Best Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

circus animal cake sliced

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

The layers bake with smooth sides that are perfect for stacking and frosting. I now use this as my go to white cake base recipe, and color or flavor it as needed. I HIGHLY recommend it! Another perk is that it can be made in one bowl! That’s right, ONE BOWL!!! You can see a full tutorial on exactly how I make the batter below.

The recipe is adapted from Kara’s Couture Cakes, and can be found below.

NOTE: The thing that make this recipe an amazing layer cake recipe (baking flat), 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.

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (244 grams) – about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 🙂

Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart. Below is a full tutorial showing how I trim my layers:

These layers can be made in advance, and can be stored in the freezer for up to 5 days! If you do plan to freeze them overnight, be sure to either place them in an airtight container, or wrap them tightly in saran wrap.

I also love to color my cake batter using Americolor gel food coloring (I order it on amazon), and used this recipe to make this checkerboard cake. The layers turned out perfectly! Level, delicious, and perfect for stacking!!

IMG_7391 (2)


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I work in finance during day, and like to think of myself as a baker by night! Follow me here at, on instagram @chelsweets, and on YouTube ( ) to see my creations :D

441 thoughts on “Best Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

  1. Hey lovely. Wondering if i can turn this recipe into pistachio one. Cs i saw the pistachio recipe you got but i vsmt find pistachio pudding . Thanks heaps x

  2. Hi
    Can’t wait to try your recipe!
    Small question- their is no bettermilk in my country, is there enything I can put instead that would bring the same result?

  3. I made your recipe and it was a huge success. One thing that I could not figure out was after taking the cakes out of the freezer (just overnight), did I let them reach room temp first or frost right away. I let them reach room temp but they were very sticky. I had a hard time frosting them without pieces of cake mixing into the frosting. Fortunately it was a pink flamingo cake, so the bits of pink cake looked nice with the white frosting, but wanted to know your trick to avoid cake pieces in the frosting. Thanks!

    1. I only let them thaw for about 20 minutes before I decorate them! they’re easier to frost when they’re chilled!!

  4. Hi, I’m doing a wedding cake soon and they want a 1/2 sheet cake also. Do you happen to have measurements for a 1/2 sheet cake for your vanilla cake batter?

  5. I make this cake often and everyone loves it! Love how even it bakes! I’ve been asked to do a sheet cake, do you know if this will work or how many batches I’d need? Thanks!

    1. def! it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a month, or the freezer for several months! just give it a good stir once it’s back at room temp <3

      1. Thank you for your replies!
        Just one more question, with 10 inch pan how long should I bake for?

      2. I think I usually bake them for 40-45 mins, with a flower nail inserted in the center to help them bake more evenly!

  6. Please Help Me!!!, This cake is awesome!!!, i have a request to make a cake using a 11×15 inch pan, they would like it two layers. I would like to make two flat layers instead of making a large cake and then torte it in half. How may cups of batter should i use or do you suggest making batter x 1-1/2 or x 2 for each layer. please help me

    1. I don’t really look at it as cups of batter, I more so consider how many batches of batter I need to fill the pan to the right height! One batch makes 2 layers that are 1 inch tall in 9×13 inch pans, so I think you’d need at least 1.5 batches of my cake batter for your size of pans.

  7. I want to decorate my cake like this with the pink do you have a video to that ? Also for the icing, how to make it

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