Basic Vanilla Cake

5/5

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar 
  • 4 eggs, room temperature 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 ¾ cups (330 g) cake flour 
  • 2 ¾ teaspoons baking powder 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk, room temperature 

For the frosting

  • 1 ½ cups (339 g) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 5 ½ cups (660 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream, room temperature 

Instructions

Make the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the sides and bottom of 2 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit and generously grease the parchment paper as well. Dust the pans with flour then tap out any excess; set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. 
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk and add it to the butter mixture followed by the milk. Beat on medium-low speed just until combined. 

  1. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with few moist crumbs attached. Take care to not over-bake. Check the cake at 15 minutes to see how it is doing and judge the timing from there. 
  2. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.  

Make the frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy and pale in color, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add half the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed just until the sugar has fully moistened, then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
  1. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed just until the sugar has fully moistened, then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. 
  2. Add the vanilla and salt. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add 3 tablespoons of the heavy cream. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until the cream is well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. (After 2 minutes stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then continue mixing.) 
  3. Check the consistency of the frosting and add more cream, ½ tablespoon at a time, if needed. The frosting should be soft and spreadable but not so loose that it doesn’t hold its shape. 

Assemble the cake

  1. Place one layer on a serving platter. Spread about ⅓ of the frosting over the top. 
  2. Gently place the second layer on top of the frosting. Spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. 

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