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. It’s a super easy recipe and topped with my tried and true vanilla frosting. You can make this recipe as cupcakes or a layer cake as well.  

An overhead shot of a slice of vanilla cake on a light teal plate. The cake is garnished with colorful sprinkles and there's a couple gold forks in the background.

The Easy Vanilla Cake I Can’t Stop Making

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to have a homemade and versatile basic cake recipe. I’ve shied away from the task, fearing I would not be up to the challenge. After months of recipe testing, I finally landed on this recipe.

This easy vanilla cake recipe makes the most moist cake that’s covered with my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting. This is not a light and fluffy cake, it’s more of a spongy, heavier cake made with whole eggs, oil and sour cream. 

When I say this recipe is quick and easy, it’s because this recipe uses basic panty ingredients that don’t require room temperature ingredients. You can make this cake in about 10 minutes before your oven is done preheating.

You’ll also find this cake recipe is very stable and reliable. You can use it to make cupcakes or a layer cake.

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.

Why I Use Oil Instead of Butter

I prefer oil-based cakes over butter-based cakes because oil tends to make cakes moister. It also makes the crumb and texture a bit more tender.

Since this cake uses oil instead of butter, there’s no waiting around for your butter to come to room temperature. Often times recipes using butter require properly whipping the butter and sugar together, but we don’t have to worry about that with this recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar: The ratio of sugar to flour is very important in baked goods, so be sure to follow the recipe. Some people have reduced the sugar without an issue but I don’t recommend it.
  • Vegetable oil: Oil makes this cakee more moist than a recipe with butter.
  • Whole eggs: This is a dense and spongy cake, so we’re using the whole egg. 
  • Pure vanilla extract: Be sure you get a high-quality REAL vanilla extract for this recipe because the vanilla is your main ingredient for flavor. 
  • Sour cream: Sour cream helps keeps this cake very moist.
  • All-purpose flour: This is not interchangeable with cake flour. So be sure to use all-purpose for this recipe. 
  • Baking powder: There’s 3 whole teaspoons to give this cake the perfect rise.
  • Salt: Adding small amounts of salt to desserts enhances the flavor and sweetness.
  • Milk:  I use nonfat because that’s what I keep in my fridge, but you can use any type of milk you have on hand

an overhead shot of ingredients for vanilla cupcakes: milk, sugar, flour, eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla

Ingredient substitutions

  • Sour cream: This is essential for keeping the cake moist. If you don’t have sour cream. I recommend substituting with non-fat Greek yogurt. The recipe calls for light sour cream, but you can also use full-fat 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.
  • Butter instead of oil: You can use 1/2 cup of melted butter instead of oil, but I don’t think it is nearly as good. You can also use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. 
  • Gluten-free flour: I have tested this recipe with a one for one gluten-free flour and it worked out great

How to Make Vanilla Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat together the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract until well incorporated.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.two side by side images showing the process of making a vanilla cake batter
  4. In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients, 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 dry ingredients, and the remaining milk. Beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined.two side by side images showing the process of making a vanilla cake batter
  6. Pour the batter in a 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Mistakes to Avoid

Over or under mixing the batter: 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. To help with this, turn off your mixer when you can’t see any more loose flour on top. Then use a 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.

Ingredient substitutions: Wherever possible, try not to substitute ingredients. You’ve heard the term, baking is a science. The ingredient and ratios are the way they are for a reason.

Over or under baking: Baking time are suggested and vary depending on the type of pan you’re using and your individual oven. If you need to bake this cake for longer than specified, that’s okay. Test the cake with a toothpick or knife in the center of the cake. If the knife is clean, then your cake is done.

An overhead shot of a vanilla cake bake in a 9x13 inch pan

How to Frost this Vanilla Cake

You want to me be sure your frosting is whipped, fluffy and very spreadable. Place dollops of frosting around the top of the cake and use an angled spatula to spread the frosting. Don’t press too hard or you’ll pull the top of the cake along with you. 

