Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe

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This perfectly Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe is a slightly denser than average cake with a tight crumb. Instead of light and fluffy this is more like a sponge cake. It’s packed full of vanilla and after the first bite, you know it’s homemade. This vanilla cake recipe can be made as vanilla cupcakes and it’s very versatile. You can alter the flavor with lemon, lime or even almond extract.  

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A slice of vanilla cake on a teal plate with sprinkles and a gold fork

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to have a homemade and versatile vanilla cake recipe. I’ve shied away from the task, fearing I would not be up to the challenge. While the majority of you don’t seem to mind a cake mix, some of you have ask for a homemade versions of my recipes, so I am thrilled to be able to give you such a wonderful and moist vanilla cake.

Several weeks ago, my fiancé made a zucchini bread recipe from his childhood, and when he described it, he said it was much more cake like than my banana bread recipe. So I thought to myself, maybe I’ll start here, adjusting the recipe as I go to get to where I wanted to be.

A close up shot of a slice of vanilla cake on a teal plate with sprinkles.

This perfectly Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe is a slightly denser cake with a tight crumb. Instead of light and fluffy this is more like a sponge cake. After the first bite, you know it’s homemade. It bursting with vanilla flavor. I’ve topped this cake with my tried and true vanilla frosting.

Eight. Eight is the number of times I baked this cake before I decided it was just right, tweaking ingredients along the way. Then I baked it 3 more times but in the form of cupcakes to make sure it would be easy for you to use this recipe in a variety of ways.

That’s right, this vanilla cake can be made as a cake and also as vanilla cupcakes. For the cake, you’ll use a 9″ by 13″ inch pan. If you choose to make vanilla cupcakes, this recipe will make a hefty 24 cupcakes with a little batter left over.

A gold fork sitting on a teal plate with a slice of vanilla cake. There's a few bites missing from the cake showing the spongy inside of the cake.

The best way to make the cupcakes is to use a large cookie scoop to ensure the batter is evenly divided between each liner. This batter is on the thinner side, so the cookie scoop works perfectly.

For the best results you should store the finished cupcakes in an airtight container. I’ve shared plenty of tips for baking cupcakes, but using a cookie scoop is by far the best way to get consistent results.

This vanilla cake recipe has your standard ingredients: sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. You can’t really have a cake without those. A lot of recipes use similar amounts of dry ingredients. However, where most cake recipes vary is in the amount of fats (butter or oil), eggs and any other wet ingredients.

For this cake, the wet ingredients are vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Plus my secret weapon, light sour cream. The sour cream is the secret to keeping this vanilla cake moist, even after 3 or 4 days!

A moist vanilla cupcake with a bite taken out of it and it's topped with a perfect vanilla frosting swirl.

Since this cake uses oil instead of butter, there’s no waiting around for your butter to come to room temperature (you know I am terrible at planning that type of thing!), and far less time is spent creaming together the butter and sugar. Oil tends to make cakes more moist than butter. It also makes the crumb and texture a bit more tender.

With any baked good, there is a certain level of balance needed when you’re preparing the batter. If you over beat the batter, your cake will be too dense and it will not rise. If you under beat it then it can cause your cake to bake unevenly because the oil and eggs are not well incorporated.

A slice of homemade vanilla cake with a bite taken out of it, on a teal plate with a gold fork and sprinkles.

My rule of thumb is to turn off my mixer when I can’t see any more loose flour on top. Then I use my spatula to stir the batter a few times, getting all the stuff that is stuck to the bottom of the bowl and bringing it up to the top. When I’m making cupcakes, I tend the stir the batter with my spatula every 5 or 6 cupcakes.

However, even though the batter is a little thinner, the cake is more dense when baked and therefore it will not rise as high as a cake with a more light and airy texture. This won’t be a problem for us!

If you’re planning on using this cake for as a base for a poke cake or some other type of “wet cake”, I suggest omitting the sour cream. This will produce a lighter cake, allowing more space in the crumbs to soak up the filling.

A shot of a slice of vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.


Commonly Asked Questions about this Vanilla Cake Recipe:

Can I make this as a layer cake?

I have made this as an 8-inch 3 layer cake. See my recipe for the Moist Vanilla Layer Cake. If you’d like to bake this as 9-inch or 10-inch layer cake, the baking times will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Do I have to use Sour Cream?

As I mentioned above, sour cream helps keeps these cupcakes very moist. I recommend substituting the sour cream with non-fat Greek Yogurt if you do not have sour cream. Some people have made it with mayonnaise but I have not tried it myself.

A few people have asked about substituting buttermilk for sour cream. I have never tried this, and this batter is already pretty thin, so I am not sure if adding additional liquid will work.

If you need to, you can omit it completely, but note the cake will not be nearly as moist.

Do I have to use nonfat milk or can I substitute it with something else?

Yes, you can use any type of milk for this recipe.

I had to bake my recipe for longer than the required time, what did I do wrong?

Likely nothing! Different types of pans will bake differently. Glass baking pans will always need to bake longer as they do not conduct heat as quickly as metal pans. Disposable containers are much thinner and thus require additional baking time. Also keep in mind that not all oven temperatures are alike, and unless you have an internal thermometer, your oven temperature could be off.

