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Time to oust your box cake mix, and embrace your inner baker with this basic yellow cake formula. This easy recipe will raise your cake-crafting confidence to new heights the first time you try it. As the name suggests, the numbers represent the measurements of the ingredients in the cake. Just remember what number matches with which ingredient, and you can easily memorize this recipe to whip up anytime you please. The buttery yellow cake is moist and has a perfectly dense crumb. Consider the 1-2-3-4 Cake a blank canvas; have fun adding layers of your buttercream frosting, whipped cream with fruit, or your own favorite frosting. One key to keep in mind when making this cake is that you really do need to have your butter softened and, ideally, your eggs at room temperature. Mixing these ingredients in when cold makes them more difficult to incorporate and can yield a “broken” batter. When baking the cake, be sure to use a light baking pan to help prevent over-browning. If you see that the top of your cake is brown, but the center is still wet, make a foil tent over the cake to keep it from getting darker. 


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

15 mins
40 mins
Serves 8


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 2 (8x8) baking pans with baking spray and dust with a thin layer of flour. 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the softened butter at medium speed, gradually adding sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Mix eggs, one at a time, into the butter mixture. 

  • In separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, about one cup at a time, adding in milk after each cup; mix until just combined. Mix in vanilla extract. 

  • Divide the batter evenly between 2 (8x8-inch) square baking pans and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool 20 minutes before serving.