Best Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

I’ve tried several white cake bases, and have found a few that I liked. However, this vanilla cake recipe blows them all out of the water!! It’s delicious, moist, and best of all, it keeps its shape!

This recipe is a butter cake recipe, and not a sponge cake recipe. This is important to note, because it has a denser texture than a fluffy sponge cake. It also means that you don’t have to worry about whipping up egg whites, or carefully folding in dry ingredients.

In fact, this recipe is so easy to make, I call it a fool-proof recipe! My vanilla cake recipe comes together in one bowl! The butter and buttermilk in the recipe give it an amazing taste. I now use this as my go to white cake base recipe, and color or flavor it as needed.

My vanilla layer cake recipe, stacked and ready to be frosted!

The Secret Ingredient: Buttermilk

What is the secret ingredient to this recipe?? BUTTERMILK! I don’t know what is is, but I’m absolutely crazy about buttermilk. I love baking with it, and use it in most of my cake recipes! It makes such tender cake layers, and adds so much moisture! It also gives my cakes a delicious tang.

While buttermilk can be found in most grocery stores, some parts of the country or foreign countries don’t sell it! If you’re having a hard time getting your hands on buttermilk, don’t worry.

You can make your own buttermilk! For each cup of buttermilk that the recipe calls for, use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to fill 1 cup. You also can use plain, low-fat yogurt as an equal substitute, cup for cup!

Making Layers Ahead of Time

One of the best things about this recipe is how easy it is to make. This entire recipe can be made in one bowl. I’m a big fan of one bowl recipes, or anything that helps reduce the amount of dishes I have to do! Another great part about this recipe is that the layers keep insanely well!

These layers can be made in advance, and can be stored in the freezer for several weeks if properly wrapped! If you do plan to freeze them, be sure to either place them in an airtight container, or wrap them tightly in saran wrap.

Coloring Your Cake Layers

If you want your cake layers to be a super vibrant color, I highly recommend using gel food coloring. Liquid food coloring can work too, but you won’t be able to get as strong of a color. You also can throw off the consistency of the vanilla cake batter if you add too much liquid food coloring.

Gel food coloring is incredibly concentrated, so it allows you to use less. A tiny drop will create beautiful, bright colors like the ones in my Peeps cake below! It also is thicker, and will not change the consistency of the cake batter. My favorite brand of gel food coloring is Americolor, but any brand will work.

IMG_7391 (2)

How To Bake Flat Cake Layers

Another fantastic aspect of this cake? It bakes super flat! This is mainly due to the way the recipe is formulated. I also like to rotate my cake layers half way through baking. This helps ensure that the hot spots in my oven don’t cause any sides of my cake layers to bake higher than the others.

Another trick to bake flat cake layers is to wrap wet baking strips around your cake pans! Believe it or not, I have a mini oven and can barely fit 4 cake pans in my oven! I’ve found that baking strips don’t really work for me since my pans are so close to the edges of my oven.

However, you all have let me know that in a standard oven, baking strips work great with this recipe! Baking strips reduce the amount of caramelization around the sides of the cake layers, and also help them bake flat.

Trimming and Torting Cake Layers

If you want to completely remove any caramelization from your cake layers, you can use a serrated knife to clean them up! I like to trim my cake layers for my cake videos, to help the vibrant colors of my cake layers shine through.

If you do decide to trim your cake layers once they’re baked, be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. The layers will fall apart if you try to cut them while they’re still warm.

You can also level your cake layers, by trimming off the top of each layer. This makes it easier to built a straight, level cake! While this is by no means necessary, it can be an important step if you’re building a tiered cake.

Another option with this recipe is to torte your cake layers! Torting cake layers means you cut them horizontally, to create multiple layers. I like doing this, because it creates an amazing cake to frosting ratio. A great example of torted cake is my snowflake cake.

Below is a video showing exactly how I trim and level my cake layers.

Recipe Notes:

  • This recipe is adapted from Kara’s Couture Cakes, and can be found below.
  • One batch can be used to make three, eight inch cake layers, or four, seven-inch cake layers
  • If you want to make a cake with 6 inch cake layers using this recipe, I recommend making 2/3 of a batch of batter
  • I do NOT recommend using this recipe to make cupcakes! What makes this cake recipe amazing is that it bakes flat, which cause it to make terrible cupcakes! They stick to liner and don’t rise enough. If you want to make vanilla cupcakes, I highly recommend using my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe.

If you try this recipe, please tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations!

Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword vanilla layer cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 36 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 seven inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (416 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (13 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (5 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) - 2 sticks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (9 grams)
  • 1 cup egg whites (or about 7 egg whites) (244 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (360 grams)
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)
  • gel food coloring (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a 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. 

  5. If desired, add in gel food coloring. Mix the batter on a low speed, scrapping the sides and bottom of the bowl part way through. Mix until the batter is evenly colored.

  6. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

  7. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Recipe Notes

Once the layers have fully cooled, I sometimes like to trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife. While these layers bake pretty flat, sometimes I’ll also trim the top of the layers too if I’m working a super special partnership 🙂

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592 thoughts on “Best Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

      1. So, I ended up making 1.5x the recipe but it was too much. It didn’t even come close to fitting in the mixing bowl so i had to split it into 2 batches at the last minute, which was a pain but luckily worked out fine. And then the cake was way too tall so I had to trim the layers anyway lol. Next time I’ll definitely stick to the recipe without increasing it at all! The biggest problem was that it was so good and my boyfriend and I couldn’t stop eating all of the cake i had to trim off….

      1. ah so sorry! brain fart!!! Yes, 227 grams! just updated the recipe!!! for some reason I was calculating the entire box of butter!