These Moist Vanilla Cupcakes are a must-try recipe. The vanilla cake is a little more dense with a compact crumb, similar to a vanilla sponge cake. They make the perfect cupcakes that stay moist for days. This recipe can also be made into a vanilla cake recipe.

Looking for a few other recipes using this moist vanilla cake? However about some Cookies and Cream Cupcakes, Mimosa Cake or homemade funfetti cake

After a lot of requests, I’ve also added a chocolate version of this cake. My moist chocolate cake is less dense and more light and fluffy. It’s not overly sweet but once it’s frosted, it’s a perfect match.

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A slice of vanilla cake with frosting and sprinkles on a dark teal plate. The gold fork has a piece of cake on it, and there's a bite missing from the cake.

Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 15 slices


This perfectly Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe is a more dense cake with a tight crumb. Instead of light and fluffy this is more like a sponge cake. It’s packed full of vanilla and after the first bite, you know it’s homemade. 


For the cake:

  • 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup(118 ml) light sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (296 ml) milk (I use nonfat)

For the frosting

  • 3/4 cup ( 170g )unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 1/2cups (325g ) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons (5ml ) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml ) heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  4. Add half the flour followed by the baking powder and salt, and beat on low speed while pouring in half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Finally add the remaining flour, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining milk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  7. Pour the batter in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes, keeping a careful eye on the baking during the last few minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  8. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done.
  9. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, beating until the butter look light in color.
  10. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract  and heavy cream and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  11. Continuing beating on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting. Spread over cooled cake.


  • This cake is topped with a half batch of my Perfect Vanilla Frosting.
  • The batter will be quite thin. It’s important that you stir the batter after mixing, to ensure everything on the bottom of the bowl is well mixed.
  • This can easily be made into 24 vanilla cupcakes by using a large (3 tablespoon) cookie scoop. Bake for 16-20 minutes at 350°F
  • This cake can also be made without the sour cream, it will still be very tasty but it will not be as moist after 2 days. Or you can substitute the sour cream with greek yogurt.
  • Baking times will vary by pan type and true internal oven temperatures.
Nutrition Information:
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


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415 Responses
  1. meng

    Thank you for such an easy recipe. I made it for my husband coz he loves cakes. Very tasty thank u soo very much.

  2. Gemma Andres

    Used this recipe as a base for poke cake, since we had to use our strawberry gelatin and we ran out of butter. Followed your advice and excluded the sour cream, we also had to use cake flour since we ran out of AP flour, as well as almond extract instead of vanilla. We tasted the cake before poking and pouring the gelatin – it tasted great, and it was good enough to eat on its own! We turned the leftover batter to cupcakes as well. Thank you for the recipe!!

  3. Keely Cozad

    Very easy recipe! My oven is a little hot so mine was golden on top as well, but I am wondering if using 3 egg whites would help with color and taste. This one seems like more of a yellow cake texture and smell. Has anyone tried that? Just like how cake mix for white cake calls for the whites only?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hey Keely- thank you for sharing. This recipe with only egg whites will not produce a great result, it would require additional adjustments.

  4. Meridith M

    I’m making this cake now! It smells delicious. It’s been baking for 33 minutes in a glass baking dish, but every time I have checked it (from 28 minutes on) it’s literally jiggling in the center! I followed the recipe to a T. I know glass pans can take longer, but about how much longer? The edges are golden brown and perfect but the inside is jiggling!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      You’re doing the right thing to keep it baking. There’s no set time for baking it’s all depending on the pan and oven type. Also if the oven wasn’t fully preheated when you put it in that can add a couple minutes to baking. Could be just a few more minutes. Also you can try rotating the pan in the oven to avoid hot spots.

  5. June

    This cake was amaaaaazing! I made it for my little girl’s third birthday and the whole family loved it! I dumped a handful of raspberries in the frosting and it was a nice tart addition. One question, though. Your slices look so beautifully flat. How did you do that? The top of my cake was a bit raised. The taste was perfection, though! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Aaron

    So this is my new favorite Cake recipe. It’s awesome!

    BTW for all the people that think it tastes like cornbread (it doesn’t) I adapted the recipe for a sweet jalapeño cornbread.

    Use 1.5 cups sugar instead of 2
    1.5 cups Masa and 1 cup cornmeal instead of flour
    After batter is almost finished mixing add:
    1 cup corn (fresh or thawed frozen)
    1/2 cup diced fresh Jalapeño

    Will need to add a few min to bake time.

  7. Jen

    My 4 year old twins and I just made this. I’m not a great baker, but it turned out so good. I used the ff Greek yogurt.

    1. Deanna

      This recipe was delicious and easy to make! I have been searching for a perfect and easy buttercream icing forever. I have tried so many and this was by far my family’s favorite! The cake didn’t last long! I ran out of vanilla extract after using the last bit for the cake batter, but I had Almond and it actually turned out very tasty in combination with the vanilla cake! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  8. Fabiola

    Hello, what would you recommend bake time will be if I divide the batter in two 8inch pans? Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. Beyond Frosting

      I don’t think the recipe is quite as good with melted butter, but you can use 1/2 cup butter, melted in place of the oil

  9. Jasmine

    Hi, hope you are safe and well! I wanted to know if you have halved this recipe before, or if you have any suggestions on doing so. My concern is the 3 eggs.

