Best vanilla cake recipe made from scratch! So moist and tender with a wonderful buttery vanilla flavor and frosted with whipped vanilla buttercream!

Watch me make this vanilla cake recipe from start to finish!


The Story

Jump to Recipe

Everybody needs to have a homemade vanilla cake recipe in their arsenal!  I’m serious when I tell you that this is probably the only recipe you’ll ever need for a from-scratch vanilla cake. I meant it with this chocolate cake recipe and I mean it now!

Vanilla cakes are perfect for birthday cakes, wedding cakes; you name it! I pull this baby out whenever I need to make a cake for special occasions and I’m not sure what people will like. Vanilla cake to the rescue!

Classic vanilla cake is right up there with chocolate cake; it’s always a hit! Even if it’s not a person’s favorite cake it’s usually loved and tolerated by most.

Normally when it comes to vanilla or white cakes I’m a box cake kinda girl! Mainly because most of the homemade vanilla cakes I’ve had in the past were dry and flavorless. It wasn’t until I started playing around with vanilla cake recipes that this beauty happened, and she’s been my boo ever since.

vanilla cake recipe

The magic happens when you layer vanilla flavors with the right kinds of fats! You get a super springy, moist, tender crumb with the most delicate vanilla flavor.

I made this vanilla cake recipe to welcome in the New Year and I’ve made it twice since then! I guess that’s kinda bad since we aren’t even 2 weeks into the New Year! For what it’s worth, I did share! Besides,  I don’t know anyone on their deathbed that ever said, ” Out of all the things I’ve done, I wish I never had that slice of delicious cake”  I’m going for it!!

I decked this cake out with sprinkles and sparkler candles and the celebration mood was set!  It really is the perfect celebration cake btw! The ingredients are so simple, it reduces and doubles like a dream and it’s so dadgum delicious!!

Best Homemade Vanilla Cake Recipe

What makes this the best vanilla cake recipe?

1. It stays perfectly moist and fluffy for DAYYYZZZ!!

2. It’s all about layering those vanilla flavors! This vanilla cake recipe is packing pure vanilla extract, natural vanilla bean yogurt, and vanilla almond milk! That’s the secret, so don’t tell anyone.

3. This cake is super forgiving and perfect for beginners.

4. It’s downright delicious! The perfect classic vanilla cake with a lovely buttery vanilla flavor,  light cream color, and the most incredible melt-in-your-mouth tender crumb texture.

best vanilla cake recipe

Should I use imitation vanilla extract or pure vanilla extract?

Now listen, don’t tell anybody I told you this, but I low-key prefer imitation vanilla in my vanilla-flavored baked goods. It does create a stronger (although fake) vanilla flavor that many of us are used to when something is “vanilla.” Nonetheless, I usually always use pure vanilla in my baking because that’s what I have on hand, and have come to appreciate the natural subtle flavor of real vanilla.


What’s the difference between a white cake and a vanilla cake?

Both recipes pretty much use the same ingredients but usually with different ratios to produce different textures and colors. They both have a wonderful vanilla flavor, but vanilla cakes are usually a little darker in color with a moister crumb and heavier vanilla taste due to increased vanilla extract.

classic vanilla cake recipe

Vanilla Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour– Gives the cake such a stable, tender crumb texture.
  • Baking powder– Used for rising
  • Baking soda– Used for rising
  • Salt- Used for taste and rising
  • Butter-flavored shortening- Provides the texture that only shortening can give and the flavor of butter.
  • Canola oil- Provides moisture to the texture.
  • Egg whites- Gives the cake light, springy, tender crumb
  • Vanilla extract- Gives vanilla flavor
  • Almond extract- Compliments the vanilla flavor
  • Whole milk vanilla bean yogurt– Gives vanilla flavor and moisture
  • Vanilla almond milk- Give moisture and flavor

homemade vanilla cake recipe

How to make this vanilla cake a nutshell

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and lightly flour two round 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, oil, and sugar with a hand mixer until creamy. Mix in egg whites until the batter is fluffy.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract, almond extract, and yogurt.
  5. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients, alternating with the almond milk until the mixture is smooth and combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Give the pans a shake to release air bubbles.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit in pans until pans are warm to the touch.
  8. Remove the cake from the pans and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
  9. Frost with Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

 Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

In my house, we can devour this cake without any frosting at all and we have on many occasions! But the frosting really is the icing on this cake! You can frost it with your favorite such as chocolate buttercream or swiss meringue buttercream, but my go-to is this classic whipped vanilla buttercream.  It’s so sweet, light, fluffy, and delicious and really takes this cake to the next level!

