1-2-3-4 CAKE

1 cup of butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted Cake Flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup milk
1 pkg of vanilla Jell-O pudding

Cream butter, gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fully. (Beat 10 minutes on electric mixer or longer by hand.) Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk and flavoring, beating after each addition until smooth. Add package of pudding and milk and mix well together. Pour batter into three greased and floured nine-inch layer pans. Bake at 350º for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, remove from pans and finish cooling on racks. If the cake is to go, set in freezer for 30 minutes to allow the cake to set properly.

If using a bundt pan, grease and flour the pan as normal. Bake at 350º for 1 hour. Note: If you are making a rum cake and decide to top the cake with chopped nuts, place them in bottom of your greased bundt pan before pouring in the batter.

FROSTING

2 - 8 oz of cream cheese
2 - 16 oz boxes of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the cheese, make sure it is soft. Add in powdered sugar to cheese. This frosting can easily be flavored by adding cocoa to make it chocolate, colored and various flavorings added.

SPECIAL TIPS & POINTERS (guard these with your life)

A trick I always do is before I do anything I separate the egg whites and beat them until stiff. This keeps the cake from getting heavy. Follow the rest of the recipe as given. Fold in yolks with egg whites. Another trick is the scoop the batter up the sides of the cake this will allow it to rise in the middle without making the cake too high in the middle. Don't be afraid to cut off part of the cake to get the layers level. Remember if it is too high you are going to have a hard time frosting the cake.

 CARAMEL FROSTING

1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cream
1 tbl of flour
1 stick of butter

In two separate boilers, one start the 1/2 cup sugar, in the other the remaining sugar and cream, the 1/2 sugar with slowly start to melt and turn brown, make sure it is totally dissolved and don't let it brown. In the other pot at the same time the other mixture should come to a boil. Add the two together being careful to stir at the same time. Once it is all mixed together, stir in the flour. Add stick of butter. Mix well and allow it to chill. You will love this frosting because you are really letting it run over the cake. Place some in between each layer. Once they are stacked pour it over the entire cake. You will probably have to use a spatula to make sure you get it over the entire cake. A trick I always use is I place the cake on my cooling rack and position it over the sink; this way the excess will run into the sink and the clean up will be kept to a minimum.

RUM CAKE AND GLAZE

Prepare the 1-2-3-4 cake in a greased bundt pan. You may substitute the milk for the pudding with a cup of rum.

RUM GLAZE

2 sticks of butter
1/2 granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Karo syrup
1 cup of rum (currently using Meyer’s Dark Rum and getting rave reviews!!!)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in saucepan until lightly boiled (do not overheat). Add powdered sugar slowly with a wire wisk then add granulated sugar. Once dissolved under low heat, add brown sugar. After the brown sugar has dissolved , add Karo syrup. Keep stirring with wire wisk. Bring to a light boil. Add rum and bring to a boil while stirring with a wisk. Remove from heat and wisk in the vanilla extract. Add more powdered sugar for a thicker glaze.

Remove cake from oven. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing. A warm cake will absorb the glaze better. Poke holes in the top of the cake. Drizzle and brush the glaze over the cake. Continue to brush the cake with glaze that has ran down the side.

EGG NOG RUM CAKE (a new holiday favorite)

Prepare 1-2-3-4 cake as instructed except substitute 1 cup of egg nog for milk mixed with flour and 1 cup of rum for mixed with pudding. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350º for 1 hour.

RED VELVET CAKE

Prepare the 1-2-3-4 cake batter as instructed. Substitute chocolate pudding for the vanilla pudding. Also add cocoa for flavor and 2 - 2oz. Bottles of red food color to turn the batter bright red. Pour batter into 3 - 9" inch cake pans and bake for 30 minutes at 350º.

FROSTING

2 - 8 oz of cream cheese
2 - 16 oz boxes of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (or the extract of your choice)