Sometimes cake has a mind of its own and just when you think you can tweak a little something the whole cake goes crazy! I have been making this cake for years but when I went to make it for this post, with some minor adjustments, it was not being friendly. Five cakes later and very little sleep to be had, this final cake is tender, moist and delicious.
This is a whole egg, buttermilk cake with a mild flavor that pairs well with any number of fillings or buttercreams. It also has a firm but not too dense texture so it stacks well and takes to fondant covering easily. This cake is very moist too so it will hold up well to a few days of decorating.
One thing to note with this cake is that it very rich in butter and oil and moist and tender from a good helping of buttermilk. For these reasons you need to bake this cake fully; meaning it need to cook a little beyond the point of where a toothpick comes out clean. The edges of the cake, which will have risen will start to sink back down a little bit. This is normal and ensures that the cake will not be moist to the point of being gummy and the structure will be stable enough that it will not sink in when removed. The protein setting must be fully achieved and the starches fully gelled. So err on the side of over baking rather than under baking. This recipe can take it!
This cake has a beautiful balance of flavor. There is enough vanilla to shine through, a buttery element and a slight buttermilk essence. In other cakes, I used too much baking soda and the lovely buttermilk flavor was wiped out entirely. Some baking soda ensures that the cake will not be too tender from the buttermilk’s acidity and lightens the texture by reacting with the acid, but too much will overwhelm delicate flavors in the cake.
I frosted this cake with the Simple Silky Buttercream and topped it off with some modeling chocolate hydrangeas. I used the plunger set that comes in the new Wilton Gumpaste Flower set and found it super quick and easy to use to create these sweet little blossoms. Since they are modeling chocolate they didn’t need any drying time, bonus!
Take a bite and enjoy this classic, moist vanilla cake!
- 16 tablespoons (8 ounces, or 227 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 12 ounces (340 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons (60 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ tablespoon (23 milliliters) vanilla extract
- 6 ounces (170 grams) all-purpose flour- 1 ¼ cups
- 6 ounces (170 grams) cake flour*- 1 ½ cups
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups (300 milliliters) buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour.
- Beat butter, sugar and oil for 2 minutes on medium-high speed of mixer. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Stir in vanilla.
- Sprinkle in dry ingredients to distribute. Turn mixer on low and mix to moisten dry ingredients. Pour in buttermilk and beat on medium for one minute until well combines and smooth.
- Pour into prepared pans 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 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 buttercream of choice. Enjoy!
- *If you do not have access to cake flour, substitute 149 grams all-purpose/plain flour and 12 grams corn or potato starch
161 thoughts on “Vanilla Cake”
Hi thank you soooooo much for the recipe!!!! I can nt find cake flour here in Tasmania. Can I substitute for anything else? 🙁
Sorry just read the end . Question solved !!! 😉
Thanks so much Summer for this recipe. I often need a cake that will remain moist for a day or two for decorating. I also look for a recipe that will yield a tall cake since. They are so popular right now. I enjoy reading your recipes and the science behind them!
It looks amazing!
Very much in love with all your articles & recipes. I use mostly organic ingredients & like to know if I could use vinegar in milk to make “buttermilk” or I have to go through the process of making a proper buttermilk using buttermilk starter.
Vinegar and milk would work great. If you have a nice organic yogurt you like that would work well too just make sure the fat content is not too high or it could be too much for the cake 🙂
Thank you so much for your advise & I also learned so much from your reply to other’s questions too.
So glad to be helpful!
Why this color for frosting???
I just think it’s pretty and I have been making way too much ivory frosting this week. I needed a dose of color 😉
In Europe we never ever use this color for frosting. We find it tasteless (don’t know if this is the right word… I mean something what we don’t feel eating because of that color). I guess it’s just a ‘culture difference’…
Yes, I think you mean unappealing? I can understand that. Here we add all sorts of gaudy colors to our buttercream and gobble it up 😉 But by all means don’t color it if it seems yucky. Thanks for your cultural insight! May I ask where in Europe you are from?
OMG What a silly comment about the colour of your buttercream, I am from Ireland and I think it’s lovely .
Well done for responding so politely Summer, I love it. As an Australian living in Norway, I am often taken aback by the bluntness of some of these European cultures. I have just found your page and am reading and soaking up all this amazing information that you share with us. But I don’t know how you can stand having to answer the same questions over and over again! You’ve already been so helpful sharing all of this information with us, why can’t people spend a few extra minutes to see if the answer to their question has already been posted, rather than expecting you to spend your time laying the answer out for them again? I guess it’s just part of the job! Thanks again, can’t wait to start baking. I’m starting with your easy vanilla cupcakes with (not) French buttercream and the amazing looking carrot cake for my MIL’s birthday this weekend. And I’m excited to try the Big Bang Theory!
Do you do your own Frosting? it looks so perfect, I would love to learn your frosting technque. So beautiful!!!
I do 🙂 These are usually done quickly on the recipe based cakes but if you want really good information on icing and covering cakes my friend Jessica Harris has an awesome Craftsy class, Clean and Simple Cakes that goes through all kinds of amazing techniques. If you follow the link it is half off and totally worth the $19.99. Maybe one of these days I will post my very rudimentary techniques for icing a cake with buttercream 😉 Thanks for checking things out Brian!
Thank you very much for your recipe.my question is for how long can it stay ,can I double the measurement if am making a big cake.Thanks
I think this cake would stay in good shape for 5 days at room temperature, particularly if it was iced/covered in fondant. If you double the recipe I suggest reducing the baking powder by 1/3 since you have so much less wall support and using a heat core if possible for something to “push” against. Good luck!
