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Amazing Vanilla Cake Recipe

4.7 from 72 votes

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This Vanilla Cake Recipe will become your new favorite. A simple, 1-bowl recipe with a tender and moist crumb and just the right amount of sweetness. Delicious with vanilla buttercream or cream cheese frosting!

Whole Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Frosting on cake plate with slice taken out

Vanilla Cake | Sweet Sweet Simplicity

Being a true vanilla lover, I’ve tried my fair share of homemade vanilla cake, cupcakes, sheet cakes, you name it. It’s my go-to flavor and much to my husband’s horror, I like it more than chocolate cake. It took me several weeks to develop this particular vanilla cake recipe, yielding an end result that is moist, lightly sweet and very vanilla-y.  I’m confident that if you don’t like vanilla cake, you haven’t truly had GOOD vanilla cake. So, friends, meet my vanilla cake recipe.

While the ingredients list is relatively simple, the execution is way more important. Do your best to use room temperature ingredients, whip the egg whites into the batter well and then not over-mixing in the flour.

Below are a few photos of the cake making process. If you’d prefer to make a rectangular 9×13 cake or cupcakes, see the notes section within the recipe card for baking times, located at the bottom of this post.

My Vanilla Cake Recipe | Main Ingredients Needed

This recipe is a simple one with even simpler ingredients. Lots of ingredients you probably already have! One item I’d highly recommend is parchment paper so your cakes release easily, especially if you’re planning on stacking and decorating them.

  • Flour– obviously needed for structure and a *little* gluten to hold this cake together.
  • Baking Soda + Baking Powder– our leavening agents for this vanilla cake. I like using both.
  • Salt– believe it or not, salt makes a huge difference in the finished product of your final cake. Instead of sweet on sweet on sweet, the salt helps balance the flavor and brings out the vanilla flavor.
  • Granulated Sugar– used to make the cake sweet.
  • Vanilla Extract– ok, friends, you’re going to want to use a good vanilla extract. Look for ‘pure vanilla extract’ instead of imitation vanilla for best results. (Both will work, I just recommend pure vanilla extract. This is a great one.) 
  • Butter + Vegetable Oil– I love the combination of the two of these in cakes. Butter gives great flavor and vegetable oil helps keep the cake really moist. Canola oil also works in place of the vegetable oil.
  • Eggs + Egg Whites– Eggs are needed for structure in the cake but the egg whites are whipped into the batter to lift and lighten the cake. 
  • Milk– used for moisture and the protein in the milk gives a soft crumb texture to the finished cake.

How to Make My Vanilla Cake Recipe | Directions

Making a scratch vanilla cake is easier than you think! Just make sure you don’t over bake! Dry vanilla cake is NOT delicious. For full recipe with exact measurements and baking times see the recipe card below.

Step 1: Prepare Your Pans

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking pans with parchment paper and/or spray well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. (I spray my round cake pans, add the parchment paper circles in the bottom and spray lightly again.)

Step 2: Whisk Dry Ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together to combine (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Set aside. Whisking helps aerate the ingredients and works well in place of sifting.

Measure Milk and Vanilla separately and set aside.

Step 3: Make the Vanilla Cake Batter

In a separate large bowl, mix butter, oil, and sugar together until combined.

Mix in eggs and egg whites, one at a time, until the mixture becomes very light and fluffy. You want to incorporate a lot of air at this point. Because we aren’t separating the eggs and whipping the whites separately, you want to whip the eggs well.

Alternate adding in flour mixture with milk mixture, being sure to start and end with flour.

homemade vanilla cake on cake platter

Step 4: Bake!

Divide cake batter between baking pans as evenly as possible, smooth the tops and bake on a middle rack in the oven. Cakes will be done when the edges look golden and the middle of the cake comes out clean when tested with a toothpick.

Cool 15-20 minutes in pans or until you can handle the warm pans with your hands. Turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Baking Flat Cakes

Here’s a little trick for getting flat cake tops! The tops of my cakes actually weren’t all that flat, but when I flipped them out of their cake pans, the bottoms certainly were! So that’s why they look so flat. You’re seeing the bottoms of the cakes! So when I frost them, I place them all upside down to have flat “tops” to my cake.

If you over mix your batter, you will tend to have more of a peaked top. If you are wanting to frost a two or three layer cake, use a serrated knife to cut off the tops to achieve that flat, level cake.

Step 5: Frost!

The purist in me would recommend making this cake with this Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe but this chocolate frosting would be equally delicious. Both frostings will make you fall in love with vanilla cake, possibly more than you’ve ever loved it before.

For more frosting options, check out these: Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting, Reese’s Frosting, and Poured Chocolate Frosting.

frosted vanilla cake on cake platter

Homemade Vanilla Cake Success

After lots of trial and error, here are my best tips and tricks for making a delicious vanilla cake the first time around.

