Panetela with whipped cream topping for the picture's sake. I like it plain or with ice cream.
I remember helping my grandmother make this panetela when I was barely four years old. She was very strict about how it was done, down to whether to stir to the left or to right, back and forth or all around. No electric mixers for her. The flour needed to be sifted three times. Everything was done very precisely.
As the years passed and my adult life became complicated, I pulled out the electric mixer, skipped the sifting, and hoped for the best, but the end result is not the same. So here it is as my grandmother instructed down to the triple sifting.
2 cups flour, sifted three times
2 tbsp baking powder (incorporate this into the flour)
1/2 cup (1 stick butter, not margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract (the real thing)
pinch of salt
Let your butter sit at room temperature until soft. Let your eggs sit at room temperature so they are not cold straight from the refrigerator.
Using a fork, in a large bowl combine your butter with 1 cup sugar until creamy. Beat your eggs in a separate bowl and drop them into your mixture. Mix. Add your tsp of vanilla. Now switch over to a spoon. Slowly add a little bit of your flour (mixed with the baking soda) into your mixture and blend by moving your spoon back and forth only (folding the batter), not circular (I know it's obsessive compulsive, what can I say?) dribble a little milk... back and forth, pour a little flour...back and forth, dribble a little milk...back and forth . . . you get the picture. Somewhere in the middle of this routine add a pinch of salt. Back and forth. Once all your ingredients are combined into a smooth batter, pour this into a large baking pan or two smaller pans that have been greased.
Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Do not open the door until you've seen through the oven window that it is golden on top. Check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the middle. You know the routine. To store it, you can cover the pan and refrigerate it.
Note: This is a basic recipe for panetela, from here you can elaborate. More to come in future postings.