  10. DeShan

    This actually turned out so yummy!! I added sprinkles insides, as my daughter requested a funfetti version! I am keeping this recipe on hand. Thank you.

  11. suzie

    This looks great. I think leaving out butter like this will make this a moister cake. Looking forward to trying it. Ever made it in round pans? Doesn’t seem like enough batter for two 9-inch rounds…

  12. Nastassja

    I love all of your recipes and I’m very excited to try this out! Can I use this recipe to make mini bundts in my mini bundt silicone mold? I tried a mini vanilla bundt recipe earlier this month that I found online and it was too dense and the crumb was very tight. If I can use this to make mini bundts, would you more or less know how long to bake them for? Thanks so much!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Nastassja! Thank you so much for your comment. I will give you my personal opinion. I developed another recipe for a Vanilla Bundt Cake because I did not like the way this cake baked as a bundt cake. The method of preparation and ingredients are a little different and meant to accommodate for a longer baking time with a traditional bundt cake. The structure of the crumb is a little different. The bundt cake is a little tighter, but overall I think a lighter texture than this cake. This cake is also very dense but I don’t think to crumb is very tight. Ultimately vanilla cake is a tough one because everyone like something different. If you’re feeling up for it, I might try both and see which one you like better. You can try halving each recipe for testing purposes.

  13. Tina

    Have used this recipe many times! It’s one of the best ones out! Even the crumbs disappear from the cake platter!! Can’t thank you enough!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      They are not a 1:1 ratio. I have not tested this with cake flour and you’ll need to look into more details for that sort of substitution.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Grainne- yes, but I don’t usually freeze this cake when it’s frosted. The cake should be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. If placing the wrap directly on the cake, I use parchment paper because this cake is very moist and it will stick the the paper, but it’s better than sticking to the plastic.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Pearse- I would say your cake would be a lot more dry. Instead try reducing the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and that might suite you.

  14. Vicky

    I love this recipe! I’ve made this cake three times and it always came out scrumptious! I want to make it again but would I be able to do so using olive oil instead of vegetable oil? Would it still come out well?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Whoohoo! Love that Vicky. I’ve never tried it with olive oil personally. The flavor could be a little different and the texture might be a little different as well.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      You shouldn’t be tasting the salt… something doesn’t seem right. Sorry you didn’t like this recipe, but if I’ve learned anything, everyone has a different opinion about vanilla cake. It is definitely NOT the same as a boxed mix.

  15. Zam


    Thanks for this yummy ingredient. I would like to know if what are other alternatives for light sour cream. May i use hot water/ milk/ or heavy cream? And will the alternative be of the same measurement(1/2cup) like the sour cream. Thanks a lot


  16. Tania

    Can I just say, this recipe was a lifesaver last week for me. I had a cupcake order and typically me, did not have enough butter so I googled white cake with oil. Up pops your website. I baked my cupcakes and just to be sure I tasted good, I tested 1 (ok 2 just to make sure) and it was perfect. I prefer oil to butter and this was just the perfect recipe. Thanks for this.

  17. Cakes

    I was wondering can I use buttermilk in replacement of the milk? Also if I’m not serving the cake that day may I use simple syrup to keep it moist?

      1. Cakes

        Can you add simple syrup if optional? Also I forgot to ask can you do reverse creaming method? (Wet ingredients in separate bowls and dry in another separate bowl and mix dry with wet)

  18. Carina

    I’d like to make a round, 3 layered cake using this recipe. Would it be possible to tell me what size tins would be best please (if I were to equally pour the mixture between 3 separate tins)?

  19. Iris Doyle

    I have a few birthday cakes to make and am going to try this recipe as it sounds lovely. Would I be able to make the sponge in advance and freeze until I need them.

  20. olamide

    Hi. Thanks for sharing. I stumbled on ur recipe and I have used this recipe at home for a c
    ouple of times, It usually looks like it isnt completely done sometimes. Substituting sourcream with homemade butter milk. Can I substitute the oil with margarine for a better flavour? If yes, in what proportion? I want to try this recipe for a client’s cake and I am going to be sculpuring and sculpting with fondant and I am a little scared, can it withstand the weight without sinking? I am also thinking of how to improve on the flavour.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      If you are substituting the sour cream with buttermilk, it’s quite a shift from the original recipe and a lot more liquid. I have followed the original recipe, and swapped out the oil for melted butter but I don’t like it as much myself. Regarding the fondant, I also don’t work with fondant so while some people have posted in the comment about fondant, I can’t speak from experience.

      1. RP

        This has become my go-to vanilla cake recipe for birthdays, etc. I have used half butter-half oil (quarter cup each) before with great results. I have also successfully used buttermilk, but I cut the milk back to one cup. Both substitutions have results in a yummy, well textured cake.

