These days, I challenge myself to pack varied lunches for kids and I’ve found myself pulling out some old tricks, like this Vanilla Lunchbox Cake.
This recipe mixes up by hand in a flash – there’s no need to pull out the mixer or even wait for the butter to soften. In fact, the whole thing can be mixed in a large glass measuring cup. Since it bakes in an 8×8 pan, It’s the perfect amount for a quick dessert for the family, with a few pieces left over for lunch boxes.
What makes this cake so tasty, I think, is it’s simplicity. The most exotic ingredient here is sour cream, and if you don’t have that on hand, use milk and sub out the baking soda for baking powder. The flavors of the butter and vanilla really shine through.
Bake the cake while you’re preparing dinner, and it will be cool enough to frost after the dishes are done.
- 1/2 c. butter (1 stick), cut into 5-6 pieces so that it melts more quickly
- 1 c. water
- 1 c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 egg
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan (non-stick spray should work unless you have a pan that a lot of food sticks to).
- Heat butter and water in saucepan over medium heat just until butter melts.
- Meanwhile, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Pour butter-water mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand.
- Stir in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Stir in the sour cream.
- Pour batter into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until top is golden brown and cake is set in the middle.
- 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
- 3 T. milk
- 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 t. vanilla
- Pinch salt
- Heat butter and milk in small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture is at a simmer.
- Pour into mixing bowl over the powdered sugar.
- Add vanilla and salt.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Pour over the cake.
- Optional: Have fun dressing this cake up with seasonal sprinkles, chopped nuts, berries, chocolate chips, or whatever you dream up!