  1. Hi Chels! First off I absolutely LOVE all your videos on YouTube and Instagram, I literally check it daily lol. I love to bake cakes for friends and family and I get so many cool ideas! But I was wondering how did you color the cakes, I mean I know to add the food coloring to it. But I was told to pour the batter immediately and start baking or else it will turn clumpy and not bake correctly. So did you mix the coloring while it was in the baking pan, or you put it aside? Just curious….thank you!

    1. You’re too sweet 🙂 I color my cake batter by dividing it into individual bowls, then coloring with gel food coloring (I use americolor). I have never had any problems with clumping or it incorrectly baking! I have even refrigerated colored batter, then baked the following day and had no issues. However, I usually bake the batter right after coloring. Hope that helps 🙂

  2. I just found you on youtube, and I love your stuff! I want to make this cake and was wondering something…I’ve always heard to use cake flour for best results. Does it matter in this recipe? Would plain all-purpose flour be ok? Thanks!

    1. Cake flour does result in a tender cake with a very light texture, but all-purpose flour cakes can also turn out great if you use the right recipes! They also stand up better to thick, american buttercream, which is my frosting of choice. I always use all-purpose flour 🙂

  3. Do you frost your cakes the same day you bake, or do you do it the next day? My same day cakes seem to fall apart when I frost (too fresh?)

    1. I do both! Depends on the situation, number of cakes I’m making, tiers, etc. Either way, I always free my layers before frosting them! It makes it so much easier to frost 🙂 Hope that helps!

  4. Hi. How many layers is this recipe for? How do you adjust it for larger layers?
    Thanks much. Enjoyed your winter wonderland cake video.

  5. Hi, would you be able to make this recipe into cupcakes? If so how many would it yield? Thank you for your time

  6. Hi! i believe i only have 9″ cake pans- would it be okay to maybe make 3 layers using the 9″ pans?

  7. First off, let me say that I never, ever leave reviews. But after trying this cake I just HAD to. I’ve been looking for a go-to vanilla cake recipe for years and I was hesitant to try this because of the 7″ pans and all the egg whites. Silly, right? Well I made this recipe last night and had the cake today…10/10 recommend!!! Hands down the BEST vanilla cake I’ve ever had. I made a three layer 8″ and also a three layer 10″ cake (I did 1.5 recipes for the 10″) and it came out perfectly for both! I made the cake for two different wedding showers and everyone RAVED about them! I love how moist and smooth (weird adjective for a cake) the texture is. And the flavor is perfect. I was and am still blown away! Thank you for this recipe!!!

    1. Aww so happy to hear that!! I also used to always avoid recipes with egg whites, but this recipe is worth it! Happy that you love this recipe as much as I do 🙂

  8. Hi again! Just a quick question- I’m making a neapolitan cake and wanted to use this cake recipe but I’m looking for a strawberry taste for just one of the layers; could I divide the batter and substitute in a few teaspoons of strawberry extract in for vanilla to get that flavor? Or do you recommend finding a completely different cake recipe for a strawberry layer? Thanks!!

  9. Hi! Love your videos! I’m from Kyrgyzstan and I don’t understand what “a cup” means. How much gr is in one cup. Can you please write in grams how much flour, sugar and butter do I need for this recipe. Thank you.

  10. Hey Chelsea, does your quantity for your recipe for American buttercream recipe is enough to frost a layered cake and then do rosettes to cover it? Or should I double the recipe? Thanks!

  11. Hey Chelsea, have you had success with halving this recipe for only 2x 8inch cake layers? Making a four layer cake this weekend, but they want two flavors (vanilla and strawberry), so I am plan on separating each of the two layers with a cake board for two different choices of cake flavor in one cake.

    1. Unfortunately the only cake batter itself that I’ve flavored strawberry involved strawberry jello! I wasn’t a huge fan, so I didn’t share it. A good strawberry cake is on my to-do list this summer one berries are back in season!

      1. I was going to ask the same question. I’ve made strawberry cake quite a few times and I blend down strawberries into puree and one recipe said to add a packet of strawberry jello which I didn’t care for either, so I used strawberry pudding mix and liked that much better. If I use your vanilla cake recipe (which I LOVED), where should I substitute the purée in?

    1. Yes! That’s actually what I normally use! I hate wasting yolks, and it’s so much easier to just pour out a cup of egg whites than separating all the eggs 🙂

  12. Have you tried a recipe for a lemon cake? I haven’t tried your Vanilla yet but plan to this weekend! From all the rave reviews I’m sure it will be amazing!

  13. I just made this cake in three 9 inch rounds and it was perfection😋😁btw I have never made a 3 layer cake I usually do cupcakes. Wish I could post a pic of it

  14. Hi!
    I was wondering how long you let your frozen cake layers thaw before frosting them? And if they are still cold, once they are frosted, do water droplets “sweat” ever form on the frosting or crumb coat?

    1. I usually let them sit for about 20 minutes. The frosting is at room temperature, so once I”m done frosting the cake is slightly chilled, but not cold enough to sweat. hope that helps!

  15. I found this cake slightly heavy and dense. Is that normal or is there a way to make it lighter while keeping it level. Everyone loved this recipe!!

    1. It is more dense than a sponge cake! You can try to mix the batter on high at the end, to incorporate more air into it! This can help make it slightly less dense. Hope that helps!

    1. My pans are usually 2 inches tall, and usually 7 or 8 inches in daimeter. I think they would probably fit in your pans but i’m not 100% sure! I’d just be sure not to fill them too full! and I’d make at least 4 layers, if not 6!

    1. I used it to make two rectangular sheet cakes that were about 10×14 inches. So I think it would work for 12×15, but it would make a super thick layer! Maybe don’t use all the batter if it looks like it’ll be too thick! I usually fill my pans about 1 inch high. Hope that helps!

