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Skip the store-bought cake mix and impress guests with a vanilla-flavored cake recipe that's easier than it looks. Top off this cake with our Whipped Frosting. For variations on this cake, see our Chocolate and Lemon cake recipes.

Source: Everyday Food, May 2009
Total Time Prep Servings



Cook's Notes

Reserve the egg whites left over from the cake for the frosting. If you don't have buttermilk, substitute plain yogurt or sour cream (not fat-free).

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • MS12128842
    4 JUL, 2017
    This cake had a nice, sugar-cookie flavor, but came out very dense, heavy and flat (appeared to raise in the oven, but fell soon after it came out - 37 minutes@ 350). I substituted yogurt for the buttermilk, as suggested, but the batter was impossibly thick. Seems like there was too much butter, and/or not enough leavening.
    29 MAY, 2017
    I just made this cake for a birthday party. It came out perfectly. It was dense yet moist and with a delicious aroma of butter. I did use a traditional chocolate frosting so I cant comment on the suggested frosting. I will definitely make this cake again and am printing and saving it.
  • imin2beadsaol
    21 MAY, 2016
    I am trying to make the perfect vanilla cake. This recipe is not it! I made it as is (except milk for buttermilk) and I felt it was very dry! Very disappointed! Martha I expected an amazing cake from you and this was not!
  • imin2beadsaol
    10 MAY, 2016
    I am trying to make the perfect vanilla cake. This recipe is not it! I made it as is (except milk for buttermilk) and I felt it was very dry! Very disappointed! Martha I expected an amazing cake from you and this was not!
  • substituteMartha
    19 FEB, 2014
    This cake was TERRIBLE. So bad that I registered with the website just to be able to write a review. I took a chance, even though there were a few others warning about the density and dryness. But seriously, this was AWFUL. Followed recipe to a T, double checked it when I saw how thick the batter was. And once it was baked and frosted - ugh. What a disappointment. Hey Martha, Are you proud of this recipe?Did you or your staff ever think to revise it based on the comments in the reviews? #skipit
    • Pao Canales
      13 DEC, 2014
      I really liked this cake...changed up some things though, less eggs (I used 2 large eggs and one yolk) and I used milk instead of buttermilk and I loved it. I've made the vanilla version, a strawberry lime one and a chocolate nutella one and absolutely loved all of them. Maybe try my tips and you'll love it as much as I did. You'll end up with a dense moist cake :)
  • Sweetolyvegmai
    8 DEC, 2014
    I made this cake for my husbands birthday and it turned out very well. It was light and moist with an excellent texture. I accidentally put in a teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda, but it didn't have an adverse effect on the final product. Then I frosted it using the Wilton buttercream recipe where I substituted the shortening for lard, as it was what I had on hand. This cake turned out extremely well and will be one I'll use again. Thanks for this free recipe. No complaints here.
  • MS12308588
    6 AUG, 2014
    I made this cake with just a minor adjustment. I never serve my cakes until the next day. I had it in the fridge overnight, and then I frosted it and then put it back in the fridge. By keeping it in the fridge overnight the cake was dense but very moist. I think, like most recipes, you have to adjust to your taste. If you think it uses too much sugar, use less. I personally find many recipes bland and I just readjust them. I have used this recipe for giant cupcakes. I really like this.
  • Tarna Pandaram
    29 NOV, 2013
    If u using buttermilk 1 cup of butter is too much for this cake that is why its dense and the amount of sugar is also to much as well as the baking soda and baking powder is less I think Martha try using 1/2 cup melted butter I myself rather use margarine like rama original and use 1 tsp of baking powder and 3/4 teaspoons of baking soda Agitate the dry ingredients with a ball whisk to incorporate air Use 3 whole eggs only and then see the difference. I adj the qts a few times to get a perfect ck
  • ohsnapitsbrit
    4 MAR, 2013
    Would it be okay to use normal milk instead of buttermilk? How different will the taste be?
  • Jack03
    9 FEB, 2013
    I just wanted to tell if you have fan oven the baking time much less ~25 min. (

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