How to Store Frosted a Cake

Whenever possible, cakes should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you live in a hot and humid environment, you may want to store this in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe as cupcakes?

That’s right, this vanilla cake can be made as a cake and also as vanilla cupcakes. This recipe will make a hefty 24 cupcakes with a little batter left over.

Can I turn this into 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. All the information you need is in that specific blog post. 

Can I make this as bundt cake?

Personally I don’t love the way this bakes as a bundt cake. So I developed another recipe for the perfect vanilla bundt cake. It uses only egg whites, and the method of preparation is also different, but it’s also easy!

A gold fork holding a slice of vanilla cake. You can see the cake is blurred out in the background.

I had to bake my cake 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 or you didn’t preheat it all the way prior to placing your cake in the oven.

More cake recipes you’ll love

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. Looking for more cake recipes? Here are all my best cake recipes. 

a slice of vanilla cake on a teal plate, text overlay

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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 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 15 slices


This easy vanilla cake recipe makes a fluffy, moist cake covered with the most perfect vanilla buttercream frosting.


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. Mix the wet ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract until well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the sour cream beat until well combined.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients: In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients to the batter, and then add half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Add the remaining dry ingredients, and the remaining milk. Beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined. Stir with a spatula to ensure it’s well mixed.
  6. Pour the batter in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes. 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. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
  7. For the Frosting: 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.


  • 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 vanilla cupcakes or a vanilla layer cake
  • Baking times will vary by pan type and true internal oven temperatures.
  • Storing this cake: Whenever possible, cakes should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you live in a hot and humid environment, you may want to store this in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.
  • Freezing this cake: I do not prefer to freeze cakes once they’re frosted/ If you need to freeze this cake, double wrap it in plastic wrap and then with foil. Thaw to room temperature to serve.
  • Ingredient substitutions

    • Sour cream: This is essential for keeping the cupcakes moist. If you don’t have sour cream. I recommend substituting with non-fat Greek yogurt. The recipe calls for light sour cream, but you can also use full-fat sour cream. If you need to, you can omit it completely, but note the cake will not be nearly as moist.
    • Butter instead of oil: You can use 1/2 cup of melted butter instead of oil, but I don’t think it is nearly as good. You can also use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.
    • Gluten-free flour: I have tested this recipe with a one for one gluten-free flour and it worked out great
Nutrition Information:
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vanilla cake recipe, best, easy, homemade, how to make vanilla cake, moist vanilla cake recipe, fluffy, birthday cake, sheet cake


507 Responses
  1. Wadzie

    So moist and yummy, I reduced the sugar to 1 cup and it came out good as well. Thank you for the recipe

  2. Kadi

    Exactly what I was looking for! Nice and easy recipe but also not too sweet and really moist!

  3. Jenny

    We cant get All purpose flour where I am. What can I use instead if I cant use cake flour?
    We get bread flour, cake flour, self raising flour??

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Jenny- what do you normally sub for all purpose flour? Definitely not bread flour. I don’t bake with self rising flour, but if that’s an alternative, you would likely reduce the baking powder in this recipe.

  4. sylvia

    Hello, so glad I found this recipe. it’s by far the best vanilla cake I’ve made!
    Is the original recipe in cups and then converted to grams or was it originally in grams and adapted to cup measurements? thank you 🙂

    1. Beyond Frosting

      All my recipes start in cups and are converted to grams using an online tool that estimates. They also vary from brand to brand, especially with flour!

