Say Goodbye To Dry Flavorless Vanilla Cake
I dont know about you, but homemade vanilla cake is the BANE of my existence. Every single time I have made vanilla cake it turns out dry, bready, flavorless, or just generally mediocre. Bleh.
So, you can image my surprise when we tested this vanilla cake recipe and it was the best ever. Like EVER. I couldnt believe my taste buds. Super moist, vanilla-y, with a beautiful crumb just dense enough, without being too heavy. Only in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a plain old vanilla cake couldve turned out this well.
How To Serve Homemade Vanilla Cake
- For layers, it’s best to level the cakes before frosting so you’re working with flat tops. Then, apply a “crumb” layer to seal the cake crumbs, let that chill and set, and finish it off with the remaining frosting. You can also add a few fresh strawberries, some fun candies, or practice your piping skills to give the cake a special look.
- Buttercream frosting is a natural choice for vanilla cake. It’s the most common type of frosting, and there are many delicious recipes to explore. Buttercream frosting works wonderfully for layered cakes and can be colored or flavored to fit any occasion.
- Try a chocolate sour cream frosting or a cocoa frosting for a vanilla and chocolate combo.
Have You Been Searching For The Secret To A Moist Cake You’re In The Right Place Here We Share Exactly What Makes A Cake Moist Plus Our Test Kitchen Tips On How To Make Box Cake Moist If You Don’t Have Time To Bake From Scratch
Wini Moranville has written about food and wine for leading magazines and websites for more than 20 yearshundreds of those being for Better Homes & Gardens publications, including the iconic New Cook Book. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French and English from the University of Iowa she also studied French at the University Laval in Quebec, Canada. Moranville later studied creative writing at Iowa State University, where she received a master’s degree in English and was the recipient of the Pearl Hogrefe Fellowship in Creative Writing.
While she’s covered just about every food topic imaginablefrom bargain wines to fancy dessertsshe’s most passionate about the easy-yet-inspired everyday French cuisine she’s discovered throughout more than twenty summers living and cooking in France. Moranville was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Award, Best Food & Cookbooks 2019, for The Little Women Cookbook. Her book, Everyday French Cooking: Modern French Cuisine Made Simple, will be published by Harvard Common Press in 2022. Back home in the Great Midwest, her local Aldi supermarket is her happy place.
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Storing In The Freezer
If you want to make this Vanilla cake even farther ahead of time, consider freezing it! Baked vanilla cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap baked cake layers well in two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of heavy duty foil and store flat in the freezer. To thaw, transfer from the freezer to the fridge overnight and then bring to room temperature before decorating.
Follow Exact Mixing Steps
Another secret to a moist cake is to follow the exact steps in the recipe . That means following all beating times given and using the utensil called for. Some cakes are beaten with a KitchenAid Artisan 5-qt. Stand Mixer or a handheld mixer while some are simply stirred together with a wooden spoon. For a moist cake, follow the recipe to the letter!
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Love Vanilla Cake Try These Other Cake Recipes:
You really dont need a reason to make this vanilla cake but it goes without saying this would be the perfect Birthday, Anniversary or Holiday cake. Maybe you had a rough day. Someone else had a rough day. You had a good day and want to celebrate. Basically, this recipe is perfect for any occasion.
Printable recipe card with directions and increments is below! Happy baking, friends!
The Best Birthday Cake Recipe
Courtesy of Trina Harris
Our Test Kitchens favorite from-scratch birthday cake comes to us from Courtney Rich of Highland, Utah. Courtney is a prolific cake bakeryou can follow along with her on her blog Cake by Courtney. She created this cake recipe based on memories of her childhood, specifically a delicious cake her mom made for her eighth birthday. Its the quintessential birthday cake. Its a classic! she says.
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Once Upon A Pumpkin Dogs Birthday
We start our list with a great recipe. It comes together by combining simple dog-and-human-friendly ingredients like pumpkin, oats, baking soda, eggs, peanut butter, and yogurt The best part is that not only your dog will love this special treat, but he can also share it with you! Please when choosing the ingredients, make sure you choose them without artificial sweeteners, such as Xylitol as they can be very toxic for dogs. Get the full recipe here.