  21. Scarlett


    Mine took about 45 minutes to cook, the last 15 wrapped in tin foil because the centre was sticky and wet. Did I do something wrong? I made sure the temperature was right and followed your recipe step by step. Also I used a 22cm tin. Was that too small maybe? Because it had that weird muffin top affect which I think is because it was trying to rise/expand?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Did you use only one 22cm tin for the whole batter? If so, that would be why your cake took so long to bake. That is a ton of batter for a pan this size! Normally this batter would be 2-3 of those.

  22. Libby

    Such a good recipe! This was used for a wedding cake, added poppyseeds and almond emulsion. Filling homemade Bavarian creme with stabilized real whipped cream frosting. It was moist from moment it came out of oven, did not shrink and two days later it was even better:) I am curious to try it with cake flour for a tighter crumb. This was a happy medium for all cake needs and easy recipe to follow.

  23. Lance Albert

    This is a delicious and sturdy cake recipe but it doe shrink after baking. Is there something I can do to fix that?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Lance, my cake also shrinks a little bit, I grease and flour the pans. I’ve read that it can be a number of things including over greasing, bakig too closely together in the oven or over baking. My results are pretty consistent though and it usually shrinks enough to pull away from the edges, but I still need a knife to run around the outside edge to release them.

  24. Alicia Storms

    This looks AMAZING!!! I’m drooling, I just can’t wait to try this at home.
    Thank you so much for sharing this refreshing recipe.
    Keep sharing:)

  25. Amy jeanette

    Great recipe, i was out of vanilla extract so i used just under 1/4 cup lemon juice and lemon zest and it was wonderful, i also did not have sour cream or yogurt and i used mayo. One of the best recipes for baked goods ive ever found. thank you so much! this is my new go-to recipe for cake/ cup cakes. ( i made two small 8″ round cakes and 6 cupcakes)

  26. Christianne B

    Well I made this cake and frosting and its delicious, however my cake had a light golden/brown crust all around, not pale yellow like yours? Help, what did I do wrong?
    Best wishes to all

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Christianne, thanks for sharing! I am glad you liked it. It could just be the pan you’re using. I use a light nonstick pan. Although leaving this in the oven for too long, even a minute or two could result in darker edges as well.

  27. Giovanna

    I have been looking for a moist scratch vanilla cake for a long time and this is it! I cannot believe how moist and flavorful it is. Thank you so much for this recipe. This is the only vanilla cake that I will ever use. I can’t wait to try this recipe as cupcakes. I’ m sure they will be delicious.

  28. Chloe Verrall

    I really don’t know what happened since I followed the recipe to a T and cooked it for about 30 minutes longer than the recipe says because it wasn’t cooked. The end result wasn’t cake, it was like a cake/custard hybrid that tasted alright but was very hard to eat. I can tell that this isn’t a fault with the recipe since it has worked so well for everyone else but I don’t know what happened?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Chloe, it’s hard for me to say because I wasn’t there but something doesn’t sound right. Are you sure the oven was heated properly?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      I’ve never baked this recipe with cake flour, but it’s my understanding that if you’re using cake flour instead of AP flour, some adjustments will need to be made to the amount you’re using

  29. Suzanne

    Was looking for a simple vanilla cake using oil rather than butter. This was perfect – so moist. I used Almond milk and grape seed oil and kept with the sour cream. There was enough for 4 layers matched with vanilla cream butter icing and jam, covered in fondant – yum yum. Even better it was so quick to cook, only 25 mins for all layers ( 175 degree C).. Thank you all the way form NZ!

  30. Rachel @ Queen Of Constance

    I love this recipe – the final outcome is delicious, moist and light vanilla cake. For me, I found it took at least 60 minutes to cook at 180 degrees Celsius in a fan forced oven, I also use over thermometers. Thank you

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Rachel, thank you so much for sharing!! I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe and thanks for sharing your baking experience.

  31. Sara

    This is THE BEST CAKE I have ever made
    I made it for my son’s first birthday , turned it into a layered cake filled with chocolate cream , everyone LOVED it and wanted me to make it again
    I will try the chocolate version
    Thank you julianne

  32. Kate Berkey

    I was looking for a cake recipe for the whole family and I stumbled on this article. I read and followed the instructions carefully and I made it deliciously! Every member of my family is so happy! Thanks for this

  33. Tiffany

    Hi, I really love the sprinkles used on this vanilla cake….where did you get them from? Do you have a pic of the container?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Depending on your climate. If you are in a humid or hot environment, you’ll probably need to refrigerate it. I live in a mild climate and I store it on my counter in an airtight container.

  34. Vivian Dsouza

    This looks great, I’ve been trying to work out what to feed everyone at a summer picnic and this looks perfect! Thanks for the recipe

  35. Megan

    I made this cake and it’s delicious! One question, I made it today and the party is tomorrow, can I layer it and do a crumb coat( put it in the fridge) and then finish the rest tomorrow ?

  36. Erin m.

    I made this cake for my niece’s birthday and it was a huge hit! Everyone wanted the recipe! It will be my go-to recipe from now on! Thank you!

