Slices of Lemon Cake made using 1234 Cake Recipe
1-2-3-4 Layer Cake (“Back of the Box Cake”)
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Prep: 25 min
Bake: 25 min
Yield: 1 Layer Cake
This classic layer cake is light, airy and so popular we put the recipe on the back of Swans Down Cake Flour boxes. Frost and decorate it to taste – it's the cake for any occasion. Depending on how you wish customize this recipe, it can be baked in 3 (9-inch) round pans or 1 (9x13-inch) cake pan.
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups Swans Down® Cake Flour, sifted before measuring
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk, whole or low fat
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and lightly flour 3 (9-inch) layer pans.
  3. Sift flour and then lightly spoon 3 cups of the flour into a large measuring cup. Then sift the already-sifted cake flour with the baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.
  4. Cream butter in a large bowl. Gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk and extracts, blending after each addition until smooth. (Do not over beat as this will yield a dry cake.)
  5. Pour into prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tester inserted into cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on racks.
  8. Frost and decorate as desired.
    Kitchen Tips:

Depending on how this cake is to be customized, it can be baked in 3 (9-inch) round layer pans or 1 (9×13-inch) rectangular pan.

To make the cake chocolate: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the dry ingredients OR 3 ounces melted baking chocolate, cooled and added when the eggs are added.

To make the cake strawberry: Add a 3-ounce box of strawberry Jell-O to the dry ingredients AND 1 cup mashed strawberries with the eggs.

  • Ann says:

    Question, baking powder is double action, should I use one and a half, not 3 teaspoons

  • Mark says:

    Is it possible to replace baking powder with baking soda?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Mark, You can replace baking powder with baking soda, but you would also have to add cream-of-tartar. To substitute 1 teaspoon baking powder, use ¼ teaspoon baking soda plus ½ teaspoon cream of tartar. Happy baking!

  • Tracy says:

    I would suggest NOT using buttermilk. Produced a flat cake despite making the recommended changes. Stick with the regular recipe as it’s perfect as is!

  • Tesha says:

    Can this recipe be used with cream cheese instead of milk?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Tesha, With the difference in consistency and fat content we would not recommend using cream cheese in place of milk in this recipe. Happy baking!

  • Frances says:

    Has anyone ever tried crushing freeze dried strawberries, sifting and measuring 3 ounces of that into the batter instead of jello mix? Too much strawberry? Love this cake as is but my toddler is requesting a strawberry version!

  • Kg says:

    Can I use half an half instead of whole milk

  • Eva deaton says:

    Can I make it within 30 minutes if I do a 2 or 3 layer cake

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Eva, Prep and bake time will likely be about the same whether you make a 2 or a 3 layer cake, about 50 minutes. Happy baking!

  • Summer C Moorman says:

    Can I use as cupcakes instead of cake pans?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Summer, Yes you can use the 1234 Layer Cake for Cupcakes. The recipe would yield about 24 cupcakes when the tins are filled 2/3 of the way. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until tester inserted into cake comes out clean.bHappy baking.

  • Ash says:

    Is this recipe for each (1) layer or is this enough to yield three layers?

  • Patty says:

    I have made the 1234 cake for 20 years, sometimes it’s perfect and sometimes it’s a little dry. What am I doing wrong? . And I now have the coated dark pans, does that change cooking temp and/or the time to cook?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Patty, Yes baking with dark coated pans will result in faster baking. You may need to lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees and test before
      25 minutes or until tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Happy baking!

  • Mckay Theresa says:

    How lemon curd work for layers

  • Brenda Wright says:

    Can you use buttermilk in this recipe?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Brenda,
      While you can substitute the milk with buttermilk, buttermilk has more acid than regular milk. This will reduce the carbon dioxide released and will affect the leavening process. Please know that we have not tested the 1234 Cake with this substitution: the standard substitution for each cup of buttermilk in place of milk would be to reduce the amount of baking powder by 2 teaspoons, and replace with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Come back and let us know if you try it. We’d love to know. Happy baking!

  • Melba D Lee says:

    Can you make around cakeout of swan down cake mix

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Melba, For most cakes, you can use round baking pans. The 1234 Layer Cake you most certainly can! Pounds cakes may the be exception. You achieve better results using a bundt or a loaf pan for pound cakes. Happy baking.

