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A slice of vanilla cake lying on its side on a wood plate. A fork is digging into the end of the slice.
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5 from 1 vote

Vanilla Cake Recipe

This homemade vanilla cake recipe isn't short on vanilla flavor! There's a tablespoon of vanilla extract in the cake itself and in the vanilla buttercream frosting.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Vanilla cake
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 10 slices
Author Danielle

Ingredients

Vanilla Cake

  • 3 cups (345 grams) cake flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, or 230 grams) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks, or 340 grams) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 4 ½ cups (540 grams) powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Tiny pinch of salt

Instructions

To make the vanilla cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract together until well combined. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, then slowly mix in the granulated sugar.
  • Once all of the sugar is added, increase to medium speed and continue mixing for another 4 to 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to stop and scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl after each egg.
  • Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk mixture (begin and end with the dry ingredients) on low speed. Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
  • Use a rubber spatula to scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is well combined.
  • Evenly divide the cake batter between the two prepared cake pans and spread it around into one even layer.
  • Bake for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Slide a knife around the outside of the cakes, then carefully remove the cakes from the pans, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the vanilla frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
  • Mix in the powdered sugar on low speed, one cup at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition.
  • Add the heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To assemble the cake:

  • Level the tops of each cake with a knife or cake leveler. Place one of the cakes on a cake stand, top with a layer of frosting, and smooth it out into one even layer. Place the second layer on top, then use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.

Video

Notes

Storage Instructions: Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Freezing Instructions: Cake layers may be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Frosting can be stored in a large freezer bag and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting the cake.
Cake flour: If you don't have any on hand, you can use my homemade cake flour substitute here.
To make a 9x13 cake: Grease a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray, pour the batter into the pan, and spread it out into one even layer. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
To make a three layer cake: Divide the batter between three 8-inch round cake pans. Adjust the baking time to 23 to 28 minutes.
To make cupcakes: This recipe will make 30 to 32 cupcakes. Only fill each liner about 2/3 of the way full and bake for 16 to 20 minutes. If you prefer less cupcakes, you may cut the recipe in half.