Preheat the oven to 350 ºF. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan or an 8-inch springform. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan (or in a microwave safe bowl), heat the milk with the butter until the butter is melted on low heat. Add the vanilla and let cool slightly.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs with the sugar until very light and fluffy. The mixture should at least double in volume, if not more.
Add dry ingredients alternately with wet ones.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown. A cake tester inserted into the middle should come out clean. The cake will be spongy and light and spring back when gently pressed.
Let cool slightly before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- If you have the patience, you can beat the eggs and sugar to the ribbon stage. If you don’t have the time, just make sure that they are frothy. I’m not sure that beating them to the ribbon stage is necessary, but this time I did go the extra mile and was pleased with the extra sponginess that it gave the final cake. - When adding the wet and the dry alternately, remember to start and end with the dry. Thus: dry, wet, dry, wet, dry. This is one of the golden rules of baking, although I’m not quite sure why. - We always butter (or spray with cooking spray) the inside of the pan and coat it with sugar (not flour) because sugar is delicious, whereas a layer of flour on the outside of a cake can taste gross. This means that you have to be very careful and get the baked cake out of the pan when it is just cool enough to release from the pan, but not so cool that the sugar has recrystallized, thereby irreversibly gluing the cake to the inside of the pan. Let it cool a maximum of 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. - The 35-minute baking time is pretty exact. Normally, my mom and her mom would bake this in a tube pan (like an angel food cake pan). It always takes exactly 35 minutes for the cake to bake. No joke. This time, I chose to deviate from the tradition, and I baked it in a loaf pan. And, once again, it came out perfectly! The only difference was that it baked for 47 minutes. Now, I’ve only baked it once in the loaf pan, so I cannot say for sure that it will take you 47 minutes. So start checking it after 45 minutes, or when you notice the edges coming away from the sides.