September 20, 2021
Are you looking to bake a delicious cake that’s worthy of your Instagram feed? Look no further than this vanilla cake recipe. Here we explain why vanilla is the ideal cake and how to make one from scratch following the best vanilla cake recipe. We also provide some creative but quick ideas for decoration and answer some FAQs.
Why is vanilla cake the best?
The short answer? Vanilla cake is versatile. The long answer, however, is just how versatile it is. With vanilla cake, you can:
- Pair it with many different flavors, styles, and colors of icing.
- Dress it up for any occasion or serve it plain and simple for a quick dessert cake at home.
- Dye the cake itself to create beautiful patterns and accents.
- Enjoy the soft, light texture that holds its form under icing, sprinkles, fondant, and other decorations.
- Bake something incredible without breaking the bank.
To some, vanilla cake may seem plain and boring. However, it’s the perfect canvas for many fantastic decor ideas and projects.
How to make the best vanilla cake
This recipe makes 10 servings, takes 20 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to cook, and takes two hours to cool before decorating and serving.
For the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine or granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
1 cup full-fat milk, room temperature
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil
For the vanilla buttercream frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 pound icing sugar, sifted
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk
To make the cake
- Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350℉.
- Grease two eight-inch cake pans with butter or cooking spray and line them with parchment paper. Avoid using a pan with a loose base like a springform, as the batter will be runny.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Separate the white of one egg into a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the remaining eggs and beat them with the whisk attachment of your mixer on speed six or a hand mixer to beat the eggs for 30 seconds.
- Add the sugar and mix for 45 seconds.
- Increase the speed of your mixer and beat until it’s tripled in volume and white. This should take about seven minutes. As you’re doing this, add the milk and butter to a heatproof measuring cup and microwave it for two minutes.
- Once you finish beating the eggs, sprinkle 1/3 cup of the flour mixture across the surface and mix on low for five seconds. Add the reminding flour and mix for five seconds again, stopping the mixer immediately once you can’t see flour.
- In the empty bowl from the flour mixture, pour in the milk, adding the vanilla and oil.
- Whisk 1 1/2 cups of the flour and egg mixture into the milk until smooth. It will look a bit foamy.
- Turn your hand or stand mixer to low speed and slowly add the milk to the remaining flour and egg mixture.
- Whisk for 15 seconds and turn the mixer off.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer back on for 10 seconds. The batter should be smooth and pourable by now.
- Pour the batter into the pans evenly and tap each pan on the counter three times to eliminate bubbles.
- Place them in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. You can tell the cake is ready by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s cooked.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before decorating or serving.
To make the frosting
- Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter for one minute until it’s creamy.
- Add the sugar with the mixer on low until it’s thoroughly mixed. Increase to high speed and beat for three minutes.
- Mix in the vanilla and milk for 30 seconds.
Nutritional values per serving, cake only.
Carbohydrates: 51 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Fat: 13 grams
Saturated fat: 7 grams
Cholesterol: 91 milligrams
Sodium 97 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram
Sugar 31 grams
Tips for success when making a vanilla cake
- Use fresh ingredients.
- Measure the ingredients accurately, especially the flour, to ensure the cake retains moisture and rises properly.
- Working at room temperature will also help ensure the cake rises and keeps a fluffy texture.
- Follow the steps carefully and ensure the ingredients are mixed properly.
- Avoid overmixing and bake immediately after mixing to prevent a dense cake.
- Since vanilla is the star of this recipe, use quality vanilla extract.
Frosting and decorating
Here comes the fun part. With so many ways to decorate your cake, the possibilities are essentially endless. Here’s a list to help you with ideas:
Vanilla buttercream frosting: Featured in this article, it’s rich, buttery, and an excellent way to up your cake’s vanilla factor.
Sprinkles: Not just for kids. Sprinkles are a fun way to add some flair to your cake. You can go with a single color, match a theme, or go with a classic crowd-pleaser – rainbow.
Funfetti: Essentially, your sprinkles are mixed right into your vanilla buttercream frosting with funfetti, much like the frosting paired with Dunkaroos.
Chocolate buttercream frosting: It’s rich, buttery, and oh, so chocolatey. There’s no denying that chocolate and vanilla make a fantastic duo.
Glaze: Similar to icing, glaze goes on runny and dries transparently. You can flavor your glaze in many ways, such as with lemon or orange.
Berries: Decorate the top and sides of your iced cake with fresh berries such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
Jam: Add jam between the layers of your cake for some added fruitiness.
Powdered sugar: Keep your cake plain and simple with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
Fondant: Use this shapeable, editable topping to create shapes like flowers, bows, or icons that match your theme.
Piping: Pipe your frosting with creative shapes or letters.
Dye: Use food coloring to add accents or patterns to your icing or the cake itself.
How much frosting between layers?
Use one-half to three-quarters of a cup of icing between the layers of the cake. You can use the remainder on the top and sides.
Vanilla cake FAQs
What makes cake moist and fluffy?
Following our tips listed in this article will make a cake that’s moist and fluffy. In summary, make sure you follow the recipe as is and ensure your measurements are correct, and your cake should turn out wonderfully.
Which ingredient makes cake soft?
No one ingredient makes this cake soft. The combination of the ingredients, how they’re mixed, and the cooking time give the cake this desired texture.
What is the most popular cake?
The answer to this often depends on the state or region you call home. However, some popular trends worth checking out are black buttercream frosting, buttercream transfers, combed cakes, animal prints, icon decorations, and all things rainbow.
Bake it up
If you’re in the mood to bake a cake, but you’re missing some ingredients, you can order them in seconds and get them in a matter of minutes with Gopuff. If you’re just now remembering your friend or loved one’s birthday and you’re pressed for time, there’s no shame in skipping the from-scratch recipe and going with pre-prepped vanilla cake mix, also available from Gopuff. In short, it’s a piece of cake. And a delicious one, too.