This Classic Vanilla Cake pairs fluffy vanilla cake layers with a silky vanilla buttercream. The perfect cake for birthdays, weddings, or any occasion!
I can’t believe I’m only just now posting a vanilla cake recipe. I always thought that there were so many of these recipes out there that I’d stick to more unique ones. But really, I think the world needs my version of this simple, classic, delicious flavour combination.
Truthfully, most of my cakes use this vanilla buttermilk cake recipe, but I’ve never paired it with a vanilla buttercream. I know it’s easy enough for some people to grab a cake recipe from one post and a frosting recipe from another, but for those of us that are a little less comfortable mixing and matching for fear of epic failures, I’m putting it together for you into one recipe!
I’ve used variations of this vanilla cake before, and it always yields delicious results. The buttermilk in the cake helps ensure that it’s not super sweet, and it works well with any kind of frosting. I used a Swiss meringue buttercream here because it’s my favourite, but you can use an American buttercream instead if you prefer.
If you don’t have buttermilk at home you can easily make your own.
How to Make Buttermilk
Simply add 1 Tbsp of either fresh lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup of milk. Stir and let sit for about 10mins. The milk will start to curdle and essentially turn into a perfect buttermilk substitute.
That being said, if you don’t have buttermilk on hand and if you prefer a sweeter cake, you can use regular milk instead. Ideally use whole milk, but I never have that on hand, so I use 1% and it works just fine.
I chose to adorn this classic vanilla cake with simple rosettes and sprinkles. I used a decorating comb to make the lines in the sides of the cake, and I love how it turned out!
Definitely going to be trying the other combs in the set, as it’s such an easy way to give a pretty result. I typically shy away from decorating combs since they remind me of grocery store cakes (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but this one gives it a particularly modern, clean look.
If you’re looking for a delicious vanilla cake recipe, whether it be for a birthday, anniversary, or any celebration (even if it’s just making it through the week), you will love this cake!
Looking for more classic cake recipes?
Tips for this Vanilla Cake recipe:
- If you don’t have buttermilk on hand you can make your own (see post for details) or you can use regular milk instead.
- If you’d prefer to use an American buttercream, you can use one full recipe of Simple Vanilla Buttercream instead.
- Or if you’re looking for a chocolate buttercream version, check out my Classic Birthday Cake.
- And for a chocolate on chocolate combo check out my Classic Chocolate Cake.
- I used a decorating comb for the texture on the sides of the cake. I used the left side of the one on the left pictured here.
- This recipe works for two 8″ layers or three 6″ layers. Baking time may need to be adjusted for 6″.
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, see my Flat Top Cakes post.
Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
- confetti sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 8" cake rounds and line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx 3mins). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition.
- Bake for 30-35mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack.
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.*
- Place bowl over a pot with 1-2" of simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch or reads 160F on a candy thermometer (approx. 3mins)
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.**
- Add vanilla and whip until smooth.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 1 cup of buttercream. Repeat with remaining layer and crumb coat the cake. Chill for 20mins.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake and smooth with a bench scraper.
- If desired, use a decorating comb to give texture to the sides.***
- Mix confetti and nonpareils in a small bowl. Press sprinkles gently along the bottom of the cake and sprinkle along the top. For the speckled sides, I grabbed a pinch of sprinkles and tossed them randomly at the sides.
- Pipe rosettes using a 1M tip with remainder of frosting.
* Ensure there is NO trace of egg yolks in your whites and that your mixer bowl and whisk is completely grease free or your meringue won't stiffen.
** The buttercream may look like it's curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
*** I used the left side of the one on the left pictured here.