The best ever vanilla cake that yields extra vanilla flavor and tender, moist crumbs. My go-to cake base recipe whenever I am tasked with making a birthday cake!
I’m not sure if I am a true vanilla lover but I do believe in the quote “Simple is the best”. Take a further meaning can I translate this quote into something like: Classics make it perfect? If yes, then vanilla flavor is my answer. When I am about to make a choice upon a flavor, I’ve usually picked vanilla. This flavor is like the most basic yet most important in all the cake land and as just told you, I love making this classic vanilla cake as a birthday cake so many times because it’s truly a crowd pleaser.
THIS VANILLA CAKE IS VERSATILE
More than that, I love this vanilla cake because it is also versatile. There are various ways to make this cake fancier: a layer cake, cupcakes, a loaf cake or even a mug cake. I made 2 layer 8-inch cake in this recipe and trust me; it looks simple but tastes truly amazing with whipped cream and fresh cranberries on top. Well, there it goes to frosting. You can frost this vanilla cake with any type of frosting you like, either whipped cream frosting, cream cheese frosting or buttercream frosting. Chocolate ganache frosting? Definitely yes as we are all chocolate lovers! What shouldn’t go with vanilla?
THE BEST EVER VANILLA CAKE SECRET INGREDIENTS
This vanilla cake is ultra moist with an outstanding vanilla flavor. Here are the key ingredients that make it the best ever vanilla cake:
Eggs: Using whole eggs will provide richness and moisture. While egg yolks add moisturizing fat and ceate an emulsion in the batter, egg whites can help leaven the cake, leaving an airy and light texture.
Butter & oil: This is a great combination for extra moisture in baked goods. Butter and oil will not only give more moisture and fluffiness but also add flavor to this vanilla cake.
Leaveners: Baking soda and baking powder are required in this recipe. Baking powder will help increase the height of the cake layer while baking soda will give rise to the batter when combined with buttermilk.
Pure vanilla extract: This cake features an ultra vanilla flavor so pure vanilla extract or vanilla beans will work best for this recipe. Avoid using imitation or essence.
PRO TIPS TO THE BEST VANILLA CAKE
- Sift flour to remove any lumps.
- Ingredients should be at room temperature, especially butter and eggs.
- Measure the ingredients correctly. Too much or too little flour will result in an unexpected cake’ texture.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting. Preferably chilled for at least 1 hours in the fridge. The frosting will melt and cause the cake layers to slip away or even collapse if you are doing the frosting process with still-warm cake layers.
- For smooth buttercream frosting, make sure to soften butter to room temperature.
Other Cake Recipes:
- 2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (150g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, see my note how to make it at home*
- 1 cup (2 sticks/226 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups (480 g) powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F/175°C. Line 2 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper or grease well with cooking spray.
- Make Vanilla Cake. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together to combine. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer), beat the butter, oil and sugar on medium speed for 6 minutes until fluffy and light. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Remember to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- On a medium speed, using the mixer to alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture as in order: flour-buttermilk-flour-buttermilk-flour. Beat until just combined after each addition. The batter should be smooth and completely incorporated. Avoid overmixing.
- Divide batter evenly into your prepared cake pans, and bake on the center rack at 350˚F (175˚C) for 30-35 minutes, until the cake tester (or a toothpick) comes out clean. This means no wet batter remained in the cake.
- Allow the cake to cook in cake pans for 10-15 minutes before transferring to cool completely on a wire rack. The cake must be cool completely or chilled in the fridge for at least 1 hour before applying frosting.
- Make Buttercream Frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until combined, then add another 1 cup, and beat until completely smooth. Add cream, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until light fluffy and thick enough to pipe.
- Assemble Cake. Place one cake layer onto your serving plate. Spread an even layer of buttercream about 1-inch thick using a small offset palette knife or a piping bag. Place one cake layer on a cake board or a serving plate do a thin crumb coat on the cake. top with fresh berries or any kind of fruits you like (optional). Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Slice and serve cold.
*You can make buttermilk at home by adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk. Let sit for 10 minutes, stir, and use.*You can use a 9-inch round cake pan but they may need less cooking time. I’ve tried baking in a 9-inch round cake just once and it needed 32 minutes to get fully cooked. *Salt and lemon juice are added to cut down sweetness and this is optional. Depending on your personal taste, you can add more or omit it.