Every baker should have a classic vanilla cake in their recipe box. This vanilla cake is pillow-soft, wonderfully moist and delicious. It is also quite versatile. I refer to this recipe as “The Perfect Vanilla Cake” as the recipe produces lovely cupcakes, may be used as the base recipe for other flavors such as lemon or lime, and is sturdy enough to hold up to carving for sculpted cakes.
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This recipe is made from scratch and is ideal for any occasion. It produces and even crumb with no large tunnels or irregular holes. It pairs beautifully with any filling or frosting so feel free to be as creative as you wish or consider one of the following: chocolate mousse, lightened pastry cream with fresh berries, hazelnut filling, lemon curd or just a sweetened whipped cream.
To easily convert this recipe to a citrus flavored cake replace the vanilla with freshly squeezed lemon, lime or orange juice. Also, zest one or two of the fruit peels and whisk together with the flour mixture.
Tips for Making the Perfect Vanilla Cake Recipe
- Measure all ingredients and set out all equipment before beginning to make this cake. This extra step ensures your ingredients are measured properly, you don’t forget anything and you are not searching for a tool while preparing the batter!
- Use a good quality vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract. An imitation vanilla flavoring won’t cut it for this cake!
- Bring the eggs and milk to room temperature. Room temperature eggs are less viscous than cold eggs and will incorporate into the batter more evenly. Room temperature milk will speed the process of emulsification which traps air bubbles resulting in a better rise in the cake.
- Baking Temperatures: This cake is initially placed in the oven at a low temperature (275°) for 15 minutes then increase to 350° to finish baking. Starting at a lower temperature will minimize the cake dome and will result in a perfectly risen cake. If making cupcakes, bake at 275° for 10 minutes then increase the temperature to 350° and bake for an additional 12 – 14 minutes.
- 390 Grams All Purpose Flour (or 3 cups)
- 2 ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 400 Grams Granulated Sugar (or 2 cups)
- 4 Large Eggs Room Temperature
- ⅔ Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
- ⅔ Cup Whole Milk Room Temperature
- 1 ½ tsp Vanilla Bean Paste or Extract
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees
- Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by lining with parchment paper
- Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk well.
- Add sugar and eggs to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla bean paste or extract and mix briefly
- Add one-third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add one-half of the milk and vegetable oil and mix until incorporated. Add another third of the flour mixture and mix till smooth. Add the remaining oil and milk and mix till smooth. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth.
- Divide the batter equally between two 8” pans lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 275 degrees. Increase temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.