Thanks for your recipes. Can I add 1 teaspoon of extract? Do you think almond or lemon extracts will be good?
Yes, you can add any number of extracts to this recipe. I think almond or lemon would be very nice in this cake. You can scale back on the vanilla in the quantity you add of any other flavors.
Hi Summer, me again, sorry for bugging you. May I ask how you arrive at your pan sizes and amounts? I’ve noticed that one recipe calls for two 9 inch pans, another for two 8 inch pans, this one for three 8 inch pans.
I’m asking this to know how I can achieve consistency, because I sell my cakes. Is there a specific reason for your choice of pans? How easily can they be adapted to other sizes (or amount of pans)? I’d love to know! Thank you so much for your answer. Love, Minh
Hi Minh, I usually start out with 8-inch pans but if my ingredients get too voluminous sometimes it is easier to shift to a larger pan size or more pans than to adjust ingredients into odd proportions. Here are some values you can keep in mind. A 6×3″ pan has about the same volume as a 8×2″ pan. A 9×2″ pan has 1.5 times the volume of a 6×3″ pan. A 6×2″ pan has 0.6 times the volume of a 8×2″ pan and 0.4 times the volume of a 9×2″ pan. You can use these multipliers to adjust or just keep in mind that you can use all of the batter for an 8″ pan in your 6×3’s. Let me know if this makes sense. (note: caught some miscalculations and adjusted, these are acurate)
You should be able to go between these sizes fine but larger may cause structural issues and as you have before noted the textures will be a bit different.
Hi, Summer! I couldn’t wait to try this cake, so, I didn’t! Lol.
Sadly, I think I should have taken a left at Albuquerque. The cake delivered in spades on flavor, moistness and tenderness. However, I am not a fan of the texture. The best way I can describe it is “flaky” almost like pie dough. It’s not overly dense or heavy, just has a “crumbly” mouthfeel, despite not being dry. I hope that made sense :-S. I halved the recipe and I baked it in 2- 6″x2″ pans. Also, it did not rise much at all. Soooo tasty but I would love it if the texture was different. Did I mess it up with the pan size? I intend to try this recipe again as well as the white velvet. Thanks so much for being so generous with your time and information :-). Looking forward to the chocolate cake showdown.
I understand what you are saying. Pie dough is often referred to as a “short” dough with it’s flaky texture due to the high amounts of fat and little liquid. All the fat shortens the length that the gluten strands can achieve resulting in that characteristic texture. My recipes tend to be on the high fat side for richness, flavor and moisture but they also tend to be “short” as you have noted. This is also in part due to the way I typically mix cakes. It comes down to a bit of personal preference as for the mouthfeel you are looking for. Here are some ways that you can adjust my recipes to suit your taste. Scale back slightly on the fat (particularly oil since it coats gluten strands really well) and sugar which are major structure weakeners. Start with 2 tablespoons of each and see how that works. Use a liquid that is not acidic or neutralize it. The acidity further weakens structural components. One cup of buttermilk is neutralized by 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Alternate in flour and liquids. When you go all in with the flour into the fat it all gets coated and keeps it “short” as well. Another option is to use all all-purpose flour instead of cake flour to increase the overall protein available.
I would try the White Velvet cake as is since it already has a different texture than the Vanilla cake. I hope these suggestions help. If you don’t get results that you are happy with let me know and I will try to help another way. Good luck to you! 🙂
Thank you so much for responding! I will try the adjustments and report back when I do. BTW, my Husband loooooved this cake and he wouldn’t change a thing. I will say, if that is the intended texture, then this would be FANTASTIC with a touch of cinnamon, an apple or peach filling and a caramel or browned butter buttercream. A cake’d pie, if you will. In fact, that’s what I’m gonna do with the rest of this cake. Yay! I forgot to add that it is indeed a firm cake and handles well. Thanks again! Have a fabulous day 🙂
Yum! Those are all of my favorite flavors. So tempting 😉
Hi Summer, I am from the Philippines and I usually substitute buttermilk because I can’t find it here. I just want to ask if the result will be the same if I will use any available substitution for buttermilk?
Using a substitute gives a slightly different flavor but still a very delicious product. You can use vinegar/lemon juice and milk or yogurt or low fat sour cream. Good luck!
Which of your recipes do you think would pair best with a strawberry SMBC? Doing a Mother’s Day cake and thought it might be pretty!
I would do the White Velvet Cake. I think the flavors would pair beautifully and the light texture seems like spring and Mother’s Day to me 🙂
Thank so much. The white velvet cake was beautifully even and moist, had a not-too-sweet and rounded flavour and was lovely with strawberry. And my three year old declared the batter Very Good Cake – high praise indeed.
please how can l substitute for sour cream because in Nigeria we didn’t have sour cream and l love your recipes
Thank you! If you have access to whole milk yogurt you can use 14 tablespoons yogurt plus 2 tablespoons butter or oil. Or you can use 3/4 cup whole milk plus 4 tablespoons butter (or oil) plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or white or cider vinegar. Mix the milk and juice/vinegar and allow to curdle/thicken for a few minutes. Add the butter with the other butter or fat in the recipe. I hope this helps 🙂
Just wondering if you trim all the crust away from your layers as they look so pristine white
I cut the top crust off this one because it just doesn’t look as clean on the cut cake when it is there. I am actually doing an experiment right now to see if it makes a difference in moisture levels in a cake if you cut the top crust off before you wrap and chill it. When it thaws the top layer absorbs so much liquid and becomes soggy I am curious to see if it changes the cake’s interior moisture levels. Will report when I find out!
