Vanilla Sculpted Cake Recipe

This is the BEST vanilla sculpted cake recipe using AP flour that I have ever tried. It's moist, tender crumb is great for using in wedding cakes or sculpted cakes and the flavor can easily be adapted to make custom flavors!
↓ Recipe Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 6 cups
Best vanilla cake recipe

Vanilla Sculpted Cake Recipe

I have had MANY requests for a moist, delicious vanilla sculpted cake recipe that uses AP flour instead of cake flour. Now you know I am #teamcakeflour all the way but I understand not everyone has access to cake flour or just wants a cake that’s a little bit better for carving. This cake does the job and is my go-to cake to switch up the flavors to make it custom or to use in sculpted cakes.

vanilla sculpted cake recipe

This is also the recipe to try if you’re looking to dip your feet into the baking pond. It’s practically fool-proof, delicious and a great cake to serve up for a birthday party.

Change up the flavors in the buttercream and keep the classic vanilla taste. A few sprinkles and bam! Everyone will be envious of your mad DIY birthday cake skills. Need some pointers? Check out our basics cake series

vanilla sculpted cake recipe

Firm Cake Recipes For Carving

For a while now I have been developing a series of cake recipes that work well for sculpting because even though in the past I have just used my regular cake flour recipes because I LOVE the taste the best, it can be challenging to teach that to other people. Especially if you’re not used to handling a delicate cake flour cake.

Since my job is to teach people, I thought coming up with a vanilla sculpted cake recipe that still tastes amazing but works really well for carving and sculpting would be my go to.

This cake is based on the vanilla cake recipe by Yolanda Gampp. I used her recipe for years when I needed something sturdy but have since made some adjustments to make the recipe more to my own tastes. A little less sugar and some added fat to keep the cake moist since I don’t like using simple syrup on my cakes.

I also have a red velvet sculpted cake recipe, a chocolate sculpted cake recipe and a bright red sculpted cake recipe that can be adjust to any color really.

Sturdy Cake Recipe For Stacking

You might be wondering if this recipe is good for stacked cakes. Yes it is! Some places you can’t find cake flour very easily or maybe you just prefer the durability and flavor of AP flour over cake flour. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to have options.

funfetti sculpted cake recipe

This vanilla sculpted cake recipe doubles as a great vanilla stacked cake recipe. If you want to make it into funfetti, you can stir in a couple of Tablespoons of rainbow sprinkles right at the end before you put the batter in the cake pan. Then sprinkle a few more on top because they tend to sink as the cake bakes. This way you’ll have sprinkles all through the batter.

funfetti sculpted cake recipe

When I’m stacking my vanilla cakes, I like to trim off the outside layer of crust so that I get some nice clean slices. In vanilla cake especially I feel like the brown on the outside takes away from the pretty white texture on the inside of the cake.

Sculpted Cake Recipe For Competition Cakes

Sometimes you need a nice sturdy cake and the taste isn’t important. These types of cake are usually used for display cakes that are going to be left out for a long time or for competition cakes. Yes there are things called cake shows where cake decorators come from all over the world and compete against each other. Most of the time you have to use real cake.

For these cakes I like to use box mix. I know that sounds counter-intuitive because I always say to stay away from box mix if you want a nice stable cake. The reason why box cake is so great is because it has preservatives in it. These preservatives protect the cake from getting mold or going bad. I know it sounds terrifying but I actually had a display cake made with box cake sitting on top of my fridge for over a year and it never got moldy. It’s like those McDonalds french fries you find under your chair. They just dry out and become perfectly preserved. Freaky.

To make my boxed vanilla cake sturdier, I add in two cups of flour, 4 extra eggs and leave out the oil. I also tend to over-mix the batter so it get’s really tough. It may not look the best but it’s great for holding it’s shape for a competition. This sturdy cake is also better for when the cake has to travel a long way by car or even plane and not refrigerated for long periods of time.



