Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake

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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!


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

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


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




  • 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


  • 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


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.


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.


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Recipe rating

  1. Ashley

    I loved this cake! I wanted to make it as a 13 X 9. Would you be able to tell me if you think that will work and how the bake time might change on it? Thanks!


      I haven’t made it as a 13X9 before, but I think it will work. I’m not sure about the bake time though.

  2. Rachel

    I LOVED this recipe, but do have a question regarding the icing. What kind of shortening do you use? I felt it tasted / felt like shortening if that makes sense. Everyone else seemed to like it, but I felt it was off. Although it could have just been knowing the ingredients.

    1. Anna

      I didn’t like the icing at all. Neither did anyone else that ate it, to a person they said they could really taste the shortning. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen shortening in an icing recipe and I almost thought it had to be a misprint. I’ll definitely use a different icing recipe or swap for all butter. The cake is really good! We do find it to be quite dense, feels more like a pound cake. Last time I made it I put an awesome lemon buttercream on it and it was a HUGE hit!!

  3. HK

    This cake sounds amazing and I can’t wait to make it! Thanks for sharing your recipe. How long does it keep fresh? Can I bake the day before it’s needed? Thanks ☺️

      1. Lindsay

        That depends on if you make changes/adjustments. When I use half butter/half shortening, I don’t refrigerate. If you use all butter, I would.

  4. Michelle @ My California Kitchen

    My mouth is watering! Vanilla cake is my favorite. I love having options but I am love both denser and lighter cakes. Can’t wait to try this one 🙂

  5. Beth @ bethcakes

    Such a pretty cake! It’s funny that you say “you’re only as good as your vanilla cake” because I’ve always felt weird that I don’t have a go to vanilla cake recipe. I’m totally trying this one! 🙂

  6. Mir

    I’ve been on a similar quest with the perfect chocolate cake, and the crazy thing is, I think my favorite chocolate cake has no gluten! This looks like the fluffiest vanilla cake ever. So beautiful!

    1. kim

      Can you share the recipe as I’ve been looking for the perfect gf chocolate cake. I’m planning on adapting this recipe to make gluten free.

  7. Harshada

    Hiiii Lindsay, I recently came across your blog and I’m very glad that I did!!!! You blog is as beautiful as you. You have wonderful recipes. I’m kinda new into baking and I see there’s lot to learn from you. I immediately subscribe to your website the minute I saw it. Its very clean, neat and peaceful. Thumbs up for that. I always get pleasant vibes after looking at your blog. Thank you so much and I’m definitely going to try this vanilla cake this week!!!! God bless you.


      I’m so glad you found the blog too! Thanks for signing up for emails! Just let me know if you have any questions about recipes. Enjoy!

      1. Pou

        Hi Lindsay, just saw your blog and I’m very happy that I found your blog. I love to bake cake. but my cake is dry and I’m looking for the perfect vanilla cake. I saw your cake and read your cake history. I love to try your recipe. Sorry if my English is not good. May I ask you one question, is your vanilla cake use white egg only? Thank you in advance for your answer

      2. Cat

        I bake quite often and i decided to try your recipe. I followed your steps and instructions exactly as they were said on your page. I used all the correct measurements for the batter, and even though I did this, the cake came out extremely watery. What did I do wrong?

      3. Eftihia

        HI Lindsay! I had a question, it says in the recipe to line 3-8 inch pans, however what if I only need two 6 inch cakes so i can cut them, then layer them and stack them to make it a layered cake but more than three layers…..Will the batter be too much to place them in 2 6 inch pans?

      4. Lindsay

        I don’t really make any 6 inch cakes so it’s hard for me to say. It probably depends a bit on how thick you want the cakes, but I’d imagine you won’t need all the batter.

      5. Kim Higgs

        Can I turn the cake into a 13×9 cake ? Would make 2 so I have a 2 layer 13×9 cake.  Thank you, Kim 

      6. Lindsay

        It would be hard for me to say for sure without trying it. If you’d like to try a chocolate cake though, I have this one that I love!

      7. Kianna

        Hi lifeloveandsugar I haven’t made your cake yet but I am going to today. I was wondering how big the cake ya and also why there is so much butter.Aldi why do you use salted butter instead if unsalted?

        Thank you,
        Hope you enjoy the rest of your day/ or evening!????

      8. Lindsay

        It’s an 8 inch cake. I used salted butter by choice, rather than add my own salt. But you could use unsalted and add your own salt.

      9. Avelaka

        My cake came out runny and taste like corn bread I made the batter twice and made sure my batter was as the instructions told me so. And still came out the same !!!!! I see other ppl had this problem but you are not answering them on how this could of happen ?!?

      10. Lindsay

        Avelaka – It is nearly impossible for me to know exactly why someone doesn’t get the correct result. There are so many factors. Did someone mis-measure something and not realize it? Did they mix it incorrectly? Had an ingredient gone bad? Is it the oven, altitude? SO many things. I can make possible suggestions, but I simply don’t know. Why would your cake be runny? The only thing I can think of is that it’s under baked. You want to be sure to test cakes with a toothpick before removing them from the oven so you know they are cooked through. I have made this cake dozens of times without having the result you describe. I know the recipe works. For any comment where someone was unsuccessful, there are more where people were successful. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you, but I don’t know why that is.

      11. Chipego Moonga

        Hands down, the best vanilla cake I’ve ever eaten so far. It is exactly as you titled it ‘Moist and fluffy vanilla cake’. Even the batter is delicious, tastes almost like ice and I almost never resist licking the mixing bowl afterwards. Thank so much for sharing this recipe, may God continue blessing with more and more recipe ideas 😋😋😋.

    2. Fuzzy

      I am also new in cake baking and I totally share your centiments… also that I prefer dense. This cake looks amazing.

    3. Mumtaz Amin

      Can u only use butter for the icing rather then the shortening. Can I double the butter amount for the buttercream I mean? I also wanted to know I only have 2 8inch cake pans can I wait until I bake 2 cakes and bake the remaining when I finish with pans? Thank you in advance. 

    4. Claire

      Hi this looks like a good recipie i was going to use to use it to make a rainbow cake for my best friend. Do u think the layers would hold well? Also is this a dense cake?

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