      1. Great!. Thank you!.
        Also what brand of butter do you use in your buttercream to get it white?

  16. Hi Chelsea, I was wondering if I can replace egg with milk in this recipe? If not, then what would you suggest to be a good substitute for eggs?

  17. Hi Chelsey, I’m actually making my wedding cake and would LOVE to try this recipe. I was just a little nervous about doing the different layers since they are bigger than the 7 or 8 inch rounds. I think we are going to do 12 10 and 8 inch rounds. Would I need to increase the batter by just half or how would you suggest doing this??

      1. It looks like double works for 1 12″ pan so that was perfect. LOVE the cake though! Thanks so much (:

  18. Stupid question — should I bake each layer one at a time or should all 4 go in the oven together?

  19. I am looking to make a birthday cake for my friend this weekend. She is wanting a lemon cake with a chiffon/berry filling. Have you made this as a lemon cake before? Also are you familiar with Ermine frosting?

    1. Yes, by adding some lemon zest and lemon extract! But it’s a pretty dense cake layer that is nothing like chiffon! I always just use American buttercream!

  20. I’m looking in to purchasing cake pans but can’t afford a lot, do you prefer 4 8″ pans for most of your cakes using this recipe or 4 7″? Also, how many 6″ pans would you recommend someone having? And if you were to do a 3 teir wedding cake what dimension of pans would you recommend? Also do you have a favorite place to purchase them? Thank you!

  21. Hi Chelsea! I’m planning on making this recipe next week, as well as your American Buttercream. I want to make them cinnamon flavoured. Should I replace the vanilla with cinnamon, or add both cinnamon AND vanilla?
    Thanks!
    P.S. Love you live streams and vids! Can’t wait to try this recipe out.

  22. Hello!
    Mine didn’t come out flat. The middle rose and the sides were in the same place it started. Suggestions?

      1. Hello!
        I used the balloon attachment, not the one in the video. I don’t think my food processor came with that attachment.
        I also cooked at 180 degrees not 190 which 375 degrees Fahrenheit converts too. I really don’t think 10 degrees difference should matter though?
        Thank you though for your response. I will try again and maybe see if it’s my oven as every cake I make always rises like that.

  23. Hi chlesea!
    Could you use this recipe to make chocolate cake, and instead take out some flour and replace with cocao

  24. Hi Chelsey!

    Will this recipe work if I just cut everything in half? I think I just want to make a shorter two layer cake instead of the four layers because I know a lot of it would go to waste.

    Thanks in advance!

  25. Hi Chelsea! I never leave reviews but I just wanted to comment and say this is the first time I’ve made vanilla cake and frosting from scratch that I actually thought was better than boxed cake mix. I’ve been so discouraged because every recipe I’ve tried has resulted in a dense, dry and crumbly cake and I didn’t see the point of making cakes from scratch. Your recipe came out amazing, thanks!! I love your website and Facebook page!

  26. Hi Chelsea

    I have made Kara’s cake recipe and it was great except it came out a little more dense than I would like for a regular cake(not sculpted). What does adding buttermilk do to the recipe that’s different?

    1. It makes the cake slightly more dense, and gives it a bit more flavor! I actually do us this for all my cakes, including sculpted cakes, which is why I like it 🙂

  27. Hi Chels! Would this recipe work well for a 4- tier cake? Just want to make sure it holds up with stacking multiple tiers! Thank you!

  28. Hi Chels…
    As I’ve told you before, I loveeee your work! I am looking for a cake recipe that I can use under fondant. Can I use this one?

    Thanks… Sheila

  29. First, I love your site, recipes, and videos! Thank you for the inspiration! Second, I understand freezing the layers before and during frosting/decorating. My question is how do you store your decorated cake before serving? I’d like to bake my layers 2 days before serving and decorate 1 day before serving. Thanks again!!

    1. I usually just place the box in my fridge, uncovered! I have a cake fridge, so I don’t really worry about covering it! The buttercream locks in all the moisture!

  30. Hi Chelsea! Just wondering if baking this recipe in 2 tins and for longer, would it still turn out? And then slicing them in half to get the four layers? Thanks! 🙂

  31. Made this for a semi-naked cake and got rave reviews! I was so excited to see how even/flat all the layers were when it was cut into. I’ve never had a cake look so uniform on the inside! Thanks 🙂 This will be my go-to vanilla cake recipe now.
    Also, I know you love your American buttercream but if you’re looking for something with less sugar this is amazing! It’s light and fluffy and I would never have guessed it until I tried it.
    http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/thate28099s-the-best-frosting-ie28099ve-ever-had/

  32. Would this recipe work for a sheet cake? I’m needing to make a 12 x 18 sheet cake and just wondering if I could use this but double or triple the original recipe.

  33. Do you place your cakes in the freezer or fridge once cooled on the backing rack before decorating. Watching your videos your cakes look like they barley have crumbs and recently the ones i have baked are almost falling apart and pure crumbs on the side with no “crust” and VERY hard to decorate. Also what kind of pans do you use?

    1. I do freeze my cake layers fully, and let them thaw for about 20 minutes before frosting. It
      makes it WAY easier to frost! Mine form a pretty solid crust on the sides, I use wilton and fat daddio’s pans!

  34. Hi Chelsweets! Greeting from Malaysia 🇲🇾 😁

    I have a few questions regarding this cake;
    1) would it be okay if at the end of the mixing process, the granulated sugar hasn’t been dissolved at all?
    2) i only have two 8″ pans at the moment. But i want to make a 4 coloured rainbow cake. Is it okay if i bake the first two colours and just let the remaining uncook batter aside during the baking?