  • Phyllis McCall says:

    Planning to make this cake to back an old fashioned carmel cake but I only have 8-inch cake pans. Can I use them instead? Would there be a big adjustment in baking time? Also would it ruin the recipe to omit the almond flavoring?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Phyllis, You can always use an additional 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla in place of the almond flavoring. And yes you can use 3 8-inch pans. Make sure to not fill the pans more than 2/3rds of the way full. If you have extra batter you can make a few cupcakes. Bake time should stay about the same, 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Happy baking!

  • Michele says:

    This cake had a lovely soft crumb! My 4- year- old granddaughter and I made it today with strawberry frosting. Quick and easy.

  • Monique Carter says:

    Good day are we sifting the flour twice ?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Monique, YOu should always sift before you measure, then again if the recipe calls for it. For the 1234 Cake you would follow this process. Happy baking!

  • Marla says:

    I want to avoid almond extract due to nut allergies. Should I substitute something else? I saw the comment above but think the kids might not like lemon. What would you suggest.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Marla, You can use pretty much any flavor you family would enjoy. Extra vanilla, banana and pineapple are a few others have mentioned in the past. Happy baking!

  • Emily says:

    Hi! What if I wanted to incorporate ripe banana into the recipe and turn it into a banana cake?

    • Swans Down says:

      Emily, That sounds delicious. You could mash or cube the bananas and fold them into the final batter. Be careful not to overfill the pans as you’ll have more batter now. Happy baking!

  • Emilia says:

    What are the best egg replacements for this recipe?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Emilia, We have not tested this recipe using egg alternatives, so we’re not to able to make a 1:1 replacement recommendation. We do know though that Mashed Banana, Applesauce and Yogurt are common egg replacements in baking. We’d love to know the results if you try it. Happy baking!

  • Aubrey Campbell says:

    I want to bake a smaller version of this cake. Can I just reduce the ingredients by half?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Aubrey, Yes, you can cut the ingredients in half to make a smaller version. Happy baking!

  • Debra says:

    Hi, For the layer cake, can I use coconut milk instead of regular milk and coconut extract with vanilla extract?

  • Chan Bell says:

    May I add lemon zest to the cake batter?

  • DONNA MENNER says:

    I have my mother’s recipe for Swans Down marble cake from 1950s. It says 1,2,3,4 cake in recipe. Have you changed the recipes on the box over the years? My mom did the marble cake in a tube pan. Some of the measurements are different now. Do you always have to sift before measuring? Can I add a little veg oil to make cake more moist? Maybe just 1/2 tsp?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Donna, The 1234 Cake recipe hasn’t changed. Could it be the 1234 Pound Cake recipe that she used? You should always sift the flour before you measure and settling does occur after production. And yes adding a 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil should be okay. Happy baking!

  • Calvin Staley says:

    I’m gonna make this cake for my sister’s birthday in 3 weeks. Can I add sprinkles to the batter?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Calvin, You can definitely add sprinkles to the batter with no other recipe adjustments. Happy Birthday to your sister! Happy baking!

  • Lydia Holland says:

    Can i substitute milk for buttermilk instead? Also can i substitute the butter for vegetable oil? I’m trying to achieve a moister cake

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Lydia,
      While you can substitute the milk with buttermilk and butter with vegetable oil there are adjustments needed. In particular buttermilk has more acid than regular milk, which will reduce the carbon dioxide released and will affect the leavening process. Please know that we have not tested the 1234 Cake with these substitutions, the standard substitution for each cup of buttermilk in place of milk would be to reduce the amount of baking powder by 2 teaspoons, and replace with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. And to use 3/4 cup vegetable oil for 1 cup of butter. Come back and let us know if you try it. We’d love to know. Happy baking!

  • Patricia Hicks says:

    I made this cake but replaced the almond extract with lemon extract. I also had to bake it 30 minutes. Best cake ever. Fluffy, moist, flavorful!

  • Natasha M. Tate says:

    My Great-Aunt will be 95 this year and still only uses Swans Down cake flour. So of course I’m following in her footsteps. I would also like to request the recipe for the “Happy Day Cake”! Thank you

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Natasha, We love hearing when generations are following their family traditions!! The Swans Down Celebration Cake is also known as the Happy Day Cake. Here’s a link for you. Happy baking!

