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

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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

549 Comments
  1. sara cruz

    I just want to say to save others from this, i made this cake choosing this recipe quickly as i was on a time crunch, i took it to my little brothers birthday party 15 people were there and every single one including myself thought this was the worst cake they had ever eaten, wow it was so terrible and since im known for baking awesome cakes this was so embarrassing for me. i made the recipe exactly as written, dont make this cake unless you can make a test cake before the event learn from my mistakes ended up throwing it away immediately.

    1. judy

      I wonder what went wrong i have made this cake 6 times and about 12 people i gave to try are obsessed. I did sift the flour and make sure to use butter not margarine.

  2. Camden

    Hello! I am baking a baby shower cake for 30 or so people, and I would love to use this recipe.

    How many slices could I get out of this recipe if we did thin slices?

    What this recipe work for a 9×13 cake pan? If so, do you have any idea what the time adjustments would be.

  3. Courtney

    Hi beautiful cake! I wanted to make this icing blue for a cake does that change the icing recipe if I add food coloring?
    Thanks

    1. Lindsay

      No it doesn’t change the recipe. I would suggest using blue gel icing color though, rather than regular food coloring. Yo’d have to add a good bit to get a nice shade of blue.

  4. Molly

    You’re like the worst person at making this cake easy!! Why did you put the ingredients & directions separate . I see what your intentions were. But as far as the whole thing goes I mights well be pulling my hair out! My daughter thinks I’m getting mad at her when really I’m getting mad that I have to slide up to see what I need then slide all the way back down to see how to do it. Why didn’t you list the ingredients then put the measurements with the directions? Or leave it as is and add the measurements to the directions upon telling what to put in what? This is literally the worst/complicating listing for a cake I’ve done!! I wanted to look for a new one but I’m already half way through .???? There’s no need in stopping now.???? I well be done with this cake next year!????

  5. Andrea

    I made this for my daughter’s 8th Birthday yesterday. OMG. I’m not usually a fan of cakes, especially cakes with frosting like this but oh my! I usually have my husband and kids sample the cake batter and frosting as I make it but after seeing their faces light up, I just had to try it. The only variation I made was using all butter (no shortening) for the frosting. This cake is now tied with our wedding cake for 1st place. Everyone raved over it (even my step-mother who is a frosting connoisseur!). Thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. Vanessa

    Hi Lindsay, I’m really excited about making this moist vanilla cake. I just want to know what kind of shortening you used and which is the best brand to buy.

    1. Lindsay

      I use Crisco. Feel free to give that a try, or to use additional butter in place of the shortening, if you prefer.

  7. Nicole

    Hi Lindsay!
    I just made this cake and it turned out amazing! But I am scared that if I put it in the fridge, it will harden and lose the fluffiness.
    Is it going to be like that or is it safe to refrigerate? Because it’s summer where I am and the cream might spoil during the night.. so I don’t really know what to do.
    Thanks in advance!
    Loving your blog!

    1. Lindsay

      Glad you’re enjoying the site! I do think that refrigerating changes the texture of the cake a bit, but if you let it come back to room temperature before serving, it should be fine.

  8. Karin

    Made this cake for a baby shower at work yesterday and people who weren’t even there are still talking about it!
    I made my own raspberry filling and used your white Chocolate ganache recipe from your Sparkling Cranberry Cake (huge hit at Christmas!). Absolutely gorgeous and delicious. Thank you for this. 2 of the best cakes I’ve ever made & will be my go-to base forever.

  9. Gabby

    Hello 🙂

    I’m really excited to try this recipe! I have a couple of questions though. 

    1. Can I use this amount of mix to fill two 5”x4” molds? And will the cake cook evenly in that type of mood?

    2. I know this may sound horrible but would it work to add cocoa powder to this recipe to make a chocolate cake with the same consistency?  Thank you so much in advance 😀

  10. Jessie

    Hi Lindsay, I have recently came across your blog, and I have always had a passion for baking. And this site has really helped me with some do’s and don’ts. I am so glad I have found this recipe for a fluffy and moist vanilla cake. I haven’t really quite mastered doing cake layers yet, and I just wanted to only make one layer. But I was wondering if the measurements with the ingredients change if I only did one cake layer? If so, how much less should I use? *Thanks in advance*

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the site! When you say one layer, do you mean one 8 inch layer? Or are you planning on making a larger cake? If just an 8 inch, I’d suggest cutting the recipe in half. You’ll have more batter in the pan, so you’ll also need to increase baking time a bit.

  11. Siang

    Hello Lindsay, your cakes look beautiful and i am planning to try out this recipe for my son’s birthday. I was wondering if you might have any advice on how far in advance can i make different parts of the recipe so that i don’t end up doing it all last minute?

    I am also planning to ice a pooh bear design on baking paper/transparency and transfering the image onto the top of the cake.

  12. Chazzaty Montero

    I made this(moist and fluffy vanilla cake) recently and I have to say your recipe is by far one the most delicious and succesful ones I’ve ever made. Your description on how it would turn out was accurate to the dot, the cake was really good and finished so fast by my brothers. It reminded us of a cake we used to buy from our favorite bakery back when we were kids. Definitely gonna make this again.

  13. Nicole

    I made the moist vanilla cupcakes last year and got the best compliment where I was asked where I got the delicious cupcakes!  I would like to make a sheet cake and was wondering if the measurements of baking times change with the moist and fluffy cake for a 9×13 sheet cake.  Thanks!

  14. Savithri

    Hi! I love your vanilla cupcakes so I’m hoping to try this recipe. One question – have you tried this in a 6 inch pan? My go to vanilla cake is finicky and only works in my 8-9 inch rounds. I’m hoping your recipe can be my go to for smash cakes!

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it in a 6 inch pan. The vanilla base of this cake is one that I use quite often though and it doesn’t seem to be finicky. You could try that one as well.

  15. alice

    can I replace cake flour instead of all purpose flour? I just purchase a large pack before reach yr recipe….will that make it less fluffily ? or less dense? and extra I should add if using cake flour

  16. Katie

    Hi, I’m in search of the perfect vanilla cake and so am planning to try this for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. This may be a silly question, but do you whisk the egg whites before adding to the mix, or just add as you would if they were whole eggs? Thanks in advance!

      1. Belinda Barnes

        Hi Lindsay. 
        I have just made your vanilla cake. I found it to be lovely when uncooked and light and fluffy. But fence and way too much butter which made it very rich and quite heavy. Could one reduce the amount of butter? Also I only made half the icing qty and still have tones left over. 

  17. Tessa Wright

    I made this cake last night for my boyfriends birthday. The icing is absolutely awful. I had never seen a recipe use shortening before but thought what the heck. I will never make that mistake again. I have never had so much difficulty making icing like I did last night. Fingers crossed the taste is better than the consistency.

  18. Holli

    Hi ya. This cake is delish. I live in France but can’t get my hands on what I think is plain flour so I’m using ‘cake flour’. So assumed to leave out the baking powder and soda. The cakes turning out a little crumbly. Can you advise what might be a solution to this given I only have cake flour. Should I still add baking powder and soda? It tastes amazing though! 

  19. Rani

    I made this cake for my daughters 3rd birthday. I used 3, 9″ cake pans. That was the only thing I did not follow on this recipe.

    I mixed everything on medium, set up a timer for the exact minutes, so as to not over mix the cake. I also made it the day before, and I followed your advice on how to smooth the cake too. This cake was pure perfection. My entire crew loved it, including the birthday girl. My mother, who doesn’t usually like buttercream, vanilla cakes- RAVED about it.

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  20. Christine Mayfield

    Cake is delicious! I used 3 pans, but maybe I tried to flip too soon (waiting 5 minutes when I normally wait 10) because the cake stuck to the pan. Ohh well, I can always just make it 2 layers or make a trifle =)

  21. sisca

    Hi, i’m wondering if i use the exact measure of this recipe and i only want to make a two layer cake, what size of bigger pans should i use? thankyou.

  22. Mariam

    Hello…wishing you all the very best on your journey to motherhood. I am in South Africa..is it ok to use cake flour as i have never seen all purpose flour….and by the way i just LOVE your website. Thank you for sharing your beautiful recipes

  23. Jane

    WOW! I have searched for years for a vanilla cake that was moist enough for my taste, and my search has ended! This is hands-down the best vanilla cake I have ever had the pleasure of baking. The edges are crunchy and flavourful while the middle is moist and fluffy. The texture AND flavour are both perfect. I can’t thank you enough. My daughters’ birthday party will feature this fantastic cake on Sunday.

  24. Mandy

    Hi Lindsay,

    I tried your recipe tonight. What should the batter consistency be like? I am used to a ‘wet’ batter, but this one was almost whipped, I suppose from all the butter. I used an 8×3 Wilton pan, but ended up using some of the batter for cupcakes as it was too much for the pan. As the cake is cooling now, the middle has sunk quite a bit, and the edges are hard. I’m an experienced baker, so I’m wondering if this is normal for the recipe, or if it’s possible that I did something wrong. I know you can’t tell without seeing it in person, just hoping my description is enough to give you something to go on.

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Mandy, it sounds like you used one cake pan for all the cake batter. Is that correct? If so, that’d be the problem. The recipe is written with 3 pans, but at the least would need to use two. One pan is going to be very thick and cook unevenly, which would be why you got the result you did.

      1. Mandy

        Thank you for replying! It was a single pan, but it is 3″ high, and meant to replace having to use two or three single-layer pans. The cake is then torted instead of stacked. I also used some batter for cupcakes so the pan wasn’t overflowing.

        Curious about my consistency question, though. Was my “whipped” result correct? That’s how it finished before putting it to bake.

      2. Lindsay

        Yes, I understand torting cakes, but this still won’t bake well all in one pan. Normally in my experience, you’d still bake at least two cake layers and then torte those into 4 layers.

        And yes, it’s very light batter. You could probably describe it as “whipped”.

  25. Anastasia Papaioanou

    Hello! I tried the vanilla fluffy cake recipe and it worked fine! However, the 350 for 30-33 minutes did not work for me. I ended up baking the cakes for almost an hour, at 30 minutes the cakes were still watery. It might of been the tins I used but I just wanted to give a heads up for future reference!

  26. Katy montoya

    I am looking for a recipe for my son’s 4th birthday. He is allergic to eggs and has not really had cake before. We’ve tried a few recipes here and there with different egg replacer options, but nothing has been super delicious.  I recently purchased a product called Ener-G. It’s made from potato starch and tapioca flour. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions to make this an eggless recipe for my little guy? Thanks!!! 

  27. Brad

    Hi Lindsay,

    I like the sound of this cake but I need to make a 12inch round. Do you think the recipe will be enough or should I double it etc.

    I’ve already tried a different recipe that I doubled and it didn’t turn out well. Any advice would be great. Thanks!!

  28. Belinda

    Hi Lindsay,

    Will this cake be sturdy enough to put fondant over it?
    And if so, how far in advance can I bake the cake without it becoming dry?

  29. Jenny

    Hi Lindsay, thank you for the recipe. I made 2 times already. One for my birthday I used 2x 8 inch round pans. I always use parchment paper on the bottom of the pans so it will slide out easily after bake.
    Then I made 37 cupcakes for my son’s Lacrosse party. I made vanilla creamcheese buttercream.
    Its great combination. For my 8 inch cake, i made 2 layers.
    Your cake is so moist and tasty. Everyone loves it. Thank you so much . Too bad I can’t post my cake pictures here.

  30. Melodie

    This cake is wonderful love it, but I would like to bake it in a 14″ round pan and dense it up a little what would I do to do this?

  31. Dei

    Hello! I am baking a cake for a baby shower and I did a test of this recipe tonight and it didn’t turn out! I did half the batch to limit the amount of cake I have sitting at home. Could this be the reason why? I also split the batter between an 8″ pan and a 6″ pan. The cakes didn’t bake all the way through and the edges rised a lot quicker and are hard. I had the cakes in longer than the 30-35 minute bake time and they are still underbaked. Any ideas? Was it because I halved the recipe? Thanks in advance!

    1. Lindsay

      I wouldn’t think it be because of halving the recipe. It sounds like it didn’t bake evenly. You could try using bake even strips. They prevent the outside of the pan from baking too much faster than the inside of the pan.

      1. Dei

        Thank you for your respond! I did try this again and made a cake and a batch of cupcakes and they turned out perfectly. The cake and frosting were delicious! It was definitely a hit. Thank you for you help and suggestion. I believe my problem was the mixing, I was using the wrong speed on my kitchaid mixer, rookie mistake!

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