Move over, boxed mix! There’s a new cake in town and it is the BEST VANILLA CAKE EVER! Not even an exaggeration, this vanilla cake is AMAZING. Super soft, ultra moist, deeply flavorful and SO simple. You ONLY need THIS recipe from now on!
There is a very fine line between confidence and cockiness, and today I am toeing that line with the following declaration: this is THE BEST VANILLA CAKE EVER! Yes, I shouted it from the rooftops. No, my neighbors did not care. (Their loss).
I’ve been trying to perfect vanilla cake for awhile. A cross between yellow and white cake, vanilla cake is a mixture of both, with the lightness and airy crumb of a white cake with the moisture and tenderness of a yellow cake. The best of both worlds.
Of course, with a name like ‘vanilla cake’ it HAS to be vanilla-y enough to make a difference. Using both vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract lends a superb, richly vanilla flavor and those tell-tale specks of vanilla bean swirled throughout.
This cake tastes like a moist, fancy bakery-style cake with ingredients you can pronounce and that you probably already have in your pantry right now. Below I have a few tips to ensure your vanilla cake comes out perfectly:
- Room temperature ingredients ensure that your cake is baked to perfection. But is it necessary, you ask? YES! I promise I’m not adding an extra step for fun. When a recipe calls for room temperature dairy and eggs, it is to create the best possible outcome for your baked good. Room temperature ingredients cream and blend together better than cold ingredients do, and when you use room temperature ingredients, they create an emulsion which traps air inside. The trapped air expands when baking and creates light and fluffy cakes. Trust me, you need to use room temperature dairy and eggs for this recipe for the BEST outcome.
- Butter and oil are both used, and you can’t omit one. Butter is used for flavor, of course, but the oil is what gives the cake ample moisture and richness. You cannot substitute more butter for the oil as this will result in a drier cake recipe. Both butter and oil together create the perfect texture for this cake.
- Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. This ensures that your frosting doesn’t melt into a gooey mess once you frost your cakes! And when it comes to frosting, any flavor of frosting will do! For this recipe I used vanilla buttercream, but I would adore this with chocolate buttercream, too!
- This recipe can be adapted for different pans. For three layers, simply divide the batter among three 8 or 9″ round baking pans and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until done. For cupcakes simply divide among 24 muffin cups and bake for 15-18 minutes or until done. For a 9×13 rectangular cake pan, bake for about 30-35 minutes or until done.
Whatever you do, MAKE THIS CAKE! It is seriously amazing. I love how moist and fluffy it is and how it is sturdy enough to hold a thick slathering of buttercream icing. The vanilla flavor is potent and delicious and this is a fantastic cake base for any and all frostings and accouterments.
The VERY BEST Homemade Vanilla Cake
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 & 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste optional but recommended
- 3 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 & 1/4 cups buttermilk at room temperature
- FOR VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or milk
- 5 cups confectioners' sugar
- Sprinkles for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom of two 9" round cake pans with cooking spray. Add a parchment paper round to the bottom of the pans, then spray the pans and the sides of the pans once more with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, oil, and sugar on medium-low speed until creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla extract and paste, if using. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl if needed.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add in the flour mixture to the cake batter, mixing well after each addition while alternating with the buttermilk. Alternate adding in the flour and buttermilk until a smooth cake batter comes together.
- Divide the cake batter evenly among the two cake pans. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean or with moist but not wet crumbs. Cool the cakes on wire racks completely before frosting.
- For the frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add in the confectioners' sugar, about one cup at a time, alternating with some of the heavy cream until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Frost the cakes with your vanilla buttercream and garnish with sprinkles, if desired. For best results, store cake covered airtight at room temperature or in the fridge.
- NOTE: For a 9x13 rectangular cake pan, bake for approximately 30-35 minutes. For cupcakes, bake for approximately 15-18 minutes. For three layers, bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.
Supremely moist, ultra flavorful and totally decadent, this BEST EVER VANILLA CAKE hits the spot!
Love cake? Me too! Check out these other cake recipes!
Best Yellow Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Best Ever Chocolate Layer Cake
Have a super sweet day!
[email protected] says
Can you bake this and send it to me via mail? Thanks. You’re the best! Seriously though, this looks amazing!
Tina Smith says
I made the best ever vanilla cake, minus the vanilla bean paste. The flavor is wonderful, but mine is not light and airy. It’s very dense. I followed your directions exactly I thought, but I either over beat the batter or under beat the batter. It was the smoothest, prettiest batter I’ve ever seen, lol. What did I do wrong? I love the flavor and the frosting. I’m giving 5 stars because I think my result was operator error, lol.
