1234 Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This cake is so easy to make you may never buy a boxed mix again. Nothing against the box - you can make some fantastic desserts from a cake mix - but when a homemade cake is this fast, effortless, and uses ingredients you already have in your pantry, homemade always wins. A great standard yellow cake with a delicious chocolate frosting, the recipe is simple enough to memorize. Using parchment paper in the bottom of the cake pans ensures a super easy release with no sticking or tearing. Creaming the butter and sugar first is key to creating the texture and crumb for this 1234 cake. If you need a dessert for a birthday celebration, weekend brunch, or weeknight treat for the family, this cake can be dressed up for any occasion or holiday. Sprinkle the top with chocolate jimmies or candy sprinkles for a festive touch. Add this recipe to your box of favorite layer cakes - we guarantee your crowd will be asking for it again and again.

1234 Cake
Photo: Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist: Kathleen Varner
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins



  • Baking spray with flour

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3 cups (about 12 3/4 oz.)  all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 3 1/2 cups (about 14 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

  • 3 tablespoons whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray, and line bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit bottom.

  2. Beat sugar and butter in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.

  3. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating on medium-low until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cake layers to wire racks, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, prepare the Frosting: Beat butter in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, cocoa, milk, vanilla, and salt, and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high, and beat until fluffy, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

  6. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread top with about 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

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