★★★★★

Vanilla Cake Recipe

Looking for the BEST Vanilla Cake recipe? This vanilla layer cake is moist with a tender crumb and lots of vanilla flavor. Just add your favorite frosting and serve!

Learn how to make delicious vanilla cake from scratch and you’ll always have a fool proof homemade dessert to share. Try my Vanilla Funfetti Cake next!

Vanilla layer cake with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.

Why this Recipe Works

What’s the deal with white cake vs. vanilla cake?

The answer depends on who you ask.

For my recipes, the biggest differences are the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.

My white cake recipe is made without any egg yolks at all. Using egg whites only makes the batter ultra light and airy.

This Vanilla Cake includes both full eggs (both yolks and whites), along with extra egg whites, and buttermilk. Result is a cake that is the best of both worlds! Plush, soft and perfectly moist.

With a full tablespoon of vanilla extract, this cake does not shy away from its name! The vanilla flavor is front and center.

My vanilla cake recipe is best because:

  • Soft, tender crumb that is moist!
  • Stays fresh for days
  • Full vanilla flavor

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make vanilla layer cake.

After lots of trial and error, I can tell you that this cake is one of the best there is. No need to sift flour, but be sure to learn how to measure flour correctly so that you don’t have a dense cake!

Cake flour. With a finer texture and less protein than all purpose flour, cake flour gives this cake the perfect consistency.

Vanilla extract. Use my homemade vanilla extract recipe for best flavor.

Buttermilk. Store bought or homemade buttermilk can be used. I love the extra rich flavor added by the buttermilk, but whole milk makes a fine substitute.

Eggs and egg whites. You’ll need 3 full eggs plus the whites of two more eggs.

Step by step photos showing how to make the best vanilla cake recipe.

How to Frost

Frost layer cakes with a large frosting spatula for a smooth and even layer.

First, place one cake on a cake plate or flat serving platter. Cover the top with frosting. Then add the second layer on top and smooth frosting over the top and sides.

From here, you can add more frosting to piping bags and pipe onto the cake as desired, for an extra impressive touch! Or just slice and serve as is for a simple but impressive dessert.

Frosting Options

Slice of vanilla layer cake with sour cream frosting and sprinkles on a white plate.

That’s up to you!

Today’s recipe is featured with our new vanilla sour cream frosting. It’s lightly sweetened and super creamy! Our tangy chocolate sour cream frosting is also a delicious addition to this vanilla cake.

I love this with a classic vanilla buttercream and sprinkles for a birthday party, as you’ll see in my vanilla sheet cake recipe!

And it’s hard to beat the rich taste of vanilla cake topped with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Or think outside the box with some of these delicious ideas:

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients. This incorporates more air into the batter, making the cake more airy and light.
  • Grease and flour cake pans or use my homemade cake release for easy removal.
  • Bake the cake layers the night before. Wrap cooled cake in plastic wrap. Assemble and frost the day of serving.
  • Level the cakes. Use a serrated knife and carefully slice off the domed tops of the cake layers. This provides a sturdy layer cake and the layers won’t slide with frosting between them!
  • Spread about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of frosting between the layers, which leaves plenty for the outside!
Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting on a white cake stand, topped with sprinkles.

Recipe FAQs

Can I substitute all purpose flour for the cake flour?

If you don’t have cake flour, make a homemade cake flour substitute for this recipe. For each cup of cake flour called for in the recipe, measure out 1 cup of all purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of flour from each cup. Replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

Can you freeze vanilla layer cakes?

Yes, these layers can be frozen before frosting. Once cooled, wrap cake layers in plastic wrap or foil, and then place in a large freezer bag. Thaw, frost and enjoy within 3 months.

Can this recipe be made as a sheet cake instead?

Yes, you can bake this in a 9 x 13 inch pan for a single layer sheet cake. See my full instructions for Vanilla Sheet Cake here.

Slice of vanilla cake with sour cream frosting and sprinkles on a white plate with fork.

More Classic Cake Recipes

And for those of you asking, be sure to try our Wedding Cake Cupcakes recipe!

Yield: 16 servings

Vanilla Cake Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Looking for the BEST Vanilla Cake recipe? This vanilla layer cake is moist with a tender crumb and lots of vanilla flavor. Just add your favorite frosting and serve!

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs + 2 additional egg whites
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine cake flour with salt and baking powder. Use a whisk to blend everything together. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in eggs and egg whites, and vanilla extract. Beat for 2 minutes.
  4. Alternating additions of the dry ingredients with the buttermilk, slowly add each (about 3 additions of each. After final addition of buttermilk, beat 1-2 minutes until fluffy.
  5. Pour evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack completely.

Notes

  • Can also use baking spray or my homemade cake release to grease pans.
  • Using a whisk to blend dry ingredients helps keep the flour airy and light.
  • Buttermilk- you can swap this for whole milk or use my easy buttermilk substitute!
  • Bake the cake layers the night before. Wrap cooled cake in plastic wrap. Assemble and frost the day of serving.
  • Level the cakes. Use a serrated knife and carefully slice off the domed tops of the cake layers. This provides a sturdy layer cake and the layers won't slide with frosting between them!
  • Spread about 1 ½ - 2 cups of frosting between the layers, which leaves plenty for the outside!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Gorgeous vanilla flavor is the star of this perfect Vanilla Cake recipe. Two layers of soft and sweet cake are the perfect vehicle for creamy sweet frosting. A slice of vanilla cake makes any day better!

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on June 8, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. Made this for my daughter’s birthday and it turned out perfect! Easy, tasty and perfectly moist! Everyone loved it!

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