Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake with French Sour Cream Buttercream

This recipe is near and dear to my heart. It was one of the very first cake recipes that I developed on my own and years later is still one of my favorites. This rich cake is tender and beautifully textured with a crumb that is light but tight enough to work beautifully for carving and stacking.  This may become your go-to cake also!

A-stand-cakeweb

One reason this cake is so rich is that it essentially contains no liquids. All of the fluid in this cake comes from eggs, oil and sour cream. This results in a cake that is tender and finely textured. Without the presence of much water the cake rises gently and slowly and creating a very refined crumb.A-topper-webHere are the cakes secrets:

  • More than half of the flour in this cake is cake flour which makes for a soft, tender crumb.
  • Loads of butter, oil and sour cream make this cake moist and rich with incredible flavor.
  • Vanilla bean paste flecks the soft ivory cake flesh providing a nice balance with the butter and sour cream flavors.
  • This cake is mixed in the reverse method which also helps development of a fine crumb.

A-lay-dog-web

This cake is iced in the most delicious buttercream I have ever tasted. Seriously! The mixing method is a little abnormal as it follows the Easy Foolproof SMBC. But this buttercream has more rich flavors coming from sour cream, melted butter and egg yolks. It has a warm ivory color from the egg yolks and is silky and creamy beyond belief.  You really should try it!

A-lay-downweb

This is the last of the five vanilla cakes. I hope you have enjoyed them and have found some to go on your list of cakes to make. In case you have missed any here is the list of vanilla cakes:

Happy Baking!

Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake with French Sour Cream Buttercream

Ingredients

  • For the Cake:
  • 7 ounces (199 grams) all-purpose flour-1 ½ cups
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cake flour*-2 cups
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 18 ounces (510 grams) granulated sugar-2 ½ cups
  • 5 large eggs
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup (8 ounces, or 227 grams) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 10 tablespoons (150 milliliters) vegetable oil
  • For the Buttercream:
  • 4 ounces (140 grams) unsalted butter- ½ cup or 1 stick
  • 7 ounces (198 grams) granulated sugar- 1 cup
  • 4 ounces (140 grams) sour cream- ½ cup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) corn syrup or glucose syrup
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces (280 grams) large eggs (without shell) - about 4 eggs
  • 9 ounces (255 grams) granulated sugar- 1 ½ cups
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) unsalted butter, softened- 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vanilla extract

Instructions

    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C) and spray three 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pans with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour.
  2. In a mixer bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and mix on low 30 seconds to blend.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sour cream and vanilla bean paste.
  4. Add butter and vegetable oil to flour mix and blend on low for 30 seconds to moisten dry ingredients. Add half of egg mixture and beat on medium-high for 1 minute. Add the remaining egg mixture and beat on medium-high for 30 seconds more.
  5. Pour into prepared pans spreading evenly and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cake is well done. Do not under bake or this rich cake will be over-moist and unstable. The cake should begin to settle back on itself on the edges. Cool 10-20 minutes in pan and then turn out to a cooling rack. Cool completely if using immediately, or wrap in two layers of plastic wrap if using later. Frost the cooled cake with your choice of buttercream. Enjoy!
  6. *If you do not have access to cake flour, substitute 198 grams all-purpose/plain flour and 28 grams corn or potato starch for the cake flour.
  7. For a lighter textured cake remove 2 tablespoons each vegetable oil and sugar and increase the baking soda to ½ teaspoon.
  8. For the Buttercream:
  9. In a medium sauce pan combine 4 ounces butter, 7 ounces sugar, sour cream and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat until boiling and then boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda; stir well to blend. The mixture will become frothy.
  10. Thoroughly whisk together the eggs and 9 ounces granulated sugar in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot syrup. Heat the mixture in the microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds and checking the temperature with an instant read thermometer. Heat until the mixture reaches 160 F (71 C). Pour the mixture into a cake pan and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes until cool to the touch.
  11. When the syrup is almost done chilling beat the 16 ounces of butter in the mixer bowl using the flat beater for 2 minutes on high. Add half the cool syrup (about 50-60 F or 10-16 C) and beat for 1 minute. Add the remainder of the syrup and beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla on low speed then beat on medium-high for 1 minute.
  12. Use immediately or store at room temperature for 2 days, in the refrigerator, tightly sealed, for 2 weeks or in the freezer for 2 months.
http://www.cakepaperparty.com/2014/05/sour-cream-vanilla-bean-cake-french-sour-cream-buttercream/

 

 

 

 

148 thoughts on “Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake with French Sour Cream Buttercream”

  1. Love, love, love, this series you’ve done on the different white cakes! Now I’ve got some awesome go to cakes for white cake. I love your chocolate american mud cake. I make it all the time and it always gets rave reviews. Will you please do a series on chocolate cakes too! I know it would be awesome too! Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much! I am so glad the Mud Cake is working well for you 🙂 I have one yummy chocolate cake in the works at least that I will get up soon. I have had a hard time finding really good chocolate cakes for some reason (or maybe I am just super picky). But I will put it on my to do list 😉

  2. Wow! I am loving all the recipes and can’t wait to try them! Two questions…..what is the difference in taste in all of them and how do you get such thick even icing between each layer of cake?!!! Looks sooo good!

