Cakes made from scratch take just a few extra steps, and the rich, fresh flavor is well worth the effort. Use this recipe to make a sheet cake, 2 round cakes, or 24 cupcakes.
Heat the oven to 350°. Prepare a 9- by 13- by 2-inch pan, 2 9-inch round pans, or two 12-cup cupcake pans by greasing them and dusting them with flour.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
Mix (but don't overmix) a third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then mix in half the buttermilk mixture followed by another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the buttermilk, then the last of the flour mixture.
Pour the mix into the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (for the 9- by 13-inch pan, about 45 minutes; the 9-inch pans, about 30 minutes; the cupcake pans, about 15 minutes). Serves 10 to 12.
Kids' steps: Older kids can measure and mix the batter. Younger kids can spread on the frosting.