Simplest Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Have your Cake and eat it too! This recipe is “simple” in name, but moist, rich, and so very sweet in flavour!

About This Cake: The sweetest bite

This Cake is for a sweet tooth! It is double vanilla, so, that means lots of vanilla extract flavours in both the cake batter and the frosting 🙂

My very favourite part of the cake is the thin golden layer that each cake gets while it bakes. This golden “crust” around the cake adds a bit of texture to an otherwise moist/fluffy cake.

Pictured Below: You may notice that the cake has a flaky/crumb like texture. This is because this recipe is moist but also has firmness. Because we want substance in our bite, not a soft sponge consistency.

A Cake with Substance:




3 Crucial Tips For Success:

Sift the Dry ingredients:

Baking sometimes has steps that seem extra and unnecessary. My advice would be to try them before you criticize them:) Something as simple as sifting the flour can cause the texture to change greatly for the better! Therefore, sifting the flour in this recipe will add a fluffy-ness to a cake that is quite dense.

Creaming the butter:

Creaming the unsalted butter with the sugar is quite typical in many recipes. However, do you actually cream them for the FULL 3-5 mins? or do you stop after 1 minute. It is crucial to incorporate air in the butter as you cream it. So, please spend the time with either an electric mixer or by hand and cream for the full 5 mins!

Folding to combine the two batters:

Do not let all that work incorporating air in the creamed butter go to waste! Over mixing once combing the flour mixture and the butter mixture into one bowl is very common. So, use a rubber spatula and fold the two until they are well combined but not overly mixed. This should be done once there are no-longer any flour clumps.

The Use of Cake Flour: Honestly it’s up to You!

This recipe (and most) taste perfectly fine with all purpose flour or cake flour. So, do not fret if you only have one. However Cake flour makes the cake more delicate and finer/lighter. All purpose will make the cake more firm. It’s just preference 🙂

The Recipe:

Simplest Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Prep timeBake timeTotal time
20 mins (cake & icing) + 1 hr cooling 25-30 mins~2 hrs
Yields Two 9×13 inch Cakes


  • 3 1/2 cups Cake flour *all purpose works too*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter *room temp.
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Buttercream: yields 2 cups

  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp milk, heavy cream, or water can work too!

* Note: frosting consistency is based on preference. More liquid = more loose. More powdered sugar = thicker. Adjust as you please*


Step 1)

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F (177 C) And line with parchment two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.

Step 2)

In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk until everything is well combined and set aside.

Step 3)

In another medium sized bowl cream the unsalted butter to soften it up. Cream with an electric mixer, or by hand for 3-5 mins, or until smooth without clumps. Add the sugar and cream together until grainy sand like consistency appears. About another 2-3 mins. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time. Mix well.

Creamed butter and sugar consistency

Step 4)

Combine the wet mixture with the flour mixture in portions. Pour about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the wet (butter mixture) and mix until the flour clumps are smooth. Pour another 1/3 and repeat . Pour the final 1/3 and repeat. As you pour the flour mixture you can add the buttermilk to help smooth the flour clumps. The batter is now done!

Smooth clump free batter

Step 5)

Pour half the batter into one of the cake pans and the other half into another pan.

Bake for 25-30 mins on the middle rack. The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for about an hour before frosting. Enjoy!

The Buttercream

Step 1)

Combine all the ingredients in the same order as listed above. I would recommend using an electric mixer. As well, sifting the powdered sugar to get rid of clumps. *See Note with the ingredients*

Tip: For icing use a flat icing spatula and dip it in a glass of warm water to clean the edges of excess frosting every so often. This helps create a smooth frosting look.

Assembling the cake

  • on a cake stand, plate, or upside-down pan start by placing some frosting like glue.
  • place first cake layer on-top
  • spread a generous amount of frosting evenly around cake
  • place the next layer on-top
  • spread the rest of the frosting on the top and around the edges
  • Decorated. cut. eat. enjoy!

Happy Baking!

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