We’re breaking down exactly how to make homemade vanilla cake to take any guess work out. This easy homemade vanilla cake recipe is light and fluffy with a silky crumb, but holds up like a dream with frosting! It’s perfectly sweet, moist, tender…it’s pretty much the best vanilla cake recipe you’ll ever make!

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe

Hey babies and happy March. We’re here today with a new series that we are so so so so so so so so so SO excited about. Introducing Back to Basics, a series all about solid, basic recipes any baker should have in their repertoire. We’re kicking it off with the best vanilla cake ever.

I don’t know about you, but homemade vanilla cake is the BANE of my existence. Every single time I have made vanilla cake it turns out dry, bready, flavorless, or just generally mediocre. Bleh.

So, you can image my surprise when we tested this vanilla cake recipe and it was the best ever. Like EVER. I couldn’t believe my taste buds. Super moist, vanilla-y, with a beautiful crumb just dense enough, without being too heavy. Only in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a plain old vanilla cake could’ve turned out this well.

How to make homemade cake?

Listen guys, I know homemade cakes can be hard af. But I’ve struggled through it so you don’t have to. A few tips before we get started:

  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. SO IMPORTANT. This will help everything come together smoothly and allow you to beat the air into the batter to get that fluffy cake you’re looking for.
  • Use high quality vanilla. Rodelle Vanilla is my vanilla extract of choice and they are THE BEST. Especially in vanilla cake, where like the only flavor is…vanilla, duh.
  • Don’t over mix your batter! Obviously you don’t want huge clumps of straight flour in your batter, but as soon as everything is smooth, resist the temptation to keep mixing, and trust that you’ve gotten enough air in it during the early stages.
  • Bake at a low temperature. By baking your cake at 325°F, you ensure a slow steady bake that keeps all the moisture locked in.

Alright. Let’s get cookin’ good lookin’.

Step One: Beat the oil and butter together.

 

The first step to this glorious cake is beating the butter and oil together with the whisk attachment until they are completely homogenous, about 3 minutes. You’ll know this step is done when the oil and butter are a pale yellow, with no chunks of butter.

I cannot stress enough how crucial it is that your butter is at true room temperature.

It needs to be so soft that when you pick it up the whole thing smooshes in your hands with no cold corners, melted centers or any weirdness. Otherwise, the oil and butter won’t be able to come together completely. We suggest leaving the butter out the night before you make this cake.

Step Two: Add in the granulated sugar slowly.

 

With the mixer on medium speed slowly add in the granulated sugar. By beating the batter while adding the sugar, the individual sugar granules will aerate the oil and butter mixture, creating the perfect base for a fluffy cake. Continue to beat the batter for 3 minutes until it is very pale yellow (almost white) and fluffy.

Step Three: Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.

 

Make sure the eggs are at room temperature so that they do not cool down the batter. Add in the eggs one at a time to make sure each individual egg is incorporated. After all the eggs are in, add in that high quality vanilla (so worth it), and beat the mixture for another 3 minutes until it becomes pale yellow and you see little bubbles form on the top of the batter.

Step Four: In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Listen, I usually am not a devout sifter. Confession: when I’m making cookies or other baked goods, I often just throw everything in together and don’t even mix it (don’t judge me okay), but with cakes it is SO important to get everything evenly distributed. I have this amazing crank sifter that I love, which makes it super easy, but you can also just sift through a mesh strainer as well!

Cake flour vs All-Purpose Flour?

We tried both! While the all-purpose flour worked just fine, it produced a slightly denser cake with a crumb that was just a littttttle too bready. The cake flour made for a softer, velvety crumb, so that’s what we’d recommend! Though if you’re in a pinch, all-purpose will work, just do 2 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour instead of 3 cups of cake flour.

Step Five: Alternate mixing the buttermilk and dry ingredients into the wet.

  

Go flour, buttermilk, flour. As long as you end with the dry you good. Once everything has just come together and no big lumps remain, your batter is good to go!

Why alternate wet and dry ingredients in cake?

Adding all the liquid in at once can cause your batter to separate. And adding all the dry ingredients at once can result in over mixing and tough cake. By alternating the ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry, it allows you to keep all the air you worked so hard to get into the batter without overworking the cake.

Step Six: Pour the batter into two greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans

You can also grease your pans with a cooking spray, or line them with parchment paper, but greasing and flouring the pan allows for a quick release and keeps all the moisture in. To grease and flour the pans, simply take room temperature butter and rub it alllllll over those pans. Like a massage. Then spoon flour into the pan, twisting it around until the grease is completely coated around the pan. Bang against the counter to release any loose flour and dump it out, leaving a thin layer around the entire pan.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bang the pans against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.