Hello Summer! I really love your blog, your presentation and your cake science!!! Thank you for sharing all the tips and details! I can’t wait to try your recipes! I have to make a wedding cake with fondant and i’m thinking to use the vanilla recipe but with lemon extract. I want to bake in 8″x3 and 11″x3 pans. But I have just one of each pan so I will have to bake the whole batter. I am thinking to double the recipe for the 11″. Should I change anything else of the ingredients before?
The other thing is that I must deliver the cake 3 days before the wedding day. You are saying that it’s ok especially if it’s frosted and covered. But could I bake it in advance and freeze it? Or should I bake it and use it right away?
You can bake it and freeze it fine. My concern is baking this cake thick. I have put the 8″ volume of batter in 6×3″ pans and have not had a great deal of luck. It is really rich and just doesn’t hold up under the extra weight. I will post what happened this week. The volume of the 11″ pan would be 2 times the volume of an 8″ pan. I would make 1 3/4 times the batter and bake one normal layer of 14″ and 8″ and do it twice. I know this is a pain but I think you will be happier with the results. You can make all the batter at once and store half in the fridge while the others are baking. (oops! math corrections made)
Thank you for the delicious recipe! I have made it twice in the last week and it has been a huge success. Perfect texture, perfect flavour and beautifully moist. Finding a basic vanilla cake recipe that meets all my expectations has been one of the more difficult things I have had to do in my cake business and I am thrilled to say that this recipe has won hands down.
For this recipe I baked it in 2 – 8″ round pans. All my pans are 3″ high. It came out perfectly flat and rose high enough for me to slice each one in half. I love to have 4 layers of cake with 3 layers of filling. I think it looks so pretty when cut. Once baked I wrapped each layer well and let sit over night on the counter. This allowed the crumb to firm up nicely and was able to easily slice and fill. This is definitely a soft cake when first baked so letting it firm up does make a difference. No doubt in my mind that had I left it for 2 days [still wrapped, of course] on the counter it still would have been perfect.
My next test will be to double the recipe. I will take your advice on not over filling the pans with batter. I plan on trying it in a half sheet pan. Do you still suggest lowering the amount of baking powder by 1/3? Not sure how much batter I will get when this recipe is doubled but will soon find out lol.
One last question….I would like to add a fruit puree such as mango or strawberry. Have you attempted this with any of your vanilla cake recipes?
Hi Joanie! I am so glad that you have had success with the vanilla cake. I would cut the baking powder by 1/3 to start. I think you will be successful with that. Double should work well for the half sheet for you. The layer should be a little thicker than when I bake one recipe in 3-8″ pans and enable you to split it.
This may be a tricky recipe to add a puree to since it is so rich. Adding a heavy liquid may put it over the top (leading to sinking) without significant modifications (reduce fat, add baking soda, replace liquid, etc). The Fresh Strawberry Cake is a modification of a vanilla cake that I make with modifications made for the fruit. It is really delicious and decorators have had success covering with fondant. You can replace the strawberry in it with any similarly acidic fruit such as mango. I even do blueberry puree for a fun unique cake sometimes. Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂
How did I miss your Fresh Strawberry Cake!!! It’s exactly what I am looking for. Thank you! Do you think this recipe will double okay?
Yes, it should double easily 🙂
can I use two 9×2″ cake pans for this recipe? thanks!
Yes, I think that should work well 🙂
Hi Summer, i just tried your vanilla cake recipe with smbs . and they both came out perfect, i mean the taste was soooooooooooooooo yummmy, the cake vanished in 30 minutes, thank you so much love,
Hi summer, i wanted to ask you if u have a similar recipe to the vanilla cake but chocolate, i really loved the texture , the taste, and everything about it, it was super light yet full of flavor, so i was wondering if any chocolate recipe coming on the way……pleeeeeeeeeze
I have one that I need to post and yummy chocolate cupcakes coming up soon! I want to do a chocolate series as some people have asked for but I have to be careful about the amount of cake that I am “testing” or I will need a new wardrobe 😉 Today is my bday so I am hoping to get the White Chocolate Mocha Cake done and the Raspberry Pinot Noir Cake up (so delicious!). Thank you for staying tuned and know that I am really working to post the things that you all are interested in seeing! So keep the suggestions coming and I will do my best to bake, test or analyze whatever I am able to 🙂
ooh happy birthday to you cake angel, u are a Taurus like me, my birthday was 3 days ago and the vanilla cake that i baked earlier was for me, and still cant thank u enough for the results……have a wonder birthday and enjoy,,,,
Hello! Thank you so much for posting these wonderful recipes! I am going to make an army tank cake for my son’s birthday and am planning on coloring the batter to make it camouflage inside the cake. Would you recommend the vanilla cake or a different one? Also, will the recipe be affected if I bake it in square pans? Thank you so much!
Hi Sara, I think the Vanilla Cake or the Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake would work well for making an army tank. Since you will be using colors that will not be affected by a slight cream color, either should take well to tinting. The Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake has a thicker batter consistency than the Vanilla Cake so it may work better to keep your colors segregated. Square pans should be no problems as long as you don’t bake your layers too thick/tall. Good luck on this fun cake for your son’s birthday! What a treat for him 🙂
Hi,Thank You for sharing your recipes.In my country we do not have all purpose flour but only cake flour.Can I use all 2 3/4 cake flour and add an extra 2 TBLSP of cake flour.For every cup of all -purpose flour I use a cup of cake flour and an extra 2 Tblsp of cake flour.Will it work for this recipe?
Yes, it should work fine in this recipe. You may need to add a touch more liquid. Sometimes I find that using all cake flour can make a cake seem a bit cottony when it is intended for all-purpose because of the liquid absorption of the extra starch. Good luck!
