1-2-3-4 Cake By James Beard~ Chef & Cooking T Recipe

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Ingredients & Directions

———————FOR THREE 9X1/2 INCH DEEP PA———————
1 tb Butter; softened
2 tb Flour

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 9×1/2 inch deep cake
pans. Makes: One 3-layered cake; Serves 12 depending on thickness of
slices. *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.

12 Servings

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