  37. Cheryl Ford

    Very good flavor and very easy to make. Much easier and same homemade taste as the other recipe I was using. However……

    This cake rises just the same as any other cake. I am glad I always do a test run of a new recipe, as my pans were over filled and took too long to cook, turning the outside very brown. Luckily, I could tell by looking it was going to over flow and got a cookie sheet under. I did have one pan half full, as that is what I had left, and it baked perfectly, light beautiful sides. And, yes, still had to level the top as any other.

    So, awesome recipe, just please fill as you would normally as it rises just fine.

      1. Cheryl Ford

        10 inch pan. It overflowed because I overfilled the pan, based on what you said about it not having a high rise. Baked it again this weekend, for another cake, filled as I normally would and came out perfect. The point is, don’t say it doesn’t have a high rise, as it rises just fine. Experienced bakers might not understand the problem, as I did and also might now realize it will overflow, as I did just by looking at how it was baking, I knew it was going over and got a pan under saving my oven.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      I talked about this in the blog post.

      Sour cream helps keeps these cupcakes very moist. I recommend substituting the sour cream with non-fat Greek Yogurt if you do not have sour cream. A few people have asked about substituting buttermilk for sour cream. I have never tried this, and this batter is already pretty thin, so I am not sure if adding additional liquid will work. If you need to, you can omit it completely, but note the cake will not be nearly as moist.

  38. Jenn

    I Love this recipe. It’s my go to cake recipe and it has taken years to find a really good cake recipe. My scratch cakes were always so dry. This recipe is a hit amongst everyone who’s tried it. The cake is so moist and yummy. Thank you for sharing this!

  39. XL

    Hello I just wanted to check if you usually use 350 g of flour in this recipe? The way I measure flour it’s about 125 grams per cup and yours is significantly more so I just wanted to double check thanks! I hope to make this tomorrow.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi there, yes, I measure one cup at 140g. I have found that different charts have different measurements but this is the one that I use for all my recipes.

  40. Nelster

    Lovely light and fluffy cake. I found with the fan oven I had to bake the cake an extra 20 mins as the middle was very wobbly and ‘wet’.
    The top did get a little brown – but the family enjoyed the cake nevertheless.

  41. Chipo Tichagwa

    Just made this cake…I honestly had doubts but all I can say is wow…I’m totally gobsmacked…it’s just so moist…it’s lovely. I added some lemon zest to the batter and doesn’t everyone just love it… thank you so much for sharing such a lovely recipe.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      OMG that’s awesome! I know those feelings of doubt, but thank you for giving it a try and for letting me know how it turned out!

  42. Caryl

    I am wondering if American sponge cakes are different as you say “Instead of light and fluffy this is more like a sponge cake”. Sponge cakes are supposed to be light and fluffy (in NZ anyway)!
    For those asking about reducing the sugar, I always reduce the sugar (often by half) if using an American recipe as they are always too sweet. Cakes still come out tasting fine although, of course, they won’t taste like the recipe writer says. Try both and see which you prefer 😉

  43. Kan

    Can you possibly substitute the grandulated sugar with brown sugar, or possible reduce the sugar content? (I know it’s not a diet recipe ( reallllyyy wanna try to make this cus it looks AMAZING altho we are on a sorta health kick rn, so I’d really love to cut the sugar content)

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Kan, several people have commented that they have reduced the sugar to 1.5 cups and seen good results, I’ve tried it a couple times and it does bake but it isn’t the results I’m looking for. I have other recipes on my site that start with this base and I’ve swapped out some of the regular sugar for brown sugar. I’d say you should still maintain a ratio of more white sugar to brown sugar. Brown sugar will “caramelize” the cupcake a little more. In this toffee cupcake, I used a combination of both.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      I’d say it depends on the type of pan and what you’re intending to do. I never grease and flour my 9×13 inch pan because I am cutting and serving the cake directly from the pan. But I always grease and flour my 8inch rounds because I need to remove the cake from the pans.

  44. Natalia

    Hi I’m planning to make this 2 tiered with strawberry frosting in the middle. Do you think it will rise enough for me to properly cut it in half?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Natalie, I bake them as single layers in an 8 inch cake. You could slice them but they would be very thin. What size cake are you trying to make?

        1. Beyond Frosting

          I definitely suggest baking in separate batches. I’ve found that overloading my oven results in uneven baking. If you’d like to prefer two batches at once, I might suggest sifting the flour for better results incorporating the dry ingredients.

  45. Lizzie

    Thank you so much for this recipe – it’s a touch sweet but the sponge is so good! Cooked beautifully in our traditionally difficult oven too!
    Thank you!

  46. Yvonne N

    I made this particular recipe yesterday because I had all of the ingredients on hand. By far the best cupcakes that I have ever made. Did everything exactly as the recipe says and they came out perfect!
    Made a vanilla buttercream to go on the top, so yummy!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi there, I have not tested the recipe in a 9 inch round, if anything they will just be more full. I am sure it will be fine!

  47. Heather

    This is my second time making it, it turns out great with Greek yogurt if you don’t have sour cream or like me only had about a 1/4 a cup of it so I mixed the two. My kids love helping make this simple and delightful recipe. Thank you.

