Okay, probably a lot of people will say chocolate over vanilla any day but if it really came down to it vanilla cake is such a simply sweet crowd pleaser. This recipe is simple and delicious. My one rule in the kitchen is using 100% real deal vanilla extract...and cleaning up as I go (but that never actually happens. If you're all about imitation vanilla no hard feelings but to me I've always felt that it's important to be using vanilla extract. Imitation vanilla is chemically designed to taste like vanilla. Kinda creepy to me. If you wanna be fancy and use real vanilla beans then you're probably too cool for this recipe but by all means bake on!
Before I get too sidetracked talking about the difference in types of vanilla let's get into this recipe! For the cakes picture I used 5" round cake pans. If you are making a larger cake maybe a 6" round or larger sheet cake then you can consider doubling the recipe and if you have left over batter, sweet! I don't think "too much cake" has ever been a real complaint and if it has then those people are not truly living. Let's get baking!
I'm also including a simple vanilla buttercream recipe because if you're making vanilla cake you need buttercream! Or if you're like me and more of a cake person than frosting then just ignore it :)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened at room temp.)
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. vegetable oil
2 cups unsalted butter (softened at room temp.)
4 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2-5 Tbsp. milk
3 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line your cake pans with parchment paper. I like to trace and cut out circles to place at the bottom of my pans then lightly grease the pan. If you're making cupcakes then fill up your pan with liners.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set this aside for now.
Using a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment, cracker all four eggs into the bowl and beat on low speed for about a minute.
As you continue to beat the eggs slowly pour in the sugar until it is all added. Keep the eggs and sugar mixing on medium to low speed for another 3-5 minutes.
In a microwave safe bowl or a stovetop pot, melt the butter and milk together. Be careful not to overheat this mixture. You'll want to heat it up just until the butter is melted. If you're using your microwave, heat in 30 second intervals. If the mixture get's too hot then let it sit out while stirring to cool it down. If you pour the mixture into the eggs when it's too hot you risk scrambling the eggs (I don't know about you but I don't want a scrambled egg vanilla cake).
Once the butter and milk mixture is melted down, combined and not too hot, pour it into the egg and sugar mixture while mixing on low speed. Then continue to mix everything for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the vanilla and oil. Mix. Remember to scrape down the sides of your bowl as you go.
Slowly pour in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients on low speed. I usually add the dry ingredients in 3 additions letting it mix for about 15-30 seconds between each addition.
The batter may look lumpy at first, continue to mix on low speed and scrape down the sides of your bowl until you have achieved a nice, smooth batter.
Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on the top and edges. If you are baking cupcakes then they will need to bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool completely before decorating.
To make the buttercream place the butter into a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment. Beat the butter until smooth, about 2-3 minutes on medium to high speed.
Add the powdered sugar in with the butter and mix at low speed. Slowly add in the milk 1 Tbsp. at a time. Let everything mix between each addition of milk so you can gauge how much milk you will really need.
Once you've reached your desired consistency, add in the vanilla and pinch of salt.
Increase the speed to high for the last 30 seconds of mixing the buttercream. VOILA!
That's it! Vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream in just a few steps :) I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I do!