Hi Tina! The cake is a teensy bit more dense (due to the moisture) but it should still be light and fluffy. Next time, perhaps try beating the butter mixture for a little longer to aerate the batter more. Hope this helps and glad you enjoyed regardless!
Tina Smith says
Have you tried this with other flavoring?? Like almond or coconut? How would that work?
Haley, you can absolutely use different flavoring! I would still use some vanilla – maybe a teaspoon – and then add in your other extracts as well. This would be fantastic with almond extract or coconut! Maybe start at 3 teaspoons of either and test the batter. If it needs more, bump it up by one more teaspoon.
Great, thanks so much!
I made the cake this weekend and the texture was amazing as was the flavor.
I do love me a good vanilla cake and while i thought I’d found my holy grail, yours looks worthy of a shot. Have you considered using cake flour to lighten the crumb?
Thanks for all the recipes you share.
PS Why does your Pinterest button link to somebody different?
Hi Lori, you could definitely try cake flour! I don’t have a conversion measurement, however, as I have not tried the cake flour method. And that must have been a strange glitch because I fixed the Pinterest button! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
Debbie Waynick says
If I don’t have vanilla bean paste, should I substitute it with 2-3 tsp of vanilla extract to make up for it in flavor?
Hi Debbie, absolutely!
Jessica Walker says
So the normal amount of vanilla plus 2-3 extra tsp if I don’t have the bean? Thanks!
Hi, I would definitely add an extra 2 tsp of extract in place of the vanilla bean!
That looks absolutely delicious! I have been doing a lot more baking during quarantine and realized it isn’t as hard as I feared. Also, have you seen the sprinkles from Sprinkle Pop? ADORABLE!
Do you think i can use whole milk instead of buttermilk? Im lactose intolerant and i use lactaid milk
You can make homemade buttermilk with your whole milk lactaid! Simply add most of the milk into a measuring cup and add in 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice until it reaches the amount needed for recipe. Let set until room temperature and use!
Omg! I’d given up on making a decent vanilla cake till I saw this recipe. I made the recipe into cupcakes and they’re perfect. I whipped the butter, oil and sugar a little longer and they came out with the perfect dense and fluffy combination.
I made this cake for Father’s Day but used chocolate chips instead of sprinkles!!! It was a crowd pleaser!!! Its 100% going into the rotation for desserts! It’s also a super easy recipe to follow! The buttercream frosting is outstanding!!!
I made this cake for Father’s Day and it was so good! It’s a very quick and easy recipe to follow. The recipe says vanilla bean paste optional, but I recommend using it as it adds that extra bit of homemade flavored goodness (I added 2 & 1/2 teaspoons because that’s all I had left). The icing is the perfect amount of light and sweet. I will definitely be making this cake again!
Jus to check ..the Butter measurement is it1/2 cup butter? Do you have the receipe in grams?
Hi Ranjeetha, a quick Google search says 1/2 cup of butter is around 113 grams.
Jem jebbia says
I used the recipe to make an awesome rainbow cake and it was perfect! It’s moist and fluffy but strong enough to make several layers. Great with chocolate buttercream!
Easy to make and really good!
Thanks Ana, appreciate your review!!
This is the BEST vanilla cake and trust me I’ve tried plenty but they never turn out right. I had leftover cake one day and took it to work with me, the doctor I work for ate the majority of it, he dropped his last bite on the floor and without hesitation picked it up and still ate it. That’s how good this cake is. He’s put a request in for this cake if he gets remarried. I followed the directions exactly but didn’t have vanilla bean paste and it was still super yummy. I’m going to try to make it into a sheet cake for his birthday so the rest of the office will get a piece lol. Thank you for such an amazing recipe!
Austin, I am so glad you and your doctor loved the cake! And hey, 5 second rule! Lol!
Debbie Howell says
I do not like giving negative reviews , but feel I have to. I have been baking for over 35 years, cakes, cookies, biscuits, breads. I followed this recipe to the T, yet it came out terribly dry, did not rise hardly at all. I made my milky way icing to go on it, but layers looked so, so bad I started to just trash them, but iced it anyway. Let it set overnight. I told my husband I just had to test taste it before taking to Church Christmas party. When I cut into cake, fine dry crumbs fell from cake. I mean, seriously, this is the driest cake I have ever made. I don’t understand how with all the positive reviews that mine came out so bad, but I won’t be doing a do-over.