    1. yes! The sugar doesn’t dissolve, but the batter should me smooth / fully mixed. Yes, you can bake the two layers first, and leave the batter out until you are able to bake it in the next batch!

  35. It’s the best vanilla cake recipe I have ever made – and I’ve done a lot. Can’t thank you enough! Used it for my daughter’s unicorn birthday cake and she loved it! Wish I could send you a picture. Thanks again for sharing!

  36. Hi, I made this cake the other day and absolutely loved it, best recipe I have used by far. Would it be possible to use this recipe for cupcakes or am I best to use your vanilla cupcake recipe??

    1. So happy to hear that! sadly what makes it a great cake recipe (baking flat) makes it a terrible cake recipe! I highly recommend using my classic vanilla cupcake recipe instead 🙂

  37. Hi, Chelsweets! I have a quick question, I can never get my batter even in my baking pans. I only bake using 6 x 3 size pans. Do you have any suggestions on how much batter i should use in a 6×3 pan OR 8 inch cake pans as I would like my cakes to be even .

    1. I usually just scoop that batter in the pans one spatula at a time! I add one scoop to each pan, then repeat until I have used all the batter! Doing that I usually end up with equal amounts of batter in my pans!

  38. Hi Chelsea
    I plan on making this tomorrow with 2 9 in rounds and a few cupcakes with the rest of the batter. I just bought a new box of cake flour I’d like to use. Do I need to adjust the amount or anything to do so? Also I maybe have a 1/3 cup of buttermilk left can I use soured milk for the rest the recipe calls for? hank you in advance so much!

    1. I’m not sure what soured milk is, but I’d recommend just using a bit of regular milk if you don’t have enough buttermilk! I’ve never made this recipe with cake flour. It will definitely change the texture of the cake though, and I’m not sure if it will turn out! I highly recommend just using regular flour!

      1. Thank you it’s currently in the oven. Soured milk is a version of homemade buttermilk. I use 1 TBSP vinegar/lemon to 1 cup of milk.
        Thank for the info.

  39. Hi Chelsea!! Greetings from México!!!
    I tried these recipe today, and it was delicious. I have tried almost 6 different recipes, and this one is really delicious, the best of all the recipes a have tried. I have been looking for my go to vanilla recipe for cupcakes and cakes for a long time, and it has been quite difficult!!!
    I made cupcakes with the left batter, only to see how they turn out, but cupcakes didn´t make a big dome and some cupcakes sink in the middle , the flavor was delicious but not the appearence. I saw that you have a go to vanilla cupcake recipe (only using oil), so I would like to know if you recomend this recipe only for layer cakes and the other one for cupcakes??? I hope you can help me.

    1. Definitely only use this recipe for cakes! it’s great because it bakes flat, and that’s also why it makes TERRIBLE cupcakes! I highly recommend my classic vanilla cupcake recipe instead if you want to make cupcakes 🙂

  40. Hi Chealsea, just wondering if this makes a moist but sturdy cake when cut into coffee/dessert servings or if it is a soft cake that may fall apart easy when sliced. Loving your chocolate cupcakes btw, they’re so good! & thank you for being a baker that will answer questions when you can.

    1. it’s definitely not as sturdy as a sponge cake, but it should be easy enough to slice through! My cakes are usually slightly chilled when I cut into them, which makes it easier to slice!

  41. I want to make two layers with 8 inch pans and two additional layers that are in 6 inch pans. Will this recipe work in the 6 in pan as well?

  42. Hi Chelsea! I love your cakes and wanted to try your receipt. I’ve made it a couple times now and the middle always falls. Do you have any tips that might work to prevent it? The cake tastes great I just can layer them. Thank you

  43. So made this recipe today and I think I failed. I halfed the recipe to make it in two 8 inch pans….. the cakes came out pretty flat. I sifted the flour….could that have been it? I’m going to try again

    1. On the other hand I made the buttercream and it’s amazing!!! My son was watching the video and telling me the steps. He’s 4 and loves your videos!!

    2. The whole point of this recipe is that it bakes flat!? That way you don’t have to waste tons of cake by trimming off huge domes. This isn’t a sponge cake recipe, its a denser, buttermilk based cake!

  44. Hi chels! Im dying to do this cake but I have a question: the flour is All Purpose?
    I live in Panamá, very humid climate and I dont know if I should use a special type of flour.
    Thank u!

      1. could you link me to your Wine Glass Spill cake? I want to make it for my mom’s birthday and can’t find your instructions

  45. Do you happen to have a high-altitude version of this recipe? I live in Denver and cake recipes usually turn out pretty dry!! 🙁 thank you!

    Shelby

    1. I don’t, but I’ve been told by other people who live in high altitude areas that it turns out great! It’s a super moist cake, which is why I think it works!

  46. Hi Chelsey! Love your Instagram and all your videos!
    I’m planning on making your vanilla cake for the first time this week and I’m really excited after seeing all these good reviews on it, especially since it’s important to me that the cake is moist and stays moist. Just wondering if you ever tried using egg whites from eggs instead of from the carton and if you ever felt that there was a difference?

    Part of me is afraid that using egg whites from the carton might prevent the cake from rising enough (since for meringues and smbc, I’ve been advised to not use carton egg whites) so I’ve never tried it for a cake!

    Would love to hear your response~

    -From a fellow New Yorker!

  47. Hi Chelsea , love your recipes , I’m wanting to do this recipe for an engagement cake that would be two tiers , would this work for a 9 or 10 inch for the bottom tier ? Or would there not be enough ingredients ; any advice would be much appreciated ! Thank you

  48. I have been using this recipe for a very long time. I love it but I ran into a problem is there any way I can make the cake less dense? I have some clients who don’t like the texture.