No worries if you’ve never made-from-scratch frosting before; it’s crazy easy! Just remember to have your butter at room temperature and you’ll be good to go! Here’s how to make it!

  1. In a large bowl, add butter, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, and 2 cups of powdered sugar.
  2. Mix until combined while gradually adding in the rest of the powdered sugar until the frosting is whipped and creamy. Add in more heavy whipping cream if you desire a thicker frosting.
  3. Spread onto cake layers or cupcakes.easy vanilla cake recipe

 Classic Vanilla Cake Recipe FAQS &  Substitutions

Can I use this recipe to make vanilla cupcakes?  Absolutely!  This recipe will make about 24 cupcakes.

Can I use sour cream or buttermilk instead of vanilla bean yogurt? Yes, but the vanilla bean yogurt really adds great flavor and texture.

Can I use cake flour instead of all-purpose? Yes, but the crumb texture will be much lighter. The all-purpose flour gives this cake a moist yet stable crumb that stays perfect for days.

Can I replace the butter-flavored shortening with unsalted butter? Yes, but the texture and color will be different.

Can I replace the vanilla almond milk with regular milk? Yes, however, the vanilla almond milk adds a nice additional layer of vanilla flavor.

Can I use whole eggs instead of egg whites? Yes, use two whole eggs. The color of the cake will be more yellow in color and denser due to the egg yolks.


Happy Cake Making!!


best vanilla cake recipe

Get the Recipe: Best Vanilla Cake

4.98 from 39 ratings
Best vanilla cake recipe made from scratch! So moist and tender with a wonderful buttery vanilla flavor and frosted with whipped vanilla buttercream!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12 people


Vanilla Cake

  • cups all-purpose flour (*measured correctly, see note)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter-flavored shortening
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3-4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (see note)
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup whole milk vanilla bean yogurt (see note)
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (see note)

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1 cup room temperature unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 4-6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (may need more)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • salt, generous pinch
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ⅛-¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • sprinkles, options


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two round 9-inch baking pans with shortening and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together shortening, oil and sugar until well combined.
  • Mix in egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract until combined.
  • Mix in yogurt.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, alternating with the vanilla almond milk until the batter is fluffy.
  • Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans. Give the pans a shake to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 30 minutes (check on it at the 25-minute mark) until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs clinging to it.
  • Place cakes on a cooling rack until pans are cool enough to touch.
  • Carefully remove cake from pan and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, make the frosting!

Make the frosting! (see note)

  • Add the butter, heavy whipping cream (start with four tablespoons), salt, and about 2 cups of the powdered sugar, to a large bowl.
  • Mix until combined and gradually add in the rest of the sugar.
  • Continue mixing until frosting is smooth and fluffy; add more heavy whipping cream by the teaspoons until desired texture is reached. (The more you mix it, the fluffier the frosting will become)
  • Once cakes are cooled, frost and top with sprinkles, if using.
    vanilla buttercream frosting



All-purpose flour- Measure flour by spooning into a measuring cup and leveling it off.
Vanilla extract- Use clear vanilla extract if you prefer the cake to be lighter in color. Imitation vanilla extract will give you the strongest vanilla scent and flavor. The pure vanilla extract gives a natural vanilla flavor that is present yet a bit subtle.
Vanilla bean yogurt: I prefer to use Noosa brand vanilla bean yogurt. The flavor is incredible.
Vanilla almond milk- I use Silks brand.
Frosting: This frosting recipe will make enough frosting to frost a thin layer of a 2-layer cake. If you prefer a thick layer of frosting, you should make this frosting recipe + 1/2 of the recipe. This will give you plenty of frosting to create a thick layer all over a 2 layer cake. (This frosting is sweet which is why I prefer a thin layer, but  it seems to mellow out the next day.)
Cuisine: American, southern
Course: cake, Dessert
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.