Best homemade vanilla cake recipe on a white cake pedestal
Cakes

Vanilla Cake Recipe

8 comments

I am a huge cake lover, a bit of a cake addict if I am being honest. This easy homemade vanilla cake recipe is the best homemade vanilla cake I have ever made. It is so light, fluffy, and flavorful. Use this cake for any occasion, whether a birthday cake, or for a wedding cake, or a “just because” cake.

If you love cake and you love vanilla cake, you have got to give this vanilla cake recipe a try. You will never want to use a box mix cake again after making this.

Slice of homemade vanilla cake recipe on a white cake pedestal.

Baking cakes is so much fun. It is a great way to introduce other people to baking as well. Or a fairly simple recipe to teach your kids. And a classic vanilla cake recipe is the perfect first cake to make.

In my opinion, everyone who likes to bake cakes should know how to make a yummy vanilla cake as well as a delicious chocolate cake. Of course, there are several other cakes to learn how to make as well, but those two are the king of the cakes.

This vanilla cake recipe is super easy to make, if I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get baking!

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

Several ingredients in bowls on top of a white counter next to two 9-inch cake pans.

In order to make this easy amazing vanilla cake recipe, you need just a handful of readily available ingredients:

  • Butter – I always use unsalted butter, because it gives me more control over the amount of salt in a recipe. You can use salted butter, if you do, just reduce the amount of added salt by half. Use a high quality butter if you can, otherwise storebrand butter is fine.
  • Sugar – The white granulated sugar gives sweetness to the vanilla cake recipe. But not only that, it helps to lock in moisture and make a more tender crumb. Sugar also provides structure and helps with texture. And sugar is also a natural preservative. Most people assume sugar is only needed for sweetnes, but sugar is needed for so much more than that.
  • Eggs – The eggs also add structure, leavening, color, and flavor to the cake. And they add a bit of protein which makes the cake “healthier” hehe, well at least that is what I tell myself.
  • Vanilla Extract – The vanilla extract provides the “Vanilla” flavoring to the vanilla cake. Like salt vanilla extract also enhances the other flavors.
  • Flour – If cake flour is readily available I recommend using that, otherwise you can use all-purpose/plain flour. Cake flour will create a looser structure and produce a little bit fluffier cake than all-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder – The baking powder is the main leavening agent. Make sure that you aren’t using expired baking powder!
  • Salt – Don’t leave the salt out. Salt balances out the sweetness and enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • Milk – I always use whole milk but you can use whatever milk you want including almond milk. The milk hydrates the ingredients, provides flavor, and helps create a softer crumb. If you want the cake even moister use buttermilk. Or add about a fourth cup of sour cream.

NOTE: Keep scrolling down to find the “Printable” recipe card which has all the ingredient amounts.

Vanilla cake on a white cake pedestal.

Tools/Equipment

  • 2 (9-inch or 8-inch cake pans) or 3 (6-inch pans) – You can also bake this cake in a 13x9 inch pan.
  • Shortening/Butter
  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • Spatula
  • Hand mixer
  • Piping bag or plastic bag
  • Cookie rack
  • Bowls
  • Rotating Cake pedestal, optional

Step 2: How to make this amazing homemade vanilla cake recipe

Greased and floured cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom.

About 30 minutes before making the cake, take out and measure your milk and the eggs, and the butter. The cake bakes more even when those ingredients are at room temperature. The butter needs to be soft as well.

When you are ready to start making the cake, grease your cake pans with shortening or butter, then add about a tablespoon of flour to it and tap it all around. Then dump the excess into the next pan.

Place the pan on a piece and parchment paper and trace around the bottom with a pencil. Then cut on the inside of the line, the circle or parchment paper out. Set the parchment paper on the inside on the bottom of the cake pans.

This really makes sure that the cake will not stick to the pan when baking. It might seem like overkill, but the last thing you want is your cake sticking to the pan, haha. This way ensures it comes out super easy.

Preheat the oven to 350 F/176 C. And make sure the main rack is in the middle position.

Step 3: Cream the wet vanilla cake ingredients together and whisk the dry ingredients

Wet vanilla cake ingredients creamed together in a large glass bowl.

In a large bowl add the softened butter and sugar and mix on high for 2 to 3 minutes. It should be nice and pale-looking when done.

Then add the eggs and the vanilla extract and mix until just combined.

Flour, salt, and baking powder whisked together in a medium glass bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Step 4: Finish the easy vanilla cake recipe batter

Large glass bowl full of finished vanilla cake batter.

