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closeup of vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream slice on a white plate

Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe With Easy Buttercream

How to make the best vanilla cake with the reverse creaming method. Super moist, delicate texture and unforgettable flavor.
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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 8 cups
Calories: 445kcal

Ingredients

Vanilla Cake Recipe

  • 4 ounces (113 g) whole milk to be mixed with the oil
  • 3 ounces (85 g) canola oil
  • 6 ounces (170 g) whole milk to be mixed with the eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 3 large (3 large) eggs room temperature
  • 13 ounces (368 g) cake flour
  • 13 ounces (368 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons (14 g) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature but not melted

Easy Buttercream Frosting

  • 16 ounces (454 g) powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces (113 g) pasteurized egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons ) vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces (454 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature but not melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 1 TINY drop (1 drop) purple food coloring to offset the yellow color (optional)
  • 3 drops electric pink food coloring for the flowers
  • 1 Tablespoon white sprinkles for decorating

Equipment

  • Food Scale
  • 8" x 2" Cake Pans (3)

Instructions

Vanilla Cake

  • IMPORTANT: This is the BEST vanilla cake because I use a scale so it turns out perfectly 🙂 If you convert to cups I cannot guarantee good results. Make sure all your (cold ingredients) butter, eggs, milk are at room temperature or a little warm. See my post about how to use a scale if you don't know how to measure by weight.
  • Heat oven to 335º F/168º C . Prepare three 8"x2" cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan release.
  • Place the 4 oz of milk in a separate measuring cup. Add the oil to the milk and set it aside.
  • To the remaining 6 oz of milk, add the vanilla and room temperature eggs. Whisk gently to combine. Set aside.
  • Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  • Turn the mixer onto the slowest speed. Slowly add chunks of your softened butter until it is all added then let everything mix until it looks like coarse sand.
  • Add your milk/oil mixture all at once to the dry ingredients and mix on medium (speed 4 on kitchenaid, speed 2 on the Bosch) for 2 full minutes to develop the structure. Set a timer! Don't worry, this will not over-mix the cake.
  • After 2 minutes, scrape the bowl. This is an important step. If you skip it, you will have hard lumps of flour and unmixed ingredients in your batter. If you do it later, they will not mix in fully.
  • Slowly add in the milk/egg mixture while mixing on low, stopping to scrape the bowl one more time halfway through. Mix until just combined. Your batter should be thick and not too runny.
  • Divide the batter into your greased cake pans and fill 3/4 of the way full. I like to weigh my pans to make sure they're even.
  • Bake for 30 minutes and check your cakes. Do the "done test". Insert a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. Sometimes wet batter doesn't show up so make sure it's clean and not just wet. Then gently touch the top of the cake, does it spring back? Oven temperatures vary so if it's not done yet, bake for a few more minutes (2-3) and check again until it passes the "done" test.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and give them a tap on the countertop to release air and prevent too much shrinking. Let them cool on a cooling rack until they are barely warm.
  • After cooling for about 10 minutes, place the cooling rack on top of the cake, placing one hand on top of the cooling rack and one hand under the pan and flip the pan and the cooling rack over so the pan is now upside down on the cooling rack. Remove the pan carefully. Repeat with the other pan.
  • After the cakes are fully cooled, carefully wrap them in plastic wrap and place them into the freezer or fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up the cakes and make them easier to handle for stacking.

Easy Buttercream Frosting

  • Place egg whites and powdered sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Attach the whisk, combine ingredients on low and then whip on high for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and salt.
  • Add in your softened butter in chunks and whip with the whisk attachment to combine. It will look curdled at first. This is normal. It will also look pretty yellow. Keep whipping. 
  • Whip on high for 8-10 minutes until it's very white, light and shiny. If you don't whip it enough, it could end up tasting buttery.
  • Optional: If you want whiter frosting, add in a tiny drop of purple to counteract the yellow in the butter (too much will make the frosting grey or light purple.)
  • Optional: Switch to a paddle attachment and mix on low for 15-20 minutes to make the buttercream very smooth and remove air bubbles. This isn't required but if you want really creamy frosting, you don't want to skip it. 
  • After your cakes are chilled, fill them with your favorite frosting and frost the outside. If you're not familiar with decorating cakes, check out my how to make your first cake blog post! Watch the video to see how I made the palette knife buttercream flowers.

Notes

  1. Weigh your ingredients to avoid cake failure. Using a kitchen scale for baking is super easy and gives you the best results every single time. 
  2. Make sure all your cold ingredients are room temperature or slightly warm (butter, milk, eggs, to create a cohesive batter. Curdled batter causes cakes to collapse.)
  3. You must use cake flour for this recipe. Do not fall for the "just add cornstarch to regular flour" trick. It does not work for this recipe. Your cake will look and taste like cornbread. If you can't find cake flour, use pastry flour which isn't quite as soft as cake flour but it's better than all-purpose flour. 
  4. If you're in the UK search for Shipton mills cake and pastry flour. If you're in another part of the country, search for low protein cake flour.
  5. When you do the reverse creaming method, you're coating the flour in butter and stopping gluten from developing. This creates a super moist and tender cake. When you add the milk and oil, you have to mix for a full 2 minutes to develop that gluten. This creates the structure of the cake. If you don't mix for the full 2 minutes, your cake could collapse.
  6. Make your own pan release (cake goop!) The best pan release ever! 
  7. Need more help with making your first cake? Check out my how to decorate your first cake blog post. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 445kcal (22%) | Carbohydrates: 46g (15%) | Protein: 4g (8%) | Fat: 28g (43%) | Saturated Fat: 18g (90%) | Cholesterol: 88mg (29%) | Sodium: 113mg (5%) | Potassium: 98mg (3%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 35g (39%) | Vitamin A: 807IU (16%) | Calcium: 48mg (5%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)