Step Seven: Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes or until your cake looks like this!

(Well obviously don’t cut your cake like we did here, but like, we had to try it)

Take the cakes out of the oven once they are juuuust golden and spring back to the touch. These cakes create an even rise aka no dome aka easy assembly for you! Allow your cakes to cool in the pans for about ten minutes and then release the cakes from the pans and place onto a cooling rack.

I cannot WAIT for you to try this cake. Frost it with chocolate buttercream or a dreamy cream cheese icing, fill it with a yummy homemade jam… the possibilities are endless with the best vanilla cake EVER.

Let us know what other classic recipes you’d like to see on the blog in the comments below!

XX

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The Best Vanilla Cake Ever

Step by step instructions on how to make the best vanilla cake ever. EVER. This vanilla cake is anything but ordinary: moist, tender, flavorful and the perfect base for any recipe.

Step by step instructions on how to make the best vanilla cake ever. EVER. This vanilla cake is anything but ordinary: moist, tender, flavorful and the perfect base for any recipe.

  • Author: Sofi | Broma Bakery
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Two eight inch rounds 1x
  • Category: cake
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: american
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the softened butter and oil together until they become homogenous, about 3 minutes. This will not work if your butter is not completely room temperature.
  3. Slowly add the granulated sugar to the oil and butter, beating on high until the mixture is light and fluffy and turns a very pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs in one at time, scraping down the bowl in between each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Beat the mixture on high for 3 minutes more to incorporate as much air as possible.
  5. In separate bowl sift together the cake flour, salt, and baking powder. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in 4 batches, starting with the buttermilk and ending with the dry ingredients. It’s okay if the batter still has a few lumps in it–you don’t want to over mix it.
  6. Split the batter evenly into the prepared pans and back for 30 minutes or until the cake is a lightly golden brown and springs back when pressed. This will depend on your oven. Take out of the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely and frost with your favorite frosting.

Notes

Tips for perfect cake:

  • Make sure ALL ingredients are at a true room temperature. If your butter is not at room temperature you will not be able to combine it with the oil!
  • If you don’t have cake flour, you can sub it out fro 2 2/3 cup all purpose flour.
  • Keep a close eye on the cake while they bake because every oven is different.
  • Freeze your cakes before assembling for easy frosting!

Keywords: the best vanilla cake, homemade vanilla cake, how to make vanilla cake, how to make homemade vanilla cake, vanilla cake recipe

we're breaking down how to make the best vanilla cake ever. With step by step photos to take out annnny guesswork.

68 comments

Yukti Arora
Reply

Wow so classy and mouth watering vanilla cake i loved it and please keep posting such tempting cakes because i am Lerner of making new and different cakes so i can learn more ideas through your valuable blog post.

Bayleigh
Reply

I tested this recipe for my niece’s first birthday as a practice run and it is THE. MOST. DELICIOUS. vanilla cake I have ever made! I’m using it for her cake and I also want to make cupcakes with the same recipe. How would the bake time be affected if I make cupcakes? Thanks so much!

Shivani
Reply

This recipe looks amazing and I want to try it for my husband’s birthday this week! I have a question; will it hold fondant well and do you think I can place another smaller cake on top ( 2 tiered cake)?
If so, will brushing my cake with syrup affect this? Thanks a million!

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hey Shivani! SO sorry for our late reply. I’m assuming you already made it, but it is a pretty light and airy cake so I’d recommend freezing the layers! Brushing the cake with syrup shouldn’t detrimentally affect it!

Ritika
Reply

AMAZING! Very simple and quick recipe and it looks delicious. I will definitely try this recipe as soon as possible.
Thanks!

Alli
Reply

Have you ever made this recipe into cupcakes? Would like to try…

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hey Alli! We have and it’s equally as delicious. The only thing is that this cake is designed to rise evenly so you’ll get flat topped cupcakes (which we think are a little sad). We’re messing around with how to change the ingredients to get this recipe to puff up! Keep you posted 🙂

Mel
Reply

Just made this! Tried a little of some left over cake I cut off the top to level it off for decorating and it tastes lovely! Takes me back to my Moms cupcakes! I’m baking from the Uk so converting from cups took a fair while as I’m used to grams and millilitres but I got there in the end! I doubled the recipe and found it took about 45 mins to cook the two layers in the end (10”). I’m going to freeze my layers till I come to decorate next week, how long do you find it takes the whole cake inside to thaw ready for serving once you’ve decorated? I’m going to cover in the chocolate buttercream you do. Thanks 🙂

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Yum! This cake is soooo good with chocolate buttercream! I’d recommend letting it thaw out for a couple of hours before serving!