How To Make Carrot Cake From Scratch
This carrot cake is quick, easy to make, and utterly delicious. It wasnt until recently that we realized just how much we love carrot cake. It wasnt something either of us grew up eating. Thanks to this easy recipe, we fell in love. You can make this cake quickly without lots of fancy equipment. Not only is this the best-tasting carrot cake weve made, but its a cinch to make. If you are looking to make cupcakes, see our easy carrot cake cupcakes recipe! Its inspired by this cake.
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How To Make The Best Vanilla Cake Ever
Were breaking down exactly how to make homemade vanilla cake to take any guess work out. This easy homemade vanilla cake recipe is light and fluffy with a silky crumb, but holds up like a dream with frosting! Its perfectly sweet, moist, tenderits pretty much the best vanilla cake recipe youll ever make!
Homemade Vanilla Cake Success
After lots of trial and error, here are my best tips and tricks for making a delicious vanilla cake recipe the first time around.
- Follow the recipe. Use the listed ingredients in the recipe card below.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Believe it or not, using butter, eggs, egg whites and milk all at room temperature yields you a smoother, better incorporated cake batter and thus, a better cake.
- Do not over-bake. Moist vanilla cake comes with just the right amount of time in the oven. Start checking your cake for doneness after 30 minutes and then go from there. Every oven is different so be sure you are checking your cake for doneness every few minutes once youre getting close to it being completely baked.
- Line baking pans with parchment paper. Parchment paper is my favorite kitchen tool. Your cakes will come out with ease!
- Cool completely before frosting. Frosting is primarily made up of butter and the butter will melt if your cakes are not cooled completely.
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Origins Of This Vanilla Cake
This vanilla cake is the result of bringing together the best of Japanese sponge cakes and Western butter based cakes. It has the world renowned very soft, fluffy crumb of Japanese cakes and uses the Japanese baking method, combined with the buttery goodness and sweetness of Western cakes.
But its more sturdy than Japanese cakes which are so delicate, they can really only be decorated with cream. Anything heavier and the bottom layer gets squished!
Also, importantly, this cake incorporates my cake shelf-life requirement to stay perfectly fresh for at least 2 days after its made. Because who bakes cakes on the day they are intended to be served??
Interestingly, baking experts will recognise the method and ingredients in this cake to be very similar to what is called a Hot Milk Cake in America albeit strangely its often described as a dense cake, presumably because they dont preserve the egg aeration to the extent I insist we do and also because sometimes its baked in bundt pans which takes far longer to bake .
The words best served on the day on a cake recipe is never a good sign it means it drastically degrades overnight. But THIS cake recipe is near perfect for 4 days even 5 days!
I dont want to get too cake nerdy with you but one sign of a well made cake is an even crumb. No large tunnels or lots of irregular size holes. It looks and tastes velvety a similar plush texture to Red Velvet Cake.
Making The Cake Batter
The method for this carrot cake recipe could not be simpler! If you have a couple of bowls and can stir ingredients together then you can absolutely make this cake! As you can see from our recipe video, all you need to do is combine all the ingredients. Heres how I like to do it:
Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another: I like to whisk my dry ingredients together in one bowl until they are well blended. Then I whisk all the wet ingredients together in another bowl.
Fold the dry and wet ingredients together: Then I switch to a rubber spatula or large spoon and fold the two wet and dry ingredients together until I dont see any large streaks of flour.
Add carrots, nuts, and raisins: When Ive got the batter ready, I fold in the carrots, and if Im using them, the nuts and raisins.
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Alternate Adding Dry And Wet Ingredients
Alternate between adding some of the dry mixture and some of the milk to the butter-egg-sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until everything is combined. Begin and end with the flour mixture, as when liquid is mixed into flour, gluten begins to form. Too much gluten makes for a tough cake, so be sure to start and finish with the flour, and be careful not to overmix once you’ve added liquid.
Test Kitchen Tip: Be careful not to overmix at this stage or you might get elongated, irregular holes in the finished cake.
Combine The Butter And Sugar
Wondering how to make a cake with a light, airy crumb? Creaming butter and sugar is the most important step. Here’s how:
- Using an electric mixer on medium to high speed, beat the butter for 30 seconds. Generally, a stand mixer requires a medium speed for this step, but a hand mixer requires a higher speed.
