Perfect Vanilla Cake

Yields: 30 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 45 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr

Perfect Vanilla Cake

Perfect Vanilla Cake

Yield: 8 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes 45 seconds
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes 45 seconds

This Perfect Vanilla Cake is very moist and the vanilla really takes this cake above and beyond the normal vanilla cake. It is a perfect base for adding flavors, fruits, jam, caramel, and more!


  • 3 3/4 cups (431g) sifted all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*


Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9x2 inch cake pans.

Yields around 8 cups of batter which I divide between 3 9×2 inch round cake pans. (Each hold 8 cups of batter!) Each cake layer has a little less than 3 cups batter each.

Make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute.

Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 5 full minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

On medium-high speed, add 1 whole egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix this batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick.

There will be 8 cups of batter total– transfer half of it to another bowl. Pour/spread batter evenly into prepared cake pans.

Bake for around 25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done.

Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.

Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour before slicing and serving. The time in the refrigerator ensures a neater cut!

Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Make Ahead Instructions:

The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight.

Flour: Sift flour before measuring.

Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a DIY sour milk substitute. Add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 and 3/4 cups. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cake won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes.

The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.

Nutrition Information
Yield 14 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 164Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 70mgSodium 339mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 6g

The writers and publishers of Pickled Barrel are not nutritionists or registered dietitians. Occasionally, this website,, may offer estimated nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. This information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed to be accurate. This nutritional information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you use in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator, or your own nutritionist or medical professional. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate. Here are some online nutritional calculators that are currently free to use: The writer(s) and publisher(s) of Pickled Barrel are not responsible for adverse reactions, consequences or effects, resulting from the use of any recipes or suggestions herein or procedures undertaken hereafter. This website is not intended as nutritional advice and readers of this website are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to their health. This website is not intended as nutritional advice and readers of this website are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to their health.

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  • Bonnie

    I want to try your vanilla cake but I don’t have 9 inch pans. I do have two 8 inch pans. Can I use the 8 inch pans instead of the 9 inch pans?

    • Jana

      Yes, two 8 inch pans will work fine. I would fill each pan lined with parchment paper with 4 cups of batter for each pan. No need to adjust the oven temperature. After about 30 minutes check the batter for the following characteristics: the batter is pulling away slightly from the pan sides; light colored batter starts appearing golden brown on top; the batter springs back when pressed down lightly with a spatula or wooden spoon.

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