The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe by Sweetapolita (via All Sorts of Pretty)I made this cake this weekend as a surprise for my mom on Mother’s Day.  We’re not typically a vanilla flavor family (“boring…”), but I needed a neutral cake to go with the real present I was giving her – 3 flavors of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, the best ice cream in the whole world.

The recipe for this cake came from one of my favorite baking blogs, Sweetapolita, and I trusted her when she called it the best vanilla cake recipe she’d ever made. I had to try it.  Usually I post healthy recipes here, but I had to make an exception for Mother’s Day – this cake has nothing healthy about it.  It’s full of sugar, butter, white flour, and tasty delight…yum!

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe by Sweetapolita (via All Sorts of Pretty)The method for creating this cake is very specific – it calls for weighing your ingredients in grams rather than measuring in cups.  You’ll need a timer as it calls for adding the butter at specific 10 second intervals and then beating the batter for 3 minutes before adding the egg mixture in 20 second intervals.

Some people might find this tedious and opt for a box cake instead, but I love this kind of process and found the cake itself to be far superior to anything you’ll find in a box.  The cake is light and fluffy, while also having more density than boxed mix or any other cake I’ve baked.

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe by Sweetapolita (via All Sorts of Pretty)

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe by Sweetapolita (via All Sorts of Pretty)The icing for this cake is so light and fluffy, plus perfectly sweet and vanilla flavored from using a scraped vanilla bean.

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe by Sweetapolita (via All Sorts of Pretty)The recipe calls for beating the butter for 8 minutes, then with the rest of the ingredients for an additional 7 minutes.  It turns out so airy and light, you may be tempted to steal a fingertip-full from the bowl like I did.

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe by Sweetapolita (via All Sorts of Pretty)

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe by Sweetapolita (via All Sorts of Pretty)This cake was a big  hit with my family and went alongside my picks from Jeni’s perfectly (I chose Salty Caramel, Queen City Cayenne, and Olive Oil, Saffron, Orange + Caramel Ice Cream).  Give this recipe a try next time you’re a homemade cake.  It’s a great base to add different flavorings to if you’re like my family and usually think vanilla is a little boring.

 Yield: One 2-layer, 8-inch round cake

Ingredients

For the Fluffy Vanilla Cake:
    • 5 large egg whites (150 g), at room temperature
    • 1 whole egg
    • 1 cup whole milk (237 ml), at room temperature
    • 2-1/4 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
    • 3 cups (345 g) cake flour, sifted 2
    • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
    • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (17 g) baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon (5 g) salt
    • 12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 even pieces
For the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting:
  • 3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 3 cups sifted (475 g) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

For the Fluffy Vanilla Cake:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment, and flour two round 8-inch pans.
    2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
    3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
    4. Add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds, ensuring it’s cold (you can keep some in refrigerator while you’re adding pieces). Continue to mix on low until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture. Add milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated.
    5. Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.
    6. Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 30 minutes. Be so careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and then set the timer for 5 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
    7. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.
For the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting:
    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4” on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy.
    3. Best used right away.
    4. You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use a total of 1-1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.
Assembly:
  1. Place bottom cake layer on cake plate or 8″ round thin cake board and spread 1 cup of frosting on top with a small offset spatula.
  2. Gently place 2nd cake layer face down on top. Place a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset spatula and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from refrigerator and apply a final “coat” of frosting.
  4. Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Best eaten day 1.

 

 

50 Responses to “The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe”

  1. Carole

    Lovely work, Katy! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is all about cakes? This is the link . There are lots of great links there already. I do hope to see you there. Cheers

    Reply
  2. Leslie

    Just wondering if you can make this as a sheet cake instead of 2 8″ rounds. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Stephanie

    Hi!
    I just saw this recipe and I was getting ready to make it. The ingredients for the cake calls for 1 cup of milk but then in the directions it says 1/4 cup of milk. Which is it? :)

    ~Stephanie

    Reply
    • Katy

      Hey Stephanie! If you continue reading through the directions (I know, there’s a lot of them!) you’ll see where to add the rest of the milk in Step 4. This recipe has lots of steps so be careful, read it all before you start for the best cake. Good luck! :)

      Reply
  4. Jenifer

    I’ve made this 3 times so far. First I doubled it for a graduation cake, then doubled for a 1/2 sheet bday cake. I just made an 8″ round bday cake for my MIL where I actually got to taste it! OMG! This is The Best Vanilla Cake!

    Reply
    • Katy

      Haha, YAY!! I’m glad you finally got to enjoy our efforts! :)

      Reply
  5. Andrea

    I’m so glad i found his page! this is the first website i found were i van get the recipes without using mix boxes! thank you , i’m so doing this today!!!! thanks!

    Reply
  6. Andrea Morales

    Hi. I want to make this cake for my friend’s birthday. Can I use a bundt pan instead of round cake pans?