    Instead of mixing the butter with the flour Can I cream the butter and sugar first

  49. I haven’t made this cake yet but I would very much like to. I was wondering if you use planning flour or self-raising flour. Also, what would happen if I used ordinary milk instead of buttermilk.
    Thankyou in advance!

  50. Also, I have made many vanilla cake recipes before and they have never rised that well, how do you get it to rise so much or is it just the recipe?
    Thankyou!

  51. Hey Chelsea. Great videos. Going to be trying your vanilla cake for the first time. I’ve been measuring out the ingredients and then confirming their weight ( scooping the flower into the measuring cup so it doesn’t compact ), but it doesn’t seem accurate to the gram weight that you have listed next to your ingredients. Can you confirm the weights in your measurements are accurate?

    1. If you’re in the US, I would focus on the cup measurements provided. I added in the grams for international bakers who don’t have US cup measures. However, the weight should be accurate, as a lot of people have made this recipe using them and the cake turned out great! Hope that helps. Thanks!

  52. Great recipe! If I wanted to make this recipe in a 3-layer 12″ cake, how much should I multiply the recipe by? Thanks in advance!

    1. I approach this considering the area/ volume of a pan. if the area of a circle is πr2, and the recipe makes 4 8 inch layers which are about 1 inch thick, that’s about 201 cubic inches. For 3 12 inch pans, that’s 339 cubic inches. I’d recommend doubling the recipe. and either making the layers slightly thicker, or using the extra batter for a different project. hope that helps!

  53. Hey Chelsea! I’m looking to make a 2 tier cake with either 7″, 8″, or 9″ pans for the bottom layer. What size would you recommend using for the top layer so the tiers look proportional? Thanks!! I’ll be using your cake recipe!

    1. sadly you can’t! what makes this such a great layer cake recipe makes it a terrible cupcake recipe!!! The cupcakes bake super flat and stick to the liners. My cupcake recipe also uses buttermilk, and i think it also tastes great, so i recommend trying that <3

      1. Would you add your choc recipe to your vanilla? Or the other way around? Youre choc recipe is more liquid than the vanilla-Im just concerned it wont look right- thank you for your help! Love your site and ig!!

  54. I am looking for a good yellow cake to use for decorating and I LOVE tall cakes. However, I struggle with the outside rim baking before the middle, resulting in a dry cake. I usally put simple syrup on my cakes but I really want to figure out how to fix this issue. Do you have any tips on how to bake thick cake layers without them drying out? Thanks!

    1. it really comes down to the cake recipe you’re using! No matter what, the sides of a cake layer will always bake first! but if the cake is dry and it’s a sponge cake base, simple syrup is a great way to add moisture! I don’t add simple syrup to mine, as it’s a butter cake base that’s pretty moist and is denser than a sponge cake!

  55. I love your cakes!!! I’ve learned most of what I know from you :). I’m baking a cake for 40 people to be served at a restaurant . Advice on how big and how many layers?

    1. Oh geeze! really depends on your expected serving sizes! I’d make two batches of this cake batter, and that should feed 40! You can either make 10 inch cake layers, or do a 2 tiered cake! Best of luck, and happy baking <3

      1. Thanks Chelsey 🙂 I just pulled out my 10 in baking pans before i read your response. About to start. I’m thinking of doing 4 layers of 10in cake using 2 batches of this recipe?

  56. Can I only make a two layer cake with this recipe? Just starting with the whole learning how to decorate cakes and would like to possibly start small.

      1. Thank you! Chelsey! I will be testing it out in the morning, it’s my husband’s birthday tomorrow!

  57. Can I use this recipe for cupcakes? Love the taste of this cake but don’t know how long to bake for cupcakes.

  58. I’m looking for a recipe for a coconut cake and wondered if I could adapt your vanilla cake recipe as I use this all the time and love it – it also stands decorating with fondant… what would you recommend?

    1. I’d recommend adding 1 Tbsp coconut extract to both the cake and the frosting 🙂 I’ve done it before, and also added some toasted coconut between the layers.

  59. I love the flavor so much, and the recipe was so easy, but I found my first attempt to be too dense(almost snapped my cake leveler). Is there any way you’d recommend to make it less dense?

  60. Hi,

    I’m making a giant cupcake and regular size ones as well. Any recommendations for chocolate cake and cupcakes?

  61. Is there any way to make it less dense? I love the flavor, but I found mine too difficult to cut into

  62. I have made this cake several times and like it but was wondering about the amount of sugar. I’ve never made a recipe that had almost equal amounts of flour and sugar. 3 cups of sugar sounds high..have you ever tried it with less?

    1. I haven’t, but other people have tried it with a bit less sugar and said it still turned out! Let me know if you do modify it, i’d love to hear how it turns out!

  63. Is there a way I can turn this into a strawberry champagne cake? Sub in gelatin or puree somewhere for the strawberry and champagne for liquid?

    1. exactly! i’d swap mayb 3/4 of a cup of buttermilk for champagne, add in a packet of strawberry jello in place of about 1/2 cup of sugar, and add in a tiny bit of strawberry puree! The champagne can make the batter curdle initially, but it will come back together as you stir 🙂

  64. Love this recipe! Nice even layers ! I’ve made it before in 8 inch pans. If I bake this recipe in 4 x 6inch pans do you think it’ll be okay?? I’ll bake them for longer at 320degrees.

  65. Hey Chel,

    I love this recipe however do you know how I can make mini tall 4″ cakes? Can I use this recipe? Thanks!

