Baking a cake is relatively easy… if you happen to have a cookbook or some boxed cake mix nearby. And though you can use the internet or your favorite cooking app, it can be nice to just cook without a recipe. That seems impossible with baking, which is such an exact science, but it’s actually relatively easy.
all about ratios
. If you know the right ratios, you don’t need recipes. And while you’ll likely always need to consult a cookbook to make German chocolate cake or cherry cheesecake, you won’t need a recipe to make a simple but perfect cake. All you need is to remember an exceptionally simple ratio.
A basic cake is composed of four ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, and eggs.
By using equal amounts (in weight) of each of these ingredients, you’ll be able to make a perfect pound cake (fun fact: pound cake
got its name
because it is composed of one pound of each of these ingredients).
a little bit of baking powder
, and any flavorings that you want (a dash of vanilla and some
will make for a restaurant-quality dessert), and you’ll have a beautiful, light, airy cake.
Start by weighing your eggs, as it’s hard to add and subtract specific amounts of egg. Then replicate that weight with the other ingredients. Beat the butter (
make sure it’s softened
) with the sugar, then add the egg and the flour, as well as any other additions. Then bake it in the oven at 375°F until it’s done!
Many people don’t have a kitchen scale, which seems like it would make it impossible to follow this ratio. But don’t worry! You don’t actually need a scale. While a scale will produce the best results (because eggs, flour, and sugar vary in weight, depending on the product), you can use simple measurements to get a great cake as well.
I’ve made the weight-based cake numerous times, using different flours, sugars, and eggs, and have discovered a measurement that’s pretty accurate, and always delicious: for every two eggs, add one stick of butter, ½ cup sugar, and ¾ cup flour. Works like a charm, and no recipe required!
Photos by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks
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