    1. Hi Aisha! The White Cake has the most neutral flavor with an essence of vanilla. I used plain milk in this cake so that it could pair with essentially any flavor. The Golden Buttermilk Cake has a rich, almost lemony flavor from all of the egg yolks and a touch of tang from the buttermilk. The White Velvet Cake is wild with flavor from sour cream, buttermilk and vinegar but is not too tangy due to the allotment of baking soda. If you have had good Red Velvet Cake it has the same wonderful flavors. The Vanilla Cake is mildly sweet with a bit of buttermilk showing through and has the flavor of a classic butter cake. And lastly the Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake is very rich and buttery with notable sour cream notes and floral hints of vanilla bean. I hope this helps. Sometimes food descriptions are difficult to articulate 🙂
      For the buttercream filling, I just place a large blob in the center of the cake and then use an offset spatula to spread it to the edges in an even layer. If it seems a bit thin I add more and repeat. Then I top it with the next layer of cake and squish it down until it is level. Nothing too fancy really 🙂

  3. Omg Summer, I’m loving youuuuu!! those are ALL the cake recepies I’ve been looking for as I strive to find the perfect of each!!! Like I said, your blog has become my favorite. I love it that you answer all the questions and interact with us. Thanks a million!!!!
    And yessss, I am planning to try ALL your recepies and I will come back here and report to all 🙂

    Now, a question of course, lol !!! 🙂
    Over the weekend I made a rainbow cake, yeah rainbow in the inside which means I colored portions of the batter with gel colors to match the rainbow. Unfortunatelly I did not use any of your recepies since I did the one suggested in the tutorial of the cake. To make a long story short I felt that the cake came out, sort of, crumbly…as we cut the cake the slices didn’t hold well and parts of it crumble. Not sure if I did something wrong or if it was the recipe…anywho, would you suggest any of your recepies to do a rainbow cake?? and yeah, the adding of gel colors would be increasing the liquid in the recepie…please help!!
    Did I tell you I tend to be a perfectionist?? yeah, sort of, like ocd about stuff and crumbly cakes bother me tremendously. The cake was for my son and daughter-inlaw’s babyshower and everything came out perfect except for a crumbly rainbow cake aggghhhh…

    1. Hi Rosie! I understand your frustration. It drives me crazy when I spend time making something for someone (especially those I love) and it falls short of my expectations. I would use the White Cake for a rainbow cake because you get less yellow from the butter and eggs yolk and your colors will be more true. If you really want stick togetherness you can add one or two more egg whites to the recipe too. I you are not super concerned about color the Vanilla Cake would be a choice too.
      Thank you for your sweet words! Interacting with you all is the best part of the blog 🙂

  4. This is the only blog I check everyday and follow! Love those recipes and not sure which vanilla cake to try first (I’m a vanilla lover and you are making my dreams come true with all these recipes!). My question is out of these recipes (golden, white velvet, vanilla and this one) which one would have the best crumb for stacking and adding heavy decorations and can carve nicely?
    Another question (just for me to understand from the expert here;) since this buttercream has egg yolks how can stay at room temp for 2 days? I always though that French meringue buttercream unlike swiss and italian has to be refregirated because of the egg yolks?
    And thanks again for this amazing blog and Beautiful recipes :))))

    1. It think that the Sour Cream cake has the best texture for stacking and carving. It is relatively compact without being overly dense.
      As far as buttercream safety is concerned, egg yolks are not uniquely susceptible to salmonella, but rather French buttercreams are usually not cooked but rather heated with a hot sugar syrup. From what I have read, this generally does not safely “pasteurize” the yolks and presents a slight bit of bacterial risk. In this buttercream the whole eggs are heated to a salmonella killing (160 F) temperature and are mixed with a high concentration of sugar which further prevents bacterial growth. In addition, the egg syrup is quick cooled to prevent it from lingering in a warm zone where bacteria thrive. I have read mixed quotes on storage of meringue-style buttercreams in general, some saying that SMBC or IMBC should not be left out more than 6 hours. I prescribe to the 2 day quote and have been doing it this way for years with no problems. One issue with this (almost) French buttercream is that it is a bit less stable than an egg white buttercream and may soften and need to be rebeaten if stored at a warm room temperature. If you are uncomfortable keeping this buttercream at room temperature by all means keep it cool 🙂 This buttercream is very firm when chilled. Let me know if you have any more questions!