Thank you for your quick response.I will add in 60ml more buttermilk,
Hello, Summer. I want to make a cake that would have three tiers of different flavors, I’m thinking on using the fresh strawberry, the chocolate and this vanilla one. How do yoi recommend me to calculate the measurements for just one 8×2 cake on each recipe? Thanks!
I would halve the chocolate and use 1/3 the recipe of the strawberry and vanilla. The strawberry is a tall layer so you may need to level it a touch so that it is the same height as the other layers. Sounds delicious! I would love to see a picture when you are done if you can post one to Facebook 🙂
Hey Summer thanks for the recipe! I’ve tried it a lot of times, and it was sooo goood.. But I have one question though, do you know why my cake always turned out in yellow color instead of cream color like yours? Thanks
Hi Winny, So glad you like the recipe. The color difference could be caused by a difference in ingredients. Are you using bleached cake flour? Sometimes colors of butter and egg yolks can vary too depending on the source. It could also be a lighting issue with the photography. Sometimes the colors do not come across perfectly accurate even when I try to adjust to compensate. You can neutralize a bit of the yellow color by adding a pinprick of violet food coloring or you can add a touch of white food coloring to lighten the overall batter as well. 🙂
thank you for your explanation Summer! Definitely will try your suggestion for next time. Thanks again 🙂
Hi Summer. Just curious what your thoughts are on using buttermilk substitute (whole milk mixed with lemon or vinegar) instead of actual buttermilk. Thanks!
I think it works well, but it definitely gives a different taste than buttermilk. I am a fan of the real buttermilk flavor but will use a lemon/milk substitute for a lemon variation of a cake. I would use low-fat milk if you have it for a buttermilk substitute since buttermilk is generally low-fat or non-fat. You may end up with too much fat if you use whole milk. It depends on the cake and how rich it is in the first place. 🙂
Hello Summer, THANK YOU for this recipe, it’s delish!!! 🙂 my only concern is when i divide the batter in two 8 x 3 pans or put all in one 8 x 3 pan the cake comes out nice while it is hot, but when it is getting cooler it start shrinking in the middle…the crumbs look nice and delicious 🙁 any advice? sugar hugs 🙂
Hi Diana, This cake is one that is formulated so rich that it does not like to be baked very thick. There are so many structure weakeners in the form of fat, butter and acid that the hand off is that you have to bake it relatively shallow in order to keep it from sinking in under it’s own weightiness. You can read Size Matters for more detail and photos on this concept. If you would really like to bake in a deeper pan I suggest taking out the oil and increasing the baking soda to 3/4 teaspoon. It won’t be exactly the same cake but it will be able to hold up to the deeper pan better. I’m glad you like the flavor! Best of luck with this! 🙂
First, I would like to thank you for this wonderful blog you have.
Now, I tried this recipe today and I do like the taste and texture of it but my only problem was…it didn’t rise up properly.
I used 3, 8 x 2 pan coz I planned on making an blue ombre cake so I divided the batter on them and the cake only rise up like 3/4 inch to 1 inch. My preheating process for the oven took a while so probably my oven was too hot, hence it didn’t become flat as well even if I put baking paper on top and bottom.
I am a newbie in cake decorating and cake baking from scratch….so I really need all the help I can get to make it right….coz I so LOVE the taste. I need to make a 8 x 4 cake with 3 filings or 8 x 5 if the first is not enough for 20 people, the cake itself is a blue ombre finish which I am struggling to get the color right.
Any help on why my cake didn’t rise properly (love the science you put on his recipe) and tinting the batter?
Thank you so much.
Hi, These cake layers aren’t incredibly tall but oven heat can make a difference in how your cakes rise. Hot ovens = shorter cakes. Also, make sure that your baking powder is fresh. That can make a difference too. If you would like taller layers you can add another 25% of ingredients for thicker layers or you can add another third of batter ingredients and bake a fourth layer of cake.
On coloring, this cake has a pale yellow tint that will affect color you add. You can help combat this by adding white food coloring or a touch of violet food coloring to neutralize the yellow before adding your blue. Best of luck! Let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂
Thank you. I will have a go on your suggestions and get back to you.
By the way, if I bake this on Thursday and use Sunday…will it still stay moist? I feel like the batch I baked on Sunday is not as moist as day 1. I cover it with plastic after cooling & put on tight plastic container in the bench top. We’ll, I am still going to enjoy it with tea but for a birthday cake…I want it to stay as day 1.
Again, thank you for all the knowledge.
HI Summer, I am a little confuse about the sugar. How much in cups of sugar this recipe calls for. I was using the measurements for the flour to convert the sugar but then I read another of your recipes and it has the same grams but a lot less sugar in cups. I made it twice and it was good, but the last time a made it a put only 1 1/2 cups of sugar and the cake didn’t bake all the way eventhough the toothpick came out clean and the cake separeted from the side and left it 10 more mins. than usual. Thank you for your help and I hope you understand my question.
Sorry I didn’t add the cup measurement. It’s right about 1 3/4 cups (1.71 cups). It should have been fine with the 1 1/2 cups. I can’t imagine what would have caused the issue unless your oven temp is off or something else was different. I use a sugar measurement of 7 ounces (200 grams) per cup for future reference. I hope you don’t have any more issues! If so let me know and we can trouble shoot. 🙂
Do I need to put simple syrup on any of your cakes that you share with us ?