  48. Ashley

    My baking friends and I both laugh and lament how people that grew up on boxed cake always think scratch cake tastes like cornbread. Laugh because it’s funny, lament that they don’t have an appreciation for good, quality cake. This is a very good recipe. Nice flavor. Nice texture. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Thank you Ashley! I tried for weeks to make something similar to a boxes cake mix, but I have decided that it’s just a different beast and it is very artificial tasting, and while I still keep a few on hand, I love the real flavor of a homemade cake!

  49. Betty chase

    I absolutely love this recipe for vanilla cake and it will be my go to from now on. I used light olive oil and miracle whip instead of sour cream as I don’t like sour cream. Everything else was exact. Cooked in two round pans lined with tin foil. I make raspberry trifle a lot and it is the perfect texture and density for that.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Awesome Betty! I am so glad that worked out for you! I’ve never made a cake with miracle whip, I just might have to try that!

  50. Mira

    Just made this cake an hour ago, put it on the windowsill to cool down, and half of it is already gone! My husband keeps sneaking a piece and says it’s the besy I ever made. The cake is super moist and so, so good! Only thing I changed was the amount of sugar, I cut down to 1 1/4 cup instead of 2, next time I will put even less. All on all, great cake, thanks so much!

  51. Liz

    This is a weird recipe. I had to bake it 15 minutes longer before it was done. It smelled like cornbread. It’s sweet but doesn’t have much flavor.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Liz, the baking time will vary depending on the type of pan you’re using. For instance, I baked them in a til foil pan for a party recently and the baking times were much longer that my regular nonstick aluminum pans. Glass pans also have increased baking time. Sorry this cake wasn’t for you, but I don’t agree with the flavor comment, you should have a very distinct vanilla flavor with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.

  52. Jeanette

    This recipe was okay–I made both a cake and cupcakes. The consistency was great. The only problem is that you’re really can taste the oil. I’m hoping this will be masked by the frosting.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hmm that’s interesting Jeanette. I haven’t come across that before. Do you generally prefer butter cakes or oil-based cakes? Thanks for your feedback.

  53. Crystal

    I made this cake and felt like it tasted like cornbread only to come to the comments to find 2 others that mentioned cornbread. Haha bizarre. I thought it maybe wasn’t sweet enough…??? Like it tasted more savory. Decided to see if buttercream made it better. Tastes like buttercream on cornbread. Haha. I threw the rest out.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Crystal, thanks for your review. I think the hardest part of a basic chocolate or vanilla cake is that everyone has a different idea of what their favorite cake is. This is definitely more dense as opposed to light and fluffy, more like a spongecake.

  54. Katelyn

    This cake was fantastic! I went to make it and found out i had no sour cream… 30 second google search said i could use yogurt! Great! But i only had blueberry…. Oh well i decided so i mixed it up added some frozen blueberries to the batter before going in the oven and boom! Devine blueberry cake!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Hazaa, I have not specifically tested the recipe this way. I tried it once but found it was not as moist. That being said, it baked up fine. I used 1/2 cup melted butter.

  55. Wendy

    I made this cake and it was amazing!! Only question is: if I want to make it in a circle pan how would I adjust the cooking time?? And which size pan should I use? Does anyone have any tips? I’m keen to make two layers and cover with vanilla buttercream for my mum’s birthday! Thanks in advance!

  56. Donna

    I made this cake for my daughter and son’s birthday–IT IS THE BEST CAKE I HAVE EVER MADE. I got so many compliments and my husband said I outdid myself. It is the best. Thanks so much!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      OMG Donna! That is awesome!! I love to hear that. Isn’t it the best feeling when you share something that everyone loves??

  57. Hannah

    This cake was disgusting. Tasted like sugar with absolutely no presence of vanilla. The middle wouldn’t cook and the outsides were super dry. Had to throw it out, which is super disappointing because I was making it for my friends.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Hannah, I am sorry it was not right for you. Sounds like maybe it wasn’t baked all the way through? What type of pan did you use and is your oven at true temperature? I see for from Australia, did you make any substitutions?

  58. Onkar Bhosale

    Thank you for a beautiful vanilla cake recipe. Made this tonight for my family and the kitchen smells divine. It tastes even better.

  59. Smitha

    I just made this cake for my son’s birthday today. It was very easy cake. The only thing I changed from the recipe is to add only 1.5 cups of sugar instead of 2 cups. That was perfect for our tastebuds. I made it into 2 layer cake with simple whipped cream frosting. It was awesome. Thank you . I wish I could attach a pic

  60. Julia

    While it is moist, there is too much sugar which causes it to have a crusty top and edges and makes it seem more like a cornbread cake. Too sweet for me and a bit too much vanilla.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Thanks for sharing Julia. I am not sure about the crusty top though? I’ve never seen that. Hope you find a recipe you like, perhaps a more light and airy cupcake as opposed to this one which is more spongy.

