international foks. This is a sweet one.

1 box butter recipe yellow cake mix

Instead of the ingredients on the package do this:

1/2 cup butter softened

1/2 cup whole milk

3 eggs and one extra egg yolk

3 tablespoons Amaretto Di Amore *Top secret ingredient that makes this cake yummo-lucious. 

Will any Amaretto do, you ask. No. While I love any and all Amaretto to drink with my gingerale or dump in my coffee, I have not had the same unbelievably delicious results with any other when baking. I think it has to do with the sugar content. It pumps up the butter.

Grease and flour two 9″ cake pans

preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Yes this lower than on the box. The Amaretto causes this cake to brown rapidly. So you need the lower temperature. It will still  get more brown than normal because of the Alcohol. It’s okay.

Throw all your ingredients together and mix it on low for about thirty seconds then Medium for two minutes. I use a hand mixer because I go by the way the batter feels instead of timing it. When I pull at the batter and it wants to kind of hold on or spring back that’s when I stop mixing. Under mixing won’t hurt you so much but over-mix and that cake will collapse every time. Which is why, for a butter cake I always use a hand mixer. I just don’t have good luck with a stand mixer. It gets too much air in the batter and your cake becomes a pancake.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Test with toothepick in center. It should come out clean.

Remove and let cool on wire rack for ten minutes then dump out of pan and cool on racks completely.

The Caramel Icing.

You guys from the south will recognize this one.

1/2 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Melt butter in heavy sauce pan. Stir in salt and brown sugar.

Heat to boiling. Stirring constantly.

Keep stirring and reduce heat to low. Cook for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves.

Stir in milk and return to boil.

Remove from heat and let cool to luke warm.

*Okay, I’m going to confess waiting for stuff to cool makes me crazy. I don’t have the time or the paitience. I put the stopper in the sink, run a couple inches of cold water, turn off the tap, and set the pot down it it for like thrity seconds. Boom. Cool.

Stir in vanilla then gradually add the confectioners sugar.

Make sure the base is cool before adding the confectioners sugar. Confectioners sugar cannot melt. When it cools it will crystalize and your icing will be grainy. You guessed it. Hard way.

Now, lots of people have trouble icing cakes. I’m going to make it a lot easier. Here goes.

Place the first layer on the plate bottom up. That’s right. The top of the cake is going on the plate. It’s upside down so you’re looking at the bottom. Slap your icing on there and spread it around. Push, dont pull. In other words keep your knife or spatula behind the icing. Oh, if you’re going to ice more than one cake a year, I highly recommend investing in an icing spatula. It makes life so much easier.

Now, take your second layer and place it on the first one top side up. Bottom down. So the cakes are bottom to bottom. Two flat surfaces touching each other. I know obvious, right. Yeah, I felt so stupid when I saw people at the bakery doing this. makes so much sense. Ice your cake. And since you want your cake to look pretty and you know we all do. After you ice it grab a big spoon and make swirlies all over the cake. Just press the back of the spoon to the cake and spin. Use a light touch so you don’t pull the icing off. Oh wow that looks so good. I know.  People will think you know what you’re doing.

*Another note. Cakes need to sit. If I’m making a cake for an occasion I do it 48 hours ahead. For a refrigerated cake 24 hours.  SO much better. It’s like a different cake. Also freezing the layers will make most cakes more moist. Just wrap them well and stick them in the freezer for a couple of hours or a few days. I’ve left them in as long as a week before. It also makes them easier to ice. Just be sure to let them thaw a little so they don’t over chill your icing.