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8 cups

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Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
Best vanilla cake recipe

Vanilla Sculpted Cake Recipe

This is the BEST vanilla sculpted cake recipe using AP flour that I have ever tried. It's moist, tender crumb is great for using in wedding cakes or sculpted cakes and the flavor can easily be adapted to make custom flavors!
4.93 from 122 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 6 cups
Calories: 859kcal


  • 12 oz (340 g) AP Flour I like king arthur brand
  • 2 1/2 tsp (2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 8 oz (227 g) unsalted butter room temp
  • 12 oz (340 g) granulated sugar I like superfine
  • 1 Tbsp (1 Tbsp) vanilla extract
  • 4 large (4 large) eggs room temp
  • 8 oz (227 g) milk room temp
  • 2 oz (57 g) oil


  • Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two 8" rounds with cake goop or preferred pan spray.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter for 20 seconds until smooth
  • Sprinkle in the sugar and whip on med-high until light in color and fluffy. About 8-10 minutes. Scrape the bowl halfway through mixing
  • Bring back to low mixing, add in eggs one at a time. Let mix in fully for one minute fore adding the next egg. Mixture should look smooth, not broken or lumpy. If it is, your eggs might have been too cold. 
  • Add your vanilla and oil to your milk 
  • Add flour to mixture in four parts, alternating with the milk. Start with flour, mix until just incorporated, then add 1/3 of the milk. Repeat in alternating steps beginning and ending with flour. Let mix for 10 more seconds then stop 
  •  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not over-bake or your cake will shrink and your sides will not be straight.


Calories: 859kcal (43%) | Carbohydrates: 103g (34%) | Protein: 11g (22%) | Fat: 45g (69%) | Saturated Fat: 21g (105%) | Cholesterol: 209mg (70%) | Sodium: 265mg (11%) | Potassium: 376mg (11%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 59g (66%) | Vitamin A: 1185IU (24%) | Calcium: 169mg (17%) | Iron: 3.4mg (19%)
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123 comments on “Vanilla Cake Recipe (for sculpted cakes)

  1. Hi Liz, I’m a new ‘Sugar Geek’ (although I do watch your YouTube tutorials) My question is, can I use self raising flour if I leave out or reduce the baking powder? I’m in the uk, and that’s the type of flour generally used in cakes over here. Alternatively, we have ‘plain flour’. Is that equivalent to AP?
    Thank you
    Debbie x

    1. Hey there, unfortunately it’s not the same thing. I have been told you can get unbleached cake flour in the UK but otherwise it’s best to stick to the recipes that use AP flour like my white cake recipe 🙂

      1. Can I use margarine instead of butter in this cake

  2. Hi liz, I’m also new to suger geek. I love all your recipes. I just finished making this Vanilla cake and I was a little worried about the butter. I thought I would have gotten a pound cake but instead the cake is so soft , fluffy and taste so amazing.
    My question is that can you put fondant on this cake? Will it crumble & fall since it’s so light and fluffy. Thank you.

    1. Yes you can use it under fondant, just chill the cake first so it’s easier to handle. It will be a bit firmer after being chilled.

  3. Hi! Super excited to try this for a dino egg cake I’m making this weekend. The recipient has a dairy allergy. Would a plant based butter substitute and milk alternative (oatmilk, cashew, almond, coconut, etc) possibly work?

  4. Thanks for the recipe. you are a rare gem.
    Must the milk be whole milk for all your recipes or could we substitute evaporated milk for whole milk?

  5. Hello, would you recommend this recipe for a 3D pan cake?

  6. Hi Liz.. I made this for a sculpted rainbow cake a couple of weeks ago for my granddaughter’s birthday… Huge hit – it turned out amazing and delicious!!
    My question for you today: could I bake this in a bundt/tube pan? Any idea how to change the baking time? Should it bake at the same temp?
    Thank you so much for all you do! You are a baking goddess!