  • Follow the recipe. Use the listed ingredients in the recipe card below.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Believe it or not, using butter, eggs, egg whites and milk all at room temperature yields you a smoother, better incorporated cake batter and thus a better cake.
  • Do not over bake. Moist vanilla cake comes with just the right amount of time in the oven. Start checking your cake for doneness after 30 minutes and then go from there. Every oven is different (some run hot, some run cold) so be sure you are checking your cake for doneness every few minutes once you’re getting close to it being completely baked.
  • Line baking pans with parchment paper. Parchment paper is my favorite kitchen tool. Your cakes will come out with ease!
  • Cool completely before frosting. Frosting is primarily made up of butter and the butter will melt if your cakes are not cooled completely.
Vanilla Cake slice on white plate

Love Vanilla Cake? Try These Other Cake Recipes:

You really don’t need a reason to make this vanilla cake but it goes without saying this would be the perfect Birthday, Anniversary or Holiday cake. Maybe you had a rough day. Someone else had a rough day. You had a good day and want to celebrate. Basically, this recipe is perfect for any occasion.

Printable recipe card with directions and increments is below! Happy baking, friends!

4.7 from 72 votes

Vanilla Cake Recipe

This Vanilla Cake Recipe will become your new favorite. A simple recipe with a tender and moist crumb and just the right amount of sweetness.
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins



  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking pan with parchment paper and/or spray well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. (See notes)
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together to combine. Set aside.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, stir milk and vanilla together. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, mix butter, oil and sugar together until combined. Mix in eggs and egg whites, one at a time, until mixture becomes very light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again briefly.
  • Alternate adding in flour mixture with milk mixture, being sure to start and end with flour. Scrape the sides and mix again to ensure a smooth batter. Divide evenly between baking pans and smooth the top. Bake 30-40 minutes in the lower 2/3rds of the oven. Cake will be done when a toothpick comes out clean or mostly clean with a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool 15-20 minutes in cake pans before trying to invert on cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting and decorating.



Recipe will make:
  • 1- 9×13 thick cake (bake for 40-55 minutes)
  • 2- 8 or 9-inch round cakes (40-50 minutes)
  • 24 cupcakes (bake for 18-20 minutes)
Regardless of how you bake this cake recipe, be sure to use lighter colored baking pans (or glass). Using a darker teflon will give you darker, crispier edges which doesn’t really have a place in vanilla cake, in my humble opinion.


Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 119mg | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Best Vanilla Cake Recipe, How to Make Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Cake Recipe

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Recipe Rating

204 Responses
    1. Lauren

      The tops of my cakes weren’t all that flat, but when I flipped them out of their cake pans, the bottoms certainly were! So that’s why they look so flat. You’re seeing the bottoms of the cakes! But when I frost them, I place them all upside down to have flat tops to my cake.

      1. Belle B.

        5 stars
        I am 11 years old and I also made a cake all by my self. With it, I am waiting it to finish to make a Hawaiian Wedding cake and I bet it will be delicious because of your help.

        1. Ange

          5 stars
          Cool! I am 12 years old and I made this cake all by my self to! I had too much batter so I used to rest to make cup cakes 🧁

  1. Wally Rodriguez

    5 stars
    Hello Lauren,
    Thank you for this delicious recipe. My question is if this cake holds well under fondant.
    Thank you in advance.

  2. Carol Ann Speight

    5 stars
    Hello from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada! Please can you tell me how I can share this to my timeline via facebook? Like cell phones…. I don’t do twitter AND I detest pinterest. Thank you so much,… I will appreciate your reply, Carol Ann Speight aka CanadianShe_Wolf.

    1. Lauren

      You can just go to my facebook page and find the recipe, or simply copy and paste the link into a facebook post on your own page.

  3. Traci

    Beautiful cake! I have tried many vanilla cake recipes and so far the is the ONLY one that I can say I believe I will love because the batter tasted great! I do have a question though: how do you keep the cake from falling once it’s removed from the oven? The tooth pick came out clean but as i’m watching it cool(still in the pan) it seems as though it’s starting to fall. Any recommendations for future attempts?

    1. Helga Hreidarsdottir

      Same for me, I am heartbroken. They looked so good in the oven but collapsed by around 40% when cooling 🙁
      We must have done something to upset this batter!

  4. Carol Ann Speight

    I thank you ever so much Lauren. I did go to your site but couldn’t find a search bar to hunt up the recipe. I also had scrolled back about 4 or 5 days when I visited there. Anyway…will try again. Your recipes are the best….(other than what my Moms were! 😉 😉 ), …… Cas.

  5. Amy H.

    5 stars
    I have combed through the internet, baking through every recipe I could find. This is by far the best one I have made (after 3+ years of trying).

