As easy as 1, 2, 3, 4Your basic American yellow cake is made from flour, sweetened with sugar, given structure with eggs, enriched and tenderized with butter, leavened with baking powder and flavored with vanilla and a little salt. You may have all the ingredients to make a cake on hand right now.
The most common recipe is known as 1-2-3-4 cake, because it uses 1 cup each of milk and butter (that's two sticks of butter), 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs. (Actually, it also needs one-half teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons of baking powder, so I suppose it's really the 1-2-3-4 plus 1/2 -1-2 cake.)
The usual technique starts by creaming the butter and sugar -- a complicated, impressive, highly technical process that consist of putting both ingredients in the mixer on high speed for maybe two minu tes (the butter should be at room temperature, neither cold nor melted). Then you add the eggs one by one and beat for a minute or two. Wow, how hard was that?
Finally, you mix the flour with the baking powder and salt in one bowl, and add the vanilla to the milk in another, and slowly beat both mixtures into the butter and egg mixture, alternating the flour and milk, just until the flour is incorporated.