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. Hi Robyn, can this recipe be done in sheet style? If so would you recommend freezing before decorating? (Obviously thawed) or can the chocolate one be made into a sheet style with 2 layers?

    1. Mel, you can make this cake in a half sheet pan (18 x 13 inches) with this recipe. Don’t double. You can also make the chocolate cake as a sheet cake. Look at my Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing Recipe for sheet pan instructions and baking time and temperature. I don’t freeze the cakes before decorating but you can if you want. Hope you enjoy!

  2. I’m not sure if anyone asked this in all the almost 500 comments *holy moly, must be goood!!* But if I wanted to use this recipe PLUS your “The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe” and make a marble cake, would I need to make any changes ya think? you may have NO clue, but I would imagine I could just make the batters as the recipe states, then just marble them in the pan. it seems they cook at relatively the same time and temp, so I would imagine this would be an easy combo, BUT I am coming from cookie baking to the cake world and am still learning all the ins and outs! I made your Best choccy cake recipe and my entire house devoured it! We are fans of THAT one for sure! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Liz, I haven’t tried making a marble cake with the chocolate cake and vanilla cake recipes. I would think the batter of the chocolate cake would be too thin. I have received comments from people who have tried it and said the batter was too thin and it didn’t marble.

    2. I would probably just make the same vanilla recipe split it in half and add cocoa powder to one half so they can be the same consistency add a little extra butter milk

    3. Mar, I think others have said they tried that and the batter was too thin. However, I haven’t tried it.

  3. Can buttermilk be substituted for whole milk in the vanilla cupcake recipe, like it is used in the vanilla cake recipe?

  4. Hi, I haven’t tried this recipe yet but need to make it parve, as in non dairy. What can I substitute buttermilk with?

    1. Rebecca, you can make your own buttermilk from non-dairy options like oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk. My article Homemade Buttermilk Substitute gives the options and ratios for non-dairy milks to use to make your own. Hope you enjoy your cake.

  5. Do you use salted butter And a pinch of salt in your best vanilla cake recipe? Also, if I bake in. 9×13 pan, how long is the baking time?

    1. Lisa, I do use salted butter and add a pinch of kosher salt to this cake recipe. I would bake this recipe at the same temperature for about 30 to 35 minutes. Hope you enjoy the cake.

  6. Hi Robyn, I absolutely swear by your “Best Chocolate Cake Ever” recipe for several years now. I am a little hesitant with this vanilla cake because it is made with butter instead of oil, and the moistness in your chocolate cake is unmatched. Should I just trust it or can I sneak in a little oil?

    1. Sebastian, I haven’t made this cake with oil. If you try it, let me know how you like it.

    2. Best vanilla cake recipe I’ve tried. Other recipes have always turned out dense but this one was fluffy and had really good flavor!