This is the Best Vanilla Cake Recipe I’ve ever tasted! So delicious. It’s quick and easy to make! Made from scratch, this cake is perfect for every occasion!

Looking for more delicious dessert recipes? I think you’ll love my chewy sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and peach cobbler.

Photo of homemade vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting on a white cake stand.

If you have been looking for a fluffy, moist, and delicious – not to mention quick and easy – vanilla cake, here it is…The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe! It’s the recipe that many of you requested by emailing, commenting, and messaging me for some time.

And topped with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting? Oh, my word! It is perfection!

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe!

One of the many things that I love about this recipe is that it is as versatile as any cake could ever be! It is perfect served with a thick coating of my chocolate buttercream my vanilla buttercream, as vanilla cupcakes or cut into pieces and served as part of a trifle and so much more!

Best Vanilla Cake Recipe - A one bowl vanilla cake recipe that is quick, easy, and delicious! Made from scratch, this cake is perfect for every occasion! // addapinch.com

How to Make the Best Vanilla Cake Recipe!

This delicious recipe is so simple and easy to make and uses ingredients that you most likely have on hand!

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • Flour – I use soft, light, all-purpose flour for this recipe. You can also use cake flour to make sure that it is light and fluffy.
  • Baking Powder – I prefer to use aluminum-free baking powder in my baking.
  • Baking Soda – Since this recipe includes buttermilk in the ingredients, you will also use baking soda.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt is also needed.
  • Butter – I generally use salted butter, but if you prefer, you can absolutely use unsalted. You will want to make sure that your butter is softened to room temperature.
    [Resource: How to Soften Butter]
  • Sugar – I use granulated white sugar. You can also use your favorite sugar alternative made for baking.
  • Eggs – Make sure that your eggs have reached room temperature for the best mixing in this recipe.
  • Buttermilk – This cake uses buttermilk. If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make your own buttermilk substitute with any of the easy methods I share in this guide.
    [Resource: How to Make Buttermilk]
  • Vanilla Extract – I love to use my own homemade vanilla extract, but in baked goods, you can also substitute with imitation vanilla flavoring if that is what you have on hand. The taste difference is most noticeable between vanilla extract and vanilla flavoring in unbaked goods such as whipped cream, frostings, icing, and no-bake cookies. For those, definitely use vanilla extract.
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – The combination of chocolate frosting is just a classic in this recipe. You can also use Strawberry Buttercream, Caramel Frosting, and any of your other favorite frosting flavors!

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Preheat. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • Prep Pans. Prepare three 8 or 9-inch cake pans for baking by coating them with softened butter, lining them with a piece of parchment fitted to the cake pan, brushing the top of the parchment with more softened butter, and then lightly flouring the pans and parchment. You can also use baking spray if you like.
  • Whisk dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar. Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Then add the sugar. Cream together for about 8 more minutes.
  • Add eggs. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined.
  • Alternate wet and dry. Add one-third of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until well combined. Repeat with another one-third of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk, and then ending with the remaining flour mixture, making sure to mix each addition until well combined.
  • Add vanilla. Mix in the vanilla extract until well combined.
  • Distribute and bake. Divide the cake batter among the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges of the cake turn loose from the pans and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
  • Cool. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Then, carefully turn out onto wire cooling racks and allow it to cool completely.
  • Frost. Frost with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, or your desired frosting.

Recipe Variations

Like my Chocolate Cake Recipe, this recipe works well with a few modifications as well:

Gluten-Free Recipe:

To make a gluten-free recipe, I’ve successfully used an equal amount of gluten-free flour instead of the all-purpose flour listed in the recipe.

Egg-Free Recipe:

To make an egg-free recipe, I’ve used 2/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of 2 large eggs in the recipe. You will note that you may have to bake for just a few minutes more. Be sure to check with the skewer for doneness.

Update Notes:

Some people were having issues with the cake falling after baking, so I went back to the kitchen with the recipe and found that this variation of my cake tested perfectly for me as well as other recipe testers that I asked to test the recipe. The original recipe that I published was based on my very popular chocolate cake recipe. Still, I found that using my butter cake as a base produced the most successful results by a wider range of recipe testers. If you prefer the original recipe that I shared, use my Chocolate Cake Recipe and replace the cocoa powder with the same amount of flour.

Best Vanilla Cake Recipe - A one bowl vanilla cake recipe that is quick, easy, and delicious! Made from scratch, this cake is perfect for every occasion! // addapinch.com

Storage Tips

Both the cake and the chocolate frosting can be made ahead. Allow the cakes to cool completely, wrap them well in plastic wrap, and place each layer into a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze the layers for up to one month.

To frost, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator with the wrapping intact. Then, frost once it has completely thawed.

Store at room temperature on the counter. I like to store it under a cake dome to keep fresh.

Other Favorite Cakes

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever} – decadent, rich, delicious, and loved by so many of you!

The Best White Cake Recipe {Ever} – a delicious favorite that’s tender yet more of a sturdy cake! It’s perfect for birthdays and more – many have even used it as a wedding cake!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake – such an easy pound cake; this has been a family favorite for years!