Now add about half of the room temperature milk to the bowl of batter and mix it in.

Next, add about a cup of the flour and mix that in. Then add the rest of the milk and mix. Follow that up with another cup of the flour mixture and mix that in.

At this point put the mixer away and do the rest by hand. Pour the remaining half cup or so of the flour mixture into the bowl and use a spatula to fold and stir the ingredients in. This helps ensure that you don’t overmix the cake batter.

NOTEWhen cake batter is overmixed the resulting cake is denser and weaker because the protein structure has been weakened by so much mixing. It also may wind up being chewy, gummy, etc. Instead of being light and fluffy.

Step 5: Time to bake that homemade vanilla cake!

Hand spreading out vanilla cake recipe batter in cake pans.

Now pour half of the batter in one pan and the other half in the other pan. You can use a measuring cup if you like to make it more precise, or just eyeball it, which is what I usually do.

Freshly baked vanilla cake in cake pans on a wire rack.

Bake the cake again at 350 F/176 C for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Place the baked cakes on a wire rack and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes in the pans.

Vanilla cake layers cooling on a wire rack.

Then remove them from the pans and place them back on the rack to cool to room temperature. Don’t be too alarmed if the cake cracks a little bit when coming out of the pan. It will get covered with frosting!

Once at room temp, put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes. However, you can frost it right away once it gets to room temp and skip the chilling step.

TIPIt is a lot easier to frost a chilled cake.

Step 6: Frost/decorate and serve that amazing cake!

Hand putting a dollop of frosting on a cake pedestal

Time to frost and serve that yummy homemade vanilla cake.

Take storebought or homemade frosting and put it in a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. Or skip that and just use a spatula.

Place a dollop of frosting in the middle of your rotating cake pedestal or just use a plate.

TIPIf you are going to be baking lots of cakes, a rotating cake pedestal is super handy.

Frosting and layering a vanilla cake.

Next, take one layer of cake and remove the parchment paper from the bottom, then place it down on the cake pedestal.

Add a generous amount of frosting to the top and spread it out. Then repeat with the next layer of cake. Don’t forget to remove that parchment paper, haha!

Make sure to add frosting to the sides as well. A cake spatula comes in handy here, but a normal one will work fine.

Frost that cake all over, or decorate it however you want.

Use a damp paper towel and wipe around the bottom of the cake to clean it up and make it more presentable.

Hand cleaning the edges of a vanilla cake with a damp paper towel.

Add some sprinkles on the top, or cake crumbs on the sides, oreo crumbs, frosting designs, flowers, fondant creations, candles, etc.!

Slice of vanilla cake next to a the full cake.

Now slice that cake and enjoy!

Helpful Vanilla Cake Tips!

  • Cake strips help to prevent the cake from mounding/doming too much. If that does happen though, you can trim the cake with a cake knife or bread knife.
  • Always make sure to use fresh ingredients. Don’t use really old eggs or almost expired milk. Make sure your flour and sugar aren’t too old either.
  • Remember to not OVERMIX that cake batter. It will result in a denser cake. The flavor will still be good, it just won’t turn out as light and fluffy.
  • Baking times will vary depending on the oven. Always check with a toothpick at the 25 minute mark, if needed bake a little longer.
  • There is no wrong way to decorate your cake. It is your vanilla cake, decorate it however you like. 🙂
Finished homemade vanilla cake on a white cake pedestal.

Frequently Asked Questions/Trouble Shooting Tips

Can I freeze this vanilla cake?

Yes, you can most certainly freeze this cake. It is recommended to wrap each individual cake layer once it cools in plastic wrap and freeze. Then allow them to thaw out to room temp and then decorate/frost. You can freeze decorated cake slices as well, they just don’t freeze as well as unfrosted cakes.

Why did my vanilla cake layers dome in the middle?

Cake doming happens when the cake cooks too quickly. The edges of the cake cook faster than the middle causing the edges to stay put and the middle of the cake to rise more or dome. You can try a different cake pan or use cake baking strips if the doming bothers you.

Can I make cupcakes out of this vanilla cake recipe?

homemade vanilla cupcakes in a gray cupcake pan on wooden table

Yes! You can get about 24 vanilla cupcakes from this recipe. You will bake them for about 5 minutes less so 20 to 25 minutes. Again check them with a toothpick.

Can I store this at room temperature?

Yes! It keeps fresh for about 2 to 3 days at room temp as long as it is kept in an air-tight container or cake keeper. Otherwise, store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Easy Homemade Vanilla Cake recipe pin for Pinterest
(Pin it!)