- Add the sugar and beat the mixture on medium speed until it is combined and has a light, fluffy texture. This will take 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl occasionally while beating. Tiny bubbles will be created as the butter and sugar are combined, which will give your cake that light, fluffy texture.
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Why This Is Safer Than Typical Cream Butter And Sugar Cakes
Making a really good cake that starts with cream butter and sugar until fluffy. is actually harder than you think. The butter has to be at the perfect temperature, and you cant have chilly mixing bowls.
If the butter is too soft, the cake will be greasy and dense sound familiar? If its too hard, youll never manage to cream it and youll end up with grease pockets. If you beat butter too long, you break the air pockets.
Theres more room for error with cookies and some other types of baked goods. But the butter temperature needs to be near perfect for cakes and cupcakes. .
And even if you nail it, the cake rapidly loses freshness. Even the next day its noticeably drier. Ive tried dozens and dozens over the years, to compare to this Vanilla Cake. This recipe puts all to shame in terms of fresh shelf life.
Heads up this is a long step by step explanation post, to ensure those who are new to baking are armed with everything they need to make this cake perfectly, first time and every time!
Why is vanilla cake so hard? It seems hard to find the perfect cake because there is nothing to hide behind, it is one of the purest forms of baking. And the cream butter and sugar step is the biggest cause of problems, setting up the cake for success or failure from the very start .
This Vanilla Cake recipe is much more foolproof!
Can This Recipe Be Used For Cupcakes
I also tested this cake as cupcakes and they turn out just as delicious which is a wonderful thing. Any time you have a great vanilla recipe that works as both a cake and a cupcake, its a big win.
Its hard to describe exactly how all these versions are different, but Ill say that this one is a nice blend of things that people like and dislike about some of the others. The final cake is moist, super soft and delicious, with relatively straight forward ingredients and method. Its a winner in my book, so I hope you enjoy it!
- Prep Time:1 hour 20 minutes
- Cook Time:25 minutes
- Total Time:1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield:12-14 Slices
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What Our Readers Are Saying
If you dont believe that our recipe helps you bake the best homemade carrot cake, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, very easy to follow, came out perfect first attempt great hit with the family, now a regular demand from my kids. A
This carrot cake was amazing!!! I made it for my husbands birthday and he said it would win a Paul Hollywood handshake Yuna
This is an absolutely divine carrot cake recipe!!!! It is so hard to find one that is not dry this one is moist and works perfectly every single time and we make it often as it is definitely our favorite!!! Jodi
Since posting this recipe, weve had some frequently asked questions. Here are the most common:
Simple Vanilla Cake Ingredients
No need to rush to the nearest grocery store to make this cake. All you need is a quick rummage of your pantry to find them.
- Plain flour : this versatile flour makes a perfectly soft and crumbly cake. Make sure to check on the package instruction for flour to liquid ratio depending on the brand you are using for best results.
- Can I use cake flour? Yes, you can. Using this will result in a fluffier and airy cake that is equally as delicious.
- Can I use gluten-free flour? Absolutely! There are a lot of available gluten-free flour brands that you can substitute for plain flour 1:1.
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The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever
It was great to hear that they thought the cake was just as good after their last bite as they thought it was with their first.
Heres another great thing about this recipe. The cake batter really can be made in a bowl without the use of a heavy duty mixer. Of course, that just makes things easier, but this is easily a recipe my Grandmother would have enjoyed making in her tiny kitchen with a whisk and a bowl. And Im sure it would have turned out perfectly, too.
Im not going to kid you, this makes a very rich, moist chocolate cake recipe. So if you are a faint of heart chocolate cake person, this is not the cake for you.
Based on the Old Fashioned Hersheys recipe, I sort of went a bit heavy-handed with some changes testing cake after cake until I got it just the way I wanted it, but the end result was oh so worth it. The crumbs left on the plate gave that away.
Make The Vanilla Cake Batter
In a separate large bowl, mix butter, oil, and sugar together until combined.
Mix in eggs and egg whites, one at a time, until the mixture becomes very light and fluffy. You want to incorporate a lot of air at this point. Because we arent separating the eggs and whipping the whites separately, you want to whip the eggs well.
Alternate adding in flour mixture with milk mixture,being sure to start and end with flour.
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