  5. Anar I Gulamhussein

    My late husband used to tell me that my cakes always turn out too dry,for years I tried but to fail everytime until I came across this recipe & omg 😱 what a difference it made, not only moist but delicious & def not dry I couldn’t stop eating it same with my family 🤤😋❤️🌹

  6. Jessica Jonceski

    Hi, i’m just wondering if this recipe is restricted to vegetable oil? could you use canola instead?
    thank you 🙂

  7. Abby Clay

    Amazing cake! It’s so hard to find a cake that has a little more to it and is not super light and airy but this recipe is THE ONE. This cake was exactly what I hoped for and super moist. I made coconut frosting for the top and put coconut on the outside and had the most moist and amazing coconut cake of my life. Excited to use this cake with lots of different frostings!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Thank you Abby!! You should also try my yellow cake or lemon cake which were adapted from this as well! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Jasmin, I’ve never tested this recipe with cake flour, but they are not a 1:1 substitute. Yes, you can use buttermilk, but I would consider using some baking soda in combination with the baking powder. At least 1/2-1 teaspoon.

  8. Rebecca

    I’ve made your 8″ 3-layer recipe a few times now (after searching for so long for a good white cake recipe!), and it’s perfect. I was planning to double it to make a 9×13 version, since my Wilton 9×13 pan says I should use 10 cups of batter. But here you’re using the same recipe (which I think makes 5 cups) for a 9×13. Will this be a high enough single-layer sheet cake?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Rebecca, I use the same recipe for both a 9×13″ cake and the 3 layer 8-inch cake. I am afraid if you doubled the recipe, the edges would burn before the middle was cooked

  9. joy lyon

    I’m in the U.K. and made this for the first time today. I can see this becoming a firm family favourite.

  10. Stephanie

    Hey (Hugs)
    How are you? I only use your vanilla in my business, its phenomenal huge fan, I was wondering if I can make your vanilla in a caramel cake (in the sponge) 🙏🏻

          1. Stephanie

            It worked, thanks to your brilliant recipe I successfully managed to make a caramel one. You are amazing, thank you

  11. Becky

    Can I change the vanilla extract for almond extract? I’m hunting for an almond recipe that includes oil and yogurt/milk but you don’t seem to have one.

  12. Kelly

    Before I try this, I want to ask what you recommend for higher altitudes. We are at 3700 feet. I normally reduce the leavening, add a bit more liquid, etc. I look forward to trying this!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Kelly, I am not too familiar with high altitude baking, and unfortunately I have not made this cake at high altitude myself so I am can’t be of much help here. I’m sorry!

  13. Mia

    The cake came out with a bread like texture – is this how it normally comes out or did I do something wrong? I was expecting a tight crumb, but this seemed more pound cake/sweet bready. (used yogurt instead of sour cream and half the amount of sugar – could this have been the culprit??)
    Thank you!!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Mia, yogurt would have been a find substitution but yeah, you cannot halve the sugar and expect to have the same results. That is a definite contributor to the texture you described. I would recommend trying the recipe as it’s written.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Taylor, I do not, I’m sorry I am not too familiar with sugar free baking. If you can find a 1:1 sugar substitute like Swerve that might work?

  14. Shannon DeRoza

    Great recipe !! Easy to follow. And the taste and texture is phenomenal!!!! Thank you Julienne. I’ll be sure to tag you again in my next cake post ! @shanshomebakery

      1. Maria

        Love your receipes.. How much quantity of cake can you make with this given ingredients. You have specified in no of slices,can you please tell me in kg.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Cake flour and AP flour are not interchangeable due to the proteins in the flour, and further adjustment would be required. I have not tested this recipe with cake flour.

  15. A J

    This was SO good! We only made the cake, but it smelled so amazing out of the oven my boyfriend and I both had two slices. Will be making this over and over again. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Mel

    This cake is excellent…I did add less milk and added a bit more sour cream since I only had exactly one cup of milk. I did whip the sugar and egg whites together and then added the oils and yolks and vanilla. Made it a bit more fluffy but still had great texture. Tasted great even without frosting.