  66. Hi Chelsweets! 🙂
    I quartered this recipe so I could test it out as I am doing a wedding cake for my brother-in-law and his wife. They requested a semi-naked style cake and you have wonderful recipes and tutorials for this! When I baked it, the sides failed to get brown. Maybe it’s because I quartered it and it’s not as accurate? I used an 8″ Nordic ware cake pan. Do you think I should try using a 7″ like you do and possibly just halfing the recipe?

    1. That’s crazy, I’ve never had that happen before! Did you bake then for the full 35 minutes?? I’ve never quartered the recipe, but I have halved it and it worked fine! So maybe try that next, hopefully it’ll work! Happy baking 🙂

    1. it will! I use it to make 2 half sheet layers. you have to increase the bake time though, so i recommend lowering the temperature about 25 degrees to help with the browning!

  67. I am using 10″ x 2″ pans. Do I need to increase the batter that I make for this size pan? In other words, do I need more than 1 recipe for 2 of these pans?
    Thanks

      1. I tried doing 2 recipes with the first 2 cakes I baked and ended up making a dozen cupcakes – which is not necessarily a bad thing! The next 2 layers, I did 1 1/2 recipe and it worked fine.

  68. Hi! I was wondering how many batches of your cake recipe you typically use. Your cakes seem to always be 4 layers and a decent height. 8” pans I’m assuming?

  69. Hi,
    This recipe sounds delicious, thanks for sharing it. Any idea on how it’ll hold up as a 3-tier semi naked cake? I’ll make a 6″, 8″, and 10″ x 4″ height tiers, but want to make sure that the weight will hold up using the standard wooden dowels and cakeboards for support.
    Thanks!

      1. I did a test run on this cake today and I can’t express how impressed I am. The cake looks perfect, crusts beautifully, and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted! I’m over the moon. My husband also loved it. THANK YOU so much Chelsweets!

  70. Hi! I am planning to use your recipe, but instead of 8″ pans I’m going to be using 9″. Will it still make 4 layers and will the temp and cook time need to be adjusted? Thanks!

    1. I’d recommend making 3 layers, so that they’re a decent height and not too think! You will need to bake them slightly longer, but keep an eye on them!

  71. Hi !
    first i want to thank you for all your recipes and your teaching methods..
    i want to ask can i use regular milk instead of the buttermilk in the (BEST VANILLA LAYER CAKE RECIPE)

  72. Hi!! I was wondering what the adjustments would be for high altitude? I’m at about 4500 and newly here from the ocean so I’m finding all my recipes need various tweeking…

    1. I’ve actually heard that this recipe works well at high elevations! I would try it as is! it’s a buttermilk cake recipe so it’s on the denser side of the cake spectrum.

  73. I made a version of the recipe with all ingredients halved:
    • 1.5 cups + 2tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter or 1 sticks, room temperature

    • 1/2 cup egg whites

    • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp cup vegetable oil

  74. Hi just found your site, I love, love the site!!!!!, I only have 2 7-inch pans, would it be better for me to invest in buying 2 more 7-inch pans and bake all 4 layers at one time? can i reserve the cake batter for the other 2 layers while the first 2 layers are baking?

    1. You can do either! The batter is best when baked immediately, but if it sits for a half hour while the first two layers bake, it still bakes up fine! 🙂

      1. Thanks!!!!, i made the cake for my daughters birthday, i made the batter according to the recipe. I divided it in two 9-inch pans and baked for about 5-8 minutes longer, came out perfect. Then I half the second batter i made and it was just enough for a single layer, baked the same way. This cake was a HUGE HIT!!!!, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. no! It bakes very flat, which is great for making layer cake, but terrible for cupcakes. It also sticks to the liners. I have a vanilla cupcake recipe up that’s great, and I recommend using that instead 🙂

  75. I’m going to be making BB8 cake. I have a 13 inch round and 10 inch round. Will 2 batches of your white cake work? They will be 1 layer cakes. I think I will need 16 cups of batter. Thank you!

    1. 1 batch of my cake batter makes 4, 8 inch layers that are about 1 inch tall, so based on the area of a circle (pie x radius squared), I think you’d need closer to 4 batches!! 13 inch layers are huge!

  76. Hi! I love your YouTube videos and I ended up here! I want to make a two tiered cake (for around 50 people) with this recipe, I have an 8″ and 6″ tins, how many layers? Three/four each?
    Enough with two batches?
    Thinking about your buttercream for a seminaked cake, should be enough with your recipe for everything or I need to change something?
    Thank you so much!

    1. I usually make my tiered cake with 3 layers, but if you want to feed 50 people I’d recommend making 4 layers of each size! two batches of cake will def be enough to make the layers! since you’re making two tiers, you’ll probably need about 2 batches of frosting if you’re making it semi- naked! Hope that helps, happy baking!!

  77. Does the baking and pan sizes work the same with the chocolate version of this? How many 10 x 2 inch cakes ( the cake actually being 2 inches tall) could you make with one batch? How long and how high temperature would you have to bake it at? Thank you.

  78. If baking this in smaller round cake pans like 6in and 4in what would you recommend the baking time and oven temp to be?

      1. Thank you so much!
        Do you have a sponge cake recipe as well? I am looking for a cake that is less dense

  79. Hi! If I want to make this recipe one day early, how do you recommend storing the cake layers overnight? Thanks!

    1. I would wrap them in saran wrap or place them in an airtight container, and freeze them! I let them thaw for about 20 minutes the following day before frosting. they’re easier to frost when they’re chilled!

      1. Thanks! I made a semi-naked cake with this cake recipe and your buttercream frosting recipe and everyone loved it!! Turned out perfect!

  80. Hi! I also found you through you tube. I definitely want to make your cake for my daughters birthday coming up. I live in South Africa however and we do not seem to have all purpose flour. Could I use cake flour instead?

