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Vanilla Cake

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My vanilla cake recipe is just delicious! It’s moist and slightly dense, which is what you want in a cake. Fluffy cakes aren’t meant to be decorated like the ones you’ll see in this book. The best part about this recipe is that it’s so moist that you don’t need to add any simple syrup (sugar syrup) to keep it from drying out. Same deal with my cupcakes. And you can add any flavourings or colours you like to this recipe: berries, liqueurs, food gel colouring – the options are endless!

Vanilla Cake

Vanilla Cake

Vanilla Cake

Moist vanilla bean cake with vanilla buttercream. Perfect for adapting into different colours or flavours and also for carving into shapes when chilled.

Serves 20

4.8 from 57 votes
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Prep: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 304kcal



  • 3 1/2 cups / 430 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups / 265 g granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp / 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp / 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/2 cup / 125 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 / 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml whole milk
  • 1/2 cup / 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp / 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt, or sour cream
  • 1 tsp / 1 tsp vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste


  • 3 batches / 3 vanilla-flavoured, American or Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.

Learn How To Make it! [VIDEO]



  • Please note: To make the 6 layered cake you see pictured; you’ll need to double the cake recipe only. All other measurements are enough to fill, crumb coat and finish decorating the cake.
  • Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C / 275°F or a conventional oven to 160°C / 320°F. Spray three 20 cm (8 inch) cake tins with oil spray and line the bottoms with baking paper. Set aside.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
  • Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
  • Add the eggs, milk, oil, Greek yoghurt and vanilla, and mix on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds. It’s at this point that you can add any additional flavourings or food-gel colourings to the batter.
  • Divide the cake mixture between the three tins. I find that using an ice-cream scoop makes it easy to distribute the batter evenly, ensuring that all three cakes will bake at the same rate.
  • Bake for 50–60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the toothpick is coated with wet batter, continue baking for 10 minutes at a time until fully baked.
  • Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature in the tins, then chill them in the fridge overnight. Chilling your cakes overnight makes them easier to trim and decorate, so I always bake my cakes the day before I decorate them.
  • To trim your chilled cakes, use a cake leveller or large serrated knife to carefully trim the crust off the top of each cake. Then trim each cake in half. You’ll end up with 6 layers.
  • To crumb coat your cake, add a dab of frosting onto a 10” cake board or flat serving plate. Use a small offset spatula to spread the frosting around before adding the first cake layer. Gently press down the centre of the cake layer to make sure it’s stuck to the frosting underneath.
  • Add frosting to a piping bag and frost a ring around the top of the cake. Fill the centre with more frosting. Use your small offset spatula to smoothen out the frosting before you add the next layer of cake. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  • Add more frosting around the sides and top of the cake. Use the small spatula to smoothen out the top and sides of the cake, taking care to fill in any gaps in between each layer of cake.
  • Use a cake scraper (otherwise known as a bench scraper) to smoothen out the frosting on the sides and top. Get it as neat as you can. This should just be a neat, thin layer of frosting which is aimed at trapping any cake crumbs so that random bits of cake crumbs don’t show up on the final layer of frosting. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Your cake is now crumb coated and ready to be decorated any way you like!


Different cake size Conversions
Cake x.5 (1 layer, 8” cake OR 2 Layer, 6” Cake)
215g - 1 1/4 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
132g – 3/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
60g – 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
187ml – 3/4 cups full-cream (whole) milk
65ml – 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Cake x1 (2 layer, 8” cake OR 6 layer, 6” Cake)
430g - 3 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
265g - 1 1/4 cups caster (superfine) sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
125g – 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
375ml - 1 1/2 cups full-cream (whole) milk
125ml – 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Cake x1.5 (3 layer, 7” Cake)
645g - 3 3/4 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
400g - 1 3/4 cups caster (superfine) sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp fine salt
190g – 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
560ml - 2 1/4 cups full-cream (whole) milk
190ml – 3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Cake x2 (6 layer, 8” cake)
860g - 5 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
530g - 2 1/2 cups caster (superfine) sugar
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine salt
250g - 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
750ml - 3 cups full-cream (whole) milk
250ml - 1 cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste


Serving: 20g
Calories : 304kcal
Carbonhydrates: 37g
Protein: 4g
Fat: 16g
Saturated Fat: 12g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 0.1g
Trans Fat : 0.1g
Cholesterol: 21mg
Sodium: 182mg
Potassium : 63mg
Fiber: 1g
Sugar : 19g
Vitamin A: 257IU
Vitamin C: 0.1mg
Calcium: 100mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!


