1-2-3-4 Cake - The Southern Lady Cooks

1-2-3-4 Cake is a classic that has been handed down from generation to generation. It is a wonderful basic recipe that is good for any occasion such as holidays, birthdays and anytime you just want a good cake.  I can remember my mother making this 1-2-3-4 cake when I was young.  Try this cake on your friends and family for a delicious treat they will love. 1-2-3-4 cake recipe will quickly become one you go to time and again.  You can use any kind of frosting on this cake and I have added all kinds of ingredients for variety.

1-2-3-4 Cake Simple Ingredients Needed:


White granulated sugar


All-purpose flour or you can use cake flour, too.


Baking powder


Vanilla extract

Almond extract

Easy Chocolate Frosting Ingredients Needed:


Powdered sugar (not granulated)

Vanilla extract

100% cocoa

Milk (You can use more or less milk to get the consistency you like in the frosting)

As you can see this cake is made with simple ingredients and the amount of each the eggs, flour, sugar and butter is where it gets its name.

Please remember that all ovens vary so don’t overcook your cake. Test it and make sure it’s done but don’t over cook it. Also, don’t over mix the cake, which is also a reason why cakes turn out dry. The ingredients are over mixed. 

“This cake had the perfect old fashioned church potluck flavor! Moist tender and delicious. I used buttercream frosting, but I was tempted to poke warm chocolate sauce on it and let it melt through. I just don’t see how anyone can get this wrong. Room temp, measure all items before mixing, and stir dry ingredients together. 250 stars and up!” G.King

“This is a classic recipe. When I think of a traditional birthday cake, this cake is it. It’s the best.” – Christy

“Easy cake to make with a nice texture. I am not a fan of chocolate cake or icing, but really liked this icing. The icing is what makes this cake.” – Marsha

“My grandmother, my mother and all of my aunts always made this cake. The only difference was, my mother used 1 Tablespoon of vanilla instead of any almond. I have been making this cake all my life also. It is just a wonderful tasting yellow cake. We have always loved it! My daughter now makes this cake for her family, either in cake form or cupcakes. So now we have 4 generations using this recipe for a delicious cake.” – Peggy

If you like this recipe, you might also like my recipe for German Chocolate Cake.

1-2-3-4 Cake - The Southern Lady Cooks

1-2-3-4 Cake - The Southern Lady Cooks

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1-2-3-4 Cake

The Southern Lady Cooks
This cake is a classic that has been handed down from generation to generation. It's a wonderful cake to take to any gathering.
5 from 24 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cake


  • 1 cup butter or two sticks or 16 tablespoons I use sweet cream butter that is unsalted
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour or you can use cake flour too. (Sift the flour first and then measure 3 cups. If using cake flour, sift it, too.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Easy Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter or1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar not granulated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup 100% cocoa
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk You can use more or less milk to get the consistency you like in the frosting


  • Cream butter and sugar with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Sift the flour you have already sifted again with the salt and baking powder. Add the vanilla extract and almond extract to the creamed eggs and sugar. Alternately add milk and flour to eggs and mix just until everything is wet.
  • Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add your cake mixture. Cook in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until brown on top and tests done in middle. Let cool before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients with mixer. Spread on cake.


This cake is traditionally baked in three 9 inch cake pans for about 20 minutes per layer. You can do it in the cake pans or in a bundt pan, too. It will take about 40 minutes in a bundt pan.
Keyword 1-2-3-4 Cake
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