Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rich Vanilla Cake Recipe

I spent years, seriously, years, looking for a good scratch vanilla cake recipe. Every one I tried turned out way to heavy. SO frustrating. Finally, about a year or so ago, I came across a recipe for "Fluffy Yellow Cake" in the March 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine.

The recipe below is my adapted version because theirs is a little more fussy than I like to be in the kitchen. But the basic idea, of whisking the egg whites separately is what makes this cake different from all of the others I tried. It is pretty rich, what with all of the butter and egg yolks, so I wouldn't call it light and fluffy, but it is definitely not a rock!

What You Need:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn starch (optional, or just use 2 1/2 cups flour)
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (divided)
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) melted butter
1 cup buttermilk (or soured milk)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs (you will use all 6 yolks, but only 3 whites)

Combine the first five dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of the sugar.

Separate the eggs into three bowls. One bowl will hold all 6 yolks. Three of the whites go into the bowl of your stand mixer. The remaining three go into an extra bowl to be used for another project-- say... vanilla or strawberry or caramel icing?

Whisk the whites in the mixer bowl until frothy. Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar, and whisk until the whites hold a stiff peak.

Like this.

Remove the whipped whites from the bowl, and set aside.
*I love this picture, but it is a little bit of false advertising. I made a 1.5 batch when I took this particular photo. So, this is actually five whisked whites. But how cool is that?!

In the mixer bowl, combine 6 egg yolks, 3/4 cup melted butter, 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 Tbsp. white vinegar added), and 1 Tbsp. vanilla.

Slowly add the powdered mixture until just combined.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites.

Fold in the remaining egg whites carefully so you don't deflate them.

Mix slowly and carefully until no white streaks remain.

This recipe yields about 5 cups of batter. That would allow you to bake it in an 8"x3" round pan for 55 minutes or so at 350-degrees. Or you can pour it into a 9"x13"x2" sheet pan, and it will bake for about 20-30 minutes at 350-degrees. Because I tend to bake my cakes in different pans for different occasions, I always default to the directions for the pan for baking times. I use this chart from Wilton because most of my pans are Wilton pans.

I have to apologize for the lack of finished cake photos in this post. I used this cake to make the Vanilla-Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes, and I neglected to take any plain cake photos. I will add some next time I use this recipe. Promise.

Click the Links Below to See:
Recipe Index with all of my recipes
Basic Cake Decorating Recipes & Ideas
Vanilla-Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes

Enter your email address below to receive the latest recipes, tips and ideas in your email inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

And don't forget, if you shop at Amazon.com through my link, you support this blog and its contents. Thank you!


  1. I've made this cake. I ate almost the whole thing in a matter of about 24 hours!

  2. This is by far the simplest and tastiest cake recipe I've ever tried.

  3. For my grandson's first birthday, my daughter requested a "sprinkle cake" "smash cake" and a matching cake for the grownups. Now, I bake maybe once or twice a year...and then only 2 different sheet (9 x 13) cakes (moist carrot or orange "kiss me," or a pineapple upside-down cake in a chicken fryer. I don't like the usual cakes much, not even from bakeries. After pulling down all the "funfetti" and "sprinkle" and "smash" cake recipes from the "interwebs" I looked for the richest cake...your's, with 6 egg yolks, butter, buttermilk won, hands down. I am such an insecure baker, I looked for the weight equivalent for the flour (King Arthur) and used their recommended 120 grams per cup, but all the rest was your exact recipe. Not only did the kid NOT smash it (yeah!), but he ate it in appropriate mouthfuls (but with his hands, of course) and the grownups seriously loved it (goes well, chilled, with Lone Star beer)...it is, in fact, a layer cake that people actually WANT to eat. Thank you! jph

  4. I am very happy to see this post because it really a nice post. Thanks


Please note that comments containing profanity or those that are spam will not be approved on this website.