With school just starting back again after weeks of summer vacation, the thought of thirty-two weeks before summer returns can be daunting. A simple go-to cake recipe can be a great way to reward yourself after long hours of homework, motivate yourself to begin long hours of homework, or even procrastinate. 1-2-3-4 cake is the perfect cake–basic but delicious. Just right for any occasion or season, this cake can be as simple or flavorful as desired. This treat gets its name from the fact that it requires one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs (York). This specific recipe was given to me by a friend and has been handed down through her family for generations. Although it tastes excellent on its own, it is traditionally served with chocolate frosting.
Begin by gathering the following ingredients:
1 cup butter (two sticks)
2 cups white sugar
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour or cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup milk
Chocolate Frosting (optional):
½ cup butter or margarine (one stick softened)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (use more or less milk until you achieve your desired consistency)
Once the ingredients have been gathered, preheat the oven to three-hundred-and-fifty degrees Fahrenheit (one-hundred-and-seventy-seven degrees Celsius). Next, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, beating the mixture after each addition. Whisk the whites together in a small bowl until fluffy, and then set them aside. Sift the already sifted all-purpose or cake flour again with the salt and baking powder. Then, add the vanilla extract and almond extract to the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Alternately add the milk and sifted flour mixture to the creamed eggs and sugar and mix until just combined. Then, fold in the egg whites that were previously set aside. Spray a nine-by-thirteen-inch baking dish, three nine inch cake pans, or a bundt pan with cooking spray. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for thirty-five to forty minutes if using a nine-by-thirteen-inch baking dish or bundt pan or for about twenty minutes per layer if using three nine inch pans. Bake the cake until it is brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
If you would like to top off this treat with chocolate frosting, combine all of the ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth, but add the milk a little bit at a time so as to achieve the desired consistency. Let the cake cool completely before frosting it.
Enjoy making, and especially eating, this simple cake. Frost it for an even more delicious treat with chocolate frosting or any frosting or glaze of your choice. Try experimenting by adding your favorite flavors to the batter such as cinnamon, blueberries, chocolate chips, lemon juice, or lemon zest for an exciting twist!
York, Patricia S. “Make This Easy 1-2-3-4 Cake Tonight.” Southernliving.com, May 29, 2020, https://www.southernliving.com/desserts/cakes/1234-cake history.
1-2-3-4 Cake is a Classic! [Photograph found in The Southern Lady Cooks]. https://thesouthernladycooks.com/1-2-3-4-cake/