      1. Thanks Summer :)) going to try sour cream cake today or tomorrow, I’m making myself and kids a mother’s day double barrel cake 😉 but will use my left over foolproof smbc 😀
        Next on the list: the silky buttercream 😀
        And eagerly watching for your coming posts! LOVE your posts And information 🙂

        1. Sounds awesome! I was just thinking about what I was going to con my kids into “making” me for Mother’s Day too 🙂

          1. Something not vanilla probably 😉 My sister’s bday is Monday and her all-time favorite that I make is caramel cake with penuche filling so I will probably get to work on that soon. Soooo yummy; it’s one of my faves too!

  5. Hi Summer,

    for what reason do you add baking soda to the buttercream syrup mixture? To neutralize the sourcream?
    Thanks a lot for all your wonderful recipes, I have done the golden buttermilk today and let it chill overnight and will “test” it with the Kids for breakfast tomorrow ;)…

    Cheers Kathrin

    1. Yes, it neutralizes the acid of the sour cream in the syrup leaving it with a wonderfully caramel-like flavor 🙂

  6. Please, I am thinking of making this for a wedding cake. I will have to freeze it about twoweeks in advance. Will it still be fresh tasting? Also, can the recipe be doubled? Thanks in advance for your help and response.

    1. If you plan to freeze it I would follow the suggestions at the end of the recipe for the fluffier cake. Like all cakes it becomes slightly more dense seeming when frozen. But yes, it will still taste fresh. All of the fat and sugar helps preserve it. And yes you can double it just be sure it gets mixed well 🙂

  7. Hi Summer! Really like your recipes and the way you explain all the internal process. Now I have a question, does the buttercream call for hole eggs? 4 holes eggs? Thank you for sharing your recipes!

    1. Hi Irina! Yes, whole eggs. French buttercream is usually all or most yolks but the whites make it more stable and work a bit better in this rich recipe. Weigh out 4 whole eggs, if you have a scale, just to make sure you have the correct equivalent. Eggs vary in size so much.

  8. Hello Summer! Thank you so much for these amazing recipes. I tried the buttercream recipe and turned out slightly curdled 🙁 Wondering where I went wrong…thank you 🙂

    1. Curdling is usually a temperature issue. A bit too hot or cold. When I add my syrup to the butter it is usually cold feeling (less than 60 F). This keeps everything firm as it is beating together. If it is too cold though, the fats will be too hard and separate as solids from the liquids. If your butter and syrup are warm I would try letting your syrup cool more before adding it. If everything is quite cold, just keep beating until they come up in temperature; keep the speed med-high or higher and let it go until it is smooth and firms up. I hope this helps! There is always a way to fix buttercream problems 🙂

        1. I tried the sour cream vanilla cake, it turned out really good. Not so happy with the French sour cream buttercream. It looks good, but if you are looking for the kind of icing that you get on most wedding cakes, the really sweet and heavy kind, ( the one that I love!) this one is not for you. I followed the directions exactly, just don’t think it is worth all the work and ingredients. I II am sure a lot of people really like it, I just happen to be very picky !

          1. Hi Carol, Glad you liked the cake. Yes, this buttercream recipe is definitely of the European variety, less sweet than and higher in butter content than an American buttetcream. Depending on your region (and tastes) you will find different camps on which buttercream is more suitable for wedding cakes. Since SMBCs are more chill stable they tend to be the choice for fondant covered cakes while some prefer to emrobe in an American buttercream of the crusting type. I am more of a cake than frosting girl so sweet frosting are a bit much for me. For that reason I lean toward Euronean style buttercreams for most of my confections. I do like American buttercream for some cupcakes though.

  9. This recipe looks awesome! If you had to pick, which vanilla cake would be “the one”, your go-to recipe? I’m a scratch baker, so I’ve been trying to find a scratch version of a white cake that rivals the moistness and popularity of the WASC cake.

