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1-2-3-4 Cake with Butternut Frosting

1-2-3-4 Cake with Butternut Frosting is an old fashioned Southern butter cake recipe paired with a very special "cake batter" flavored icing, topped with pecans.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 22 servings
Calories 452 kcal
Author Lise Ode


For the cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (plus extra to grease pans)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (or 384g)
  • 3 cups cake flour (or 336g)
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cup powdered sugar (or 454g)
  • 1 ounce McCormick Cake Batter Flavor (or 29mL)
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Brush 3 (9-inch) round pans with melted butter and line with parchment paper. Brush with more butter. You could also use non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, measure out flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and mix. Add eggs and mix until combined. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk, plus the vanilla. Mix on medium low until combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Mix until combined, then continue mixing on medium low for 30 seconds. Divide batter between the three prepared pans. Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 20-25 minutes. At 20 minutes, test one of the cakes by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, they are done. If not, continue to bake for just a few minutes more. Let cool completely,

For the frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar with the mixer on low. Once it's added, turn mixer up to medium high and beat until smooth. Add flavoring and mix.

Frosting the cake:

  1. Remove cakes from pans. Cut off a little bit of the top, horizontally, if there is a slight dome shape to your cakes. Place one layer on cake plate. Add frosting and 1/4 cup of nuts. Add another layer. Frost and add 1/4 cup of nuts. Add top layer. Frost top and sides of cake. Create a swirling pattern in icing, if desired, with offset spatula. Add nuts to top. Store cake, covered, at room temperature for one day and in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Facts
1-2-3-4 Cake with Butternut Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 452 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Cholesterol 95mg32%
Sodium 281mg12%
Potassium 122mg3%
Carbohydrates 53g18%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 40g44%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 730IU15%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 55mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.