      1. Made your recipe using cake flour, and it worked out beautifully! Will definitely be using it again!

  81. Hello! I made the chocolate cake recipe this weekend and had the mixture in two cakepans rather than four. The cakes looked good at first when it baked, but at the end it kind of fell together and was more like a brownie rather than a normal cake. Have you experienced this before? I don’t have room for 4 cake pans in the oven at the same time, so i thought i could cut them in half when baked. But that didn’t turn out well. How do you bake yours?

    1. I always bake mine in four separate pans! If it fell into itself, it sounds like it may have been underbaked! you would have to bake them for super long if you put all the batter in 2 pans!

  82. I’ve made this recipe using round cake pans! I’m making sheet cakes for a wedding! Do you think this recipe would yield a half sheet cake or full?

      1. I did this and while it did fill the half sheet pan it was nowhere high enough. I do believe it would take 2 batches to produce a half sheet cake and 4 batches for a full sheet one layer cake. If you want to make a two layer full sheet cake it would take 8 batches. Using a single batch in the half sheet pan the cake was barely an inch tall.

      2. I guess that’s where we had the disconnect! I actually wanted me layers to be about an inch tall!! I like them that height, in terms of the cake to frosting ratio! That way I can stack two layers on top of each other.

    1. I just made a half sheet tonight using one batch of this. I plan to make a full sheet double layer so three more batches of this should do it!

  83. Hi Chelsey, I am a huge fan of your cakes! Is there any way I can turn this cake into a marble cake?If so, what do you recommend for the cocoa powder measurements?
    Or do you recommend something completely different? Thank you so much!

  84. Hi chels !
    Love love love your videos !
    Everything I’ve learnt so far is from your tutorials !
    I just did this in 3 9 inch cake tins however they really didn’t rise much at all, did I need to double the batch or have I done something wrong in the mixing process ? It’s going to be the bottom tier of a two tier cake and I’m worried it won’t hold the weight of the top tier ?
    Thank you

  85. Hello Chelsweets, I would like to know how many whole eggs I can use and will it change the texture of the cake? Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    1. If you don’t want to use egg whites, you can use 5 whole eggs. It overall will change the texture if you use yolks, but it will still taste great!

  86. I love watching your videos! Will this recipe work for four 6″ x 2″ cake pans? I’m thinking I will have too much batter. I want to try this recipe, but these are the only pans I have.

    1. it does! It makes 6-8, 6-inch layers, depending on how tall you want them to be! I make them all the time 🙂 They only take about 30 minutes to bake!

  87. Hi! How do I upscale this recipe for a 12 inch tin? Also when doing a layer cake (naked one) do you recommend baking each layer individually or just slicing a whole cake up? Thanks! x

    1. I always bake my layers individually, which i think is best with this recipe! The area of a circle is pi x radius squared. If this recipe makes four 7 inch layers that are 1 inch thick, it’s volume is about 153.86 cubic inches. The volume of a 12 inch pan is 113 cubic inches. So based on how many layers you want to make, you can calculate how many batches you’ll need.

  88. 2 questions.
    Do i need to change anything for this for the cake since I’m at high altitude (4600 ft)?

    Also if i only have 2 cake pans and I’m doing 4 layers will the batter be ok sitting out while the first 2 bake and cool then do the next set? Or do i just need to go buy more cake pans?

    1. I’ve actually heard that this recipe works great at high altitude! Since this is a denser, buttermilk cake base, it is fine to sit out for a little bit. But I’d recommend baking the second batch as soon as possible!

  89. Hi, Can I make this recipe with 5 layers? Also, just to clarify, the pans are 8 x 1 inch? Not a higher pan? I need to serve about 35-40 people.

    Thanks!

  90. Hi Chelsey! I love this recipe!! It works perfect every time!! I have to make a couple batches of cupcakes and I’d like to use this recipe. Will it work ok?
    Thank you!!
    D.D.

    1. That’s so great to hear! As great of a cake recipe as this is, it makes terrible cupcakes! They stick to the liners and bake so flat! I’d recommend trying my classic vanilla cupcake recipe instead, it makes great cupcakes!

      1. Thank you!! I was doing a little more research and found that recipe!! Perfect!! You are a joy to watch and learn from!! Because of you I had a very successful experience making my daughter’s birthday unicorn cake!!🎉

  91. I love this cake recipe for vanilla layers! If I wanted to make an almond cake, could I just replace some of the vanilla extract with almond extract?

    1. It can definitely be baked in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend letting the batter sit for long! You can bake and freeze the layers, up to a week in advance! Just be sure to wrap them really well with saran wrap, or place them in an airtight container.

      1. I haven’t tried out your cake recipe yet, but I’m going to this weekend. I used another recipe for a layered sheet cake I did a month ago. I froze the layers overnight and in between frosting steps. I was actually invited to the party I made the cake for and it was super dry and I was really dissapointed! Some of my cupcakes I made that weekend were also dry. I used a different recipe for them. I thought it was because I froze them. Have you had this problem before? Ever since then I have been very careful and usually made the cupcakes the night before delivering, without freezing in fear of them drying out. Any suggestions? (I did switch my cupcake recipe btw)

      2. Freezing cake layers shouldn’t change anything, as long as they’re wrapped properly in plastic wrap! It sounds like it might be an issue with the recipe. I haven’t really run into problems like that from freezing!

  92. Hi Chelsey!

    I am making a two tiered naked cake with this recipe- i saw on your naked cake YouTube video that this was the best because of the carmelized sides!

    If i plan to make 8” and 6” tiers how much of this recipe should i make?

    Thank you!