    1. Hi Kara, If I had to choose one, it would probably be this Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake. I use it by itself or as a base in my Strawberry Shortcake or Pineapple Upside Down Cake as well. Funny you should mention the WASC cake. It was the model for the Brown Sugar Cake that was just posted. I always bake from scratch but I liked the idea of modifying cakes so I came up with a scratch recipe that could be a stand-in for a cake mix and could be doctored in many ways. One of my favorite variations was the scratch “WASC” one. It also makes some of my favorite vanilla cupcakes 🙂

  10. Hi 🙂 Thank you again for imparting your knowledge on all of us!!!! Can you please tell me what WASC stands for?? Thank you 🙂

    1. WASC stands for White Almond Sour Cream and is a cake that is a hybrid of part cake mix and part scratch ingredients. Here is a recipe for a WASC Cake if you would like to check it out 🙂

  11. Hi Again! Another question…how would clarified butter in place of the oil change the cake? Thanks you 🙂

    1. I have not baked much with clarified butter so I am not sure. I do know that melted butter sometimes gives baked goods a muffin like, coarse texture. I don’t know if clarifying will change that. If you want to use all butter I would just add it all in solid form 🙂

  12. Hi Summer. I tried making this cake and buttercream a couple of days ago for our niece’s 4th birthday party. I was worried about substituting for the cake flour (I can’t get it in the UK) after a previous bad experience substituting it with plain flour & corn starch, but I managed to get some potato starch for this cake and it worked really well. It tasted SO good and was firm enough to stack three layers, ganache and fondant over it, but remained lovely and moist, and the buttercream was delicious. Everyone commented on how great it all tasted! Thank you so much for generously sharing your recipes and knowledge. I think this will be my go-to cake recipe from now on too! 🙂

  13. Thank you for such a wonderful site full of information! I would like to make this cake for my husband’s birthday and as he loves Oreos, I was thinking of adding some coarsely chopped Oreos into the batter. Would this cake hold up well with the bits of cookie in it or do you suggest one of your other vanilla cake recipes? Thanks!

    1. I think it would work well in this recipe! This cake has a nice texture that takes well to additions and variations. I hope he enjoys it; Oreo sounds wonderful!

  14. I love your blog. I made the american mud cake for a gathering and everyone including me loved it. I wil try the vanilla cake today and I am sure it will be so yummy. Thank you for answering all the questions.

  15. Thank You for sharing! I would like to know,since this is a good cake for carving and stacking, would it be a perfect cake for fondant?

  16. Hi Summer, thank you for this recipe, it was divine…i mean this is your third recipe that i tried and it didn’t fail me, it came out as perfect as the others… cant thank you enough

  17. Hi Summer- Another buttercream question! I love the flavor that the sour cream adds here, and I’m wondering if I could convert this buttercream to an egg white version (more like a SMBC) for extra stability at room temperature? What do you think? Also, if I did it purely with egg whites (so 8oz of egg whites), would I still keep the total butter to be 20oz? Or would I scale the butter amount to 16oz (and then just use a part of that to incorporate with the sour cream, the corn syrup and some of the sugar in step 1)?
    Thanks for all of your help!!

    1. Yes, you could definitely do an egg white variation. I would keep everything the same but just use all whites for the whole eggs. Yum!

  18. Hi Summer, if I want to make this in two 6 inch pans, what should I do. I did check your pan conversion post but I am confused as this recipe calls for three 9 inch pans. Please help!

    1. Hi Rekha! Here is what I would do: multiply the ingredients by 2/3 (aka 0.66666 to go from 3 pans to 2) and by 0.4 (the conversion on the chart from a 9-inch cake to a 6-inch). That will give you a combined multiplier of 0.2666 (when you multiply 0.66 x 0.4). So you can either divide your ingredients by 3 or 4 (1/3 of a recipe or 1/4) depending if you want the cake slightly thicker or thinner than the original. I would divide by 3 to give a slightly thicker cake if it were me 🙂 I would go with 2 eggs for your recipe. I usually always round my eggs up. Everything else should divide fairly well. I hope this helps! Best wishes

  19. Hello! I have just spent the last hour scouring your blog, I love it! I can’t believe I haven’t heard of you till now but I am so happy I did. I can’t wait to try your Pinot Raspberry cake. I heard about you from The Cake Blog post about SMB myths. I have a quick question. What do you recommend as far as high altitude baking with this sour cream cake recipe? I read that you live in Oregon and I am at about 4300 ft, so I would think it may need to be modified slightly. Thank you

    1. Hi Amber! I’m so glad you like the blog. I don’t have much experience with high altitude baking but you can give this a try: I would drop the baking powder down to 1 1/2 teaspoons and since there is not a lot of liquid in this cake (other than the sour cream) you may want to add 1/4 cup of milk or other liquid. Please let me know if you give this a try and if whether is works as to share with other readers. Thanks and good luck!

  20. Hi!

    I made the cake this weekend and it tastes great, good texture too. But the buttercream is a massive failure! The recipe calls for 280g eggs, or four large eggs. Which is it? When I weighed out 4 large eggs, it came to 200g, so I added another egg, and it came to about 255g. I proceeded with the rest of the recipe as is. But the buttercream is a runny mess. It’s so soft, I can’t even finish a slice of the cake without it just running off the cake. Should I have just used four eggs and ignored the 280g instruction, or should I have added more sugar to compensate for the 5th egg? Thanks for your reply.

