My BEST Vanilla Cake Recipe

A classic vanilla cake recipe is the little black dress of a baker’s tool kit— timeless, understated, and versatile. It’s an essential, and everyone should have it!

After tinkering with this recipe for over a month, and making over 30 different variations of this recipe, I have finally landed on what I will proudly declare to be my BEST vanilla cake recipe. I cannot wait to share it with you along with some additional tips for baking a super stellar cake!

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What makes this the BEST vanilla cake?

If you ask 10 people to imagine the perfect vanilla cake, you will probably end up with 10 different descriptions of 10 different vanilla cakes!

When I imagine the perfect vanilla cake, it is fluffy, tender, and not overly sweet. Echoing the nostalgia of a box-mix, but made from scratch with fresh ingredients.

This recipe is my best vanilla cake recipe, so it checks all of my own boxes for what I believe vanilla cake should be! Fluffy. Light. Tender. Moist.

Maybe your idea of vanilla cake is more crumbly, or sweeter, and that’s great! Think of this recipe as a building block for setting a firm foundation for your baking journey! Just a way to get you started on sure footing.

I’ll share more down the road (sometime over the summer) about how I developed this recipe and explain different ingredient ratios and options for tailoring a recipe to suite your individual tastes! So be sure to stick around! Subscribe to my emails so you never miss a beat!

Why do I need a vanilla cake recipe?

Everyone needs a solid vanilla cake recipe in their baking arsenal. Remember, we are using this basic recipe to lay a firm foundation for great baking.

While my best vanilla cake recipe definitely holds it’s own and is absolutely fabulous paired with chocolate or vanilla buttercream, I have also used this recipe as the base for my spice cake, key lime cake, and many others! Several of my more creative flavors stem from this one recipe that I’ve used as a building block.

Once you master the basics, then you can get into the fun of making adjustments, adding fun flavors, and making it your own! Even if you’re not a huge fan of plain vanilla, think of it as a delicious canvas for the rest of your baking!

How to get started with baking my best vanilla cake?

  • If you haven’t already, check out my FREE guide: 7 Secrets to Making Stellar Cakes
  • Shop all of the following items in my Amazon Store!
    • Mixing bowl – This is a one bowl recipe! How much easier can it get?!
    • Spatulas
    • Potato masher– Stick with me here. You don’t need a big fancy mixer but you do need an effective way to combine the ingredients, so sometimes I use a potato masher.
    • Cake pans
    • Cake strips – These help me achieve flat tops + even baking every time!
    • Kitchen scale – After years of baking with measuring cups and only recently switching to a kitchen scale, I can confirm this is the BEST way to ensure consistent and spectacular results!
    • Oven Thermometer – You need it. Stop trusting your oven and listen to me! Don’t go through all the trouble of making a cake only to let your lyin’ cheatin’ oven ruin it for you!
    • Parchment Rounds – These are less essential but SUPER nice to have! These help ensure a clean release from the pan!

Tips for cake baking success

  • Check out this post about ensuring a PERFECT cake release! Nothing is worse than flipping that pan and getting a PILE of cake instead of beautiful layers.
  • Don’t let the batter sit around for too long between mixing together the wet and dry ingredients and baking. The baking powder will activate once the wet ingredients are mixed-in, so if you let the batter sit around, all of the rising action will happen before the cakes even hit the oven! Results may be a short and dense cake. Preheat your oven and prepare your pans ahead of time, that way once all of the ingredients are combined you’re ready to bake!
  • Once more, if you haven’t already, check out my free guide, 7 Secrets to Making Stellar Cakes for more great baking tips!

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely not! This is a very beginner friendly recipe and a perfect place to start!

No problem at all! This recipe is so easy and I make it in one bowl with some simple utensils that you probably already have! If you’re missing a few items in my suggested list, you can probably find a simple replacement in your kitchen!

Absolutely not! I am all about using what you have! I have simply found that a kitchen scale to be more accurate and yields much more consistent results!

I’m so glad you asked! I originally developed this recipe at 6,000′ and have tested the version listed below at sea level!

To adjust for high altitude reduce the sugar by 10% and reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon for 3,000′-5,500′ and reduce by 1/2 teaspoon above 5,500′.

You’ll also want to increase your baking temperature by to 375º above 5,000′.

Absolutely! Cut the recipe in half for 12 cupcakes! Use as-is for 24 cupcakes!

If you use this recipe for cupcakes, be sure to cut the baking time in half!

The last thing you need to know about my best vanilla cake recipe

  • Whether you’re a brand new baker or a seasoned baker looking for the perfect vanilla cake, remember to always enjoy your baking!
  • Please let me know if you have any questions! Comment below or email me at sydney@wildflourmama.com
  • Did you try the recipe? Let me know! Rate and comment below, and share with your friends!
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My BEST Vanilla Cake Recipe {Updated}

  • Author: Wildflour Mama
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups of batter 1x


This is my ideal vanilla cake- light, fluffy, tender, and moist! Don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below!



360g Granulated Sugar (reduce by 10% for high altitude)

1/2 C. Vegetable Oil

1/2 C. Unsalted Butter room temperature

4 Eggs room temperature

1/4 C. Sour Cream

2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

360g Cake Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder (reduce by 1/4 tsp for every 3000′ above sea level)

1/2 tsp Salt

1 C. Whole Milk room temperature (or buttermilk or milk substitute)


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 350º (375º above 3,000′) *see notes if using something other than 6″ or 8″ round pans or doubling the recipe
  2. Grease and flour baking pans. See this post for more tips are getting a perfect cake release!
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cream together sugar, oil and butter until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add eggs one at a time to the sugar, oil, and butter. Mix in sour cream. Add the vanilla.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients and milk. Alternate between the two until just combined. I suggest stirring by hand rather than using an electric mixer to avoid over-mixing the batter.
  7. Pour batter into your greased and floured baking pans. Whatever type of pan(s) you’re using, be sure to only fill about Rap the pans against the counter several times to pop any air bubbles that may have developed in your batter!
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean! *depends on size of pan. see notes if using something other than 6″ or 8″ round pans or doubling the recipe


  • This recipe makes approximately 6 C. of batter. That’s enough for:
    • (3 or 4) 6″ x 2″ round pans
    • (2) 6″ x 3″ round pans
    • (2) 8″ x 2″ round pans
    • 24 cupcakes
  • This recipe is easy halved or doubled! Double it for:
    • 9″x13″ sheet cake
    • (4) 6″ x 3″ rounds
    • (3 or 4) 8″ x 2″ rounds
  • Cut baking time in half if using this recipe for cupcakes!
  • If using any pans other than 6″ or 8″ rounds, be sure to check your cake often and adjust baking time accordingly. More batter and thicker pans will take more time!
  • Times and temperatures listed are for conventional ovens. Adjust accordingly for convection- typically lower temperature and less time!
  • If using cake strips, be sure to soak them and wrap your pans early on. I do this while I’m greasing my pans!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: cake

Keywords: best vanilla cake recipe

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  1. This really is an excellent recipe. I made cupcakes. They turned out light, tender, and moist, with a good vanilla flavor.

    1. AH! Thank you Donna! I’m so glad you like the recipe. Your comment has made my night! PS- You’re the very first comment on my blog! So thanks for that too! 🎉

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