There are certain dishes for which you just don’t need a recipe. Cake is the perfect example. There’s a very reliable, nearly perfect cake preparation out there that people like me keep in their heads wherever we go. That’s right it’s possible to walk around doing all kinds of things and never forget how to make a cake. Because, at its most basic, a cake doesn’t require a recipe. All it requires is an utterly simple formula – 1 cup milk, 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 eggs. Add 5 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder and you’ve got yourself a Chocolate 1–2‑3–4 Cake. Well, a Chocolate 1–2‑3–4‑5 Cake actually.
I could have stopped this post right at the end of the first paragraph if I had wanted to. After all, a Chocolate 1–2‑3–4 Cake doesn’t require a recipe. If there’s no recipe I can’t think why this post needs further blather from me. Except, you see, it’s the blather I like best about this blog. If it weren’t for the blather I’d have quit blogging by now. So I have a bit more blather before I consider this Chocolate 1–2‑3–4 Cake fully baked.
Chocolate 1–2‑3–4 Cake
The thing I like about a basic Chocolate 1–2‑3–4 Cake is how flexible it is. It’s sized just right for a 9 1/2 x 13-inch sheet cake. It also works great in two 8‑inch cake pans if it’s a simple layer cake you crave. However, both of these cakes require frosting and guess what? I do not walk around with a frosting recipe in my head. I have a lot of room for blather in my brain, but I just can’t seem to find an extra nook or cranny up there for a frosting recipe. So I baked this Chocolate 1–2‑3–4 Cake in a 10-inch springform pan and topped it with a few store-bought caramels squished into flat discs.
And that is enough blather on that. GREG
Full disclosure: despite its name Chocolate 1–2‑3–4 Cake requires leavening. Use 1 or 2 of teaspoons of baking powder in a whole milk version or a couple teaspoons of baking soda if you prefer buttermilk. A tiny splash of vanilla extract and a good sprinkle of salt won’t hurt this cake either, but honestly, they’re optional.