This is the perfect Vanilla Cake Recipe! Thick layers of vanilla cake and my favorite vanilla frosting. It’s an easy recipe to make using oil instead of butter which makes it super moist and spongy.
For the cake:
- 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) pure 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:
- 2 cups (453g) unsalted butter, cold
- 7–8 cups (910-1041g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) vanilla extract
- 2–3 tablespoons (30-44ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)
- Pinch of salt
- For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round baking pans (affiliate link), line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides. Prepare with bake even strips (affiliate link).
- 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.
- Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half the dry ingredients, and half the milk, beat on low speed just until the flour starts to incorporate.
- Finally add the remaining dry ingredients and milk, mixing on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined. 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.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three pan, about 1 2/3 cups of batter per pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-23 minutes. Rotate your pans in the oven halfway through baking.
- Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, you cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- For the frosting: Cut butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until the butter looks light in color.
- Alternate adding 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time with the liquid ingredients: vanilla extract & heavy cream. Ensure the powdered sugar is well combined, then and whip for 1-2 minutes before adding more powdered sugar.
- Once all the powdered sugar has been added, increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.
- To assemble the cake, use a cake leveler (affiliate link) to cut the domes off the top of the cake. Place a dollop of frosting on your cake board and place the bottom layer of cake on top of that.
- Place about 2 cups of frosting in a large piping bag (affiliate link) fitted with a large open round tip, or simply cut off the end of the piping bag. Pipe a layer of frosting on top of the cake, starting at the outside edge and working your way into the middle. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Repeat with the second layer of cake and then place your third layer on top.
- Use your piping bag to fill in any gaps between your layers and to create a crumb coat. Using an offset spatula (affiliate link) or icing smoother, wipe away the excess frosting, leaving you just enough to coat the outside of the cake. Do not mix your crumb coating frosting back into your icing if it has cake debris in it.
- Proceed to frost the top and sides of the cake using your offset spatula. Once the sides of the cake are covered, use you icing smoother (affiliate link) to remove any excess frosting.
- To decorate this cake: Use your hands to press the sprinkles into the sides of the cake. It’s best to do this over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, allowing you to easily capture and reuse the sprinkles that fall off the cake.
- Take your leftover frosting and separate into 3 bowls: 1 cup, ½ cup and ¼ cup of white frosting (undyed). Dye 2 bowls with you desired color, and leave 1/4 cup of frosting uncolored.
- In a small piping bag, use a 1M piping tip to pipe the large roses on top of your cake.
- Place the other frosting in two small piping bags (affiliate link), fitted with a coupler and size 18 (affiliate link) or size 21 tips (affiliate link), fill with your other color and the white frosting. Fill in the negative space with a mix of stars and small rosettes.
- Keep this cake covered in an airtight cake container. Serve within 3 days for best results.
- Depending on how much you fill the middle of your cake, you might need another half or quarter recipe of frosting to do your decorations, especially if you’d like to do more of a traditionally decorated cake with rosettes or something on top.
- Baking pans:
- For two 9-inch cakes, they baked from 28-32 minutes. Baking times will vary due to how full the pans are, type of pans and true oven temperature. Please note these did “crust” a little more on the outside edge due to extended baking times and they rose quite a bite in the middle, so you’ll lose more of the “dome” of the cake.
- For two 8-inch pans: divide the batter evenly, about 2 1/2 cups per each pan. Bake for 28-32 minutes.
- For 6-inch pans: a full recipe will make four 6-inch layers, filling each one with about 1 1/3 cup of batter and baking for approximately 24-30 minutes.
- For 10 inch pans: I’ve never tested this with 10 inch pans, but I would recommend a 2 layer cake so you still have nice, thick layers. Trying baking for 18-20 minutes and assessing additional time needed from there.
- Sour cream substitute: Sour cream helps keeps these cupcakes very moist, I do not recommend omitting it. Substitute with with non-fat Greek Yogurt if you do not have sour cream. Full-fat sour cream is also workable, but I prefer low-fat or fat-free.
- Milk: Any type of milk can be used (full, reduced or low-fat)
- Oil substitutes: I have tested substituting 1/2 cup melted butter in place of the oil. The cake still bakes just fine but I prefer the texture of the cake make with oil,
- To make this as a single layer, please see my other vanilla cake recipe.
- Storage and make ahead: The best option is to use a cake carrier which can allow it to be stored in an airtight container. This locks in the moisture. You can also slice it and store it in a tupper ware container. You do not have the refrigerate this cake unless you live in a hot a humid environment. Since the frosting is made with butter, it is subject to melting in the heat. If you need to refrigerate the cake, try to do so in airtight container. This is best served at room temperature.
- Freezing instructions: I recommend freezing the cake layer if needed. Line the top and bottom with parchment paper, double wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freeze. Thaw completely before frosting.
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Cake from Scratch, Easy Vanilla Cake Recipe, Birthday cake Recipe, Easy cake recipe with oil