Enjoy everything you love about classic vanilla cake with this moist vanilla cake recipe from scratch! It’s the perfect celebration cake recipe, no box mix required.
Good vanilla cake from scratch is one of those recipes everyone needs to have in their repertoire. And by “have”, I mean you’ll need at least a couple. It’s like the little black dress of cake recipes, you can’t have just one, because each suits a different occasion. You’ll need a pure white cake for formal events, a throw-together classic butter vanilla cake for whenever, and a really good moist vanilla cake recipe for when you need something in between. Like when you’re going a little fancy on a birthday cake and need a white base, but still want a very “party vanilla cake” flavor. This moist vanilla cake recipe from scratch covers that.
This is not the first, nor will it be the last of the vanilla and vanilla-ish cake recipes on the blog. Because there are so many variations, and so many possibilities, I’m almost always passively playing around with something new. A few years back it was my popular white cake recipe from scratch. Then I shared my yellow cake, which is a butter based vanilla cake, and now I have this moist vanilla cake, which also happens to be a beautiful, natural white. And testing for this began in earnest once I made a vanilla cake for a party, then made 2 more in rapid succession, to tweak and get things right.
I ate some of this cake for lunch dessert today… a full 3 days after baking, and it’s still moist. This is what I’m considering right. A vanilla cake that inspires even my oldest – child who is unimpressed by most desserts – to eat the cake and leave the frosting.
What makes this vanilla cake recipe so moist?
What makes most cake recipes moist… fat! This vanilla cake has oil and sour cream to offset the removal of the egg yolks. The sour cream works wonders in creating a beautiful crumb structure that stays moist for days!
Quick side note: If you aren’t really needing a pure white cake and balk at the thought of tossing 4 egg yolks or making that much aioli or pudding, just use 2 whole eggs. The cake won’t be a pure white, but it’s close enough.
Will the cake stand up to layering?
Yes. I would use this cake recipe for a tiered cake with proper supports. You always want to use proper supports in your tiered cakes to prevent sinking.
What is this decorating technique called? I must know!
For this cake, I wanted to try out an Instagram trend I’ve been seeing… the faultline cake! Basically, you crumb coat the cake as usual, then add a section for your sprinkles or whatever you are using, chill, and pipe a thick layer of frosting around that. Most bakers paint the edges of the “crack” to with gold leaf or edible gold paint. I used gold leaf here.
There are a lot of tutorials around, some for very elaborate cakes with flowers or fruits in the opening. I kept it simple with some sprinkles since this was my very first attempt at making this cake design. It’s a very striking design trend.
I really hope you enjoy this moist vanilla cake recipe from scratch, darlings!
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 2/3 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease and line 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar, egg whites and sour cream until mostly smooth.
- In another bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Combine the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in a third bowl, or large measuring cup.
- Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture to the sugar mixture in 3 batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. So addition 1 would be 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the wet, the second could be the same, and the final addition would be the last 1/3 of the wet ingredients and then the last 1/3 of the dry. Stir each until just combined and scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Divide batter evenly between your cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If baking in 3 6-inch pans, the bake time will be closer to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pans 5-10 minutes before turning out for wrapping or cooling.
- Frost and decorate as desired once cool.
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