Classic Vanilla Cake


No birthday is complete without a Classic Vanilla Cake recipe. Depending on the guest of honor's favorite flavors, you can layer it with vanilla sour cream frosting or chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Classic Vanilla Cake
Photo: Andy Lyons
Prep Time:
25 mins
Bake Time:
30 mins
Stand Time:
30 mins
Cool Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 6 eggs

  • 3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¾ cup butter, softened

  • 2 ⅔ cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 recipe Vanilla Sour Cream Frosting or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (recipes below)

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Vanilla Sour Cream Frosting

  • ¾ cup butter, softened

  • ¾ cup sour cream

  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

  • 8 cup powdered sugar

  • Buttermilk or milk

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ cup butter, softened

  • 2 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened

  • 5 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 6 ½ cup powdered sugar

  • ¼ cup milk


  1. Separate eggs. Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (reserve yolks for another use). Meanwhile, grease three 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper and lightly flour pans; set aside. In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add egg whites all at once; beat on medium-high 3 minutes. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low after each addition just until combined (batter may look slightly curdled). Divide batter among prepared pans. (If you do not have three pans, refrigerate remaining batter until ready to use.)

  3. Bake in preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans. Cool thoroughly on racks.

  4. Frost with desired frosting. Store, covered, in refrigerator. Makes 16 servings.

Vanilla Sour Cream Frosting

  1. In large mixing bowl combine butter, sour cream and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Thin with buttermilk or milk to desired consistency. Makes about 4-1/2 cups.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In large mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese. Add unsweetened chocolate and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in 3 cups of the powdered sugar and milk. Beat in remaining powdered sugar to make a spreading consistency. Makes 4 cups.

*To Make Sour Milk:

Pour 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar into a 2-cup glass measure; add milk to equal 2 cups. Let stand 5 minutes.


If you do not have three cake pans, refrigerate 1/3 of the batter while the first two layers bake.


To avoid crumbs in your frosting, brush cake layers with a pastry brush. After stacking cake layers, spread the sides of the cake with a thin coat of frosting. Let stand several minutes before frosting cake.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

641 Calories
20g Fat
113g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Calories 641
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g 26%
Cholesterol 52mg 17%
Sodium 378mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 113g 41%
Protein 5g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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