  • Jan says:

    I’m confused about the measurements of the butter, sugar with the flour. I understood that the amount of butter and sugar given on the recipe was for 3 cups of flour. That’s what I used but I cut the sugar to only 1 cup and the cake came out totally greasy. That was way too much butter and sugar for only 3 cups of flour. The instructions for this recipe are not clear.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Jan, We’re sorry to hear that we are having difficulty with the 1234 Cake recipe. Your information was forwarded to our Consumer Affairs Department. Someone will be reaching out to help. Happy baking!

  • Lisa Sturm says:

    Can I make this cake with lactose free milk? Thanks!

  • Jewell Miller says:

    Can use sour cream instead of Milk?

  • Mary says:

    Can you use this recipe and cut all ingredients in 1/2 will it compromise the texure of the cake as I will be making 3 9 inch cakes the recipe yields 2

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Mary, The recipe calls for 3 – 9 inch pans. If you prefer taller layers you can make a recipe and a half. With careful measurement of the ingredients it should not compromise the texture of the cake itself. Just be carful not to fill the pans more than 2/3 of the way to avoid overflow during baking.

  • Susy says:

    I am making this cake today and only 2 9 inch pans came out of this not 3? I followed reach ingredient and filled each pan about 1/4 since that’s how much I can do. Also for how long is it supposed to be stirred for? Both the butter and sugar and then all the ingredients together? Needs more detail directions

    • Swans Down says:

      Thanks for the feedback Susy. We’ll be sure to pass them along to The Kitchen for consideration. Happy baking!

  • Julia Kornegay says:

    My layers are coming out too dry. I’ve made the cake three times now I’m careful not to overtbake it. What can I do to fix this?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Julia, We’re sorry to hear that you are having troubles with baking the 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake. There are several factors that can cause a cake to be be dry. We have a list of them below. You can also review our Baking Tips page or other useful suggestions and baking tips.

      Too much flour
      Too much leavening
      Not enough shortening
      Not enough liquid
      Not enough sugar
      Over beaten egg whites
      Over baked or baked too long at too low temperature
      Over mixing the batter
      Pan too big
      Cooled cake in a drafty area

  • Justine Newman says:

    Can I use shortening instead of butter? I don’t like butter or cream cheese and wandering if I can use Crisco shortening rather than butter or cream cheese for the icing?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Justine, You can replace the butter with shortening if that’s your preference for the icing. You may want to add just a little more vanilla extract to help bump up the flavor. Happy baking!

  • Guy R McDonald says:

    What type of frosting is used in the picture? Im thinking of doing a basic cream cheese frosting any suggestions?

  • Ana says:

    Hi! Can I bake the Swans Down layer cake using 2 (8-inch) layer pans?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Ana, This recipe yields approximately 7 cups of batter, depending on the height of your pans if they can hold 3 ½ cups of batter each, you are good to go! Also, please note that you generally don’t want to fill your pans more than 2/3 full or you will have overflow during baking. You may need to do a third layer, or a few cupcake if you have batter left over. Happy baking!

  • Ann says:

    What happens if you don’t have any almond extract

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Ann, You can replace the almond extract with additional vanilla if you’d like and just have more vanilla flavor. Happy baking!

  • Kim McKenzie-Campbell says:

    Can the sugar be reduced by 1/2 cup w/o compromising cake? It’s a little sweet for my family.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Kimberly, You can reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup to make the cake less sweet. But reducing the the amount of sugar it will allow the butter and flavoring to be more pronounced, without compromising the texture or moisture level of the crumb. Come back and let us know how it turns out. Happy baking!

  • Lorraine says:

    Are there metric measurements for the 1-2-3-4 cake?

  • Jarlene says:

    Can you use this and substitute whole milk for coconut milk to make a coconut cake?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Jarlene, For a recipe that calls for whole milk you can substitute it with full fat coconut milk. Happy baking!

  • Donna D. says:

    How do I change evaporated milk for whole milk & how much do I use? Can I also have the Happy Cake recipe
    Love your flour

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Donna, Thanks for the ?. A common ratio for adjusting evaporated milk to whole milk in 1:1 using water. Do note that using evaporated milk would result in an inconsistent cake texture and caramel undertones as the milk sugar caramelizes in the heating process. The differences are enough to interfere with the structure in baked goods. Our Happy Day Cake is also know as our Celebration Cake. Here is a link to the recipe. Happy baking!

