July 31, 2022

A Childhood Cooking lesson: Our Simple Scalable Cake Recipe!

This is the basic formula for every cake I’ve ever made. So here’s a little lesson from inside my mind, and the way I was taught as a child, to bake cakes without referring to a recipe. It’s a long explanation to explain all the options but a VERY simple recipe at the end!

THE IDEA OF THE RECIPE

  • The general idea is that a 1:1:1:1 ratio of sugar, fat, eggs and self raising flour will bake into a cake.
  • As an egg weighs about 2oz, using 2oz (or a multiple) of each ingredient you can have an easy to remember cake recipe that even kids can use.
  • You can then alter it, tweak ingredients, and change the flavours but that’s the basic idea and it works! We learned this as little kids and it’s still the recipe my whole family uses now.
  • We refer the the cake as a “4 by 4” if it uses 4oz of each ingredient, a “6 by 6” if it’s 6 ounces and so on.
  • The most usual substitution for us is subbing out about 1/4 of the flour for cocoa to make a chocolate cake.
Jared’s birthday cake: An 8 by 8 single layer in a rectangular tin.

WHAT ABOUT CUP MEASUREMENTS?

Each ingredient has a different cup volume for its weight amount so this simple cake formula is more easily done with a scale – especially for kids. But you can look up the cup volume for each ingredient you’re using, on google. Google “2oz of coconut sugar in cups” or sub in your ingredient and quantity to get the amount you need in cups.

WHAT CAKE PAN SIZE?

You want the batter 3/4′-1/5″ thick uncooked in the pan so you can use any cake tin as long as you adjust the cooking time.

“2 by 2” cake: I put this amount of batter in 2 ramekins for single serving mug cakes.

“4 by 4” will fill a 7-8″ cake pan with a thinner, stackable cake.

6 by 6 can also fill the same size 7-8″ pan for a thicker single layer cake. For a baby smash cake I’ve also used a 6 by 6 batter in an 8″ square and cut out 4 thin circles with a cutter or glass to stack for a mini layered cake.

16 by 16 I would use for a 4 layer large cake like the one in the picture below – it will feed 20+ people.

HOW MANY SERVINGS DOES IT MAKE?

In general you’ll want half an egg per serving – that’s half a “2 by 2” for each person. So a 2 by 2 as mug cakes will give you two desserts. And a 16 by 16 cake in 4 layers will give you more like 30 servings.

COOKING TIME?

This will depend on the size of tin and your oven so the best thing is to know what to look for. You’re looking for the cake to be just firm to the touch, and for a skewer to come out clean if gently inserted in the centre. That usually looks like 10-15 minutes for an individual mug cake and 15-20 minutes for the 8″ pan cake in a 170C/340F oven. For anything larger than a 8″ round I’d check it after 25 minutes and add more time in 5-10 minute increments. Give it a touch and if it’s not springy yet, give it some more time.

Big cake: A 16×16 batter in 4 layers. Small cake: a 6×6 batter in an 8″ square tin and cut into 4 circles to stack.

 

 

 

 

Simple Scalable Size Chocolate Cake

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: banana cake, chocolate, easy recipe

Equipment

  • cake tin
  • parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 2 (or any multiple) oz butter Coconut oil or vegan butter can be used in the same amount
  • 2 oz sugar this can be honey, maple, sucanat, coconut sugar or any sugar option. A coconut sugar will give a wonderful deep flavour to a vanilla cake.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz flour This can be self raising brown or white flour, plain white or brown flour, oat flour or a gluten free 1:1 substitute flour. If you want a chocolate cake you can sub 1/4 of the flour measurement for cocoa. For a more fudgy chocolate cake sub up to another 1/4 for ground almonds. To keep it simple for kids to remember use self raising flour so there's no baking powder to remember.
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder Omit if you are using self raising flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp Vanilla extract (optional) If it's a vanilla cake, go on the higher end!

Instructions

  • "Cream" together the butter and sugar ingredients - that means just mix with a fork until well combined. Depending on what you're using this will give different end results but just get it well mixed.
  • Beat in the eggs one by one, mixing with a fork until well combined.
  • Add the vanilla and mix it in.
  • Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold them in with a spoon until evenly combined.
  • Prep the cake tin, with parchment paper on the bottom and sides and fill with batter. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  • Place in a 340F/170C oven
  • Remove when the cake is just springy to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Turn the cake out onto a wire cooking rack and leave until fully cool before icing.

Notes

Tip: For only a few slices of a layered cake make one round and cut it into 3 or 4 pieces then stack them and cut it into 3 or 4 layered slices to serve without making a full cake! 

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