Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Vanilla Butter Cake

Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes two 9-inch cakes.



  • Nonstick cooking spray for the pan
  • 10-1/2 oz. (2-3/4 cups) cake flour
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3-3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole or low-fat milk, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly coat two 9×2-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment.
  • Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed (#2 on a KitchenAid mixer) until the ingredients are well combined.
  • Add the softened butter pieces and mix on low speed for 20 to 30 seconds to mix the butter into the dry ingredients—the mixture should look a little lumpy, with the largest lumps being about the size of a hazelnut. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed (#5 on a Kitchen Aid) for 1 min. to thoroughly blend the ingredients and aerate the batter. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed for about 15 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl after the second egg.
  • Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans. Use a small offset spatula or spoon to spread the batter evenly in each pan. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and the tops feel firm but spring back a little when tapped lightly with a finger, and a pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 min. Set the pans on a rack, run a table knife around the edge of each cake and let cool in the pans for 30 min. Invert the cakes onto the rack, lift the pans, peel off the parchment, and let the cakes cool completely before filling and frosting. 

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake the cakes up to one day ahead of filling and frosting. Let the cakes cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic.


Rate or Review

Reviews (13 reviews)

  • brozy_a | 05/14/2018

    I won't make this one again. Dry, low on flavor, and quite crumbly.

  • momsstuffing | 02/04/2018

    So I made this cake for the Four Layer Cake with (Chocolate) Buttercream. The cake is okay. It tastes very good. Mild and not too sweet. But it doesn't bake high enough to make four layers (so I just did a two layer no big deal) and it was a bit dry I felt.

  • friendlylily | 11/27/2013

    Cakes from scratch never work for me. They are dense. But this time when using this recipe as exact as I could, the cake turned out wonderful. It rose and looks beautiful. I even cut the recipe in half so it serves the purpose of a little birthday celebration for 3 of us. it is cooling right now. The batter was lovely even though I absent mindedly added 1/8 teaspoon too much of the baking powder and forgot to put the sugar in until the very end of mixing.

  • ICookForFour | 10/19/2013

    I disregarded the reviews that said the cake was dry - mistake! I followed the recipe exactly but my cakes didn't really rise and were quite dry. The flavor was fine, but I'm not making this again. One of the few Fine Cooking receipes that was a failure.

Show More

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.

Start your FREE trial