  • Jane says:

    Wow! This cake bakes up beautifully! I substituted orange extract for the almond to have an orange creamsicle-type flavor. My question is about serving size. I backed this recipe in two (2) 13×9 in pans. I just don’t want the kiddos at my 7yo’s party to think I’m being stingy with the slices. 🙂 We’ll have 16-22 kids. Should I whip up another half batch for another layer?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Jane, Baking the 1 2 3 4 Cake in 2 – 13×9 pans would make the layers thinner, but will still give you ample servings. A nice middle layer of frosting or filling could help. Happy baking…and Happy Birthday to your kiddo!

  • Peggy says:

    I love, love your 1-2-3-4 cake. It has the nicest crumb and flavor. Can this be frozen iced? Thanks

    • Swans Down says:

      Yes Peggy, you can certainly freeze the 1-2-3-4 Cake iced. We suggest you put the came in the freezer unwrapped until the icing is frozen the wrap the cake very well in plastic wrap 2-3 layers then also wrap and secure tightly with aluminum foil. The cake should keep for approximately 6 weeks. Depending on the number of layers it will take 3 – 6 hours for the cake to fully defrost. Happy baking!

  • Kitty Conrad says:

    I am not feeling a lot of confidence here. At the top of this recipe, you state this can be baked in three 9-inch or three 8-inch or one 9×13 inch pan. At the end of the recipe you state three 9-inch or five 8-inch or one 9×13. Responding to one of your reader comments you state it would fill two 19×13 pans.

    My own calculations show the near equivalent to three 9-inch pans would be four 8-inch or one 9×13 plus one 9×9.

  • Sandr says:

    Can I use Pam baking spray to prepare my pans?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Sandr, Yes Pam baking spray works well to prepare baking pans. Many will still flour the pans to help prevent sticking. Especially in cakes that require a high volume of sugar. Happy baking!

  • Tricia says:

    I use swandown but when I put nuts and fruit it settles to the buttom what should I do?

    • Swans Down says:

      Tricia, Try tossing the nuts in some dry flour before adding them to the batter. This will help to keep them suspended during bake time. Happy baking!

  • Tricia says:

    I use swandown and sometimes my pound cake comes out dry? What I am I doing wrong? This my first time posting

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Tricia, Not sifting your flour before measuring and overbeating can cause a dry cake. Also over baking. Have you tested your oven to make sure the temperature is correct. It may need to be calibrated. Happy baking!

  • Vita Burnett says:

    Can I use buttermilk

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Vita, You can substitute the whole milk with buttermilk. You would have to use 2 teaspoons less baking powder and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Happy baking!

  • Awura Bekoe says:

    Can i add sour cream to the recipe

    • Swans Down says:

      Awura, You can substitute the milk in this recipe with sour cream. You will have to reduce the baking powder by one teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Happy baking!

  • Karen says:

    Hi I was wondering can I use regular butter instead of unsalted

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Karen. You can use salted butter in place of unsalted. 1 Stick or 1/2 cup of butter typically has about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. It varies by brand. You should check with the brands manufacturer to get the exact amount, then can adjust the salt in the recipe if needed. Happy baking!

  • Ann Victor says:

    I want to bake this recipe in 12×3 round pan. How much batter do i need thank you

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Anne, A 12″ x 3″ round pan would hold about 11 cups of batter. We recommend that you not fill a pan more than 2/3 of the way full. Happy baking!

  • Sandra says:

    If u make cupcakes with this rescipe, should I butter the cupcake liners?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Sandra, If you are making cupcakes and not using tin liners then yes you would butter and lightly flour the tins. Happy baking!

  • Susan says:

    If I make cupcakes from the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe, how long should I bake them and how many will the recipe make?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Susan, This recipe would make approximately 30-36 cupcakes filling them 2/3 of the way full. Check for doneness at 18 to 20 minutes. Happy baking!

  • Alma says:

    Can I use almond milk?
    Love Swans Down

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Alma,

      Almond milk can be used 1:1 in place of 2% milk and whole milk when baking. When using it in place of whole milk, confections may bake a little faster, as there is more water in almond milk than dairy milk. This water evaporates causing the baked good to rise and set more quickly.

