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This vanilla cake is soft, fluffy and delicious! Covered in vanilla buttercream frosting, this vanilla cake is really the best.
Classic Vanilla Cake
There’s something about a classic cake recipe that makes you bake it over and over again. There’s white cake and chocolate cake, but I love a simple delicious vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. This recipe makes three layers of a 6″ vanilla cake. And, I wanted to highlight the spring colors and add some beautiful spring buttercream flowers to this vanilla cake.
Why is this Vanilla Cake so Good?
I’ve tried several recipes and different variations of ingredients. This is what makes this vanilla cake so good:
- Cake flour – Using cake flour gives it the soft crumbly texture. Cake flour is finer than all purpose flour and results in a lighter, softer texture. Don’t have cake flour? Just take out 2 tablespoons for each cup of flour and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Sour cream – Most of my cakes use either sour cream or buttermilk. It makes the cake moist. (Yes, I also hate that word too).
- Vanilla – A good quality vanilla flavoring makes all the difference. If you can get your hands on a good quality vanilla, it will taste much better than the artifical stuff.
- Egg Whites – Using egg whites makes the cake super fluffy and light.
White Cake vs Vanilla Cake
White cake simply is whiter from using only egg whites. You often see vanilla flavoring in white cakes, but they can be flavored with other flavors like almond, lemon, etc. This vanilla cake obviously is flavored with vanilla. I used only egg whites in this recipe to make the texture of the cake fluffy. If you were to use the egg yolks, then it becomes a yellow cake. It’s all about the egg and the flavors.
Tips Before You Get Started
- Room Temperature – Make sure that your eggs, butter and sour cream are at room temperature. I know you want to rush and bake this cake, but trust me and let your ingredients come to room temperature.
- Prepare Your Pans – Use your hands to coat each pan with a little butter. Then dust the pan with flour spreading it all around the pan and then tap the cake pans to get off any excess flour. I also add a circle of parchment paper to each tin after this process.
- Weigh Everything – If you don’t have a food scale, it’s time to invest in one. Weighing all your ingredients helps ensure everything is measured properly and comes out consistent each time. You can also use the food scale to make sure that each cake pan has equal amounts of batter in each one.
- Wilton Bake-Even Strips– This is the best way to ensure your cakes bake flat. You wet the fabric strips and wrap them around the cake pan while it is baking.
Spring Flower Crown Decoration
Lately the cake trend has been all about the fault line cakes. I wanted to use the same horizontal line as the fault line cake as a guide to add some spring flower rosettes. I wanted to use the same piping technique I used for the buttercream flowers on the top of my painted buttercream cake. Plus for these spring buttercream flowers, you don’t need to know how to make amazing buttercream flowers. The rosettes are just swirled on and then you pipe some flower stars. So easy to make look so beautiful!
Here’s the tools you’ll need:
After adding the crumb coat layer (thin layer of frosting to lock in all the crumbs), put the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes. Next, you’ll add the second coat of frosting around the sides and top of the cake. Smooth with a bench scraper. Then set the icing comb at the base of your cake and spin slowly to create the ridges. Put the cake back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up the frosting. In small bowls, add a bit of buttercream frosting to 4-5 bowls. Add your food coloring to the frosting. For this cake I used, purples (#1M and #6B), pinks (#1M and #199), green (#67) and yellow (#6B).
Also, be sure to make your frosting stiff enough for piping. When you stir it and it feels a bit thin, you can always add a little more powered sugar. Now, it’s time to start piping the spring flower crown. Using the 1M tip, add the rosettes giving space in between each rosettes. Then start alternating the #6B and #199 to fill in the gaps. Finally, pipe the leaves off the rosettes.
Here’s another buttercream cake example of the rosettes in another color combination.
What if I Need Another Size Cake?
This recipe makes three 6 inch cake layers. If you want to make a 8 or 9 inch cake, use my white cake recipe which is pretty similar to this one or just double the recipe.
If you like this recipe, try these:
- 2 cups cake flour (280 g)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 egg whites
- 2 sticks of butter (226 g) - room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar (280 g)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup milk room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream (130 g) - room temperature
- 1 1/2 sticks butter (169 g) room temperature
- 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco) (100 g)
- 2 lb powered sugar (907 g)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Butter and flour three 6 inch cake tins and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 340°F/170°C.
- Sift all the dry ingredients (cake flour, salt, baking powder) in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the milk and sour cream together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed (4) for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Slowly add the egg whites one at a time to the mixture on low speed (2) and increase the speed to medium (4) for about 2 minutes until combined. (May look curdled but it will smooth out as you beat). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the vanilla.
- On low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and mix until barely incorporated. Then add half of the milk mixture and mix for a few seconds. Then add the remaining dry ingredients mixing for a few seconds and then add the remaining milk. Turn off the mixer and mix it by hand with a rubber spatula to make sure the batter is combined. Do not overmix the batter.
- Pour the batter evenly into the pans. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the cakes are cooked. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake, if it comes out clean then it's done.
- Allow cakes to cool completely (15-20 minutes) and then gently remove from the pan and allow them to rest on a wire rack.
Make the Buttercream Frosting
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening on medium speed until smooth and creamy (2-3 minutes). Add half of the powdered sugar and beat of low speed for 30 seconds. Add a 1/4 cup of the milk and mix on low. Add the remaining powdered sugar and milk. Add vanilla. Mix on low for 30 seconds and gradually increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If is it too thick, add more milk.
- Add a layer of buttercream between each cake layer. Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Use an offset spatula and a bench scraper to smooth the frosting. Put the cake in the fridge for at least 10 minutes and then apply another thin layer of frosting to the sides and top of the cake. If desired, add food coloring to a small amount of frosting and pipe buttercream flowers on the sides.