Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake

I am so excited to share this recipe for a Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake with you today! It’s a cake I’ve been making for years, but wanted to tweak and it’s finally ready!

Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake! Such a soft, tender cake!

Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake! Such a soft, tender cake!

For those who know me and see me regularly, they know that I play with vanilla recipes like it’s my job. I kind of feel like you are only as good as your best vanilla cake. It is super important to have a wonderful one, and yet it seems to be the hardest for people to find. Plus everyone has their own idea of what makes it “the best”. I think I might have made it my life’s mission to make the best vanilla cake for everyone. It may not be that there’s one “best” recipe for all, but maybe a couple recipes that you can choose from. Bottom line – I make a lot of vanilla cake. And it’s all for you. 🙂

So let’s talk a little about this recipe. You may or may not have seen/made my vanilla cupcakes. They have been quite popular and it’s a recipe I go back to time and time again. I love it and so many others love it too.

But it always amazes me how people love different things about cakes. Many people have agreed that they are perfect, moist and fluffy and it’s their new favorite. Yet some think they are too dense. To be fair, when you bake it as a cake, it is fairly dense. And yet, every time I do a taste comparison with a larger group (usually our church group), it’s their favorite – whether a cake or cupcakes. Funny, right?

But I am someone who likes options. I don’t want to feel limited and I’m sure I’m not the only one. And since I’ve loved this cake for so long, I decided it was time to share it so you could have more options. 🙂 The only reason I haven’t shared it sooner is that I wanted to tweak a few things. One thing being that the original recipe didn’t do well as cupcakes. They separated from the liners as they cooled, so I wanted to fix that (and I did!).

Of course, now it begs the question of how this recipe is different from the other one. Neither is necessarily better than the other. That really depends on your preference. But any time I see multiple options for a particular flavor (like vanilla) on someone’s site, I’m always curious about the differences so I know which one I want to try. So I want to break down some of the differences and similarities for you.

Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake! Such a soft, tender cake!
Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake! Such a soft, tender cake!

First, let’s talk about the ingredients. Just like with the other recipe, I wanted to have simple ingredients that most people usually have on hand. The original recipe calls for cake flour and I wanted to replace that with all purpose flour. That, plus some other tweaks to account for the change, and you now have a pretty normal ingredient list. Score!

Second, there’s the mixing method. The other recipe is very simple. Basically a throw everything together and mix method, which is wonderfully easy. This cake uses the creaming method. The steps are more involved and definitely need to be followed.

Third is the final cake taste and texture. Again, this is very subjective in terms of which is better. I love them both. They both have excellent vanilla flavor. This cake is flatter on top when baked. As for which is denser, or fluffier, I think they’re both fluffy and dense. Confusing, right?

This cake manages to be a little denser-seeming, as there aren’t as many air pockets in the baked cake. But when you bite into it, it actually has a super fluffy taste and feel to it. I feel like the other recipe is actually the denser one, especially when made as a cake, but it has more air pockets and also manages to seem fluffy. Both are very moist.

Personally, I like the other recipe for cupcakes (they’re still my perfect cupcake!) and this one for a cake. But both can be used as a cake or cupcakes and both are delicious.

Hopefully that explanation was more helpful than confusing. 🙂

The bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with either, though you might end up preferring one over the other if you try them both.

I love the texture of this cake. It is absolutely wonderful when layered and iced and I find it very hard to not want to eat the entire cake. It really is a very soft and moist cake. I recently shared it with a friend who wanted to make a vanilla cake for her daughter’s birthday and they loved it!

So there you have it – another vanilla cake/cupcake recipe. Decisions, decisions. If you give them both a try, I’d love to know what you think. 🙂

Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake! Such a soft, tender cake!
Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake! Such a soft, tender cake!

SHOP THE RECIPE

You might also like:

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes (new!)
Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes
Rose Water Vanilla Cake
How to frost a smooth cake with buttercream
Homemade Vanilla Cake Mix

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Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake slice on white plate 2 close up
Recipe

Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 33 minutes
  • Total Time: 53 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices, or 36 Cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is a cake I’ve been making for years, but wanted to tweak and it’s finally ready!