    Reply
    • Katy

      Of course! Go for it – may need to reduce bake time a tad so just watch it though. Good luck! :)

      Reply
  7. Mama

    OMG!!! My husband made me this and it’s delicious!!!! Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!

    Reply
    • Katy

      What a nice husband! You’ve got a keeper if he made this recipe, it’s kind of complicated :)

      Reply
  8. Rhonda

    Hi, i am looking to make my sons 16th birthday cake and i wanted to know if this recipe makes one sheet cake? Also, could I use the icing to decorate a cake? Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    • Katy

      Hi Rhonda! Yes, I belive this cake would make a sheet cake. I’m not quite sure what kind of decorating you are trying to do, but it might do well. I’m not really sure, I didn’t try to do a lot of technical stuff with it. I just made it messy like you see. Good luck!

      Reply
  9. Jessica

    Hey Katy!
    I am looking to make this for my son’s 1 year birthday and want to know if you think the frosting will hold up if it is colored and applied through a grass tip decorator? (I am trying for a monster cake) I think I am going to make the cake regardless and I have a good buttercream icing recipe, but this icing looks sooooo good and would love to incorporate.
    Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Katy

      Hey Jessica! What a sweet idea for a cake! I bet your son is adorable. The icing should be okay, just add extra powedered sugar as needed to get it to the consistency where it will hold it’s shape well going through the grass tip. Have you used the tip before? If so, then you’ll know what I’m talking about, but if not, it’s kind of like the consistency of toothpaste, maybe not as thick but close. And since the base is butter and not shortening, it will need to stay in a cool place so the icing doesn’t melt. Fridge would be great until guests arrive! Good luck!!

      Reply
  10. Carrie

    How funny, I found Sweetapolita’s version on Pinterest which sounded amazing, but then also found yours which I loved because it’s a bundt, and it’s the same recipe!! Just wondering, do you recall how you adjusted the baking time for the bundt? I’m in charge of making my husband’s boss’s birthday cake, and I don’t want to mess it up!!!! Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Fiona

    Hi im goin to try yor vanilla cake looks lovely just wanted to ask if i can add coloring to it coz i wanted to make a rainbow cake n also can i use this recipe for cupcakes

    Reply
    • Katy

      Of course you can, Fiona! What a great idea, I bet that will be awesome! Good luck! :)

      Reply
  12. looking for the perfect vanilla cake

    what is thr weight of the whole egg supposed to be? its in addition to 150grams of whites? so its 6 whites and 1 yolk. can u pls specify the total weight in grams? thanks

    Reply
  13. panca

    Hi katy,I’m panca from Baly, what a exelent job you did. So happy to read your post, if you don’t mind I’d love to try it at my kitchen. Thx before

    Reply
  14. Shelby

    Hi!

    I’m going to be using 4″x2″ round cake pans for this recipe. How should I alter the recipe for pans of this size?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  15. Melissa

    I added a extra whole egg but had to cook it for about an hour I did it in a bundt pan but I don’t know if this is a normAl sized one I bought it from a restaurant supply store….I’m excited to eat it started to get back into baking again ;)

    Reply
  16. Cassandra

    I tried this recipe for the first time today and I never expected it to come out like this!! This is such a great recipe and fairly easy to follow. Thank you so much for this recipe because I know I’ll e using it again soon. Just one question…is this a suitable cake to make cake pops? Or cupcakes? I’m going to try it out anyway :)

    Reply
  17. Katie Mittler

    I am looking for a great vanilla recipe for a wedding cake for a friend of mine. I am doing three layers which are 8′, 10′, and 12′. I am not sure how much mix I need to make for each layer. I want.to do two layers in each size. I see that you had the amount for the 8′ just not sure on the other two. If you could help me out I would appreciate it. I have less than 2 weeks to get it figured out. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Katy

      This recipe is for two 8″ layers. If you need an 8, 10, and 12″ I would at least double the recipe. But! I don’t know if the density of this cake would hold up the weight of all those layers. Since it’s for a wedding, I would definitely (definitely!) experiment first and do a trial run to get all your measurements exact and make sure this type of cake is sturdy enough to hold up to the weight of three big layers.

      Reply
  18. Tracey

    I just wanted to let you know, I cooked this in a regular size bundt. I turned my oven to 325 and baked for 60 minutes. Started checking it at 40min. Also I’m an icing fanatic but didn’t really care for this icing. Cake was great without it.

    Reply
  19. zeynep

    ı made this cake and ıt was delicious,do you think can ı use this recipe to make cupcake?

    Reply
  20. Zedrick Kin

    hi there, planning on using this recipe for my sins first birthday cake, would it work to make these a week or so ahead of time and then freeze them? Would I need to thaw before frosting? Also, does it work better to add a little frosting in between each layer to hold it together as well? Can t wait to try it out!

    Reply
  21. AJ

    Ohemgee!!! I saw this in Sweetapolita’s blog but never really had the sanity to make it, it sure is the best Vanilla cake I had ever tasted and baked, and I have baked over 100!!!!

    Reply
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