Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins

Here's a Paula Deen update of my mom's favorite cake recipe. I remember Mom using the recipe as it was, printed on the side of the "Swans Down Cake Flour" box. A great Birthday-Cake kind of recipe, it's called "1-2-3-4 Cake" because, the ingredients, at that time, were listed: "1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups cake flour, 4 eggs" etc. Paula's recipe simplifies some steps, with nothing lost in flavor and texture.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans,.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy.
  4. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  7. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed.
  8. Divide batter equally among prepared pans.
  9. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4 inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter.
  10. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake.
  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done.
  12. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes.
  13. Invert cakes onto cooling racks.
  14. Cool completely and spread cake layers with your favorite frosting to make a 3-layer cake.
Most Helpful

Exactly the recipe I needed! This makes 3 thick layers so I often bake mine as 6 layers instead. This goes great with any icing or filling. I even used it to make a Tiramisu cake. Updated to mention that I have been using this recipe to make wedding cakes, it's a great basic recipe that goes well with all kinds of fillings and icings.

Chef Jean April 11, 2010

This is the best butter type layer cake I have ever used and, I also, got it from my mother. Very versatile and can be used for many purposes, including strawberry shortcake. My favourite topping is a chocolate fudge icing. Suggest that new bakers do not substitute margarine for the butter and also no shortcuts when it comes to the beating of the butter and sugar. My only negative comment (and this is personal preference) I still prefer to separate the yolks from the whites and fold in the latter. Thanks for submitting this cake Fauve.

waynejohn1234 April 21, 2009

This was my dear Mom's recipe and the first one she taught me! Thanks for the wonderful memory. The only difference was she separated her eggs, added only the yolks when the recipe calls for "eggs" and whipped the egg whites till they peak. When the batter is done, fold in the egg whites and the vanilla. Makes a super light cake!

MikenRobin1 January 21, 2009