Scale

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 1 1/2 cups (336g) salted butter, room temp (I use Challenge Butter)
  • 2 1/4 cups (466g) sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (390g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) milk

FROSTING

  • 1 1/2 cups (336g) salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (284g) shortening
  • 12 cups (1380g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 67 tbsp (90-105ml) water or milk

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the egg whites and vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, no more. The texture of the batter will change and become thicker and may seem a little curdled.
4. Combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.
5. Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the batter and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
6. Add about half of the milk and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
7. Continue alternating adding dry and wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, and beating until incorporated after each addition. There should be three total additions of dry ingredients and two total additions of milk. End with the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick and glossy.
8. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and spread evenly.
9. Stagger the cake layers on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Don’t be alarmed if the tops are a little browned, that is normal.
10. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes.
11. Remove cakes from pans to cooling racks and cool completely before frosting.
12. To make icing, combine butter and shortening and mix until smooth.
13. Add 6 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
14. Add vanilla extract and 4 tbsp of water or milk and mix until smooth.
15. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
16. Add more water or milk until desired consistency is reached.
17. To assemble cake, place first layer of cake on your cake stand or plate. NOTE: The cake layers shouldn’t have a rounded dome on top of them, but if they do, cut them off before stacking.
18. Add about 1 1/2 cups icing and spread into an even layer.
19. Add second layer of cake and another 1 1/2 cups of icing.
20. Top cake with remaining layer of cake.
21. Use the rest of the icing to ice the outside of the cake. For instructions on icing a smooth cake and the piping, here is a tutorial on How to Frost a Smooth Cake.

TO MAKE CUPCAKES:

Follow instructions above through number 7. Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 way. Bake at 350 degrees for about 16-18 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Recipe makes about 36 cupcakes.


Keywords: yellow cake recipe, vanilla cake recipe, best birthday cake recipe, easy birthday cake recipe

Recipe modified from this recipe.

Enjoy!

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Recipe rating

548 Comments
  1. Michelle

    Hi Lindsay I’ve made the for years and all a sudden it’s turning out very oily and it doesn’t look right anymore? Do you know what it might be?
    Thank you

  2. Rebecca

    I love this recipe! I have to make 3-inch round cakes and wondered how I would adjust the recipe to make it work…any suggestions or tips?

      1. Lindsay

        I don’t really make 10 inch cakes, so it’s hard for me to say. I’d think you’d probably want to at least double it.

  3. Bahea

    Hi! Do I need to make any adjustments if I am doubling this recipe? I made a double batch and then I made a single batch. The double batch layers came out really short, even though my pans were filled over 2/3 full (like I always do), and with a flower nail. I doubled all of the ingredients. The single batch came out tall. Is there a reason the double batch didn’t rise as tall as it should, do I need to add more baking powder/soda? I love your recipes, I just want to make this work! Thank you 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      Doubling it should not make a difference. You do have twice the amount of ingredients in your mixing bowl, so it’s possible things need a little bit more mixing time. Particularly creaming the butter and sugar. Otherwise, as long as the pans are filled the same amount it should be fine.

  4. Manuri Fernando

    I really love this recipy.Can you please tell me with these ingredients what is the exact weight of the cake?

  5. Edy

    I love your vanilla cake! I made it with your strawberry shortcake dessert and now for the first time for a 3 layer cake. I had a dip in the middle so I had to cut the top off like a donut. I followed the recipe to a T. Maybe I need new baking powder??

  6. Megan

    I absolutely love your recipes. Especially this vanilla cake one. Ive tried so many different ones and this one is perfect! I baked it into 4 6×2 cake pans for about 15 extra minutes and it was perfect. However when I made the frosting there were clumps of shortening and butter than I couldn’t get rid of which made it hard to have a smooth cake. Any ideas on what to do differently next time? Thanks!

    1. Lindsay

      Is it possible that the butter and/or shortening weren’t at room temperature and were too cool? That’s really the only reason I can think of that they’d stay lumpy.

      1. Lindsay

        I really think it’s a personal preference. I prefer all purpose, but you could try it both ways and see.

  7. Audrey

    I love this recipie! I have made it for birthdays, parties, and bridal showers. Everyone that has tasted it loves it too!

  8. Emma

    I just made this cake and I agree with some reviews that it tastes like cornbread. Also a flour smell to it. Someone also mentioned crispy edges which I also had. I followed it exactly and I have been making cakes for thirty years. Was so disappointed because I also would love to find the best vanilla cake. Not sure how it can be dense and fluffy at the same time. Should be one or the other. Lastly, some comments mentioned using unsalted butter and your answers varied from 1/2, 1, 3/4 ,3/4-1, teaspoon. I think I am still going to be on the lookout for vanilla cake.

