That’s right! You’re getting the recipe first. History lesson under the cut.
Welcome to the abridged wikipedia history of the 1-2-3-4 Cake:
Cupcakes in the 19th century went by a number of names including fairy cakes and patty cakes; named specifically for their individual-sized servings. They were baked in small containers such as tins, tea cups and ramekins. But another kind of “cup” cake referred to a cake whose ingredients were measured by volume as opposed to weight (the latter of which is more commonly known as the pound cake). This cake adopted the name 1-2-3-4 Cake to tell the baker the measurements of the ingredients: 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs.
The result is a fairly dense cake. The recipe has been altered through the years to also include 1 cup of milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. If I could hazard a guess on the bake time, we’re probably looking at 20 – 22 minutes. But if you’re like me and just stick to the 1-2-3-4 recipe, the batter is almost dough-like and makes a lovely, soft sugar cookie when dropped by the tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and baked for 8 minutes. While they’re cooling, I dust them with some icing sugar (they also adjust well to having milk chocolate chips mixed in with them… then again, can’t every dessert adjust well to added chocolate?)
Pictured above: Yes, that is my tattoo. I regret nothing.