I don’t syrup any of my cakes. I prefer to formulate the moisture into the recipe. When I have syruped cakes in the past they seem to get more wet/soggy than an internally tender-moist in texture. So no, unless you prefer the texture of a syruped cake. 🙂
Hi Summer..i am thrilled to have found your blog! 🙂 I plan to make ur vanilla cake and chocolate mudcake in layers for my niece’s birthday on saturday. how do i factor these measurements into a 10″ pan? Will both cakes be sturdy enuf to hold each others weight in layers? and lastly..can i cover in fondant? Thanks in advance. Sugar Hugs
Hi, yes, both of these cakes will work well for stacking and covering with fondant. You will still need to support the lower cake with bubble straws or dowels but they are sturdy enough.
Here is a post link on Sizing Up your cakes. If you have any questions on how to increase using the chart let me know! 🙂
Hi Summer..Thanks for your response. I checked out the sizing up cakes..i really didnt understand it..still a bit confused..i really want to do this vanilla cake in 6″ pans but scared to try it..i was hoping i could use it as a top tier for my niece’s birthday tomorrow..PS..I made your silky buttercream..it came out beautiful! thanks!
Hi Summer..So i ended up figuring something out as you suggested in a previous comment. I doubled the recipe and cut the baking powder by 1/3 so i used 3.5 tsp of baking powder instead of 5 and the cake came out really light and moist! I was able to fill 3 10″ pans with approximately 4 cups of batter in 2 of the pans and a little less in the 3rd pan. I had 4 layers and 3 fillings for the 10″ cake and made your quintenssential chocolate cake for the top tier..it was equally delicious and super moist! Thanks so much for sharing!!! 🙂
I am looking for a fluffy and soft vanilla sponge recipe. But it has to be stable and sturdy enough to be covered with fondant. Is this recipe good for that purpose? If not, could you please point me in the direction of a recipe that will be good for that purpose?
This recipe is not overly fluffy. It is very tender though. If you want a fluffy and sturdy cake try the Essential Vanilla Cupcakes and bake them in a cake pan. It makes a wonderful cake. 🙂
Hi Summer, i learned about you from Jessica Harris when i asked her about the difference between creaming method and reverse creaming method. She mentioned you and that you know more about those 2 methods. I just dont know which topic here to type my question. Just wanted to ask which one do you recommend more between the two. Which is really better specially under fondant and cupcakes. I have a recipe for reverse creaming method, i just wonder if is it okay to use the creaming method for that. Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi! I actually wrote an article for The Cake Blog on this subject that goes more in depth than I could write in a comment so I will link you to it (Creaming vs. Reverse Method). You can view some of my other science-y articles there as well. Let me know if this overview answers your questions or if I can help in any other way. 🙂
WOW! This recipe turned out AMAZING! Baked on the 22nd, frosted and cut into it today and this cake was STILL moist and it had an amazing flavor (ran out of plastic wrap so stored cake in zip log bag.)! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I had given up on finding a from scratch vanilla cake recipe & settled for a doctored box recipe (nothing wrong with it, but your recipe definitely offers a unique and delicious flavor). Can’t wait to try it for cupcakes. 🙂
Hi Summer, I made this cake last week for my family to taste test for me and it was absolutely beautiful! My oven timer is broken, and even though I completely forgot about the cake and cooked it 10 mins longer than required, it was very golden on edges but was still lovely and moist in the centre. My son and nephew were both born on Feb 5th and I would like to make this cake for both of them. I was wondering if this cake would freeze well if I made the cakes now, or if I am better off waiting until a few days before and baking them then? Thanks for your advice.
You should be fine freezing them. I freeze ahead all of the time. Good luck! And I am glad you enjoyed this cake 🙂
Hi summer! Can i use this recipe to make a rainbow cake? It will be 6 layers bake in 8 inch pans. More power
Do you use both all purpose flour and cake flour for the recipe?
please house can any teach me the procudure to make a very soft cake. thanks
Hi Summer, looking forward to making your cake. My question is I only have 1 x 10″ tin or 1 x 8″ tin, how would it go having the batter sit and cooking the cakes one at a time. From the comments above I gather pouring all the batter into one tin isn’t good.
Just wondering if there are any conversions I should be making when changing to a 6″ round 2″ high pan? As well as a 11″ x 15″ sheet pan?
I am interested in using this recipe for a wedding cake. With the measurements on the flour, is it 6oz plus an additional 1 1/2 cup?
I am making a 3 layer shower cake for 80 people and I’d love to use this recipe. I plan to fill a layer with a lemon curd, another with raspberry curd and the other with buttercream frosting. Any suggestions on how to adjust batter so the layers have enough structure but still be moist?
Hi Summer….first off I would just like to say how amazing your blog is and the recipes are amazing. I have made a few and just love them. The question i have is. ….in our country we only have cake flour, bread flour and self raising flour. How would I substitute these for the all purpose flour? I really appreciate your feedback.
This may be a dumb question, but I’ll ask anyway.
When you mention overbaking may be necessary for this cake, I may have left my cakes in the oven to the point it has a fairly dark crust. Am I able to still use them?
I notice when you use all purpose flour and cornstarch the weight is 149 gm, however with cake flour it is 170 gm. Is that correct?
Hi. I need the best lemon cake recipe.
Oh, I have one that I love in my vault. Hopefully I can share it soon 🙂
I wanted to try one of your cake recipes but convert to cupcakes. Is this recipe covertable? I really want to try this one. Also what do you think about the white cake recipe? I have made the essential vanilla cupcakes already. I sure hope I can as this recipe looks delicious. Please advice. Hope to start tomorrow.
Thanks so much for your insight and help! Congrats to you and your family!
Hi Tyler. I just saw your question and wanted to let you know that I have used this recipe several times for cupcakes. They are excellent! I do bake them at 325 degrees instead of the 350. Give them a try, I’m sure you wont be disappointed.
omg thank you for responding. did you change anything? follow recipe to a t? I am still learning in baking…. what happens for the change of temperature? Do you still use the same time?