    1. I would recommend making 1.5 or 2 batches, depending on how thick of layers you’re after! 1.5 batches will make thinner layers, with 2 batches you’d have layers that are 1 inch tall after being leveled 🙂

  93. I’m wanting to use this for my son’s birthday cake next week. There are a lot of people so i want to do 4 layers but use 9 inch pans. How much more batter will i need?

  94. Hi Chelsey.
    I’ve made this recipe several times now. Your right the taste is amazing but each time I make it I have problems. Mostly that the cakes sink in the middle before their time is up.
    The oven door never opens so I don’t know what makes them do this. All I can think is that due to the tins being 3” deep (plus I line them a bit higher) is that there is too much batter in the tin? I fill to around an inch from the top rim.

    I always bake 2 tins whatever the diameter. So for instance today I made this recipe x 4. This was heck of a lot of eggs and other ingredients.
    I filled 2 x 10inch pans and 3 x 6inch pans…it’s to be part of a 4 tier wedding cake.
    Even if there is a 2” deep pan, I line it and fill it the same as I would a 3” pan.
    It doesn’t matter if I make the batter for 7” or 8” pans either. They all sink in the middle. Creating a heck of a lot of waste when I torte them.
    I’ve tried knocking down the temp to 160c fan assisted and extended the bake time. (For example today’s bake took over two hours). Is this recipe only good for shallow baked?

    1. they definitely need to be baked longer if they’re sinking in the middle! I only ever bake single layers, no thicker than an inch once baked! I don’t torte my layers, I’m not sure this is the best recipe for torting!

  95. Hi Chelsey!

    I love all your videos and tutorial!! Super helpful and they gives me great inspiration for my decorating!

    I’m planning on trying this recipe for my birthday cake this weekend! Will it still work well if I use regular milk instead of buttermilk? And before icing your cakes, do you soak them in a simple syrup first?

    Thank you!

    1. Yes, it will! it will be a bit drier than if you use buttermilk though! I don’t use simple syrup with this recipe normally, since it’s already pretty moist! however, if you do plan to use milk, adding a bit of simple syrup might be a good idea since it will be a bit drier. Happy baking!

    1. no, it makes terrible cupcakes! they stick to the liners and don’t really rise. I’d recommend using my go to vanilla cupcake recipe, which is amazing!

  96. Thank you for your response Chelsey. I love that even after all this time you still take the time to answer everyone’s questions and comments. So thank you very for that. It’s reallg appreciated.

    And yes I think you’re right about this recipe being not so good for deep pans. I’m going to try doing shallower bakes and see where that gets me because I can’t go on with the problems a deep bake gives me. Sinking in the middle before they’ve even reached the extended time limit Plus the time it takes to bake deep pans is sooo long (over two hours for 2×10” pans).
    The only problem is now I need two more sets of every span size in both square and round if it’s no good for torting ! (I like to have deep 6” tiers with at least 4 layers Gah 😱)

  97. Hey! Is there anyway I can use this recipe and turn it into a yellow cake ? If not do you have any good yellow cake recipes ?

    1. sadly I don’t! I’m not really a big yellow cake recipe fan , so I haven’t made many!! I’ve never tried to alter this recipe for that, so I’m not sure how it would turn out with egg yolks…but I think it would be rather dense, since it’s already pretty heavy with just egg whites!

      1. Thanks so much ! I’m not a fan either but it’s for a customer. I just used box yellow cake added milk butter vanilla and an extra egg instead of the box directions.

    1. This recipe should not be used to make cupcakes! It bakes very flat, which makes great cake layers but not the best cupcakes. they also stick to the liners. I’d recommend using my vanilla cupcake recipe!! It makes amazing cupcakes 🙂

  98. Hi! Can I make 3-8″ layers your vanilla cake? Also, embarrassed to ask but you do take the layers out of the pan before freezing them in the cooling process? Thank you!

    1. Yes you can!! That’s actually a great question. Most people do remove the layers from the pans, then wrap and freeze them. Some times I do just throw the whole pan in the freezer (after running an offset spatula around the sides to loosen the layer from the pan)! I let the layers cool completed, then bang the pans lightly (upside-down) on my counter, until the layers pop out! but you can do either, whatever you prefer!

  99. How can I turn this into a coconut cake for a semi naked cake for a wedding? I’d like to use real coconut if possible, not just flavoring

    1. You can add toasted coconut between the layers as you assemble the cake! You could also add it to the batter, but I’m not sure how this would affect the texture of the cake since I’ve never tried it! I usually just add extract to the layers, and then sprinkle actual coconut between the layers!

  100. I made the cake using 5 whole eggs like you mentioned in a Previous comment. It was probably the best vanilla cake I’ve ever made other than the fact it was dense like a pound cake. I still loved it! Then I made it by the recipe using only egg whites and it came out a completely different cake. I felt like the oil gave it an odd aftertaste and in your vanilla cupcake recipe as well. What is the purpose of the oil?

    1. Just wanted to see if it was normal to give the cake an oily aftertaste and/or if possibly I could leave it out or substitute something for it (:

    2. The oil just helps lighten it a bit! But you can omit it if you don’t like the taste. It’s not an absolute must for my cake recipe, I just like it better with a bit of oil!

  101. Hi!
    I’ve got two questions:
    1. Can I use fresh egg whites (saperate the eggs on my own) insted of using the carton?
    2. Where did you get the cake pans? I’d like to buy them too.

  102. Hi Chelsea!

    How many servings does this recipe yield?
    Also, I’m using Americolor too, should I keep adding drops until it reaches the color I want or does the color get stronger when it bakes?

    Thanks in advanced for your time 🙂

    1. If you bake this recipe in 7 or 8 inch pans, It feeds about 20 people. The color does get a bit deeper when that batter is baked, but you want to get the batter pretty close to the final color you want!