The Vanilla Cake of all vanilla cakes.....
Yes, I am going there guys! That is how strongly I feel about this cake....it is so good! Melt in your mouth deliciousness! The perfect texture and crumb, it is fluffy and delicate but still stands up wonderfully for fondant covering and carving cakes into all sorts of shapes. Warm, buttery, vanilla....all the feel-good things you want in a cake. Super soft and luxurious....I mean look at my little guy enjoying this delightful piece of cake. It does not even need the frosting....and you know how kids feel about frosting! It's a food group, right?
I have raved about this vanilla cake for a long time. A good foundational vanilla cake is a must have for any serious baker. It can serve as a base for so many flavor variations. This vanilla cake is my all time favorite from scratch recipe created by my friend Elizabeth Marek. You can find her recipe here on the Sugar Geek Show where she also has some of the best tutorials in the industry for cake decorating.
There is only ONE reason why I made this video (and blog post). I share this recipe with everyone who asks me for that perfect vanilla cake recipe. But I posted a picture one day of these golden beautiful layers and while there was a lot of excitment over the turn out I had achieved there was also a LOT of skepticism. Many people tend to get a really dark brown layer on the outside of their cake while they are baking and that part is usually cut off before assembling a layer cake together. Some even thought my cake was not cooked all the way through! **gasp....whaaaat??** Lol!
So I committed to showing just how easy it is to make this recipe and how you can get the same results too. For more details please watch the video above as I cover step-by-step exactly how I make this recipe.
My cakes turned out perfect. No cutting. Perfect golden cakes....I am just going to officially dub this "The Golden Cake" now.
So how exactly did I achieve this? I was not sure at first because I followed all of the directions exactly as the original recipe stated. I could not understand how so many people were having such a difficult time with it. I wondered about my ingredients being different since I use mostly organic ingredients and did some test runs. That was not it.
I did find the answer and it was not the ingredients at all. It was my cake pans. Did you know that different cake pans will produce such drastically different results? There are all kinds of pans with the most traditionally used being aluminum pans. The particular pans that I love to use for all of my cake baking are Magic Line pans (Affiliate Link). I prefer the 2-inch pans as I am not a fan of baking in anything deeper in that for cakes. Give them a try.....I know you will love them as much as I do. See these perfectly...all the way cooked, beautiful cake layers...❤️
Now that you have your pans.....on to some common cake questions and to ensure your success with this recipe every single time.
This vanilla cake is considered a butter cake. Butter cakes are probably the most popular type of cake. They typically consist of two to three layers of buttery cake and then have either buttercream or a variety of sweet fillings in between. What makes a cake a butter cake? Butter cakes contain a form of fat, usually butter, margarine, oil, or shortening. I don't recommend margarine or shortening if it can be avoided. You will get a much better flavor with a high quality butter like Plugra (European style butter). Challenge butter is also good and is readily accessible for most people. The oil in cakes really helps to keep it nice and moist. This particular cake has both.
Can I substitute x,y, or z for blah, blah, blah?
Sure you can! Buuuut.....you are not going to get the same results. Just know that the very best practice is to follow the recipe exactly as stated. See how it turns out with the recipe as written and then....then try experimenting with substituting other ingredients. The most common question I get asked is...can I make this gluten free? My recommendation is to use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (Affiliate Link). I have not tried it with this recipe but I have used it in many different recipes successfully.
Can I double the batch and still get the same results?
Yes, you can double this and get the same results.
Can you freeze this cake?
Yes! I highly recommend if you are doing scratch baking then you should wrap all your cakes once slightly cooled in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer. If there was one thing that I absolutely could not live without for my cakes this would be it. The freezer locks in moisture way better than any amount of sugar syrup sprayed all over your cake layer will provide. Nothing against sugar syrup....just saying.
Can this cake be used to cover in fondant?
Yes, this is a delicate but wonderfully sturdy cake for covering in fondant and even for carving and structure cakes.
What frosting should I use for this cake?
A classic vanilla cake is wonderful on its own but can be transformed by a wide variety of flavors. Wonderful combinations that I enjoy using is my Lemon Curd with fresh raspberries. Another enjoyable classic is my Swiss Meringue Buttercream with a fresh strawberry pureé filling. It tastes just like a lighter cake version of strawberry shortcake. A summertime favorite for many of my repeat clients.
What vanilla extract to use?
This is an important question because it truly will affect the taste of your cake. You can make this cake over and over with different vanillas and it will taste different. There are many different extracts and my recommendation is to always go with a pure vanilla extract when possible. For all of my recipe's I use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. Want to make this recipe into a vanilla bean cake? Use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste instead. (Affiliate Links)
Tools You Will Need:
Stand Mixer w/ paddle attachments Rubber Spatula 2, 8 inch or 3, 6 inch cake pans
Dry 9 oz. Cake Flour 9 oz Granulated Sugar 4 tsp baking powder 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
Wet 3 whole eggs, room temperature 2 tsp Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla 8 0z Whole Milk, room temperature 2 0z Vegetable Oil
Fat 1 1/2 sticks or 6 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
- Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. - Add butter in small chunks and mix with paddle until crumbly.
- Add 1/4 of wet ingredients to dry until moistened, increase speed to medium high and mix for 2 minutes.This step is VERY important for creating structure. If you skip this step, your cake will fall when it bakes. Not mixing for 2 minutes on medium high is the #1 reason this recipe doesn't turn out.After mixing for 2 minutes, the cake batter will turn light and fluffy and lighten in color.
- Add 1/2 of remaining wet ingredients and continue mixing on low. Scrape bowl.
- Add remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined. After combined, turn speed up to medium for 30 seconds.
Add'l Flavor: Lemon Cake......For lemon cake: add lemon zest from 1 lemon. Omit vanilla extract and add lemon extract.: