Favorite Things Birthday Cake (slice cut)

Favorite Vanilla Cake Recipe

"Everything else falls into place when you get the basics right."

- Lewis Pugh 

More and more often I get asked for my favorite layer cake recipes! I've posted this recipe often as a part of a full-cake recipe, but I'll include just the cake layer recipe itself below - this recipe is moist, rich, and perfect for stacking! 

(Recipe inspired from LivForCake, ChelSweets, and Martha Stewart's vanilla cake recipes) 

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and my posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

(scroll past instructions for scaled cake recipes) 

Favorite Things Birthday Cake (slice cut)

Favorite Vanilla Cake recipe

A cake that is rich, moist, and bakes and stacks well? Check, check, check and check! Here's my Favorite Vanilla Cake Recipe!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 37 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 368 kcal



Vanilla Cake Layers

  • 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks, room temperature)
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 eggs; or use carton egg whites to avoid wasting yolks! If you don't mind a slight yellow tint to the cake layers you can substitute 5 whole eggs.)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil


Vanilla Cake Layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round pans with baker's floured spray (or grease and line with parchment rounds).
  • Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle (or mixing bowl with a hand mixer or whisk)  until fully combined.
  • Mix room-temperature butter into the dry mix a tablespoon at at time on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large lumps of butter remain, and the mixture looks crumbly.
  • Pour in eggs and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk on low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
  • Bake for 34-37 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
  • Once the layers have fully cooled, they can be leveled and any caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. (Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled first - if these layers are cut while still warm, they may crumble or break!)



Serving: 1servingCalories: 368kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 5gFat: 14g
Keyword Best Vanilla Cake recipe, Favorite Vanilla Cake recipe, Vanilla Cake layer recipe, Vanilla Cake recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Favorite Vanilla Cake Layers (1/2 batch; makes 3 6" cake layers) 

  • 1+2/3 cups cup all-purpose flour
  • 1+½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1+1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (or 1 stick) room temperature
  • ¾ cup egg whites (about 5 eggs, or use egg whites from a carton to avoid wasting the yolks)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

(Use 6-inch instead of 8-inch pans; otherwise follow instructions as written in recipe card above) 

Favorite Vanilla Cake layers: (1.5x; makes 3 8-inch and 2 6-inch cake layers) 

  • 4 7/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 ½ cups granulated sugar
    3 3/4 t. baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter (or 3 sticks), room temperature
  • 1 ½ c egg whites (about 10 eggs, or use egg whites from a carton to avoid wasting the yolks)
  • 2 ¼ cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons cup vegetable oil

(Use 3 8-inch and 3 6-inch pans; otherwise follow instructions as written in recipe card above) 


Did you make this Vanilla Cake Layer recipe? 

Let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

You can also add a comment or a recipe rating at the bottom of the page! 🙂

62 thoughts on “Favorite Vanilla Cake Recipe

  1. After years of cake successes and flops, I m confident in this homemade vanilla cake. During my recipe testing, I combined my white cake recipe and naked cake recipe. These are two reader favorites and I knew they d be the best starting point. At first there were too many eggs and I quickly learned sifting cake flour was NOT doing any favors.

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