Vanilla Cake

Vanilla Cake

It was the hottest it has been all summer. Ninety-two degrees when the average this time of the year is the upper sixties. So what do I do? Turn the oven on and bake a cake. Multiple cakes. Multiple versions of this vanilla cake. Because one of my best friends basically demanded that I share this recipe on the blog. And because today is her birthday, I had to comply.

But, Julie lives too far away for me to drop in with all the extra cake. So she got a lot of pictures of it and the first glance at the recipe. My husband took the rest of the cakes to his office. Apparently, I am now very popular with his colleagues.

This cake has a light, airy, moist sponge with a good vanilla flavor. I paired with my favorite frosting that I use on almost everything.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 8 inch cake pans. The best way to do this is coat with thin layers of butter and then flour. This is how I was taught to do it and in my opinion, works much better than cooking spray. And I honestly don’t have the patience to deal with cutting out pieces of parchment paper.

Coat with butter then a light dusting of flour. Be sure to shake the extra flour off, which I obviously didn’t finish doing here.

Next, combine 2 cups of cake flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt in a small bowl. Whisk to get out any lumps and set aside.

Note: if you don’t have cake flour (I hardly ever have any on hand), you can make your own. Take one cup of all-purpose flour and replace two of the tablespoons within that cup with two tablespoons of cornstarch.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, add four large eggs and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Beat until the mixture is smooth, creamy, and has grown to at least double its size. This takes a good 5 minutes or so. Don’t rush it! This helps give the cake a light, airy texture.

Eggs and sugar, beaten until creamy and double in volume!

Turn the mixer off and add 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, 1 cup of buttermilk, and one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste. Mix until combined. Then, add in the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.

In the past, I’ve made this cake with vanilla extract. And it is good. But if you can get your hands on vanilla bean paste, not only do you have those little tell-tale seeds, but extra vanilla flavor. The best part – Trader Joes just started carrying it. I was browsing Amazon trying to decide which brand I wanted to try (none of my local stores carry it) one night, and the next day I go to Trader Joes in the next town over and it magically appeared on their shelves! Yay!

Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Look at those lovely air bubbles and flecks of vanilla!

Bake for about 20 – 24 minutes, until a toothpick (or cake tester of your choice) poked in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.

While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Pour a pint of heavy whipping cream into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a whisk attachment on a hand mixer. If you want to give your arm a workout, feel free to get a regular old whisk and do it by hand.

Whisk the heavy cream just until soft peaks start to form. Add in a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or extract, and 2 tablespoons of meringue powder. The meringue powder helps stabilize the whipped cream, and I occasionally stumble upon it in grocery stores with good baking sections but I usually will resort to Amazon (or Sur La Table if I’m in the area – luckily, the nearest is a good 45 minutes or so away).

I use a little less than a third of the frosting between each layer and use the rest (the largest “third”) to coat the top and sides of the cake. At this point, I tend to put the cake in the refrigerator so everything can set for a bit. Or if you can’t wait, go right ahead and slice it up.

Look those delicious, light, airy, vanilla-y layers! Enjoy!

Vanilla Cake

A light, airy, very vanilla cake with a creamy vanilla frosting.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Author: Rachel at Fridge Two Table


Vanilla Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour (or replace 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in each cup)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp meringue powder
  • ½ tbsp vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt


Vanilla Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 8 inch round cake pans, preferably with a thin layer of butter and flour.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and get out any lumps then set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or in a large bowl and using an electric hand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy and has at least doubled in size. This takes a good 5 or 6 minutes at least.
  • Add the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla paste and mix until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until evenly mixed.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Bake for about 20 – 24 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool in pans on a wire rack until completely cool. Remove from pans. Frost using the recipe below or with whatever your favorite frosting is.

Vanilla Frosting

  • Add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or use a large bowl with an electric hand mixer. Beat until soft peaks start to form.
  • Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla paste, salt, and meringue powder. Continue beating until the mixture starts becoming thick. It will look a little thicker than typical whipped cream.
  • Frost the cake as desired. I use a little less than a third between each layer and save the largest third for the top and sides.
  • Most importantly, enjoy!

Did you try this recipe? Did you make some tweaks? Do you have a question? Just want to say hi? Please leave a comment!