      Cow’s milk has naturally occurring sugar, and “unsweetened” almond milk has 0g of sugar. To more closely mimic true dairy milk, look for Almond Milk packaging that claims “low sugar” or “lightly sweetened.”

      So yes, Almond Milk will work, so will soy milk. Happy baking!

  • Jonathon says:

    Is there a version of this that uses mass (g) rather than volume? Is the cup on the nutrition facts a sifted measure?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Jonathon, We forwarded your information on to our Consumer Relations Department. Someone will be reaching out to help you. Happy baking!

  • Linda Paulk says:

    Love swans down

  • Beatrice canales says:

    I’m not a baker but by you answering so many questions that I have had I am going to buy swan cake flour and bake the 1234 cake.

  • Pamela Brown says:

    How long should it bake if using a Bundt pan?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Pamela, this recipe in a Bundt pan could take 40 – 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Happy Baking.

  • Felicia says:

    How much batter does this cake make? I would like to do a 6 or 9 layer cake… so I need to know how to divide it evenly

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Felicia, The Swans Down 1 2 3 4 Layer Cake yields 7 cups of batter, and bakes a nice 3 (9-inch) layer cake. We’d love to hear how a 6 or 9 layer cake turns out. Come back and let us know. Happy Baking!

  • Phyllis Drake says:

    This recipe looks delicious! I would
    like to divide the batter into separate bowls (one chocolate, one strawberry, etc) to create a tiered cake. How many cups of batter does it yield?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Phyllis, The Swans Down 1 2 3 4 Layer Cake yields 7 cups of batter. Come back and let us know how your variety of flavors tiered cake turns out. Happy Baking!

  • KD Smith says:

    Can you substitute the almond extract for more vanilla?

  • Fran says:

    My cake was heavy. I only baked in two pans. Are did I beat it to much.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Fran, We’re sorry to hear that you had this problem. Both overfilled pans and overbeating could result in a dense or heavy cake. We recommend that you mix the batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. Happy Baking!

  • Andora Peterson says:

    My question is this here to make a almond butter rum cake could you tell me how long should I bake it with how much rum to place in cake batter also once cake has baked how much rum to place on top once holes is placed in still somewhat warm cake thanks so much.

  • Janet says:

    My husband is a diabetic and I need to replace the regular sugar with Stevia- is there any recommendations in using it?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Janet, While we know that lots of bakers use sugar substitutes when baking with Swans Down, we have not tested this. It would be best for you to contact Stevia for their recommendation. We will however forward this on to The Kitchen as an idea for recipe development. Happy Baking!

  • Trish says:

    Do I measure 3 cups of the cake flour then sifted or sift then measure 3 cups? Sorry I no that’s a crazy question.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Trish, There are no crazy questions! Swans Down recommends that you sift then measure for measurement accuracy. Happy Baking!

  • machelle packer says:

    Can I use buttermilk in the place of whole milk

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Machelle, You can, you will just need to reduce baking powder to 1 teaspoon and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Happy Baking!

  • Tammy Marshall says:

    Do you have a moist recipe for a 12 to 14 layer chocolate cake with cooked chocolate icing

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Tammy,
      You can definitely make the Swans Down 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake into a chocolate cake, it’s incredibly moist. For chocolate, add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa to the dry ingredients OR 3 ounces melted baking chocolate, cooled and added when the eggs are added. Also, Nana’s Simple Chocolate Cake is, The Best Chocolate Cake ever! If you need 12 – 14 layers, we would recommend that you prepare 4 to 5 batches separately to yield the number layers you need.
      Our German Buttercream Frosting is a cooked frosting that has a Chocolate variation within the Kitchen Tips of the recipe. Let us know if you try it.
      Happy Baking!

  • Adda Watkins says:

    Can I bake the cakes one a the time, my oven burns the cake if they are too low. Would it be okay to let them set out, while baking one at the time?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Adda, You can certainly bake them one at a time if all of the pans will not fit on the rack at one time. Happy Baking!

  • Gerri Haire says:

    Can I make this into a banana cake. I have a couple of ripened bananas.

