Vanilla Cake is a CLASSIC cake recipe made with vanilla extract and topped with buttercream frosting, ready in under 60 minutes!
Vanilla Cake is one of my all-time favorite CLASSIC cake recipes, made with vanilla flavoring and topped with my go-to homemade buttercream frosting. You can also top this cake with my chocolate frosting or cream cheese frosting for more variation. We like to serve this for parties, because it’s easy to make and decorate for any occasion!
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHITE CAKE AND VANILLA CAKE?
White cake recipes avoid ingredients that may darken the batter, like egg yolks or vanilla extract, which are both ingredients that help color my yellow cake recipe. Vanilla cake will use vanilla flavor, and can be made with or without egg yolks.
CAN I ADD OIL INSTEAD OF BUTTER IN A CAKE?
If you run out of butter, you can replace it with canola oil for this vanilla cake recipe, but use ¾ of the amount of butter in the recipe. But keep in mind that the butter adds some flavor to the cake that won’t be there if you remove it.
HOW DO I MAKE A CAKE MORE MOIST?
- Don’t substitute the butter, milk, or eggs for lower fat ingredients. The fat in this vanilla cake recipe helps keep everything moist and light.
- Try using buttermilk instead of milk, because the acid and fat in the buttermilk will work with the gluten to help give your cake a softer fluffy texture.
- You can add more moisture to the cake by substituting part of the butter with vegetable or canola oil.
- Bring the cake to room temperature before serving it for the best texture. When cakes are colder than room temperature, they are sometimes mistaken for stale or dry. If I take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before I’m ready to serve, it will be room temperature when I cut into it.
- You can use half brown sugar and half granulated sugar if you want a deeper flavor, just keep in mind that brown sugar will make your cake turn out darker in color.
HOW DO YOU STORE VANILLA CAKE?
If you’re just making the cake layers, you can store the cake on the counter tightly wrapped or sealed in an airtight container. If you’ve frosted the cake, it depends on what type of frosting is used. For dairy frostings, like cream cheese or vanilla butter cream, I recommend storing them in the refrigerator and not sitting out for more than 2 hours.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPONGE CAKE AND A REGULAR CAKE?
A vanilla sponge cake recipe will usually have more eggs and less butter than a regular cake. This is why sponge cake has a lighter fluffy texture, and can be used for recipes like my chocolate cake roll. A regular cake like this vanilla cake will have butter, oil, and a more dense sweet texture.
WHY DID MY CAKE FALL APART?
If your cake is falling apart it is most likely too dry. There are a few reasons this might happen.
- Make sure your oven is cooking at the right temperature, because an over-baked cake can easily be dry and crumbly. Try using an oven thermometer and set your oven temperature, then make sure they match so you’re not over-baking anything.
- Measure your all purpose flour exactly, to make sure you’re not adding too much. Try weighing the all purpose flour, or using a knife to level the measuring cup.
- If you’re replacing the eggs or butter in this recipe, make sure you’re not removing all of the fat because it helps keep the texture of the cake soft. I also recommend not using any butter substitutes, like margarine.
- Make sure you’re not over-mixing the cake batter. Stop mixing when everything is just mixed in.
- If you cake falls when you take it out of the oven, it’s possible that there was too much baking powder used. The baking powder causes the cake to rise really fast, then fall before it’s done baking. Try leveling the baking powder in the measuring spoon with a knife, similar to how we did the flour.
Create a free account to Save Recipes
MORE CAKE RECIPES
- Red Velvet Cake
- Chocolate Lava Cake
- Easy Chocolate Cake
- Vanilla Pound Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Cake (4 Ingredients!)
- Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
TIPS FOR MAKING VANILLA CAKE
- I like to use two 8″ non-stick cake pans because I’m making a layer cake with this vanilla cake recipe. If you want to make it taller, you can double the recipe and make additional layers, with frosting between each one. If I’m making more than 3-tiers, I usually make this in batches and re-use the cake pans after they’ve cooled.
- You can also use a bundt pan or make a sheet cake instead of round cake pans with this vanilla cake recipe.
- After the homemade vanilla cake comes out of the oven, make sure it cools down completely before frosting. You want to make sure the buttercream and cake are the same temperature, or you’ll pull up crumbs when trying to frost.
- If you’re having trouble with your vanilla cake sticking to the cake pans once they’re done baking, try lining the bottom of the cake pan with a piece of parchment paper. Trace the bottom of the pan on the parchment paper, then cut out the circle and it should fit exactly.
- For more delicate cakes like white cake, I like to use cake flour because it requires a finer texture, but for this vanilla cake you can use all-purpose without issue. If cake flour is all you have, you can use it for this cake.
- Make sure you sift together your dry ingredients before adding them to the cake, to make sure everything is evenly dispersed before adding to the wet ingredients. If you don’t have a sifter, you can whisk your dry ingredients together but the texture might be slightly less light in the final cake.
- I always make cakes in a stand mixer because it makes sure that everything is incorporated nicely, but you can use a hand-held mixer if that’s what you have.
- You can see if most baked desserts are done by inserting a toothpick into the middle. If the toothpick comes out clean, the dessert is done. This works for both cake and cupcakes.
- Try making a layer cake with this vanilla cake and use pineapple topping between each layer, then frosting with cream cheese frosting. Or make a layer cake with my strawberry topping between each layer and frost the cake with chocolate frosting! You can also do this with cupcakes and pipe the filling into the middle.
- For this vanilla cake recipe, make sure you bring the butter and eggs to room temperature before starting. This will make it much easier to evenly mix everything together.
- I always use unsalted butter, so I can add the salt in as I see necessary. If you want to use salted butter, I would skip adding any salt to the dry ingredients.
- If you’re making a layered vanilla cake, cut the very top off of any cake layer that will have another one resting on top of it. This helps make it flatter, so the cake will stay together better.
- Make this non-dairy by substituting the butter with applesauce, and the milk with a non-dairy almond or soy milk. But keep in mind that the butter and milk play an important role in flavor and texture, so it might be less fluffy and buttery.
- Try topping this vanilla cake recipe with a few tablespoons of powdered sugar and fresh berries instead of buttercream.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour two 8" cake pans.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt then set aside.
- To your stand mixer add the butter and sugar and beat them together until light and fluffy on medium speed, 2-3 minutes, then add in the eggs one at a time 15 seconds apart along with the vanilla then lower the speed to low. Add the flour mixture and milk, alternating a little of each at a time.
- Pour into the cake pans evenly and baked for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Once cakes are cooled frost them with your buttercream frosting.