I didn’t change anything except the temperature. I was taught to bake cakes/cupcakes at 325 and add a bit more time and have always had great success. I find that the cupcakes are ready somewhere between 20 and 25 mins. Just keep and eye on them after 20. Let me know how they work for you!
One other thing Tyler…don’t overfill your cupcake liners. I fill just a bit over half. It seems to keep the liners from peeling when they start to cool. Hope this helps.
thank you so much. i will keep you posted!
Thanks Joanie for sharing your wisdom on this! 🙂
Thanks Tyler! I have found that if you add a bit more flour to your cake recipe it can help with your cupcake structure (1/4 to 1/2 cup). But since Joanie has had cupcake success with this recipe it may be fine as is. Good luck and let us know about your results!
Thanks Summer! Will keep you all posted.
Hi Summer! Good to have you back! This cake is awesome! It’s my go to Vanilla cake..thanks so much for this recipe. My cakes always shrink a good half and inch..is there something I could do to avoid this? I always bring my cakes out in good time. Thanks
Hi! It’s good to be back 🙂
To the shrinking issue, the gasses that expand during the baking process are going to shrink when the cake is removed due to the laws of physical chemistry. Whether or not your cake shrinks with it is a matter of structure. If you have a sturdy cake, it will hold up even under the pull of the gasses, but structure weakeners (fat, sugar, acid, etc.) will tend to undermine the stability and cause a “pulling in” of your cake. You can try the big bang theory method which can help some or you can reduce sugar and fats or increase flour or eggs. It’s a bit of a trade off between flavor and structure. I hope that helps!
Converting this recipe to cupcakes worked out beautifully:-). The cupcakes were a big hit!!! Thank you so much Joanie and Summer. It is very good to have u back Summer. I’m looking forward to some more yummy recipes.
Thanks Tyler! I’m happy it was successful:)
Hi Summer. I turned this recipe into a red velvet cake. It worked really well.
I took out 50gm of the cake flour and replaced it with 50gm of sifted cocoa powder. Added in 1 tablespoon of red food gel. No other changes to the recipe.
Delicious!! Thanks again for this awesome recipe!
Thanks for that information Joanie!
That’s great Tyler! Glad they were a success!
Tried and threw entire batch in garbage. Not bakery worthy. Batter sinks it’s a heavy cake.
Hi Chrissy, I am so sorry you had difficulty with this recipe. The cake is very rich so it has to be baked to a point that would seem overbaked for other cakes. If you prefer cakes that are lighter in texture I will be posting a recipe for a fluffy vanilla cake soon or you can try the White Velvet Cake which is light and has great flavor. Smiles!
Do you have any suggestions on what recipe to use for 9×13, 11×15, or 12in and larger cakes? I am so frustrated with falling butter cakes, and shrinking sponges. I found a sponge cake I like but I can’t double it due to the volume of egg whites needed not fitting in my 5 quart mixer. I would like to find one recipe I can’t mess up, that I can easily use for cupcakes, sculpted, and stacked cakes. Or am I asking too much? I do go by weight, not volume and use caster sugar. Thanks in advance for any advice!
Hi Ashton, I understand your frustration. Changing to large pan sizes wreaks havoc on cake stability. My most predictable cake comes from the Essential Vanilla Cupcake recipe. I originally developed it as a cake and it works very well either way. I have not baked it in very large round pans but it has a great structure and I think it is your best bet from my experience. Also, try reducing your oven temp by 25 degrees. The slower baking temp/time will allow the structure to develop gradually and should help. Good luck!
Thank you so much! I have tried the cupcakes and love them. I’m also love your sour cream vanilla cake. I am making a 10in cake this weekend and I think I’ll try the cupcakes as a cake. I appreciate your help!
Hi Summer! I just adore your recipes. I am looking to make one of these into a cherry chip cake, but not sure which recipe to use or if I should just use the essential vanilla cupcake recipe. Instead of 1 1/2tbsp vanilla extract, I want to use 3 tsp maraschino cherry juice, 1tsp vanilla, and 1/4 tsp almond extract plus 3/4 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries. Which recipe would hold up the best and the cherries not sink to the bottom of the cake pan? Thank you so much for all your help and insight as well as wisdom!!!! You are a blessing to all of cake bakers out there!
That is supposed to be 3tbsp maraschino juice, not tsp.
Have you made that fluffy vanilla cake recipe that you mentioned that you are working on? Which cake do you suggest for a very moist but sturdy cake?
Sooo Summer – it’s me again – greetings! So everyone is saying how firm this cake is! Btw I LOVE THIS CAKE! It is my FOREVER GO TO VANILLA CAKE!!
My thing is – when I bake sheet size cakes to carve for 3D Cut outs – I lose so much cake ;( anyway to make it a little more sense without losing your scientific awesomeness of lightness (this sounds so ridiculous) but I hope you understand my drift!
I noticed that your recipe calls from the same number of ounces of cake and all purpose flours but one translates to 1 1/4 cups and the other translates to 1 1/2 cups. Is this correct?
It’s written 6 ounces all-purpose flour (1 1/4 cups) and 6 ounces cake flour ( 1 1/2 cups)
A little confused about the quantity to us because 6 ounces = 3/4 cup and not 1 1/2 or 1 1/4 cups as written here.
Can you please clarify the measurements of flour?