  • Joy Brousseau says:

    I’m newly over from Britain (aged 72) and have always baked but am struggling now due to different products I’m not familiar with. I was so pleased to see your 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake Recipe today and am looking forward to trying it. Thank you so much

  • Paula says:

    Do I use a blender or use a spoon?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Paula, This recipe can be prepared by mixing with an electric mixer, or by hand. Please be careful not to not overmix as prolonged mixing may cause loss of air or leavening gas and make cakes more compact and heavy with tunnels. Happy Baking!

  • Annette says:

    Can this cake be baked as cupcakes

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Annette, Yes this cake can be baked as cupcakes. This recipe would yield approximately 30 – 36 cupcakes depending on the amount of batter used in each well. We recommend not to fill the well more than 2/3 of the way full to allow for rising. Happy Baking!

  • Robin says:

    Would you please convert you recipes to weight (grams) amounts? Thank you.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Robin, We are working to have all of Swans Down recipes state both weight and measure. Keep checking back! Happy Baking.

  • Charlotte Cahalan says:

    Hi, how can I make a pumpkin cake using this recipe?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Charlotte, The Kitchen is going to test this variation for us and I will come back and post the results. Happy Baking!

      From The Kitchen, To make a pumpkin 1234 Cake they recommend to
      Substitute 1 cup pumpkin puree for the milk
      Add 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
      Remove the almond extract
      Otherwise the recipe remains the same. Come back and let us know if you try it.

  • Debra says:

    My mother baked this 1-2-3-4 cake in a 9×13 when I was a child, many years ago. She used an icing of coconut, sugar and butter and then put under the broiler. Delicious!

  • Cathie says:

    Using the 1234 recipe, what is the bake time in a 9 x 13 inch pan?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Cathie, When making the Swans Down 1234 cake in a 9 x 13 pan we recommend that you bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Happy Baking!

  • Glory says:

    I like your recipe ❤️ I want good frosting recipe to my grandkids. Thanks ?

  • Teresa says:

    Is the recipe suppose to have 3 t. baking powder and 1/2 t. salt twice?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Teresa, Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The 3t of baking powered and 1/2 t of salt should only be listed once. We will make this correction. Happy Baking!

  • Shaneda says:

    Do you resift the already sifted flour or do you sift the baking powder and salt to add to the sifted flour. I was just correcting my spelling

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Shaneda,
      The correct method is to put the flour, which has already been sifted once and measured, into sifter along with the baking powder and salt, and sift those three things together into an empty bowl. After that, they will be added to wet ingredients in 3 additions. Sifting them together ahead of time ensures that the flour, salt and baking soda are evenly mixed before they are mixed into the wet ingredients. Happy Baking!

  • Shaneda says:

    Do you resift a flower when it says to sift the baking powder and salt and I already sifted flour or are you sifting the baking soda and salt

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Shaneda, You should sift and measure, then sift flour again with the baking powder and salt. Happy Baking!

  • Kay Bryant says:

    Hi…Can You Buttermilk instead of Whilr Milk in the 1-2-3-4 Cake? If so,would it be the same amount as the whole milk ? Would it moist and tender?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Kay, You absolutely can substitute whole milk with buttermilk, you will just need to reduce baking powder to 1 teaspoon and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Happy Baking!

  • Alexandria Askew says:

    can you make this a chocolate cake?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Alexandria, You can definitely make the Swans Down 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake into a chocolate cake. For chocolate, add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa to the dry ingredients OR 3 ounces melted baking chocolate, cooled and added when the eggs are added. Let us know if you try it. Happy Baking!

  • cheryl J says:

    I tried baking the 1234 cake twice in one week at Christmas. Both times It came out very dry and barely rose at all. I live in the Mountains of western North Carolina and wonder if that affected the recipe. My kitchen never gets above 69 farenheit in winter.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      If you’re in a high altitude location it very well could have affected the outcome of the recipe. In the post below we have the USDA guideline for high altitude baking.
      Also, if your kitchen is staying at a low temperature during the winter it may be advisable to use an oven thermometer to be sure that you are achieving the required oven temperature for a recipe.
      Come back and let us know if you have success, this is a delicious recipe! happy Baking!

  • Hayley says:

    Is there a high-altitude version of this recipe?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Hayley, Unfortunately we do not have a high-altitude recipe version for the 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake. We do have general high-altitude guidelines you can review.

