Best Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

Best Vanilla Cake Recipe

This vanilla cake recipe is made in one bowl, and is super moist! One batch makes 3, 8-inch cake layers, and is frosted with vanilla buttercream frosting.

Ingredients
  1. Vanilla Cake
  2. 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (390 grams)
  3. 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  4. 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (10 grams)
  5. 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  6. 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) - 2 sticks
  7. 2 tsp. vanilla extract (8 grams)
  8. 1 cup pasteurized egg whites from a carton (or about 7 egg whites) (235 grams)
  9. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (345 grams)
  10. 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)
  11. gel food coloring (if desired)
  12. Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  13. 3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (678 grams)
  14. 12 cups powdered sugar (1500 grams)
  15. 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  16. 1/3 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream) (75 grams)
  17. 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract (18 grams)
Instructions
  1. Vanilla Cake Layers:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans or three 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until fully combined.
  4. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  5. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  6. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on low speed for about 15 seconds (the key is to mix until the ingredients are JUST incorporated, so that the batter isn't over mixed). 
  7. If desired, add in gel food coloring. Mix the color in by hand using a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl part way through. Mix until the batter is evenly colored.
  8. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (about 450 grams per pan). I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, to make sure the layers are the same height.
  9. Bake for 34-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  10. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers from the pans.
  11. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the vanilla buttercream frosting.
  2. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  3. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  5. If you plan to color the buttercream, add in the gel food coloring once the frosting is fully made, and beat on low until it reaches the desired color
To Assemble The Cake:
  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Add an even layer of buttercream between each cake layer.
  3. Apply a thin coat of frosting around the cake, to fully cover the cake layers. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  4. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper. Then decorate as desired!

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