Hayley
Reply

Love this is cake form, and I would love to know what you come up with for making it into cupcakes.

Thank you for the reference pics of what it should look like when it’s done.

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

We’re pretty in love with this recipe too. We’ll keep you posted 🙂

Sharing crunchy
Reply

This is a great blog. This is very informational. I like your recipes. Thanks for sharing your recipes with us. Keep up the fantastic work.

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Thank you so much!

sonakshi
Reply

This recipe was just a hit !!!! My kids loved this cake and I am thankful to you for sharing this vanilla cake… Truly its the best one!!!

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

THANK YOU. That makes me so incredibly happy to hear 🙂 So glad you and the kiddos enjoyed this cake!

Gail Womble
Reply

Will you please tell me if your yellow cake recipe may be used instead of the cake recipe below? It’s my grandmother’s luscious coconut layer cake. However, the layers are thin. They may need to be dense because once baked, coconut water from fresh coconuts is spooned onto the layers. This process creates delectable moistness with coconut flavor. After the icing is cooked, it is spread on each layer with grated fresh coconut on each layer, top and sides. It does make a wonderful cake with height bolstered by the firm icing and generous amounts of coconut. I would like to raise the layers a bit. I will appreciate your advice here too. Is it possible to use a less sweet icing beneath the grated coconut? This is really a grand old fashioned Southern Coconut Cake. What makes it so special are the spoonfuls of coconut water put on the baked layers and, of course, the fresh coconut.
Clearly, you are meticulous in creating your cakes. I am eager to bake your recipe, but am not certain I should begin by substituting it for my grandmother’s.

Her ingredients are:
5 eggs and 4 yellows
2 cu sugar
3 cu flour
1 cu milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
2 sticks butter

Icing
4 egg whites
4 cu sugar
1 cu water

Thank you very much for advising.
Gail

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hey Gail! Our cake is just a classic vanilla cake, but it does hold up very well to alterations and additions! I think it would be perfect in a coconut cake recipe! Let us know how it goes 🙂

Gail
Reply

Thank you very much! I’ll make it in December and let you know.

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Yay! Keep us posted 🙂

Victoria
Reply

Hi I read that this is a flat rise cake, I use cake strips to make my cakes rise evenly? Could I still use them?

Cathy
Reply

I’ve been searching for a great scratch vanilla cake recipe. Tried a few and have been disappointed. This one looks like a good one. I’m going to try it. You do not specify salted or unsalted butter, so question, can I use salted butter?

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hey Cathy! We usually use unsalted, but if you only have salted on hand, just reduce the amount of salt adde to 3/4 of a teaspoon! We hope you enjoy this recipe!

Cathy
Reply

Just wanted to let you know, I made the cake for my dad’s birthday and it is fantastic! Moist and tender crumb, really wonderful cake! FYI I ended up using unsalted butter, I decided I wanted to follow the recipe exactly. I’m gonna be making the recipe again for another birthday but in a 9 x 13 pan. Do you have a suggestion on baking this recipe in a 9 x 13 pan? Adjust oven temperature and/or time? Thank you for an incredible recipe!

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Oh my goodness that is AMAZING. I’m so happy to hear that this worked out well for you! I would bake the cake at 350°F for 35 minutes to start and then check on it to see how much longer it needs to go for! We’ve actually never tried it as a 9 x 13 but my guess is that it would take 40 to 50 minutes to bake, but because every oven is different, better safe than sorry and keep any eye on it!

Sorry I can’t be of more help! Happy baking!

Athena
Reply

Hi there! How do you recommend I scale the recipe for a 3 layer 6inch and 3 layer 4inch cake?

I can’t wait to try out this recipe! I could totally relate when you said you have tried all sorts of vanilla cake recipes but have been disappointed. I’m still on the hunt, will let you know how this turns out!

Thank you!

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hey Athena! I hope you enjoy this too!!

I would do the full recipe for the 3 layer 6 inch cake! For the 4 inch layers I would probably do another full recipe and just not use all of it, since it’s difficult to do anything other than a half recipe. I would fill the 4 inch cake layers about 1/2 way and then just use the remaining batter to make some cupcakes 🙂 Hope this helps!

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