      Lower air pressure causes water to boil at a lower temperature which means more evaporation takes place during baking and cakes may become dry. The structure is also affected by the tendency for the cakes to rise too much and then collapse.

      Here is a chart put out by the USDA to use as a guideline.

      High Altitude Baking Guidelines

      Increase oven temperature by 15℉ to 25℉.
      Because you are increasing the oven temperature, you will need to decrease the baking time by 5 to 8 minutes per half hour.

      * These are guidelines. You will need to experiment to see what works best for you and your location.

  • Monika says:

    Can this be used for cupcakes? If so, do you recommend it for cupcakes?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Monika, Our 1234 Layer Cakes converts nicely to cupcakes. It will make approx. 30 to 36 cupcakes depending if you fill them 1/2 full or 2/3 full. Happy Baking!

  • Cup&cakez says:

    Perfect cake , I opted to only use 1 1/2 c sugar it still turned out perfectly. Nice moist and fluffy

  • Mary Vargas says:

    Can you use this recipe to make a strawberry or chocolate cake? If so, what needs to be added or changed?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Mary, Here’s some recommendations for converting the 1-2-3-4 Layer cake to Chocolate or Strawberry:
      For Chocolate – add 1/4 cup to the dry ingredients OR 3 ounces melted baking chocolate, cooled and added when the eggs are added.

      For Strawberry – add a 3-ounce box of strawberry Jell-O with the dry ingredients AND 1 cup mashed strawberries with the eggs.
      OR 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries made into a powder in a food processor.

      Thanks and Happy Baking!

  • Antonella says:

    How many servings is one recipe and how well will it bake in a 12 inch round pan?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Antonella, One 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake recipe will yield one 3-layer 9″ cake. If served into 1″ slices you would get approximately 30 servings. The recipe should convert well to 2 – 12″ pans and would get approximately 55 1″ servings. It may require additional baking time for a tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Happy Baking!

  • J Joshua says:

    Can I get the frosting recipe for this cake please? Looks delicious

  • Trenia Thomas says:

    Swans Cake Flour has been used in my family for years. My grandmother used to bake the 1-2-3-4 cake and the pound cake all the time and the entire neighborhood would come for a slice. To have that recipe booklet would make my year. How do I get a copy. I love baking and my cream cheese pound cake doesn’t last 4 days.

  • Cindy says:

    I love Swanson cake flour. Can I get the Happy Day cake recipe everyone is talking about!

  • Lisa hadden says:

    Can I get a copy of the happy day cake recipe ,thanks

  • Sheryl says:

    I would like the Happy Day Cake recipe

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Sheryl, We’ve asked out Consumer Affairs department to send it to you. Looks like we may need to add this one back to our collection. Happy baking!

  • Nadege says:

    Hi can you please email me the recipe fir happy days cake. It’s an older recipe. Thank you.

    • Swans Down says:

      Nadege, I’ve sent your information to our Consumer Affairs Department. Someone will be sending you the recipe. Happy baking!

  • Michelle says:

    How can I adjust ingredient quantities for 8 inch (thickness =3inch) single layer round cake?

    • Swans Down says:

      Michelle, You may not need to adjust the ingredients. This cake bakes nicely in 2 – 8 x 1.5 inch pans so it should work in a 8 x 3 inch. Just make sure not to fill the pan over 2/3 of the way full. Happy baking.

  • Rita says:

    What are the measures of ingredients for a 2layer cake instead of 3layers

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Rita, I’ve forwarded your information on to our Consumer Affairs department. Someone will be in touch to help with this. Happy baking!

  • Sheila Henderson says:

    I would like to use your flour for my scratch homemade biscuits. I only use non-bromated and unbleached all purpose flour. Do you make an unbleached version? Thank you in advance.

  • Lilian says:

    Hi, I bought your cake flour for the first time. What does 1 cup in your recipe mean? How large is this cup?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Lillian, 1 cup Swans Down Cake Flour is 1 standard, 8 fluid ounce measuring cup or = 3.5 ounces sifted cake flour (weight) or 100 grams. Or = 4.5 ounces unsifted cake flour (weight) or 130 grams. If you have additional inquiry’s please contact our Consumer Affairs Department at 1-504-272-2939. Happy baking!