  7. 5 stars
    Can I substitute the vanilla for almond extract and add almond nuts to the cake?

  8. Hi ,again I forgot, can I apply hight altitude to this recipe.

  9. Is there a way I can turn this into a marble cake without affecting the texture? I need to make 3 12in cakes.

  10. Is there a way to turn this into a marble cake without affecting the texture? I need to make 3 12 inch cakes.

  11. I’m planning on trying out this recipe this weekend. I’ve been looking for a good carving vanilla cake and haven’t been entirely happy with what I have baked so far. But I do have a question about a cake for a show piece (not to be eaten) that you mentioned at the end. The recipe above is for a cake to eat, correct? However, when you mention using a box mix and adding extra flour and eggs (or is it replacing the flour and egg they suggest?) what box mix do you use? Are you doctoring your recipe or buying some kind of store brand box? I would like a really really sturdy, will not mold, or collapse on me cake that I can work on for a month or more for a show and I felt slightly confused about your directions on that.

    Do I buy just any cheap box mix (usually comes in 13.25 oz size) and add extra flour and eggs to it and mix it a long time? Or should I be looking for a particular mix or qty.?

    Thanks so much.

    1. The box mix is not for eating, its for competition. It can be any box mix. I use this for competitions because it doesn’t mold. With the added ingredients its much firmer and less spongy.

  12. Hola Liz!! Soy de España aquí tenemos muy buenas harinas pero en un supermercado podemos encontrar harina con levadura incorporada o harina todo uso. Que tipo de harina es AP? Quiero hacer un pastel esculpido (bueno, intentarlo) y me gustaría hacer tu receta de bizcocho de vainilla. En la receta pone que salen 2 bizcochos de 8″ con una medida? Gracias Liz. ❤️

  13. Would this cake do any in a guitar shaped cake mold, I’m concerned about your comment of not over baking, considering the shape of the mold. Or do you have a better recipe to recommend for something like that. I also plan on giving it a first go with fondant.

  14. 5 stars
    I made this for my daughters birthday, along with your recipe for butter cream icing, mostly because I needed a cake that would hold its structure, and didn’t expect the taste to be anything great. Boy was I wrong! Not only was the cake very sturdy and easy to work with, but it tasted amazing and was nice and moist! Highly recommend, thank you!

  15. 5 stars
    Just made cupcakes for work. This recipe is delicious! Topping it with her Ermine Frosting ?

  16. the recipe in the video is not the same as the written recipe… the video you added baking soda and the wriiten recipe it not there.. Also the video uses the reverse mixing method. and the written recipe you creamed the butter than added the sugar..I’m confused which one is right

  17. I want to do this in 3 6″ x 3″ cake pans. I am making your Unicorn cake for my grand daughter for her birthday this Sunday do I need to modify the recipe?

    THank you

  18. Hi Liz. Can this recipe be doubled using the same measurements as stated? Thanks..Janie

  19. 5 stars
    Love this recipe, it’s delicious and carves really well. Everyone who tastes it comments on what a nice cake it is, it tastes like it’s been bought from a shop. It’s my go to cake recipe every time.

  20. Will this hold under fondant, or should I try your boxed mix variation?

  21. Hi I tried doubling this recipe and baking in a 10 inch rounds. it did not turn out well at all. My cake pulled away from pan and caved in the middle. It did fast delicious though. Any suggestions?

  22. hi,
    Could I use coconut milk instead of regular milk to give it a coconut flavor?

  23. 5 stars
    Made this as a funfetti cake tonight and it is my new favorite vanilla cake recipe! SO delicious, and it carved beautifully into a mini cake, which held up under marshmallow fondant really nice. Very sturdy yet somehow insanely moist and light?! It’s mind blowing really. My boyfriend and I devoured nearly all the scraps by the time I was done decorating my mini cake lol. Thanks so much!!

  24. 5 stars
    Please ignore my last comment. I just found your chocolate cake for carving.

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