Jennifer Eisman says
I hardly ever comment, but in this case, I just have to say you, my friend, are a baking angel from heaven, the ultimate cookie and vanilla cake are simply divine, the instructions and measurements where so easy to follow, thank you for sharing your wonderful gift with the world. Can’t wait to try all your recipes. Thank you
Hi Jennifer, thank you so much for the kind words! So, so happy you enjoyed the cake, and thank you for your comment!
Ronak Mehta says
Baked this cake for my birthday and it was an absolute hit! So moist and tasty. Thank you for doing what you do
I followed this recipe exactly and it came out perfect on the first try. It is a super dense and sweet cake. I added the 3 tsp of vanilla bean paste (suggested 2-3) I think next time I will do just 1. It taste really good, looks really nice, the frosting makes it look professionally made. I suck at frosting cakes but this was easy to work with. It was a bit too sweet and powerful vanilla taste for my kids and I so I’ll cut back on the sugar and vanilla next time. It’s so delicious it’s a bit like having a brownie with how dense it is – about to have another slice today ?
My go to cupcake at a local bakery in California is vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. I love that thing and have never found anything close enough to compare. But have been on a mission to find a cake that will make me as happy. With that being said, I had some peaches that I need to use & thought, those would be good with a vanilla cake & because I have had great luck with other recipes from Hayley, of course I had to try hers. And it did NOT disappoint. This cake is perfect!! I only used the cake recipes, because I made a cream cheese frosting with the peaches & cognac compote that I made. This will be my go to vanilla cake from here on out. And next time I will be making Hayley’s frosting as well. Thank you for another amazing recipe!
Cynthia, so so happy you love this cake! I do as well 🙂 Your cake with peaches and cognac compote sounds AMAZING!
I think of myself as a decent baker. I have my “go to no fail recipes” but since moving to England they have all become fails and I can’t figure out why. Soooo, I searched for a new cake recipe to make for New Years Eve and this was the chosen one. I called it our “punxsutawney phil” cake: If it was shite then 6 more months of 2020! IT WAS DELICIOUS!! Moist and fluffy, not too sweet. I made it with half vanilla / chocolate frosting to keep everyone happy! Thank you for sharing your fantastic recipe!! Happy 2021!
I have made this cake and it is absolutely the best vanilla cake! I wanted to make it again this weekend, but my son wants Oreo and Funfetti. Do you think it would be okay if I added Oreos to the batter and sprinkles to another batter if I split them up?
Hi Dawn, yes absolutely!
I made this cake, and also some cupcakes for my nieces birthday and it was an absolute hit! Best vanilla cake I have ever had! Will defiantly make this again and I can’t wait to try some of her other recipes!
So glad you and your niece enjoyed!
Ronak Mehta says
That looks absolutely mouth watering! I have been doing a lot more baking during quarantine and realized it isn’t as hard as I feared.
i love this cake
Will try this today 😉
I have found my go to vanilla cake and frosting!!! First time using vanilla bean paste, I was NOT disappointed. My family loved it!!
Devashish Tripathi says
The vanilla cake turned out to be so yummy and moist when tried it last day thanks to you for this informative and easy recipe it was a hit !
Ashley Fontana says
I want to make this recipe into cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday! I was wondering if you had any recommendations for approximate baking time? Everything you make looks amazing and I don’t want to mess these up!! Thanks again for sharing your amazing work!
Hi Ashley! I would definitely check around the 15-18 minute mark. They may need longer. I’m not sure exactly!
Mahie Bakery House says
Thank you so much for sharing the recipe for this Vanilla Cake. My sister and I had a great time and the cake was just delectable!
Hello! So I haven’t tried this yet but have been searching for a go to vanilla recipe, and it seems to fit many that I’ve tried. I was wondering about adding a packet of vanilla pudding to this mix….I don’t have vanilla bean paste so I was going to add the pudding instead! Interested in your thoughts!
Hi Cathy, I’m not sure about adding the pudding mix as I haven’t tried that method before. If you do, let me know how it turns out!
Courtney Sliwonik says
I want to try this soon! Is there anyway you convert recipe into grams? I like to weigh everything out. I’ve tried your recipes for cookies and will have to say they are some of the best! I’m sure this will be too!
Hey- I just made this and want to know.. why does it taste and look like corn bread consistency? I doubled the recipe for my daughters birthday and followed the instructions exactly. Feeling frustrated but hoping once it’s frosted it’ll turn our Better?