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1-2-3-4 Cake By James Beard, Chef & Cooking Teacher

* Exported from MasterCook *


Recipe By :
Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Cakes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
-----FOR THREE 9X1/2 INCH DEEP PA-----
1 tb Butter -- softened
2 tb Flour
-----FOR THE CAKE-----
3 c Cake Flour -- sifted *Note:1
4 ts Baking powder -- Double-
1/2 ts Salt
8 oz Butter -- unsalted (2 sticks)
-at room temperature
2 c Sugar -- granulated
4 md Eggs -- at room temperature
1 c Milk -- at room temperature
1 1/2 ts Vanilla extract (or 1 tspn)
3/4 c Orange juice -- strained
2 tb Lemon juice
3/4 c Sugar -- granulated
1 tb Orange rind -- finely grated

James Beard's 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake; Uses three 9x1/2 inch deep cake
pans. Makes: One 3-layered cake; Serves 12 depending on thickness of
*Note:1. If you can't find cake flour, the same amount of All-purpose
flour can be substituted.
* Directions * Preheat the oven to 350dF. Using your hands, butter
the bottom and sides of all 3 layer-cake pans with softened butter;
sprinkle flour inside, then shake pans so you get a thin coating on
the butter. Tip out any excess!
Now to sift your flour. Lay a large piece of waxed paper on a board,
put a dry measuring cup in the center, hold a sifter directly over
it, scoop cake flour from the package into the sifter, and sift the
flour directly into the cup. When the cup is full, draw the back of a
knife blade lightly across the top of the cup (don't shake the flour
down, or it will become dense) and then tip the measured flour into a
mixing bowl. Repeat with the other 2 cups of flour (you can put any
flour that spilled onto the waxed paper back in the sifter). When you
have 3 cups of sifted flour in the bowl, put the baking powder and
salt in the sifter, holding it over the mixing bowl, and sift it over
the flour. Then, still using your hands, mix the baking powder and
salt lightly with the flour.
Next, put the butter into a second, large mixing bowl. If it is very
firm (it shouldn't be, if you have left it out of the fridge),
squeeze it through your fingers until it softens up. When it is soft
enough to work, form your right hand into a big fork, as it were, and
cream the butter. This means that you beat it firmly and quickly with
your hand, beating and aerating it, until it becomes light, creamy
and fluffy. Then whirl your fingers around like a whisk so the butter
forms a circle in the bowl.
Gradually cream the 2 cups of sugar into the butter with the same
fork-like motion, beating until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
As the sugar blends in it will change the color of the butter to a
much lighter color, almost white.
Now wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Separate the eggs as you
would for a souffle', letting the whites slip though slightly parted
fingers into a small bowl and dropping the yokes into a second,
larger bowl. Beat the yokes for a few minutes with a whisk until they
are well blended. Then, again with your hand, beat them very
thoroughly into the butter-sugar mixture. Now beat in the milk
alternately with the sifted flour -- first one, then the other --
this time keeping your fingers close together as if your hand were a
wooden spatula. Beat, beat, beat until the batter is well mixed, then
add the vanilla and beat that in for 1 or 2 minutes.
Put the egg whites in your beating bowl and beat them with a large
whisk or and electric hand beater until they mount first to soft,
drooping peaks and then to firm, glossy peaks. Do not over beat so
that they are stiff and dry! Tip the beaten whites onto the cake
batter and fold them in with your hand. Slightly cup your hand and
use the side like a spatula to cut down through the whites and batter
to the bottom of the bowl and then flop them over with your cupped
hand, rotating the bowl with your other hand as you do so ~- exactly
the technique used when folding egg whites into a souffle mixture
with a rubber spatula. Repeat this very lightly and quickly until the
whites and batter are thoroughly folded and blended. Once you have
mastered this hand technique you can use it for souffles.
Again using your hand like a spatula, pour and scrape the batter into
three prepared pans, dividing it equally between them. Give the
filled pans a little knock on the countertop to level the batter. Put
the 3 pans in the center of the oven, or, if you have to use more
than 1 rack, stagger them on the 2 middle racks of the oven so they
do not overlap.
Bake for 25 minutes, then touch the center of each cake lightly with
your fingertip. If it springs back, it is done. Remove the pans and
put them on wire cake rakes to cool for a few minutes, then loosen
the layers by running the flat of a knife blade around the sides of
the pans, put a rack on top of each pan, and invert so the cake comes
out onto the rack, top side down. Then reverse the layers so they are
top side up.
For filling and icing, SEE: 1-2-3-4 Filling and Icing recipe.

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