    1. Oh no sad 🙁 I would always go with the weight. The quantity of eggs is just added to give you a ballpark of how many you will need. Maybe I have supersized large eggs here. Something else must have gone awry. Did the buttercream emulsify and thicken nicely or was is always kind of runny? This buttercream should definitely hold its shape when fully whipped. If you add the syrup when it is quite cold that will help. As with all French buttercreams though it does soften at a warm room temperature. You can make it with all egg whites for a more firm/stable consistency. So sorry for the ooziness. Let me know if I can help in any other way!

      1. Hi summer, mine came runny too, big big mess…. I was thinking that maybe the problem was the temperature, i think my syrup was too cold or my butter was too warm…. in another post you say that the temperature should be 60º, are you talking about 60ª in the butter?, or the syrup?, or both? please help!!

          1. Yes, margarine is questionable because of variances in water content. You can definitely use some shortening but keep it to 1/4 or less so it doesn’t take on a poor mouthfeel.

        1. About 60 degrees F with the syrup. I try to keep my butter on the cooler end too but it will warm some just being beaten. This recipe is a touch more sensitive than most of my buttercreams. You can reduce the amount of sugar syrup by a touch to get the butter in closer proportion to a traditional SMBC or increase the butter by a stick or two. Best of luck! 🙂

    1. This is not the best recipe for cupcakes. They will end up a bit dense and probably either flat or sunken do to the nature of the formula. I would go for the Essential Vanilla Cupcakes (which contains sour cream too) and add vanilla bean paste or the seeds of a vanilla bean. 🙂

    1. Yay! I’m so glad you guys liked it! It really is a cake that I make again and again even though I rarely make the same cake twice. 🙂

    1. I use unbleached all-purpose flour and bleached cake flour. I prefer unbleached flours in general but I cannot get cake flour unbleached locally so I usually use what I can get my hands on 🙂

  21. Summer,

    I just love your blog and study it regularly. Today I baked your Essential Vanilla cupcakes – Amazing!! My question is – how do you think this Sour Cream Vanilla Bean cake would do baked in a 9×13 pan? I want to do a carved book-shaped cake covered in modeling chocolate. Therefore I need a sturdy cake that can be baked in a rectangular pan. Would this recipe yield too much batter for a 9×13? Or do you think is should just use the cupcake recipe instead? Thanks so much for your help!

    1. Thank you Susan! I am so glad you liked the cupcakes. I think this cake will be ok in the 9 x 13 and at the volume listed in the recipe. Just be sure to bake it thoroughly or it could sink in the middle. 🙂

  22. Hello,
    I love how there is no brown crust in your cake and it just flows from beautiful cake to buttercream. I am making this cake tomorrow and am wondering if my oven (that browns things very nicely) will brown it too much. Do you cut off the top and bottom to get it to look like that or is there some sort of trick to make the cake not brown too much? Thank you!

    1. Hi Angela, I think I cut the tops off on these ones and the way they were stacked and flipped they came out looking like they had no crust. If you are concerned with overbrowning check your oven temp but I think that browning is important to taste development so I would not sweat it too much. You can always remove the top crust. For a pale bottom crust you can place the pans on a cookie sheet too. I don’t usually do this but it is an option. 🙂

  23. Hey Summer,

    I adore this cake. It’s tasty, moist, has wonderful mouth-feel as well as visual appeal … and now after several times baking it, it has passed the reliability test!

    I have also enjoyed your standard “Vanilla Cake”. Since we were recently talking “fall cakes” over in your Vanilla Gluten Free post, I was wondering which of your regular flour cakes you would recommend for substituting pumpkin puree or apple sauce with for a fall cake and how much?

    Thank you,
    Nancy

  24. Hi Summer, first of all thank you for sharing your scientific proofs behind all your cakes, they are very interesting reads. I really enjoy it and love your cake photos, they are so inspiring.
    I am planning to make your sour cream vanilla bean cake in two 7″ cake pans. In this case, should I multiply the ingredients by 2/3 (aka 0.66 to go from 3 pans to 2) and by 0.6 (conversion from your chart from 9″ to 6″ tin is 0.4, and from 9″ to 8″ pan is 0.8. Therefore I am taking the average number between the two). That gives me a combine multiple of 0.39. So that means I need to multiply the original ingredients by 0.39. Is that correct? As for the eggs, should I round up or down?
    Thanks in advance Summer. Looking forward to try making this cake.

    1. That looks correct! If it were me I would just cut it in half. I usually round to the half recipe. I usually go up in eggs. Most butter cake recipes will accommodate a substantial increase in egg volume. Good luck! 🙂

  25. Hi Summer, thank you for sharing all the wonderful recipes. I tried the fresh strawberry cake and bake in four 6″ pan plus a few cupcakes. The texture and flavour is amazing! I than used it to stacked and carved to a doll cake and cover with fondant and all the guests love it!
    Now, I can’t wait to try this sour cream cake. Just a question, if I add some blueberries to this sour cream cake batter. Will it work well?