  9. Vj

    What tipe of pan do I use? I’m making a two tier cake and one of my tiers is 7×4 and is this recipe for those types of pans?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure I really understand your question or not. This recipe was written for an 8 inch cake. If you want to make a different sized cake, you’ll probably want to adjust it a bit.

  10. Terri May

    I make this cake every year for my granddaughter’s birthday, yesterday was her 6th one. Everyone loved the cake and those that couldn’t make it due to social distancing, were disappointed not to have a slice this year. I only had 9″ pans, so I made a batch and half to fill all 3 pans and it came out wonderfully.

    Thanks so much for providing so many good recipes but especially this one.

    1. Lindsay

      I used salted butter instead of adding my own salt. Feel free to use unsalted butter and add your own salt. I personally find the amount of salt in the butter to be fine in most cakes.

  11. Veena Eddie

    This cake tastes amazing. It turned out moist and perfect. Thanks for the recipe. Making more soon ! 😍

  12. Nishi

    Hi.. I had to say I LOVED THIS RECIPE!!! I mean I took a chance and made this for my kids birthday and I swear.. I couldn’t even find crumbs.. I’m waiting for ur chocolate cake recipe and a cupcake recipe! Wish I can post a pic here.. it came out so beautifully.. and stacks well too!

  13. Mercedes

    I just made this cake for a bachelorette party and it turned out amazing. It was DELICIOUS!!! I couldn’t believe it. I was scared of the batter (it was too thick and I thought i had it wrong somehow) but it was PERFECT. I used less sugar on my icing (only 9 cups) but it turned out great. I’m writing this up on my permanent recipe book for sure. THANK YOU!

  14. Amy

    I have just finished making this cake and it turned out great. Although i used margarine instead of butter (i was just too lazy to go to the store) So it came out a bit more dense than it would have if i used real butter. I will definitely be making it again because if the result was so good with margarine, it is probably to die for with butter!

  15. Rachel Marshall

    I’ve only given 4 stars as I have only just baked my first batch and don’t know what the consistency of the finished cake is like yet. It smells heavenly and the batter I snuck a lick from the bowl after panning up was delicious! I’m baking for a really large group so I used the full recipe for one layer of a 14 inch cake, and plan on making a second once my pan is freed up. I think this will be my “go to” vanilla cake as so many before me have decided. I’m excited to dig in!

  16. Carla

    I tried your vanilla cake for my nephews birthday and it was amazingly easy, delicious and has become my go to cake!  Thank you!

  17. Mariam

    Hi I want to try this recipe however I need the ratio for three 9 inch pans. Can you please tell me what the measurement would be for 9 inch cake? Thank you so much. 

    Mariam

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t usually bake 9 inch cakes, so I’m not sure of the exact baking time. You will want me to bake the layers for less time though.

  18. Teresa

    Hi Lindsay,

    I have tried some of your recipes and have loved them! Thank you! 

    In this intro/description, you mention your “other recipe for cupcakes” which one is that? I want fluffy and vanilla flavor 😊😊

  19. Corey Michelle Cakes

    This is my go-to vanilla cake…I make it for about 75% of my orders!  Super easy and always turns out delicious!  I’m making it today for a 2-year anniversary cake…After I did their wedding cake and 1st anniversary cakes, they loved it so much!

  20. kinga

    This cake looks amazing. I was wondering if you bake with true convection or just reg. bottom heat when you bake your cakes? I am noticing a huge difference when I use one or the other so I want to have the same crumb as yours. Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions.

    1. Lindsay

      I have a convection oven that I use the bake setting on. The heat source comes from the top of the oven. I hope that helps!

  21. Alyssa

    I am having trouble deciding what recipe of yours to use.. you have another recipe that’s more yellow and uses 4 eggs. What is the differences between the two?? I want a fluffy and airy cake but still moist

    1. Lindsay

      Gosh, hard to describe and I think preference really depends on the person. But I do think this cake has a tighter crumb than the Moist Vanilla Cake. If I had to guess, I’m thinking you’d probably prefer that one.

  22. Addison Bass

    I’m sad to say it but this cake was pretty bad. It tasted kind of like cornbread. It looked really good and was cooked nicely but it still was bad. I used a store bought frosting and that made it a little better.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so sorry for the trouble! There was an issue today that affected thousands of sites – mine included. It looks like it’s been resolved, so you should be able to access it here now. Sorry about that!

  23. Catherina

    Hello Lindsay. I absolutely love your blog an those wonderful recipes. There are just a few things that are difficult to buy here in Europe as shortening. Is there a substitute for shortening?

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12