You’ll want to make this delicious and easy vanilla layer cake over and over again. Sweet, fluffy cake layers with silky swiss meringue buttercream, is perfect for celebrating birthdays, weddings or any other special occasion.
The thing is, a great vanilla cake is one of the happiest foods on the planet. It’s usually the first cake we learn to make, the first we taste, and the one that celebrates every occasion from birthdays to weddings. What’s not to like about it!
And whilst it’s so simple to make, it’s also so simple to get wrong too – and no one wants to celebrate with dense dry cake, do they?
FOR THE CAKE
- 1½ cups (360 grams) whole buttermilk, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- 1¾ teaspoons (8.75 grams) baking powder
- 3¾ cups (469 grams) unbleached cake flour
- Vanilla Extract
- 1½ tablespoons (19.5 grams) Heilala Pure
- 5 large eggs (250 grams), room temperature
- 2½ cups (500 grams) granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups (284 grams) unsalted butter, softened
FOR THE VANILLA FROSTING
- 1 tablespoon (18 grams) Heilala Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
- ½ cup (120 grams) heavy whipping cream
- 7½ cups plus 1 tablespoon (907 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- 2 cups (454 grams) unsalted butter, softened
MIX THE CAKE BATTER
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Spray 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
- Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Beat in vanilla.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating until well combined after each addition.
- Divide batter between prepared pans; using a small offset spatula, smooth tops.
- Forcefully tap pans on counter several times to evenly spread batter and release air bubbles.
BAKE THE CAKE
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Let cool in pans for 10 minutes.
- Remove from pans, and let cool completely, parchment side down, on wire racks.
MAKE THE VANILLA FROSTING
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
- With mixer on low speed, gradually add confectioners’ sugar alternately with cream, beginning and ending with confectioners’ sugar, beating just until combined after each addition.
- Beat in vanilla bean paste. Increase mixer speed to medium; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Use immediately.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- Level cake layers, if desired; discard parchment.
- Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate.
- Spoon 2½ cups (about 496 grams) Creamy Vanilla Frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round piping tip (Wilton 1A).
- Pipe frosting evenly over cake layer; smooth with a small offset spatula.
- Place remaining cake layer on top.
- Spoon another 2½ cups (about 496 grams) frosting into piping bag.
- Pipe evenly over top of cake; using a small offset spatula, smooth into an even layer.
FROST THE CAKE AND DECORATE
- Spoon remaining frosting into piping bag.
- Pipe all over sides of cake; holding a bench scraper or a large offset spatula against sides of cake, scrape off excess frosting until sides are smooth and layers are somewhat exposed.
- Pile excess frosting on top of cake; using the back of a spoon or a large offset spatula, spread and swirl frosting as desired.
- Using a bench scraper or a large offset spatula held against cake layers, scrape frosting one more time to give sides a smooth, finished look.