I have made many vanilla cakes in my life. I, personally, love vanilla, so it’s something that has always been in my arsenal of baking knowledge.
Lots of recipes have cycled through my favorites, but a few years ago, I found this recipe and latched on! I tried it with pastry flour on a whim, and man, I was hooked.
With that small change, I made a permanent home in my personal recipe book for this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
This cake has been a hit every single place I’ve brought it. It’s fluffy, moist, and absolutely delicious. The frosting recipe she has is also SO tasty!
Not that it’s surprising. That woman is a wonder!
Anyways, I made this cake recently as a dessert for a get-together with friends. We hadn’t seen them in a while (though they live close), so I figured I’d make them a treat!
Though I didn’t have any pastry flour on hand, I was able to sub a mix of cake flour and AP flour, which works the same way. It’s a two to one ratio, so two parts AP flour to one part cake flour. I needed 433g of flour, so I used roughly 145g of cake flour and 288g of AP flour.
For this recipe, I used the following ingredients: cake flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk, and heavy whipping cream.
To start, I preheated the oven to 350°F (177°C) and prepped the cake pans. I used parchment paper along with some avocado oil to make sure those cakes came out nice and easy.
An easy way to cut a circle out of parchment paper for a cake pan is to fold a piece of parchment paper in half three times lengthwise (possibly a fourth time depending on pan size). Once you have a nice wedge of parchment paper, you would then flip the cake pan over, hold the point of the wedge in the middle of the pan, and cut the end off with scissors in a rounded shape following the pan.
You’d then be able to unfold it, and if done correctly, it will fit inside the pan! Easy peasy. It doesn’t have to be perfect either! As long as the size is about right, your cake should come out fine.
After I cut out the parchment paper circles, I spread avocado oil on the bare pan, placed the parchment paper circle in, and spread another thin layer of avocado oil on top.
Now on to the actual cake! I started out by measuring out the amount of flour for the recipe. I included the cup measurements for the ingredients in the recipe below, but I prefer to weigh my ingredients. It gives a more accurate measurement, and I’m not second-guessing how much I put in!
After adding the flour, I also added the baking powder, the salt, and the baking soda. I whisked them together and put the bowl aside for later.
The wet ingredients next! Or mostly wet ingredients I should say. I added the sugar and butter to a bowl and used a hand mixer to blend them together really well.
Please don’t make my mistake though… I did not grab a large enough bowl! I made a small mess haha. I scraped the sides down as needed to get it all mixed together.
Next were the eggs. I added the three eggs and two egg whites to the mix. Separating egg yolks and whites can be a chore, but I find it easiest to just use the shell and pour back and forth until I have the yolk all alone!
Almost forgot the vanilla extract! That would have been a disaster. Whoops!
I used the hand mixer again to combine all of these ingredients. The mixture will look a little off (like curdled milk), but it’s fine! Not curdled – I promise.
Then I added the dry ingredients a bit at a time while mixing until it was all mixed together. The buttermilk was added at this point, until just combined.
Side note! I tend to run the mixer on low most of the time, which has turned out fine for me. I’m not out here trying to make a giant mess! It would be a guarantee if I stepped anywhere close to high speed haha.
Into the pans the batter went! I only use two pans, though the original recipe says to use three. I also don’t weigh them to make sure they are even, though that is an option!
After smoothing the tops out, I popped those babies into the oven, and I set a timer for 20 mins. I have a newer oven that I don’t completely trust yet haha.
While they were baking, I moved on to the frosting. In a large (largeR, I learned my lesson!) bowl, I creamed the butter until it was nice and fluffy.
Then I added the powdered sugar, salt, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract. This got mixed until it was nice and smooth.
This frosting is absolutely delicious. The texture and taste are pretty much my idea of a perfect buttercream frosting. Yum.
At this point, my kids took over my life. I ended up having to throw the frosting in the refrigerator while I took care of a few things for them.
I only mention this because, if you haven’t dealt with refrigerated buttercream, you’re in for a surprise! It was hard as a rock haha. I ended up having to leave it out to warm up a bit before I could mix it up again. Tasted great still!
The cakes came out of the oven at around 27 minutes, when a toothpick inserted into the center came out clean. I let them cool in the pans for a little bit until they got to the point where I could handle them.
Then I transferred them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. I took the parchment paper circle off the bottom on the way to the cooling rack. Don’t forget! That extra bit of fiber would ruin the taste haha.
I have to come clean, though I’m sure it’s been noticed! I am not great at frosting cakes. It’s something I’m working on, but I tend to bake for flavor, so the way it looks is definitely considerably less important to me. I swear I’m working on it!
I also have a tendency to not flatten my cakes. If you’re looking for baking show quality cakes, you’ll want to slice a layer off the top to make them flat. I prefer the fluff!
That being said, I laid the first layer on a portable cake carrier (so convenient!), and I slapped a layer of frosting down.
Second layer on, and a layer of frosting all over the cake, and she was done!
Beauty is on the inside, for sure.
Unfortunately for our friends, in the midst of the whole cake baking process, one of our kids got sick! We ended up taking a few slices and packing the rest up.
It all worked out in the end though, since my husband brought them the cake carrier. We were sent a video of them enthusiastically enjoying the cake! Success!
We may not have been able to enjoy it together, but the cake definitely made a wonderful impression!
Deliciously fluffy vanilla cake coupled with a melt-in-your-mouth buttercream frosting
- 3 ⅔ c (433 g) pastry flour (sub 2 parts AP flour and 1 part cake flour)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ c (345 g) butter (room temperature)
- 2 c (400 g) granulated sugar
- 3 whole eggs and 2 egg whites (large and at room temperature)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ c (360 ml) buttermilk (room temperature)
- 1 ½ c (345 g) butter (room temperature)
- 5 ½ c (650 g) powdered sugar
- ⅓ c (80 ml) heavy whipping cream (room temperature)
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Start by preheating the oven to 350°F (177°C). For two 9" cake pans, cut parchment paper circles, and after spreading a thin layer of oil on the pan, put the parchment paper circles down with a layer of oil on top.
- Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to a bowl. Mix together.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until well mixed using a stand mixer or hand mixer.
- Add the eggs and egg whites, plus the vanilla extract. Mix well. Scrape down sides as necessary.
- While mixing on a low speed, add the dry ingredients slowly.
- Once the dry ingredients have been added, add the buttermilk and mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans, and smooth the tops.
- Put the cakes into the oven for about 25 mins (you may want to check around 23-24 mins). Check for doneness with a toothpick.
- In a bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat butter until creamy.
- Add the sugar, heavy whipping cream, salt, and vanilla extract, and mix well.
- After cakes are cooled, lay one cake on your preferred platter or base.
- Spread a layer of frosting on top of the layer.
- Add second layer.
- Frost entire cake.
- I prefer to weigh most of the dry ingredients, but if you are using a measuring cup for the flour, you will want to spoon it in to the cup and then level it.
- It is important that everything be room temperature so that everything mixes well!
- The original recipe uses 3 pans, so feel free to use three, or a different pan altogether!
- If you'd like your cakes to be even, be sure to cut a layer off the top of your cakes to level them off.
- If your frosting is too thick, add more heavy whipping cream. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar. Feel free to use milk in place of the heavy cream as well.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.