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The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe

Every baker needs a solid vanilla cake recipe in their repertoire, and today’s recipe is just that.

It’s soft, plush, and perfectly moist. Not to be confused with my white cake, this recipe is a beautiful pale golden color and distinctly vanilla flavored. It pairs beautifully with any frosting, although a traditional chocolate frosting is my favorite finish!

Like my chocolate cake, this has been one of my most popular recipes for years (and you may recognize it as the base for both my pineapple upside-down cake and my marble cake). It’s a simple, classic, and incredible vanilla cake. So many of you have tried and loved this recipe, and while the recipe remains exactly the same, I thought it was about time for a facelift with new photos and a new video.


  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (120 g) avocado, canola or vegetable oil¹
  • 1 ½ cup (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature preferred
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour²
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) buttermilk room temperature preferred
  • 1 batch Chocolate Frosting click link for recipe, or use one of the other frostings recommended in the notes below


Preheat oven to 350F (177C) and prepare two deep 8" round cake pans³ by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly greasing the sides. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using an electric mixer) cream together the butter, canola oil and sugar until creamy and well-combined.

½ cup unsalted butter,½ cup avocado, canola or vegetable oil¹,1 ½ cup granulated sugar
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined after each addition.
4 large eggs
Stir in vanilla extract.

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3 cups all-purpose flour²,1 Tablespoon baking powder,½ teaspoon salt
Using a spatula and gently hand-mixing, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined after each addition. The batter should be thoroughly combined, but there may be some small lumps in the batter and avoid over-mixing (and do not use your electric mixer or stand mixer for this step).
1 ¼ cup buttermilk

Evenly divide batter into your prepared cake pans, and bake on 350F (175C) for 30-35 minutes. When the cake is done, the surface should spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean with few moist crumbs (no wet batter).

Allow cakes to cool in their cake pans for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Frost cake using my chocolate frosting (or see notes for other favorite frosting options) and decorate with sprinkles (if desired).
1 batch Chocolate Frosting


¹Cooking oil

You may use any neutral cooking oil instead of vegetable or canola oil. I generally don't recommend olive oil, which is heavier and has a distinct flavor that could affect the end taste result of your cake. 

²Cake Flour

You may substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour. Use 3 ⅓ cups or 375g of cake flour.
³Different size baking pans

13x9" pan: This recipe makes enough for one 13x9" baking pan. Readers have reported the approximate bake time is 30 minutes.

Two 9" pans: Readers have reported this cake takes approximately 25 minutes to bake in 9" pans.

Bundt pan: Readers have reported this cake takes approximately 40-45 minutes to bake in a bundt pan

Bake times for all pans listed above have been provided by readers who have tested this recipe in different sized pans. Please always use the toothpick test to check for doneness and note that your precise bake time may vary depending on your particular baking pan and your oven. I have not tested this recipe in any other baking pans, other than cupcake tins (details for baking cupcakes listed below).

Vanilla Cupcakes:

This recipe will make approximately 24 vanilla cupcakes. Fill cupcake liners no more than ¾ of the way full. Bake on 350F for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs or clean.