Here are other cake recipes you may like:

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Barbie Cake

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Angel Food Cake

Best homemade vanilla cake recipe on a white cake pedestal
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Vanilla Cake Recipe

This amazing vanilla cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes so much better than a cake box mix. It is light and fluffy and oh so delicious. If I can do it, you can do it!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Cooling Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Cakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: birthday, fluffy, sweet
Servings: 16 people
Calories: 457kcal
Author: Matt Taylor

Equipment

  • 2 (9-inch or 8-inch cake pans) or 3 (6-inch pans) You can also use a 13x9-inch rectangle pan as well
  • Shortening/Butter
  • parchment paper
  • Spatula
  • Hand mixer
  • piping bag or plastic bag
  • cookie rack
  • Bowls
  • Rotating Cake pedestal, optional

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened 170g
  • 1 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar 350g
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. of vanilla extract 15mL
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt 2g
  • 2 1/2 tsp. of baking powder 12g
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose or cake flour 300g
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk I like to use whole milk or buttermilk 296mL

Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened 227g
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 10ml
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar/powdered sugar 500g
  • 2 – 3 tbsp milk 30 to 45ml

Instructions

  • Remove your milk and eggs and butter about 30 minutes before you want to make the cake, so they can come to room temp.
  • Grease and flour your cake pans, and cut out a circle piece of parchment paper to go inside on the bottom of each pan.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F/176 C with the main rack in the middle position.
  • Mix together the sugar and the butter on high for 2 to 3 minutes until pale. Then add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
  • Add half of the milk to the batter and about 1 cup of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Then add the rest of the milk and another cup of flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Put the mixer away and fold/stir in the rest of the flour mixture until just combined. The vanilla cake batter is ready to go.
  • Now pour half of the batter in one pan and the other half in the other pan. You can use a measuring cup if you like to make it more precise, or just eyeball it.
  • Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  • Allow cake layers to cool about 10 minutes in pans then remove them from the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Wrap cake layers in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This step is optional.

Frosting

  • Cream the butter with the vanilla in a large bowl with a hand mixer, stand mixer, or sturdy whisk.
  • Slowly mix in the powdered sugar until it is combined. The result will be a very thick frosting.
  • Thin the frosting out by adding a little bit of milk at a time until you get your desired thickness.

Decorate the Cake

  • Place a dollop of frosting in the middle of your rotating cake pedestal or just use a plate.
  • Next, take one layer of cake and remove the parchment paper from the bottom, then place it down on the cake pedestal.
  • Add a generous amount of frosting to the top and spread it out. Then repeat with the next layer of cake. Make sure to add frosting to the sides.
  • Smooth out the frosting with a spatula. An offset cake spatula works great.
  • Use a damp paper towel and wipe around the bottom of the cake to clean it up and make it more presentable.
  • Add some sprinkles on the top, or cake crumbs on the sides, oreo crumbs, frosting designs, flowers, fondant creations, candles, etc.! Enjoy!

Video

How to Make Vanilla Cake | Easy Amazing Homemade Vanilla Cake Recipe

Notes

List of nutritional facts
NOTES
  • Cake strips help to prevent the cake from mounding/doming too much. If that does happen though, you can trim the cake with a cake knife or bread knife.
  • Always make sure to use fresh ingredients. Don’t use really old eggs or almost expired milk. Make sure your flour and sugar aren’t too old either.
  • Remember to not OVERMIX that cake batter. It will result in a denser cake. The flavor will still be good, it just won’t turn out as light and fluffy. When cake batter is overmixed the resulting cake is denser and weaker because the protein structure has been weakened by so much mixing. It also may wind up being chewy, gummy, etc. Instead of being light and fluffy.
  • Baking times will vary depending on the oven. Always check with a toothpick at the 25-minute mark, if needed bake a little longer.
  • It is a lot easier to frost a chilled cake.
  • There is no wrong way to decorate your cake. It is your vanilla cake, decorate it however you like.

Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it.  If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.

Check out my other website 101 Creative Dates for fun date ideas. Food and dating go hand in hand!

8 Comments

  1. I love vanilla cake. Thanks for sharing an easy and tasty recipe. Home-made is so easy.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a fabulous, classic vanilla cake that is just perfection! Loved every bite!

  3. 5 stars
    This is such a great staple to have around. Great vanilla flavor and tender texture!

  4. 5 stars
    It’s so much easier to make homemade cake than anyone realizes! And so worth it! Always better tasting and the sense of accomplishment is so rewarding! Love this cake. Nice & easy. 🙂

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