Easy Vanilla Cake

12 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Vanilla Cake is a CLASSIC cake recipe made with vanilla extract and topped with buttercream frosting, ready in under 60 minutes!

This site has a Cake recipe for almost any occasion, and if you love this vanilla cake you’ll also love Mint Chocolate Cake (Grasshopper Cake), Carrot Cake, Oreo Cake, and Classic Yellow Cake!

Vanilla Cake with Buttercream

Vanilla Cake is one of the best all-time favorite CLASSIC cake recipes, made with vanilla flavoring and topped with this go-to homemade Buttercream Frosting. You can also top this cake with Cchocolate Frosting or Cream Cheese Frosting for more variation. You’ll love to serve this for parties, because it’s easy to make and decorate for any occasion!

Frequently Asked Questions

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 a 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. Just 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 you take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before you’re ready to serve, it will be room temperature when you 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.

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 this 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 your 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.

Easy Vanilla Cake Collage

More Cake Recipes

Classic Vanilla Cake

Tips for Making Easy Vanilla Cake

  • Use two 8 inch non-stick cake pans because to make 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 you’re making more than 3-tiers, you can 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, 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.
  • It’s a good idea to 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.
Easy Vanilla Cake slice on plate with fork
  • Try making a layer cake with this vanilla cake and use Ppineapple Topping between each layer, then frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting. Or make a layer cake with 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.

How to Store Easy Vanilla Cake

  • Serve: If you’ve frosted the cake with a dairy frosting, it can be kept at room temperature up to 2 hours.
  • Store: 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, store them in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze: Freeze unfrosted cake layers tightly wrapped in plastic for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature.
Easy Vanilla Cake slice on plate with fork

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Vanilla Cake

Vanilla Cake is a CLASSIC cake recipe made with vanilla extract and topped with buttercream frosting, ready in under 60 minutes!
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk , room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Classic Buttercream Frosting , (recipe)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour two 8 inch 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.



Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.


Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 159mg | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Easy Vanilla Cake Collage

Photo used in a previous version of this post.

Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frostin

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. The PERFECT vanilla cake recipe. I needed to add extra flour for my altitude but everything else was spot on. This cake is so moist. Saving it for all future cake recipes!

  2. I made up the dry ingredients and put the recipe on the outside of the bag. I have used this recipe for several dump cakes and a cake with icing. I’m loving it! Tastes great!

    1. All purpose. Remember this: if you add salt, baking powder, baking soda or yeast, it’s All Purpose. Otherwise, it is Self Rising. They are not interchangeable in most recipes. However, in a pinch, you can use self rising.

  3. I made this for my wedding in 2019; it is super good and everyone loved it. I now make it every year for my wife’s birthday!

  4. Hi I am planning on making this cake, but want 3 layers any advice on amounts?

    Also for 3 layer what will the butter cream measurement be? do you have to add heavy cream to the butter icing? Or is there an alternative

  5. I’m sure this will be great! Do you know how long the cake can keep? Do I need to refrigerate it?

    1. Cakes usually start to dry out after about 4 days. You only need to keep it in the fridge if the frosting is a dairy one (cream cheese or butter cream). Enjoy!

  6. Amazing! Made this for my family and they loved it! 5 stars! One question though. How do you get your buttercream so smooth and even? Mine always turns out choppy and uneven.

    1. Do you mean in the frosting process? I use a wet paper towel to gently smooth it after refrigerating. But I am definitely no cake expert! Glad you enjoyed it! Happy Thanksgiving!

    2. i like to referigerate my cake for a good 2 hours so that it won’t heat up the frosting and clump up.
      i’d ask heavily recommend a turntable! it’s so much easier

  7. It did not turn out well at all; it fell, it was heavy and dense, actually sorta chewy. It was for my daughter’s birthday, I was horrified.

  8. This cake was delish! I loved it because it was soooooo moist and flavorful. To be honest I use sour cream and milk (I added extra vanilla too) this website officially has my respect

  9. I have made this recipe so many times now. It works great for cupcakes too! This was the first recipe I’ve used to make a cake from scratch and now it’s my go to! Thanks for sharing !!

    1. I haven’t tested it. The sweetness level will be there but it will change the texture and flavor of the cake when substituted. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

  10. So. The taste was really great! I did do some wrong things when making mine without realizing it(main thing was keeping ingredients at room temp.) Wr decided to make almost like muffins and it was really good. Keep up the good work!?

  11. I’ve been searching high and low for true vanilla cake recipes that can be baked in a sheet pan so I can cut 6” rounds for a layer cake. Does this bake up in a half sheet, and if so, what is the bake time/temp? Easier still would be this recipe for 6” round pans … two or even three, but I’m fine doing it Christina Tosi-style. Your cake looks gorgeous and I’m gonna convince my husband vanilla cake is as good as he thinks chocolate cake is. I always make chocolate or mocha but I prefer vanilla cake with vanilla frosting

  12. Made this cake (with your classic buttercream frosting recipe) yesterday for my son’s birthday. It was delicious! Thank you!

    1. Fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know how much you all enjoyed it. I appreciate the 5 stars.

  13. Really easy and fun to do with little siblings, cousins, grandparents, and parents. Comes out fluffy and not to sweet but just right ;):)

  14. Just letting you know that I did the gluten free version of it with the 1 to 1 flour and it was wonderful! Best cake I ever ate…

  15. There is something wrong with your recipe, I have tried it 3 times and each time it has curdled. I am using a stand mixer and have followed your instructions to the tee each time and I still have ended up with the same result. I even tried with the milk being at room temperature as everything else and it still made no difference. I have never had this happen to me before with any recipe that I have made! I am extremely frustrated.

    1. I’m so sorry you had issues. I know another person stated once they changed the milk to room temperature, the recipe worked for them. I didn’t need to adjust the temperature personally but want to give as much advice for it to work for others.

  16. i added the sugar, butter, vanilla and milk together in the order you described and the milk seemed to curdle and separate and float to the top?

    1. I’ve never had that happen before. Were you using a stand mixer? Usually milk will curdle if the temperatures are different (milk was too cold and the other ingredients were much warmer) but I can’t imagine why that would happen with these ingredients.

      1. The same thing happened to us. It would be beneficial to add to the recipe that the milk should not be too cold. We took care and time to bring eggs and butter to room temp, but it said nothing about the milk. We that first wet batch and had to start over…money and lots of wasted time. Even on the re-do, with less cold milk, it seemed to be heading in the chunky direction. But we added the milk very slowly and started adding the dry ingredients before all the milk was fully added and that worked well. All in all, a yummy recipe. Lesson learned to read the comments too!

  17. Completely messed up on the ingredients…
    and the instructions were not very detailed…
    but I’m sure it would’ve tasted good if I had done it right!

  18. I’m making this cake today but instead of vanilla I’m using marshmallow extract and making a rainbow cake for my son’s birthday.

  19. Oh wow, looks insanely delicious! These are absolutely a huge hit on our table, can’t wait to try!

  20. Simple The Best! I have tried many cake recipes, this hit the ball over the park and beyond!! Yummy!

  21. It’s almost the weekend and this cake looks like the perfect way to celebrate. So happy to not have to rely on a mix from the store anymore!