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  7. Ashley P

    5 stars
    Just found your site and made this!! I’m so excited for a good recipe. I appreciated your comments on the how to for making this. Thanks for posting this. I will be making again!

    1. Lauren

      I wouldn’t, just because the increments of the leavenings in cake flour would be different than my recipe and would most likely change your results.

    1. Chikae

      Hi, yes – this is my question as well… Does this need salted butter AND extra salt? (Just want to confirm before I go shopping!) Thank you~~

      1. Lauren

        Its personal preference. I added both the salted butter and the salt. You are welcome to use salted butter and omit the salt or use unsalted butter and add the salt. Totally up to you.

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  9. 00rottweiler00

    Does anyone see where it says what to do with the sugar and oil mix? I’ve read the recipe about a dozen times and I swear I’m going crazy.

      1. Mars

        Hi, you need to add milk mixture and flour mixture alternately to sugar mixture and continue mixing. At least that’s what I get from instructions.

    1. Chris

      There is no sugar and oil mix. You mix the sugar with the butter, oil then add the eggs and set aside. then you add your dry and wet (milk and vanilla) to the butter egg mixture

  10. ID

    5 stars
    This is the best recipe ever. Vanilla cake came out wonderful. I also want to make Choco vanilla layer cake . How can i make adjustments for chocolate cake in this batter. Thanks !!

    1. Amanda

      I was actually just coming to the comments as well to see if anyone had adjusted anything for 9×13 pan. My cake has been in there for 30 min and it’s still raw in the middle. Did you figure out how long it took?

      1. Samantha

        Totally never baked a cake before especially not from scratch so this might be a super dumb question but for the eggs…is it a total of 4 eggs? 2 whole eggs and then two more eggs but just the whites like I would just throw away the yolk for the whites right?

        1. Lauren

          Yes, different amounts of fat in the milk affect the cake, but not enough to worry about or make a noticeable difference. Duh!

  11. Plumloved

    4 stars
    I made this last night as a birthday cake, the batter was easy to make, even though you need 3 bowls. I replaced milk with half and half for more moisture. I baked in 9″ non- stick rounds, with all that oil the ends got crispy, which everyone liked, but I felt I tasted more valuable oil than vanilla. Next time I would try coconut oil. A trick to having flat cakes is when they are still hot from the oven lay a towel or potholder over and gently press the bump flat, and flip them out bottoms up for decorating. Overall, great recipe, I would use it again.

  12. Angel

    Not sure what went working here, or if I’m just one of the only ones who did not like this cake. Mine ended up coming out very heavy. Tastes more like cornbread to me🤷🏻‍♀️ I’ll just have to see how it turns out once put together.

    1. Naadira

      I have the same issue. I love the recipe- I’ve made it twice now, but I do find it a tad heavy. Is it because of the addition of oil? I would love a slightly lighter more spongey crumb but I have no brain for baking so I don’t know what to change up.

    2. Isaac Galvez

      3 stars
      my tasted to buttery i was so excited, i liked the cake a little just tasted a bit more like butter i don’t know why :/

  13. Darlene Jenkins

    Lauren is parchment paper wax paper or dessert paper as I’ve always called it & stressed is desserts backwards. I just learned this & thought I’d share with you doll!🎃🧡🎃🧡🎃???

  14. Natalia

    5 stars
    wow!!!! es la mejor receta del mundo mundial, he probado tantos que ya no me acuerdo, amo el traductor de google!
    tmb hice tu budin de canela y tambien es otra de esas recetas q llevo a todos lados,gracias por compartir tus recetas,soy tu nueva fan.
    Natalia, Argentina

  15. Diana

    Lauren, could I add sprinkles to this cake recipe without needing to make adjustments? I want to make a Sprinkle Cake for a darling 4 year old’s birthday who loves anything with sprinkles.

  16. Ashton Jeppesen

    I have been wanting to bake a vanilla cake from scratch. I think this is the next one I will try when both kids are in school!

  17. xenia

    i would like to ask if i can just use all baking powder instead of using the baking soda. I usually use baking soda for some recipe that uses for instance a buttermilk.
    Pls let me know if it wont make a difference.

  18. Alexander Hamilton

    5 stars
    This cake is DELICIOUS. I hope this doesn’t come across as an insult in any way, but I’ve been looking for a recipe that tastes like one you would get premixed in a box (that’s what I always had growing up, so it’s what makes me the most happy!), and this is by far the closest/the best tasting that I’ve come across. It’s honestly the best vanilla cake I’ve ever tasted. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Abigail

    5 stars
    This is a delicious cake recipe I made it with my older brother on my moms birthday yesterday I just started to bake for my elective (i’m in 7th grade and is home schooled) out of all the recipes I have made this is my favorite.

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  21. Helen

    How would I go about adjusting the ingredients for a 10 inch round cake pan? I am making a two tiered cake with 8 inch top layer and 10 inch bottom layer.