  61. Sechele

    Hello, this looks inviting and tasty?Can I use milk with lemon juice left to sit till curdled as a substitute for light sour cream. It’s so hard to get sour cream in my country. Please help

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi there, I would try using a nonfat greek yogurt or just eliminating the sour cream. I am not sure about adding additional liquid ingredients because it’s already a thin batter.

      1. Vivien

        Good recipe – reduce sugar to 1 1/2 cuos . 2 c far too much. Made a delicious cupcake in a short time. Batter can be poured from a jug into silicon cupcake molds

  62. Alinna

    Hello 🙂

    I am very new to baking and this recipe was awesome ! Although I tasted a hint of cornbread, I’m not sure what I am doing wrong.

  63. Sandra

    Hi dear,

    many thanks for this very nice recipe! I wanted to surprise one of my sons and I found your recipe on Pinterest. It is amazing!!! Everybody loves it. Many many thanks.
    I made some changes for my German readers but it works perfect and because I like your recipe so much, I wrote it down at my blog. Hope, it is ok for you?! Of course I mentioned that I found it at your site. 😉

    Best regards

  64. Immunochick

    I have been looking for a good, moist, simple vanilla cake to use for birthday parties, etc. I came upon this one and was skeptical (I don’t follow any food blogs), but the reviews were largely positive. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I decided to try this for the first time for my parents’ 50th anniversary party (ugh, stress!).

    I baked two 9×13 cakes to make a double layer cake. I ran into some issues with mixing (my fault), and started to feel gloomy about the cake as it baked. When I pulled it out of the oven, I was worried it hadn’t risen enough. I was worried that one domed too much in the middle. I didn’t trust the leavening amounts. I didn’t trust the amount of sugar. In short, I was starting to totally freak out.

    Due to a shortage of time and ingredients (I used the last of my granulated sugar), I had no choice but to use the cake I baked or buy one from the store (um, no). I frosted it with a simple dark cocoa frosting. I decorated it with gold and pink frosting and sprinkles. It sat there on my kitchen island and I glared at it. This cake was ruining my day. It was going to ruin the party. It was going to ruin my life! I started to write a bad review, but decided that wouldn’t be fair. I had screwed up a bit when I mixed it due to a measuring cup error. I hadn’t actually eaten it yet. The bits I scraped out of the bowl and off the baking pan *were* tasty.

    So, I waited. Guests arrived. People oohed and aahed at the chocolate, pink, and gold concoction sitting on my kitchen island. I explained that it wasn’t a good cake. It was a disaster. It looked nice, but I could make no promises for it.

    Then cake cutting time came…

    IT WAS AMAZING!!! It was fluffy. It had the perfect crumb. It was moist. It even turned out pretty level, since I had sliced off the domed section on the one layer that domed a bit. It tasted soooo good. Despite all my doubts, and my moaning and groaning, I think I found my go-to vanilla cake. Everyone loved it. Compliments poured in. I looked a bit foolish for all my apologizing in advance. 🙂

    The only substitution I made was using buttermilk (full fat) instead of sour cream, which seemed to work fine. I liked it with a dark chocolate frosting, because the bitterness cut the sweetness of the cake. If I was going to make it with a vanilla frosting, I would probably pick a whipped frosting over a really sweet buttercream, or I would cut back on the sugar a tad.

    So, that is my tale. Thank you!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      I was fully invested in reading your story to find out how it turned out! LOL. First of all, I’ve been where you’re at. I know the stress! I’ve actually never baked two at one time, but that *might* be what caused one to rise more than the other? I am also SO glad this worked out, because, umm pressure!! Thank you for sharing!

      1. Immunochick

        My husband constantly wonders why I decide to try a new recipe the morning of a big gathering and then melt into a ball of stress! Of course, I write this at 7:00 am with a never-before tried breakfast casserole recipe in the oven for this morning’s back-to-school staff appreciation breakfast. :-/

        I have found that a double layer quarter sheet is the perfect cake size for around 50 guests (mix of adults and kids). Most people don’t seem to layer a 9×13 cake, but it is pretty easy to do. A 9×13 is small enough that it holds together well when you transfer the top layer. Something about the extra height makes it much more impressive when frosted and decorated!

        I think you are right about the doming. It may have not been an issue if I had drank enough coffee (it was early) to tell the difference between a half and a quarter cup when measuring flour. The original plan was to bake two separate cakes from start to finish, not two at the same time. My KitchenAid could barely contain all the batter, much less mix it properly!

        Anyway, thank you again for a delicious recipe!

  65. Dianna Brand

    Great recipe thank you! Did an experiment to see how long it would last un-iced and partly exposed (wrapped it in tinfoil after 1.5 days) after 7 days it was still moist and palatable, I mean I obviously wouldn’t serve it after all that time exposed, but you could..
    I did find that it was a bit eggy in flavour the day I baked it, but by day 2 it had settled. Might be the size of my eggs etc…
    Good recipe for having to make a cake in advance. It will go in my book for sure. Props xxx

  66. Que ❤

    Cakes was moist .. just the way i like it ♥️

    Texture was amazing, just the way i love it ?

    But the taste ? Its abit sweet for me i guess .. too sweet ..