    1. I think it would be fine. Be sure to toss the berries in flour or cornstarch to keep them from sinking and compensate for some of the extra moisture. 🙂

        1. Hi Lisa, Glad you liked the cupcakes! I would go with 1-2 tablespoons depending on how much you are willing to use and how bold you like your vanilla flavor. 🙂

  26. Hi there, I’m really looking forward to making this cake, hopefully this weekend. Can I confirm that you’re using 9″ cake tins. A 9″ cake tin is 23cm but you’ve said 20cm which is an 8″ cake pan. I think reading through the comments it’s 9″ pans but it pays to check because if nothing else, you’ve taught us pan size makes a big difference to the outcome 🙂 Thanks!

  27. Hi found your site today and decided to try this recipe. YUM!! Only made the cake as hubby wanted a blueberry cream cheese frosting. This cake is exactly as you described with a tender crumb and has a great flavor. Added a bit of almond extract too and used 8 oz sour cream and 4 oz of vanilla greek yogurt as that was all I had.

    Can`t wait to try some of your other recipes!! Glad I found you

  28. Hi Summer! I’ve got good reviews from my family after making this. However, the elderly thinks that the buttercream is a tad too sweet. If I reduce the sugar to half, would this compromise the fluidity of the buttercream?

    1. You can reduce the sugar syrup or sour cream syrup and you should be fine. You can also just up the amount of butter as well. 🙂

  29. Hi I made this awesome cake and it tastes wonderful! One thing about it is that the edges/outer part of the cake were hard and crispy not burned. The inside is wonderful. Could it be that I need to lower the temperature of my oven? I lowered it down to 335 and same results. I Googled all the possibilities of what I did wrong. I don’t use pan release I use PAM spray. Could you recommend something. I love the recipe and it’s a keeper but I want the outside to be less hard and crispy. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ehdi, You could try using baking strips or you could place your cakes on a baking sheet or inside a larger cake pan when you bake them. This should insulate the sides a little bit and prevent crispy edges. You may want to check your oven temperature just to make sure it is not running excessively high. Good luck! 🙂

  30. You said that this cake is soft, but holds up well under frosting. Is it moist, fluffy, soft and tender, or is it more on the dense side? Thanks.

    1. You can definitely halve the recipe. If you are keeping your pans the same size you do not need to adjust leavening. If you are going smaller you may want to reduce the leavening a touch. 🙂

  31. Hi Summer, I am going to make this cake- 3 questions:
    #1- Can I freeze the buttercream? I plan to use all egg whites ( from carton) and I have frozen SMC before, making it 3-5 days before my cake, slowly defrosting and then putting back in mixer with whisk ( and not panicking when it alls apart and curdles, before it comes back). Will this happen with this type of buttercream too?
    #2- I haven’t seen vanilla bean paste in the grocery stores. Is it a specialty item, a tube ? Baking aisle? Where do I find it, or do I make it myself ( yikes). Thank you.
    #3- Would you suggest covering in white choc. ganache, under fondant or will this buttercream hold up nicely under fondant?

    1. HI! The buttercream will freeze well but yes, do the slow-defrost-and-don’t-freak-out-with-the-curdling-process method ;). Vanilla bean paste is usually in specialty shops and some grocery stores. If you can’t find it just use a tablespoon of vanilla. You will be fine. I would use traditional SMBC or white chocolate ganache under the fondant. The sour cream syrup softens the buttercream a bit and would make covering a touch more difficult. Make your life easy! Good luck 🙂

  32. Hi Summer. So glad to have come across your site : ) I am in New Zealand and we don’t have ‘cake flour.’ Is there a substitute I can use? Also I was wondering if I can just use a plain vanilla frosting to go for this cake as it is for a 6 year old girl? Thanks so much :: )

    1. Hi Cheree, You can just use all-purpose flour for the total weight and it should work fine. Also, the plain vanilla frosting will be great. Best wishes!

  33. Hi Susan! Your recipes and ideas are absolutely wonderful!! I tried this sour cream vanilla cake today – tastes incredible! I was wondering if it would go well with a strawberry and cream filling?? And if I could cover that with white chocolate ganache and fondant? Thank you so much for your help!!

  34. Hi Summer, What beautiful cakes you create!!! I wonder what is your favorite white or vanilla cake of the 5 you mentioned? And why? Would you mind rating your white cakes… I am always intrigued with white and/or butter/yellow cakes. I have 2 favorite ones that I use but would like to try yours but don’t know where to begin for my first one.