Hi Sophie, These are ounces in weight, not volume and because the density of all-purpose and cake flour vary a bit they have different weights per cup. Since cake flour is more starch and less protein than all-purpose flour it takes a little more volume to make the 6 ounce weight. I hope that clarifies! If it is still confusing let me know. 🙂
Made this cake last last night but substituted blood orange olive oil for regular oil and omitted the vanilla – fantastic!! Split into 4 layer with strawberry filling and a strawberry 7 minute frosting. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Summer…I have made this recipe probably like 15 times now…the first 10 times, it came out PERFECT!!! Super fluffy and moist, but NOT dense at all. It was my favorite go to Vanilla cake recipe….but the last 5 times, it has been sinking in and gets really dense, more like a pound cake…and I have no idea what I am doing differently/wrong this time?! I’m so frustrated, because I was so excited that I finally found my go to vanilla recipe. Obviously you’re not in the kitchen with me, so you don’t know what I am suddenly doing differently….I always did the substitute for the cake flour…but now I even bought cake flour to see if I can get that fluffy vanilla cake back…but even that did not work. And I always did the cup measurements, but now tried to go by weight measurements, but again, it did not do the trick……any other ideas of what I should try? I LOVEd this cake recipe!!!! It was just perfect!
Do you know what the conversion to cups would be for the 12 oz of sugar?
I baked this today and it turned out amazing! The cake is fluffy and yet dense (Not sure if I made sense but yea) while the flavour was good. I’m gonna try your other cake recipes and variations of this recipe as suggested by others. Thank you!
I’m so happy this cake worked out well for you! I hope you find some other favorites. If you would like any suggestions, let me know. Some site favorites include the American Mud Cake and the Sour Cream Vanilla Bean Cake.
Delicious cake! Although it was a little dry. Could I add more oil to make it more moist? How much? Also, I plan to use this cake recipe to cover with fondant and stack 2 tiers. If I add more oil will it still be sturdy? Maybe I also overbaked it. When you say, bake it longer than when the toothpick comes out clean, how many minutes should I add to the baking time? Thanks!
Hi Cassie, Overbaking can have a big effect on moisture. I suggest baking for the given time and if you are still getting moist crumbs, add 2 minutes. That would be my first line of action. If you want to adjust the recipe, adding liquid (buttermilk here) is the best way to add moisture. Two tablespoons will usually give a moisture boost. I hope those tweaks work for you!
Thanks for this delicious recipe! I made a 2 tier cake (6” and 10” rounds) and everybody loved it although crumbs were falling off the bottom of the 10” tier probably because of the weight of the 6” top tier. I plan to do another cake this time (6”, 8”, and 10”). What can I do to make the cake sturdier?
Hi Cassie, Did you have dowels or straws in your cake to bear the weight of the top tier? That might help with much of the problem. If you don’t think that is the problem, you can add 1 to 2 eggs for every 8″ recipe to help with structural stability. Best of luck!
I’ve just baked this delicious smelling vanilla cake and I wanted to ask you if you have trouble with the sides shrinking in after they have cooled?
It seems to happen to all the vanilla cakes I’ve tried.
I’m baking 3 x 8′ tins on one shelf in a regular size oven so one is at the back a bit and the other two at the front to fit them in.
I swap them around halfway for even cooking.
Do you think it happens because I’m baking three at once? I’m worried about leaving the third one out for half hour if I have to bake it separately as the baking powder, etc may not do the right work in the cake if left raw on the bench?
So it makes it hard to frost a cake like this. I see you sides look nice and straight.
Look forward to hearing from you.
PS. I love that you understand and explain the science in cake making! Also do you have an Instagram account?
Hi Jacqui! I have encountered the problem you described before. I don’t believe it has to do with your baking methods. It seems that when I have had these issues it is related to other things such as cake structure and stability. Here are some suggestions that may help: First, check out my post The Big Bang Theory. This is an easy fix that helps with shrink back. I use it with all my cakes and cupcakes. Second, try reducing your oven heat by 25 degrees F. This can help slowly develop your cake structure and give a more stable finished product. Third, make sure you have good cake pans. I find some bake better than others. I like Ateco more than Wilton or Fat Daddio. Last of all you can try adding an egg to the recipe and reduce your butter by 2 tablespoons while increasing your liquid by 2 tablespoons. These recipe changes boost cake structure and reduce structure weakeners to give your cake more resilience. I hope this improves your results!
Can I make this using 6 inch pan? Will it be sturdy enough under fondant? Thank you
I just want to ask if I can bake this in four 6inch pan? I am making a 2 tier cake this Sunday. Will it be sturdy and won’t collapse under fondant? Thank you
Hi Chelsea! Yes, this cake will work well in four 6-inch pans. I have found that the majority of my recipes convert between 6 and 8 inch pans with equivalent results. And yes, this cake will hold up well under fondant. Best of luck baking!
Thank you so much!
I forgot to ask about the baking time, should I bake it less or the same? Because in your “Sizing up” the baking time for 6 inch pan is 25-30 and the 8 inch pan is 30-35 but in your instruction for vanilla cake is to bake it for 25-30. Just want to make sure which one to follow.
I would check it at 20 min to be safe. If the middle jiggles at all, give it 3 or 4 min more before poking it with a toothpick. 🙂
I doubled this recipe for a 1/2 sheet cake, cut the baking powder by a 1/3, and increased the baking time to approximately 45 minutes. At 30 minutes, the cake rose beautifully (just to the top of the pan), but the entire middle of the cake (from an inch all around) was jiggly. By 45 minutes, it tested done by toothpick, top looked nice, sides were pulled away, BUT, my cake dropped 3/4 of an inch! I don’t understand why. I followed each and every step, measured using a scale, batter was gorgeous and smelled wonderful. But don’t know what happened.