  67. Theresa

    Absolutely delicious! My 8 year old son made this and the cake was moist, light and not overly sweet. Thank you for sharing this quick and easy recipe!

  68. Gunseli Malleck

    Hi. I am eager to try this cake. Can you please tell me: what is “light” sour cream? Can I use regular sour cream?

    Also, in South Africa, we have self raising flour and cake flour- which one of these would be more appropriate?i have looked and not found All purpose flour…

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Gunseli, light sour cream is a reduced-fat sour cream instead of full fat. A full fat sour cream will make this cake very dense. I guess I would recommend trying cake flour. My understanding of self riding flour is that it’s for breads?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Tito, I have not tested the recipe with reduced sugar. Some people have left comments that they will try it, but I have not so I cannot say how the results will be

  69. Arianna Giuffra

    Hi! Could I use cream cheese instead of sour cream? I´ve seen some cake recipes that use cream cheese and I was wondering if it would work in this one. Please reply!!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Arianna, I have not tested the recipe with cream cheese, so I am not sure how this would work. I would suggest Greek Yogurt as a substitute.

  70. Michelle

    I noticed the recipe calls for 2 cups sugar and 2 1/2 cups flour but the grams (g) conversion that you give is 380 g for 2 cups but 350g for 2 1/2 cups. Is it correct for 2 1/2 cups to be less than 2 cups?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Michelle, that is correct. Sugar is heavier than flour. 1 cup of sugar is 190g and 1 cup of flour is 140g.

  71. Mombakesalot

    Perfect yellow cake recipe. Followed it exactly (didn’t have sour cream, but it’s fine without). Simple to make, but tastes great. Thisrecipe is the ONLY one you need! Thank you so much for sharing.

  72. Kim Thompson

    I am honestly not very good at baking cakes from scratch, but this recipe was a success from the first try. Easy to make, delicious to eat. Thank you!

  73. Sue

    Hi, I’m planning to bake this for my little girl’s birthday tomorrow (she’s been obsessed with vanilla cake since reading a storybook about a little girl
    who wanted one and specifically requested that). I need to know, though, do you use fine granulated sugar or the coarser stuff? Thanks heaps!

      1. Sue

        Thanks. It’s all done and sitting in the fridge. I decided to make two 9” cakes, sandwich some lemon curd in the middle and cover with lemon cream cheese frosting. The texture reminds me of the French yogurt cakes I made lots of when I was first learning to bake – which looking at the ingredients now should come as no surprise.

        1. Beyond Frosting

          Oh nice! Sounds amazing with the lemon curd and cream cheese frosting! I’ve never heard of a French Yogurt Cake, I will have to look that up!

  74. Danika

    Very good!!! One of my favorite. Can I turn this into a chocolate cake? If yes what do I need to do? If you know 🙂

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Danika, that awesome!! I am working on a chocolate version but I am so picky I have not found one I want yet. I did try just swaping out some flour for cocoa powder but I didn’t quite like it

      1. Danika

        Thank you so much for getting back to me. You will have to post your chocolate recipe once your done cuz i would definitely make it. I have another question. Can i make this recipe and put it in the fridge for a day and decorate it the next day? It wouldnt make my cake dry right?

  75. Sandy

    Hi! im looking for a moist vanilla ckae for a 5 tier cake (6in). Do you think this recipe could work considering the height??

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Sandy, this cake is very stable as it is dense, you can handle it well. You’ll likely need more than 1 batch in order to do a 5 tier 6 inch cake. Enjoy!

  76. Caileigh

    I’m so glad to see you’re still answering questions on this recipe! I’m just wondering where you found the adorable sprinkles. I’m planning to try the cake for the first time on the weekend and I’m not happy with my sprinkles.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Caileigh! So I get my sprinkles from Sweetapolita and Sweets & Treats. Because these need to be shipped you might consider going to a craft store like Michaels, and buying a few small bags of sprinkles and making your own mix! Wishing you luck! Please come back and share your photos!

      1. Caileigh

        The cake was delicious and a huge hit with everyone, especially the birthday girl! I ended up using regular sprinkles but it still looked great. I used 2% milk so it was probably a little more dense and moist than yours and I think I can see that different when I look at your photos. The only little issues I had were that the flour was a touch lumpy. I needed a double batch and my mixer wasn’t quite big enough for the job. I thought it would be a disaster but I had to search and know what I was looking for to find a lump once it was baked. I’m sure no one else noticed. The other little mishap was I found that the icing was a little dry so the sprinkles didn’t really stick and kind of rolled down the slopes and gathered in those lower areas. It wasn’t a big deal but I’m wondering if I might have done something wrong or if that’s typical. I’m definitely making it again next year and I’ve already been asked to share the recipe!

        1. Beyond Frosting

          Hi Caileigh, Thank you for sharing! I think next time for a double batch, we should probably sift the flour to avoid the lumps. Did you also stir the batter pretty well with a spatula? Sometimes that help.s Regarding your comment for the frosting, due to the high sugar content it will lightly crust over pretty quickly, so depending on when you added the sprinkles, I’ve had that happen to me as well. Thank you should much again for sharing!