    Blessings, Jill

    1. Hi Jill, This cake is my standard favorite for a basic vanilla cake. It has lovely butter and vanilla flavors that shine through and the texture is wonderful. I hope you enjoy it!

  35. I really like a good vanilla cake so after reading, I’ve decided on this receipt . LOL now only if I knew how to follow a blog

  36. Thank you, Summer, for this awesome recipe. I was looking for a vanilla bean cake recipe that rivaled the super delicious Trader Joe’s vanilla cake mix and this one was a home run! I made it for a bridal shower yesterday and all the ladies applauded me. One guests went so far as to say that she didn’t like cake generally, but this cake changed her mind. 🙂 I turned it into a 4-layer, triple berry cake (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries as a filling) with whipped cream frosting. So thank you for helping me look like a pro! Next time I’ll try the frosting that you suggested. Looking forward to trying more of your cake recipes!

  37. Dear Summer,

    I want to try this recipe. Can I bake everything at once in one pan? My oven is quite small. Baking in three pans would drive me mad!

  38. Hi Summer! I love all your recipes – I have tried so many of them and each one is better than the other!!
    I am making a 5 tier wedding cake and wanted to use this sour cream vanilla recipe for the base tier (12inch). In your opinion, will this recipe be sturdy enough to hold the weight of 4 additional ties? ( Ofcourse with adequate support system with dowels). Please let me know what you think! Thanks so much!

  39. Hello from Vienna!
    I just discovered your site today and look forward to making this cake for a friend’s wedding this week. As I splurged and read over many of your recipes I cannot recall where you advised a Craftsy course on cake decorating. I’m not very good at getting smooth tops and sides and even amounts of filling. I look forward to getting your blogs!

    1. Jessica Harris’s classes are all awesome! I would start with her Clean and Simple Cakes. It will give you all of the basics.

  40. Dear Summer, thank you for the awesome recipe! I choose this cake for my daughter’s 4th Birthday and already tried 1/3 of the recipe, it’s sooo good and reach! I am going to bake tomorrow 2 level cake in 9″ and 6″ pans, so just want you to ask would it be OK if I use 1/2 recipe for 6″ pan. Sorry I don’t understand how to convert from 9″ to 6″ by your sizing chart.

  41. I tried looking through the comments so I’m sorry if this was already addressed. I haven’t seen vanilla bean paste, is vanilla extract a good substitute if I cannot find the paste?

    1. Sorry for my slow response! I am backlogging through questions I have missed this summer. Yes you can use vanilla extract as a substitute. I would double the amount of paste for a similar flavor. 🙂

  42. Summer, I cannot thank you enough for your Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake recipe. I had never baked a cake from scratch before volunteering to make my daughters wedding cake. For the past 6 months I have tried so many recipes but nothing ever tasted good enough or had the right texture. This cake is PERFECT! I have made many practice runs of this cake. Mainly it’s because we just love it!

  43. This is the best cake, both in taste and texture. I make “shape cakes” for my daughters’ birthdays, and have always used a vanilla mix with an extra egg and a brick of creamcheese added to give it more weight. This one of your tastes 100x better, and I can carve it into whatever shapes I need. You’re brilliant!

  44. Hi Summer, I stumbled across your site through Jessica Harris cake design, and thank goodness, because it’s great! I wish I would have found it earlier! I wanted to ask if you’re using 2″ deep pans for this recipe. I want to make a 3-tier cake with this recipe (6″, 8″ and 10″) but only have 3″ deep pans. I tried reading your Size Matters post to figure it out but can’t get a grasp on it. Can this recipe be used for 3″ deep pans or should I buy 2″ deep pans? I’m making the cake for a very special friend and want it to be perfect so I’m willing to buy 2″ deep pans to make it work.

    1. Oh! And one more question: do you have any go-to recipes for fillings? She prefers non-fruit but is open to fruit if it’s delicious 🙂 Any help is much appreciated! Thanks again

      1. You can flavor Swiss meringue an infinite number of ways. Some ideas include adding extracts, chocolate, coffee, nuts or nut butters, crushed cookies or candy bars, caramel….anything you can imagine. Flavoring buttercream will make for a stable filling too. Best of luck!

    2. You can use 3-inch pans just be sure to only fill them to the depth you would a 2-inch pan, about 1 to 1 1/4 inches. I hope that helps and saves you from buying new pans!

  45. Hi i am just wondering since I live all the way in New Zealand. I am wanting to bake this cake and other of your delicious recipes but they all call for cake flour. But can’t find cake flour here in our supermarkets. Can I just use normal all purpose flour instead? Please let me know many thanks.