Julie August 2, 2021 - 12:46 am

Hey Nick is it possible to use oat milk instead of the whole milk & silk brand for the heavy cream in this recipe? My Daughter is going to be 12 in 14 days and I’m planning on using your recipe. Thank you in advance.

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 5:54 am

Hi Julie! Yep, you can swap the milk for oat milk (not skim) and I’m not sure what the silk brand is? N x

Anina Stokes January 2, 2022 - 8:57 pm

Hi Nick

I am about to try this recipe especially the reverse creaming method. I normally bake one very simular but with some buttermilk and sour cream. What is your take on using a combination of milk and buttermilk perhaps? I know just buttermilk tend to leave a tangy taste.

Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 1:18 pm

I haven’t tried it with this recipe so I cant say for sure, but I dont see why not? Let me know how it goes! N x

Hidee August 18, 2021 - 11:03 pm

5 stars
Love your recipe…will be trying it out tomorrow 19/8/2021…thanks…keep creating…😍😍😍😘😘😘

Nick Makrides August 22, 2021 - 4:18 am

Thanks Hidee! Hope you love them! N x

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 3:15 am

Awesome! It’s such a delicious tasting recipe. I love it. Hope you love it too! N x

lovee December 26, 2021 - 2:13 am

thank you for making this recipe.

Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 1:11 pm

You’re so welcome! N x

Amrutha February 8, 2022 - 10:56 pm

Hey Nick, Loved your recipe! I was just wondering how many times the batter would need to be multiplied to make a 2 or 3 layered 9 inch cake? Thank you 🙂

Nick Makrides August 4, 2022 - 11:11 am

Hi Amrutha! Glad you enjoyed the recipe! For a 3 layered 9″ cake you would need to make 4 times the recipe 🙂 Hope that helps! N x

Regina Garcia February 16, 2022 - 6:11 pm

I want to make a smaller cake, can I use half of everything or you think it wont work.
Thanks ☺️

Nick Makrides August 2, 2022 - 10:56 am

Hi Regina, that should be ok. N x

Sonya March 4, 2022 - 8:37 am

For the 2 layer, 6 inch cake (which is half the ingredients) is it okay to use 3 inch deep pans? When the batter is made, do I then divide it into 2 pans?

Nick Makrides August 2, 2022 - 10:05 am

Hi Sonya! If you mean filling them to the top, I wouldn’t recommend it as deep cakes can often take a really long time to bake and over baked on the outside before they bake in the centre. You can use the deeper pans if you’re going to fill them about 2/3 of the way. Hope that helps! N x

Shreya April 22, 2022 - 6:10 am

Can we use salted butter and skip the salt in the recipe?

Nick Makrides April 26, 2022 - 12:32 pm

Yes! That should be fine Shreya! N x

Han April 30, 2022 - 10:07 pm

5 stars
How long will this cake keep fresh for?

Nick Makrides May 3, 2022 - 11:36 am

Hi Han! for 3 days in the fridge once finished, put together and decorated. But if you want to make the cakes ahead of time, you can bake them 3 days before putting the cake together, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge until ready to use! N x

Toyin August 9, 2022 - 5:11 pm

Hey Nick, been using your recipe for years. They are the best. Thank you for creating them. Q: how much batter do I need for a 9x 13inch and a sheet pan? Thank you

Nick Makrides August 30, 2022 - 11:16 am

Thanks Toyin! Thanks so much, glad you like it! Hmm, If I was making a sheet pan cake in that size, I’d say 1.5 the recipe should be ok! N x

Margherita September 3, 2022 - 3:45 pm

Hi! I was thinking about making this cake but with the chocolate fudge frosting. What do you think? Sounds good?

