1-2-3-4 cake in half
FoodSimple and classic

1-2-3-4 cake in half

This cake is just the right size for a smaller household.

1-2-3-4 cake in half (Photo by Keri White)
1-2-3-4 cake in half (Photo by Keri White)

The 1-2-3-4 cake is an iconic, simple, classic cake whose name derives from the proportion of ingredients: one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour and four eggs.

But it makes either a two-layer cake or a large oblong cake, which these days is just too much for my household. So I thought about cutting the recipe in half, making a single layer round with a killer ganache icing, and it worked!

A note on the ingredients: I used buttermilk because I had it, and I love the tang and heft it brings to cake, but you can swap in any type of milk you have or prefer.

As for the flour, I used cake flour, but you can use all-purpose: Just be sure to sift it. The cake might be a bit heavier, but it will still be delicious.

Here’s what I did:

The cake:
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups cake flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt

Heat your oven to 350 F. Spray a round 9-inch pan with oil, then line it with parchment, and spray the parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy.

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again.

In another small bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder.

Add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture, and blend well.

Pour it into the pan and bake for 25 minutes or until the surface is golden brown, the center of the cake springs back when pressed and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cake, and remove it from the pan.

The icing:
½ cup best-quality dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips)
½ cup heavy cream

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles surround the surface. Do not boil.

Place the chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over them. Cover this for a few minutes to allow the chips to melt. Stir until smooth.

Pour this over the cooled cake and serve. PJC

Keri White writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication where this first appeared.

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