Here’s my The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe! I hope you love it as much as we do!

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe

4.98 from 71 votes
The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe – A vanilla cake recipe that is quick, easy, and delicious! Made from scratch, this cake is perfect for every occasion!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 24 people

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour, or cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
  • 1 pinch (0.3 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (396 g) sugar
  • 4 large (200 g) eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (227 g) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (11.6 g) vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Instructions 

  • Preheat. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • Prep Pans. Prepare three 8 or 9-inch cake pans for baking by coating them with softened butter, lining with a piece of parchment fitted to the cake pan, brushing the top of the parchment with more softened butter and then lightly flouring the pans and parchment. You can also use baking spray if you like. 
  • Whisk dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. 
  • Cream butter and sugar. Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Then add the sugar. Cream together for about 8 more minutes. 
  • Add eggs. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined. 
  • Alternate wet and dry. Add one-third of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until well combined. Repeat with another one-third of the flour mixture followed by the buttermilk and then ending with the remaining flour mixture, making sure to mix each addition until well combined. 
  • Add vanilla. Mix in vanilla until well combined. 
  • Distribute and bake. Divide cake batter among the cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges of the cake turn loose from the pans and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Cool. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Then, carefully turn out the cake onto wire cooling racks and allow to cool completely. 
  • Frost. Frost cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, or your desired frosting.

Notes

Nutrition information does not include frosting. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 139mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review




452 Comments

    1. Kayla, I’m not sure why this cake would be dense. Here are a few reasons a cake may be dense. (1) The ingredients were not at room temperature, especially the butter. If the butter is not at room temperature, it won’t cream together with the sugar as well and the cake won’t be as light and fluffy. (2) Some all-purpose flours have more protein than others and can cause some cakes to be dense. I use White Lily all-purpose flour which is a soft-wheat flour. If you don’t have White Lily, I would try using a cake flour. 3) Over-mixing the batter after the eggs are added. (4) Over-mixing after all ingredients are added. This is so easy to do with the high-powered mixers we have today. Just mix until until all ingredients are incorporated. I hope this helps.

  1. 4 stars
    Not sure if my comment went through. I’m wondering a few things: 1) why does this cake call for 3 pans and the chocolate cake calls for two pans? 2)The chocolate also calls for boiling water and this one does not. What does the boiling water do for the cake? 3) is this suppose to create a very thick batter? Thank you

    1. Miranda, these two cakes are not the same at all. The amount of batter is different in the two cakes. The vanilla cake batter will be a thick batter where the chocolate cake batter is very thin. The boiling water intensifies the chocolate flavor of the cocoa powder in the chocolate cake and is not needed in the vanilla cake. Hope this helps.

  2. 5 stars
    I make both the vanilla and the chocolate and they are good. But I have two questions: 1) why does the chocolate call for boiling water, but not the vanilla? 2) could I use an alternative to butter milk? Heavy cream? I think I just used whole milk last time, but I’m wondering how much of a difference it makes. I have a birthday cake to make for someone who recently had my (your) chocolate cake, but she really loves vanilla, so I was going to make the vanilla. Haven’t made it in a while so I’m just wondering those things. Thank you!

    1. Miranda, the boiling water intensifies the chocolate flavor in the cocoa powder for the chocolate cake. I make it with buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can always make your own Homemade Buttermilk Substitute very easily.
      Here’s the link to my recipe to make it. Easy Buttermilk Substitute. I hope you enjoy the cake.

  3. will this exact recipe work for a round 12 inch pan instead of three 9 inch pans? if yes, how many 12 inch pans would I be needing?

    1. Jemima, this recipe will be too much for one 12-inch pan but not enough for 2. If you make 1 1/5 recipes you could have 2 12-inch pans with a little bit of batter left over.

  4. HI, I am big fan of your chocoalte recipe.. its my goto recipe.. Will this recipe be enough to serve 16 ppl.. if I bake it in 2 7inch pans instead of 8 or 9 inch.. i want a heighted cake…

    1. You should have enough to feed 16 people with the 2 7-inch layers, Zanny. Hope everyone loves the cake.

  5. I don’t understand. The directions say to prepare 3 round 9 inch pans and distribute the batter amongst them but your comment below says that it is sized for 2 pans. Which is it?

    1. Mark, that comment was based upon my original recipe based upon my Best Chocolate Cake Recipe which was baked in 2 square pans. I discuss that original recipe in my post under Update Notes. You use 3 round pans for the updated recipe.

  6. I would like to make a funfetti cake for my granddaughters birthday by adding 3/4 cup sprinkles. Would you recommend using this vanilla cake recipe or your white cake recipe?

    1. Debbie, you could use either cake recipe for the funfetti one. I hope your granddaughter has a happy birthday.

  7. How long would I bake them if I made them into cupcakes instead? Loved your chocolate cake recipe and I don’t even like chocolate cake 😂

    1. Shannon, you can use this recipe to make cupcakes. The full recipe should make about 36 cupcakes. You will need to bake the cupcakes at 325º F. for about 15 to 20 minutes. I hope you enjoy!