Who doesn’t love vanilla cake? This is a basic vanilla cake recipe that is simple and delicious. It works well for layered cakes and more complicated carved or shaped cakes. Sour cream and milk are used for the wet ingredients. I just love the flavor and texture that the sour cream adds and most of my cake recipes include it.
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The batter will fill two 2-inch by 8-inch round pans or one 3-inch by 8-inch round pan or one 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Double the recipe to achieve two 3-inch layers. You may just have 2-inch pans in your kitchen. I have these but I also have 3-inch professional pans. Which one I use depends on the project. The 2-inch pans bake faster and don’t require any cutting unless leveling is needed. The 3-inch pans need to bake longer and will likely need to be cut in half along with any leveling but are a better fit for carving projects. Use whatever fits your needs or tools on hand. Don’t feel pressure to buy more pans if they aren’t something you will use more that once.
Start by preheating the oven to 350. Grease and line your pans with butter, parchment and flour. I have a great tutorial on how to do this here. For the batter, in a medium bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth on medium speed. Gradually add sugar and continue to mix on medium speed until light and fluffy which will take about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated, followed by vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl making sure all ingredients are incorporated.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating each addition with the milk and sour cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and beat until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and continue cooling on wire rack.
If you don’t have sour cream on hand or you just don’t want to use it, substitute more milk in its place. Bear in mind the results will be slightly different. The batter will not be as thick and baking time may vary by a few minutes.
Want to add more flavor to your vanilla cake?
This recipe can adapt easily to flavor combinations with additional extracts like almond or coconut in the batter or during assembly with simple syrups, flavored buttercreams, and fillings. My Kitty Cat Cake and coconut buttercream recipe are good examples of bumping up the flavor of this cake with the buttercream and fillings.
Need a white cake instead?
Use 6 egg whites instead of whole eggs, don’t add them to the creamed butter and sugar, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold them in at the very end.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go get your vanilla cake on!
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