The golden twin to our Do-It-Yourself Chocolate Cake, this is just as easy and just as delicious (in a completely non-chocolaty way). I prefer to make it with melted butter (for the flavour) but you can substitute vegetable oil if you prefer.
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted (or vegetable oil, if you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottoms of two 9-in. (23 cm) round cake pans or one 9 x 13-in. (23 x 33 cm) rectangular baking pan with baking parchment paper, and grease the paper and sides of the pans. Or, if you're making cupcakes, line two 12-compartment muffin pans with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until very smooth and creamy - about 2 minutes.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two or three additions, alternating with the milk and beating until smooth after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans or cupcake liners. Bake 9-in. (23 cm) round layers for 30 to 35 minutes; a 9 x 13-in. (23 x 33 cm) rectangular cake for 35 to 40 minutes; cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes. Tops should be golden and a toothpick poked into the middle of the cake or cupcake should come out clean, with no batter clinging to it.
To remove cake from the pan, run a knife around the edge to loosen it, then invert onto a cooling rack or plate. Peel off the paper (if it is stuck to the cake) and turn it right-side-up on a rack to cool completely.