This Pear and Passionfruit Cake is just one of the variations possible when you’ve got your head around the basic 4×4 cake recipe.
To recap, the 4×4 is my Australian version of quatre-quarts (four-quarters) cake and it is perfect for non-bakers like me. You just take any number of eggs and weigh them in the shell. This is the first ‘quarter’. You then measure the same weight of the remaining three quarters: flour, butter and sugar, and mix them together in any order. Add a teaspoon or two of vanilla for the simplest, fastest, one bowl cake you’ll ever find.
But the real genius of the 4×4 cake is how utterly forgiving it is of adding a fifth quarter. In this case, some pears and passionfruit that were languishing in the fruit bowl.
Kitchen kid jobs
Most primary school children could make this cake with minimal adult help, at least until the oven stage. You know your kids best, though, so here’s a list of ideas for single jobs.
- weighing ingredients
- pressing TARE and reading out the weight on the digital scale (especially helpful to an adult if the bowl overlaps the viewing panel)
- scooping out passionfruit pulp
- setting the oven timer
- making icing
- licking the bowl!
300g fresh fruit
- 2 ripe pears, peeled and roughly chopped away from core
- 2 – 3 passionfruit, pulp scooped
300g (approx) eggs weighed in shell
- 6 large or 5 extra-large eggs
- 300g self-raising flour (or plain flour + 2tsp baking powder)
- 300g softened butter
- 100g caster sugar or honey (or to taste, )
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons juice from a lemon, orange or lime
- Preheat oven to 160C and make sure there’s a shelf in the middle with enough clearance for the cake pan.
- Line the cake pan with baking paper and use the spray oil or dabs of water to help it stay in place.
- Set the mixing bowl on the digital scales and push the TARE option to reset the weight to zero.
- Add the first five ingredients to the bowl one batch at a time, resetting the TARE between each one to keep track. You’re aiming for similar weights so allow a 5-10% variation (eg, the fruit might be 280g, the butter 305g). Remember the eggs will weigh less out of the shell.
- Add the vanilla extract, salt and citrus juice.
- Mix until you can the flour disappears. It’s ok to see streaks but not chunks of butter. The action might be more like mashing for the first few turns. Note – a quick taste test here will tell you if you need to adjust the sugar/honey, because some fruits are sweeter than others.
- Use a spatula to add mix to pan and put it on the middle shelf at the preset heat of 160C. Set timer for 55 minutes, check around 45 minutes. Cake is cooked when a skewer comes out of the centre clean. Note – all ovens vary!
- Let cake sit in the tin for a few minutes and then set it out of the pan on the wire rack to cool.