Classic Vanilla Cake – The One and Only

I’ve noticed something over my last couple of posts. I start with “OK” too much.  I’m not going to do that anymore.


No, really. If I do, you’re allowed to give me a verbal slap on the hand. It’s not an attractive writing trait.

Something else I’ve noticed I do too much is eat cake.

But I love cake, and I don’t plan on changing that particular bad habit.

I won’t give a rip if you verbally slap my hand for eating too much cake. I’ll just mumble at you to buzz off as crumbs tumble from my cake-stuffed mouth.

Usually I tend to view magazine recipes as gambles. I don’t really trust them. I’ve tried too many that have turned out as fuel for the garbage disposal, so I was skeptical when I read this article in Better Homes and Gardens magazine that claimed this was the only white cake recipe I would ever need to try. Ever.


They were right.

I love this cake so much I might marry it.

But that would be cheating on my husband, and it’s just sort of weird to be married to a cake.

Who would mow the lawn?

It’s three layers. (Ooh,  Impressive!) Its flavor is buttery, and dense, and aromatic. It melts in your mouth and  just makes you want more. After every bite. – even the last one, which – if you have another bite, would make that last, formerly ultimate, bite the penultimate bite, and then the bite before that one would then become the antepenultimate bite.

That’s right Dad. I used it.

Look it up folks, new words for today: penultimate and antepenultimate.

Back to the cake. It’s just plain good. Like fantastic good. This is your back-pocket recipe – pull it out to impress your friends, or just to stuff your cake-loving face and dream about marrying that tall, white, three-layer drink of water.

(I have included the cake recipe only, not the frosting – if you need a quick and easy vanilla frosting recipe, check out this Magical Unicorn Buttercream Frosting)


Classic Vanilla Cake


6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk


1. Separate eggs and allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (reserve yolks for another use). Meanwhile, grease three 8x 1 1/2 inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper and lightly flour pans; set aside. In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla, beat until well combined. Add egg whites all at once, beat on medium-high for 3 minutes. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low after each addition just until combined (batter may look slightly curdled). Divide batter among prepared pans. (If you do not have three pans, refrigerate remaining batter until ready to use.)
3. Bake in preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. remove layers from pans. Cool thoroughly on racks.
Frost with desired frosting. Store, covered, in refrigerator. Makes 16 servings.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, February 2011 issue.

15 thoughts on “Classic Vanilla Cake – The One and Only

  1. Ha! You used penultimate…. I pulled that one out in a meeting once and got a bunch of raised eyebrows and blank stares. So now I just say, “second to last.” I blame Dad for making me sound hoity-toity.

  2. It just occurred to me…Jill is our ultimate child (which some might not understand unless they know the context), making you the penultimate child (which some might not understand in any context), leaving your older sister, and you know what that makes her…..that’s right………
    the auntie penultimate.

  3. This blog entry made my mouth water. Really. This cake looks and sounds so good. I’m glad I found your blog and enjoy your articles and recipies even though I am not a very good cook.

    • Aww. Lisa, thank you. I’m not a very good cook either, I’m just really good at finding tasty recipes. Left to my own devices, I flounder quite a bit – just ask my husband and kiddos! But I’m learning and truly enjoy the journey. I’m so tickled you are here for the ride – it makes it so much more fun to share it with others!

  4. Hi! Um just a question, I don’t have round cake pans, so would it be ok if I poured all the batter into a 9×13 cake pan instead?

    • Hey Nessa! I think this recipe actually makes a little too much for a 9×13. You could do that, but save about 1/3 of it to bake later – or maybe if you have an 8×8 cake pan, divide it between that one and the 9×13. – or, put 2/3 in the 9×13, and 1/3 into a 6 muffin tin for extra cupcakes. . . . Best of luck!

  5. The recipe calls for baking powder in two lines. 1 1/2 baking powder and 3/4 baking powder. Is one of them baking soda? Which one?

    • Yes, I know! They say to set them aside for another use. I always feel it’s a little wasteful to toss so many yolks, so you can keep them in the fridge and use them in another recipe – like for a sauce, a custard, or creme brulee – something along those lines.

  6. Doing a trial run on this cake for my son’s 4th birthday. I make a slight modification in that I took Wilton icing dye and split the batter 4 ways and dyed each bowl a different colour. I poured each bowl sporadically into the pans to create a Ty dye cake. Turned out beautifully. The best part about the Wilton icing dye is that is doesn’t discolour when you bake it. Can’t wait for the real birthday party to arrive so I can do this again.

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