  • Eileen says:

    During the 50’s, 60’s, there was a recipe for Happy Day cake on the Swans Down box. It was delicious…both my brother and I remember it with fondness. Can you share that recipe from your archives?

  • Allyne Holland says:

    My mother always used Swan’s Down cake flour, and I do, too. I am now 86…long time! Do you have a small cook book? Please let me know. Thanks so much for the recipes.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Allyne, It’s always nice to hear from our loyal Swans Down users. Especially loyal generations! I will forward your information on to our Consumer Affairs department. They will be in touch in regards to a recipe booklet. Happy baking!

  • April. says:

    My mother made this cake over 60 years ago. I have the recipe written in her own hand writing. She baked this cake from memory. I love it!

  • Vinetta Maynor says:

    I just made this cake for Thanksgiving, and it turned out great. It was so moist, I couldn’t believe how well it turned out. I used 2% milk instead of whole. This is definitely a keeper.

  • Eric says:

    Hi, just wondering what frosting was used in the photo.

  • Lora Walker says:

    Hi Swans, how can I make a lemon pound cake using your swans down cake flour

  • Gethzaida says:

    Today is my son Birthday. I used swam down flour. He is working in Emergency Management. I have many years using it. Am a retired school teacher with 30 years. Please send me more recipes. God bless you. I want to do carrot cake for my husband but I need the recipe.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Gethzaida, I forwarded your info to our Consumer Affairs Dept. Someone will be in touch to answer your questions.

  • Gerald Mess says:

    When you do the recipes is there a place I can look up calories and cholesterol contents of the tiems.

  • Sadie Fierce says:

    I ♥️ it & want 2 make it

    • Swans Down says:

      Thanks Sadie, We love receiving compliments from our happy consumers! This is certainly one of most popular recipes.

  • DEANNA Hernandez says:

    can I use two 9inch pans instead of three 9inch pans ?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Deanna, We love hearing from our Swans Down consumers! A 9″ pan should hold approx 4 cups of batter. We would not recommend filling a pan over 2/3 of the way full. You can always make 1-2-3-4 Muffins with the left over batter.

  • Myrna Ortiz says:

    How much batter will be needed to make two 12×9.5 triangle cake and two 10×7.5 triangle cake.

  • Sandy Scott says:

    I always have a box in my pantry….you won’t be disappointed!!

  • Jennie says:

    I need a recipe for a 12 x 18 sheet cake that I will remove from pan to decorate. I don’t want a thin cake. Will the 1234 recipe work?

  • Susan says:

    Just made the cake/still in the oven and the batter seemed a little bit thin. I measured the wet and dry ingredients precisely based on 3.5 oz per cup of sifted cake flour. The bulk (measuring cup)flour measurements were slightly over the ounces, so I adjusted down to the 3.5 oz per cup amount. Should I have stayed with the measuring cup amount?

  • Robyn Heflin says:

    Can you substitute the almond extract with coconut or banana extract.

  • andrea clark says:

    Can you make this cake with liquor such as Rum or Brandy. If so how much

  • Donna says:

    I live this flour been using it for many years

  • Idalia Perales says:

    I need the recipe for an 8″ round pan using swans down cake flour.
    Can you help ASAP?
    Thank you

  • Jennie Bowden says:

    What can be substituted for butter as my granddaughter has an allergy.

  • Jo says:

    Can I make this cake in a sheet cake 9×13

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Jo,
      Yes, you can make this cake in a 9×13 sheet cake pan. In general, a three-layer cake recipe such as this one will have enough batter to fill two 19×13 sheet pans. You might need to make extra frosting as the surface area will be a bit larger. Also, test the center of your sheet cakes before turning off the oven, as they might need a bit more baking time. Happy baking!

  • Amy says:

    Hi! Do you have the weight of sifted flour used in this recipe? Thanks!

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Amy, the weight of sifted cake flour can vary depending on how (and how much) it’s sifted, but in general, each cup of sifted cake flour weighs about 3.5 ounces.

  • Siri Anne Gomes says:

    I only make my scratch cakes using Swan’s Cake Flour. The cake is always rich and moist with any flour you make! Love it! My children and grandchildren love them!!

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Siri Anne, we’re so happy to hear that your children and grandchildren love cakes baked with Swans Down. Thank you!

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