  17. Kerry

    Omg. Made this into 12 cupcakes today and they are so scrummy! Moistest recipe I’ve found yet so will prob stick with this one from now on. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Tara

    Here we are day 3 and this cake is just as moist as day 1. I used 1/4c butter and 1/4c vegetable oil. Amazing cake! Fir the frosting I made a buttercream frosting and after whipping the butter added 1 T of meringue powder and whipped that in before adding the confectioners sugar. The frosting is just as good as day 1 and fallen flat. This recipe can be made the day before and is a keeper.

  19. Heather

    I make a lot of cakes – this recipe is excellent, and super simple. I substituted half greek yoghurt and half buttermilk as I did not have sour cream in the house. And then I folded in some flour-coated frozen raspberries. Totally delicious. Thank you!

  20. Melissa Fernando

    I made this today and we are currently in a lock down. Used curd instead of sour cream. Used 2tsp of baking powder and less than 1/2tsp of baking soda since I was running out of baking powder. Used part coconut oil and part melted margarine. Didn’t frost the cake but added few cashews and raisins. Cake rose a lot than other vanilla cakes I’ve made. It was soft and delicious. 👌👌👌Froze a part of the cake.
    Thank you for the recipe!!!😊😊

  21. Shiku

    This is the yummiest recipe for vanilla I have ever found, especially for someone like me who likes to be generous with the vanilla essence 🙂 ! I will definitely stick around. Keep up the good work Julianne!

  22. Michaela

    Hands down, this is the best vanilla cake I ever made ! It is so moist as it was the first day I baked it !! Perfect recipe!!

      1. Maria

        WOW!! The best ever vanilla cake. I have never baked a cake from scratch. I’ve only made box cakes at random times over the years. I had been craving vanilla cake and came across this recipe. I figured it was so easy that I couldn’t mess it up. I had all the ingredients except sour cream. I knew that the cake would turn out good because the batter was so tasty. I am absolutely pleased with this cake. I don’t have to look anywhere else for recipes. This is my go to site. Thank you so much! No more box cake.

  23. Leslie

    Will this cake taste just the same with regular fat sour cream and whole milk? I only have those in the fridge and I am scared of the texture of the cakes changing.

  24. Dianne Sironic

    Made this last week and it was gone in 2 days. One of the best Vanilla cake recipes I have tried. I knew it would be a winner as soon as I saw your recipe had oil and sour cream in it and it did not disappoint. It really was super moist. The only thing I cut the sugar in the recipe to just over 1 cup as I felt 2 cups was too sweet for us (but just personal preference) . Thank you.

  25. 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.

    1. Michelle Co

      This recipe tastes really good. From now, it will be my forever vanilla cake. Thanks for sharing!

  26. 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!!

  27. 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.

      1. Lisa

        Can I make this 2 days in advance and frost it on the day it is to be served? If so how would I store it? Frige?? Thank you!

        1. Beyond Frosting

          There’s a section in this post with a title called “how to store a frosted cake” that might be helpful for you to read. It depends on the climate you live in. However the unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container.

  28. 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.

      1. Julie Hartjes

        This happened to me too. I know my oven is a bit low (about 10 degrees) so I set for 360. After 28 min. the middle was still liquid. probably had to add about 8 minutes to it. Smells good. Can’t wait to frost and eat!!!

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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 🙂

  32. 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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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…

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. Lisha

    It came out well , I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream, and reduced a little bit of salt. Thanks for the recipe.

  40. Jennie Forman

    Tasted like corn bread. It was salty and gross. Had to just throw out and ended up making a boxed cake. What a waste!!!

    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.

  41. 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


  42. 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.

  43. 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)

  44. 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)?

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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:)

  51. 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)

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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

  58. 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

  59. 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.

  60. 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

  61. 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 ?

  62. 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!

  63. 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.

  64. 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!

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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!

  68. 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 😉

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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!

  72. 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!

  73. 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.

  74. 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!

  75. 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!

  76. 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!

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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.

  80. 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.

  81. 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!

  82. 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??

  83. 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?

  84. 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.

  85. 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

  86. 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.

  87. 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

  88. 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.

  89. 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