Friday, April 09, 2010

Four-Egg Cake from Joy of Cooking (1-2-3-4 Cake)

I realize that hardly anyone bakes anymore, but I have to post this cake recipe. It's Mom's recipe for the old 1-2-3-4 cake. This was always her go-to recipe. It's the recipe she used to make Daddy's favorite pineapple cake. She shared it with our cook, Oliva, in Mexico, and she made it all the time.  Eventually, she quit working for us and opened her own cake business in Hunucma. It's an easy and reliable yellow cake that you can use with any icing--it's great with coconut icing.

Preheat oven to 350.

Take everything out of the fridge, so that it can come to room temperature.

Prepare 3-9" cake pans:  *Cut 3-9" rounds of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of your pans. If you don't have parchment paper, use Release Aluminum Foil or wax paper. Don't skip this step! Spray your pans with Baker's Joy or butter & flour them.  Then place the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.  Then spray it with Baker's Joy. *To cut the rounds--tear off a piece of paper large enough to cover your pan. Fold in 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8, then 1/16.  Set the point in the middle of the pan and eyeball where you need to cut. Crease to mark it and then cut. Unfold, and --this always seems like a miracle to me--you have a perfect circle.  If it's too big, refold and cut it a little smaller.

Sift before measuring:
2 2/3 cups cake flour
Resift with:
2 1/4 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Sift:
2 cups sugar

Beat until soft:
1 cup butter (preferably unsalted)
Add the sugar gradually.  Beat until very light and creamy. Beat in, one at a time:
4 egg yolks

Add:
1 1/2 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract

With mixer on slowest speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with thirds of:
1 cup milk

Stir the batter until smooth after each addition.  Whip until stiff, but not dry:
4 egg whites
Fold them lightly into the cake batter.

Pour into prepared cake pans and bake about 30-35 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove the cake pans to a rack and let cool before turning the cakes out on to racks to finish cooling.  Don't try to ice them until they are thoroughly cool, otherwise your icing will melt and slide off.

14 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:41 PM

    This is a wonderful cake - I've never know anyone who did not simply rave about it. It is also really good as a substitute pound cake. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I'm so glad that somebody else out there loves this cake like I do!

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    2. Anonymous4:33 PM

      Yes, this cake is always everybody's favorite. I've been making it for at least 50 years ,omg, I'm old...Also, in the same book is everyone's favorite Brownies, they're called Brownies Cockaigne.

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    3. I've never tried the Brownies Cockaigne (I use the Katherine Hepburn brownie recipe on the blog), but I'm sure they're delicious. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    4. Do you know how much batter goes in each cake pan? I'm trying to cut this recipe and know I'll have extra. Thanks.

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    5. I don't know, but I accidently divided the entire recipe between 2-9" pans and baked it about 35 minutes (maybe a little longer; til toothpick came out clean). It was absolutely wonderful!

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    6. Molly C., check this link
      http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html

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  2. Has anyone cut this recipe in half? I only want one 'layer' of this cake, possibly two if I must.
    I was thinking I should half the recipe and use my 9 inch cake pan (baking it longer) OR use two of my 8 inch round cake pans and bake it for a shorter time. Any advice? Maybe I should do a 9 inch cake pan and a few cupcakes?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't cut it in half, but I would check Joy of Cooking. It has a great section on substituting pan sizes. If I were experimenting, I would either cut the recipe in half and use 2-8" pans, or make the entire recipe and put it in 2-9" pans. I did this by accident one time, and it was delicious! I cooked it 35 minutes until a toothpick came out clean.

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    2. Check out this link http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html

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  3. I am going to make this using lemon curd in between the layers and substitute lemon extract for almond. I've been baking for 50 years and never heard of this cake until this week!

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    Replies
    1. The lucious lemon cake on the blog was my riff on this cake. Let me know how it turns out.

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  4. Is it 3 cups of milk or one cup of milk divided in 3?

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    Replies
    1. It's 1 cup of milk, divided in 3 parts--
      With mixer on slowest speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with thirds of:
      1 cup milk

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