  46. Hi Summer, I love baking and am finding your recipes amazing. Although I cannot bake them, as we don’t stock cake flour here in all the way in New Zealand. Can I just use plain- all purpose flour instead instead for all the recipes. Look forward to your reply. Many thanks.

    1. So sorry for the late reply! Yes, you can substitute all purpose flour for cake flour. I would use the lowest protein flour you can find but you should have fine and comparable results. 🙂

  47. I had to leave a comment. I am obsessed with finding the perfect vanilla cake. And this cake is on point. It was perfect and I live in Florida and everyone loves publix cakes. This is as close to their vanilla cake as I have found. Great cake! Great blog!

  48. I was wondering if you can leave out the corn syrup in the buttercream? Or if there is anything you can do to make up for it? I don’t use corn or glucose syrup in my baking. I love this cake recipe! I have been using the SMBC on it but wanted to try this now that I’m confident in my SMBC skills 🙂

  49. Hi Summer,

    I am about to bake this cake for my Nieces 18th birthday and have a 14 inch x 2 in square pan. Is it correct that I will need to times the ingredients by 3 times. Your cakes look incredible and I am looking forward to trying them.

    Regards Julie from Australia.

    1. Yes, that is correct Julie. Three times the recipe should give you the right number for volume. Be sure to reduce your oven temperature a bit. You will want a long slow bake in this so the proper structure can develop. Good luck!

    1. This recipe doesn’t translate perfectly to cupcakes but I think it would work well if you added 1/4 cup more of flour. This cake is big for its layers, so I would guess around 30 cupcakes. Good luck!

  50. Hi, Summer

    Im in love with all the recipes, and test you do with cakes.

    Sour Cream cake is a keeper for me, tender, moist, soft, delicious….. This is the First time that I bake a cake with a flat top, my cakes usually end with a dome on top, this one was so beautiful and flat. After baked I try a simple sirup to keep it moist and was delicious. LOVE IT!

    Im looking to try all your recipes and expand my repertoire of cake flavors.

    THANKS

    Cristina

  51. Hi Summer, I’ve just tried this cake. It is lovely. I would like to make a chocolate version for a chocolate/vanilla layer cake. Do you have any tips on how I could do this? Thanks.

    1. Hi Pearl, The easiest way to convert a vanilla cake to chocolate is to swap out 1/2 cup cocoa powder for 1/2 cup flour. If you want intense chocolate flavor you could bump the exchange volumes up to 3/4 cup. Another way to do this is to add a chocolate paste to the batter. This is what I do for my Marble Cake. You can follow the recipe for the paste on that cake and stir it into the batter. You may want to make 1 1/2 times the chocolate paste to flavor the whole volume of batter. Good luck!

  52. Your recipe calls for 8oz. sour cream, but this is not converted into cups. I don’t have a scale to weigh out ingredients. Can you tell me how many cups this would be? Thanks : )

  53. I heard about you from another great cakester, (Becky from Little Hill Cakes) I have to say that your French sour cream BC is everything (just got through raving about it on FB. One thing that went wrong for me was that mine turned into soup in the end. My butter had been left out overnight and through out the day, it was hotter than I thought and so it was too soft. I was able to save it by switching from a paddle attachment to the balloon whisk. It saved it, taking it from liquid to a decadent peaks of ultra DB perfection. It BC was everything you promised, especially the taste and I hate BC, American, Swiss, and Italian but I guess, French is for me. Thank you, so very much! This is amazing. I can’t wait to make it again.

    1. Woo hoo! I’m glad it survived! French Buttercream is otherworldly if you ask me! I can spoon it down and I’m not a buttercream lover either. So glad this worked for you!

  54. Hello, I want to try your recipe after reading all these great reviews. In regards to the cake flour, will it be okay if i use the AP flour and corn flour substitute? Also how do you halve 5 eggs as you cant have 2.5 eggs or can I just use 3 eggs?

    1. You will be fine using all-purpose flour exclusively or if you can get a hold of it, pastry flour works great. For the eggs, you can either use 2 eggs and one yolk or whisk together three eggs and remove 2 tablespoons. Either method will work fine. I hope you enjoy this!

  55. Hello Summer! Your cakes are genius… I was wondering (because I’m obsessed with this one) but have to make a marble cake. Can I mix this one and perhaps your buttermilk chocolate cake for a marble cake. I need a good firm cake for stacking and wondering how it’d work out.

    1. Hi Faten! You can, but you should reduce the volume of batter you use to 3/4 or 4/5 of the original (4/5 will make it easier to reduce the eggs but will be complicated for other measurements). Otherwise you will overflow your pans since this recipe fills up the 9 inch pans all the way. Good luck!

  56. Hi Summer! Could I use all egg whites in this? If so, how many? And how much more fat would you add to replace the fat of the yolks?

Leave a Reply