I’m so sorry for your sinking troubles. I know how frustrating it can be when a recipe doesn’t do what is expected. I believe the trouble you had comes down to recipe formulation. When I created this recipe, I pushed the limits on fat, sugar and liquid boundaries in order to achieve a very flavorful, tender, rich cake. The downside is that it reduces the structural integrity of the cake. It works for moderate pan sizes, but when you increase the size of your pan much, you spread out the distance that fragile gluten and egg proteins have to hold up the body of the cake. In this case, there just isn’t enough structural strength to hold things up once you lose the air volume that naturally comes with cooling. There are things you can do to bolster batter strength (add eggs, decrease fat,etc.), but sometimes it’s easier to start over with a recipe that is more suitable for a larger cake. I hope that helps a little.
Hi, Why my vanilla cake becomes tough when i try any from scratch recipe? I will try this. But would really love to know.
Tough cakes can be caused by a number of reasons. Usually, there are not enough tenderizing ingredients like sugar, butter, or liquid. It can also be caused by overbeating a very low-fat cake, but most butter cakes are overbearing resistant. Finding the right recipe should solve your problem. I hope this one works for you!
Can you tell me how you got the lovely color of your buttercream? Was it a mix?
Hi Mariana! I used Wilton Aqua to color this buttercream and flowers. 🙂
I need to make a naked wedding cake. Bride wants the cake brown. Question is, how can I make this cake brown (or just the top and sides of the cake which will be exposed)? TIA
There are a number of ways to make a cake brown. It depends on what your bride wants flavor-wise. You can always turn a recipe chocolate by replacing one-half cup flour with cocoa powder. You could also use a brown food coloring or caramel color to dye the cake batter. You could also add molasses or coffee to the batter to color it brown. The flavor will change a bit with coffee or molasses, so you will have to see what your bride’s tolerances are. I hope this helps! Sorry for the delayed response!
Hi Summer!! Thank you for the cake repice! Just a question can we add our own decoration, choclate chips and sprinks and stuff like that. I have pretty bad grammer and word spelling..
Lots of love,
Hi Rose! Yes, please do whatever you like to make this recipe your own. I am a firm believer in taking inspiration from a recipe and adding your own flair and creativity! I hope this recipe can be a springboard for many of your own creations. All the best!
So I wanna make a 4 layer cake with your vanilla cake and chocolate cake. Would you suggest this cake for your chocolate cake? What woul you suggest for the filling? Will just vanilla buttercream do it justice? Since I want to make 2 layers vanill and 2 layers chocolate. Is it okay to half both your recipes for each of them? I am making an 8 inch cake.
Hi Kemi! I would go with the Quintessential Chocolate Cake or the German Chocolate Cake. Both are delicious and have a similar texture to the Vanilla Cake. If you divide the recipe in half, your layers will be on the thin side, but the overall stacked cake height will be normal. I would probably make 2/3 the original recipe of each (use 3 whole eggs) for normal layer height and a slightly taller cake. But you can choose what works best for your circumstances. I guess filling depends on preference. You could go coffee, oreo, butterfinger,strawberry, caramel, peanut butter or ganache. I hope you enjoy!
I know this might be asking too much but what would 2/3 of the recipe for both quintessential chocolate and this vanilla cake using 3 whole eggs?
I have a request for French vanilla cake. Do you have a recipe like that in your recipe box or is there a way I can modify what you have?
Hello! The thing that makes French vanilla “French” is the addition of egg yolks which makes for a richer, more flavorful and tender cake. You could replace two of the egg whites in this cake with two yolks plus 2 tablespoons additional buttermilk. You could replace the vanilla with vanilla bean paste for something really special! If you wanted to go completely over the top, you could frost and/or fill the cake with my Almost French Buttercream. Let me know how the cake goes! Best wishes.
Thank you so much Summer. You the absolute best. The almost French buttercream sounds like a good idea. The client asked for cream cheese filling. I was thinking of using your recipe that you paired with the white velvet cake on the blog. What do you think? Can I make it an almost French cream cheese filling lol? I don’t know.
Will thr almost french be stable enough for me to cover the cake? It’s going to be a semi naked cake. Will I need to double the buttercream filling for 4 7inch layers?
Thank you so much!
I think the white velvet filling would be delicious. You could also use the cream cheese ermine buttercream from the Pumpkin Cake. The French buttercream is rather soft because of the high fat content. It chills very firm, but softens as it gets warm. If you are worried about stability, it might be safer to go with more firm buttercream. It sounds like it will be fabulous!
An idea came through… what do you think of this, if I replace part of the buttercream in the French buttercream with cream cheese? I really want to try your French buttercream and also have the cream cheese filling as requested.
What do you think? Will I compromise the taste?
Thanks so much.
I am still waiting on your new recipes that you said you might have during this holiday period.
The taste would be great with the cream cheese in the French buttercream, but I worry that it would destabilize it. Cream cheese is notorious for making soft buttercreams; adding it to an already soft base may be too much for the emulsification to hold. If you try it, I would test a small portion and use a whisk attachment to keep things together. Also, make sure you buttercream is on the cool side to keep the butter in a more “plastic” state rather than too fluid.
I’m going to get on that post!
Another option is my Golden Buttermilk Cake, which is lovely. It uses eight egg yolks and is rich and delicious! You can make buttercream with the extra egg whites. 🙂
Thanks so much. You have been very helpful.
Yaaay to new recipes 🙂
Hi Summer, been a while. Thank you for your amazing recipes. Can I use this vanilla recipe as a sheet cake?
Hi Sunshine! If I were going to make a vanilla sheetcake, I would use the Essential Vanilla Cupcake recipe. It has more structural integrity and should hold up better in a pan with distant walls. I hope that helps!