Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hump Day Quickie with inadvertently surreal pictures: 1-2-3-4 Cake

So it turns out taking a picture of a cake with white icing against a white background will yield... interesting results. I'm going to say I was going for conceptual, paradigm-shifting pictures.

Today's quickie is named for the quantities of the ingredients (just read the numbers going down the list), like how a pound cake has one pound each of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs. 1-2-3-4 is a really dense, chewy cake that's halfway toward being cookie squares instead. A friend said it was like soft shortbread, only sweet like cake. It's marvelously rich, really good, and has a short ingredient list. I made half (1-2-3-4-Over-2 Cake?) since I don't know what to do with a whole 9x13 one.

1-2-3-4 Cake
1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
3 c. flour
4 eggs

Heat oven to 350°. Mix butter and sugar. Add eggs (you're less likely to get lumps of butter that never break up if you mix each egg in thoroughly one at a time). Stir in the flour. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan (it's easier to do with your hands).
Bake until golden on top and it springs back when pressed lightly in the center (the toothpick test doesn't work with this one; it may lead you to take it out early). This takes a bit longer than other cakes, from 30-45 minutes usually.
I like it iced with a thin layer of buttercream icing spread on right out of the oven so it melts in.

Seriously, look at how easy this sucker is to mix:
Don't judge me for mixing it in a saucepan. I already had it out from supper and didn't want to have to carry a bowl upstairs too.
1. Butter and sugar, mixed.
2. Eggs, added.
3. Flour, stirred in. Done.

Finally, realize you forgot cooking spray.

And yes, it's supposed to be this thick.

Pinch some off and eat it. You'll be glad you did.
I usually try to spread it with a spoon, give up, and pat/spread the rest with my fingers. When it looks like this I figure "eh, close enough" and that it'll melt the rest of the way flat (it does).
There is no certificate and cash prize for Flattest Cake Batter anyway.
And here it is iced:
You must transcend the subject.
...Um. This is the dreariest picture of a cake I've ever taken. I'm trying to think of when I've seen another one that looked more lifeless. I was trying to have the light kind of rake over the icing and be artistic. It's like the time I took a picture of a kissing couple (shamelessly linking to my photography) and someone looked at it and thought he was dead.

All right, let's see if I have any better luck with a slice.
Maybe if I dyed the icing so it wasn't all so white..
Ah hell. Well, at my hand coming through the closest thing to a plate that happened to be at hand looks kind of interestingly trippy. I hope. Well, let's try the classic tempt-the-viewer-with-a-cross-section shot:
It's easier to slice a cake with a fork handle than the business end. Also, I haven't got a cake server.
This is a camera-shy cake if I ever made one. But you can totally take my word when I say it's so good that I'm posting this even though all the pictures look like this.

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