Nick Makrides September 5, 2022 - 3:33 am

Yep! that would work well! N x

Margherita September 14, 2022 - 6:43 pm

If I do 6 layers should I double the chocolate fudge frosting of the chocolate fudge cake?

Nick Makrides September 15, 2022 - 11:42 pm

Hi Margherita! If you want to fill and cover the cake I would make 1.5 times the ganache frosting recipe 🙂

Vivian Njoku September 14, 2022 - 1:02 pm

Must I add Greek yogurt

Nick Makrides September 15, 2022 - 11:49 pm

Hi Vivian! I would highly recommend it, but you can use sour cream as an alternative 🙂 N x

Abbie September 23, 2022 - 8:20 am

Hi Nick I used this recipe for years and absolutely loved it I used to use this recipe to make 3 x 6 inch pans and then when I wanted a tall shape used to half this recipe and times it by 3 to make 4 x 6 inch pans which was always perfect for a while but for some reason it started getting a really wet layer at the bottom of each sponge I’ve checked everything such as oven temp , over mixing under mixing and checked my baking powder but no idea what was causing it and had to switch to a different vanilla recipe

Nick Makrides October 31, 2022 - 7:20 am

Hi Abbie! That is so strange! I have absolutely no clue what could possible be causing that! Soggy bottom… hmm… I wonder if you’re leaving them in the cake tin to cool? That could be something that causes sweating if you live in a humid area. Although I’ve been letting my cakes cool in the tin for years with no soggy bottoms. Adding berries to the cake will def cause sogginess, but you haven’t mentioned berries… I’ve recently become a fan of British bake off and a quick google search links to Paul Hollywoods website and he says: “This normally happens when the oven is not hot enough or the pastry is not baked for long enough. However, it can also be because too much water was added to the dough” The recipe is correct, I’ve been using it for years, you’ve mentioned that your oven temp is correct and you’ve tested it… I’m stumped! Sorry Abbie! If you do figure out what’s causing it please come back to the comments and let me know! I’ll add it to the blog post! I’m also going to be updating this recipe in the new year. N x

Hayley November 1, 2022 - 12:15 am

Can these cakes be frozen and decorated once defrosted? Would I take them out the day before decorating?

Nick Makrides November 1, 2022 - 4:38 am

Hi Hayley! Yep, that should be fine 🙂

Gigi March 6, 2023 - 2:34 am

5 stars
I am absolutely obsessed with this recipe. I have tried 5+ vanilla cake recipes and they have all come out dense and dry so when you said that this recipe had a dense crumb, I was worried. But it is so moist and the flavor is incredible! This is 100% my go to vanilla cake recipe from now on. Thank you so much for saving me the agony continually experimenting with new recipes… 10 out of 10 would recommend!

Nick Makrides April 7, 2023 - 12:36 am

Thanks so much Gigi! N x

Caitlyn May 22, 2023 - 1:12 am

Hi! I was wondering if I would still be able to use this recipe if I decided not to use the reverse creaming method and stick with the traditional creaming method? I really appreciate any help you can provide.

Nick Makrides June 24, 2023 - 3:11 am

Hi Caitlyn! Should be ok. If you give it a go, let me know how it went! N x

Shannen September 12, 2023 - 6:55 am

5 stars
Hey Nick! Just made this recipe today for a birthday cake! I used one recipe and did it in 3 8 inch pans as the recipe states however hey came out only 2-3 cm high as the tins were not filled much, does this sound right ? Is using three tins in the recipe meant for double only or have I done something wrong ? Thanks!

Nick Makrides September 13, 2023 - 6:07 am

Hi Shanen! To make the 6 layered cake (x3, 8-inch cakes sliced in half to get 6 layers) you need to double the recipe as stated in the notes of the instructions portion of the recipe. Hope the birthday cake went well! N x

Stephanie April 14, 2024 - 4:11 am

Hey Nick I was wondering if I can substitute the milk for evaporated milk?

Nick Makrides April 17, 2024 - 5:51 am

Hi Stephanie! Unfortunately I havent tested it with evaporated milk so I couldn’t say for sure.


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