This is my favorite Vanilla Cake Recipe. A traditional butter cake with Japanese methods for the plushest, soft, and most delicious yellow cake you’ve ever eaten. This professional bakery-type cake remains fresh and moist for 4 days – unheard of!
Fluffier, more tender, and less oily than classic vanilla cakes, much moister than traditional sponge cakes, and much easier to make — plus the same recipe produces ideal Vanilla Cupcakes. See this recipe for chocolate cake. Vanilla Cake Recipe!
My favorite Vanilla Cake recipe is…
- Plush, moist, and fluffy crumbs without being unduly so (as some store-bought can be). No more dense desserts!
- Keeps almost flawlessly for four days. Day 1 was 100 percent fresh, and Day 4 was 96 percent wonderful. That is unprecedented!
- Lovely vanilla and butter flavor with no greasy aftertaste;
- There are no huge tunnels or uneven, crumbling holes in this crumb.
- Bakes are absolutely flat – no need for leveling!
- Makes excellent cupcakes;
- Not too sweet; and Vanilla Cake Recipe!
- It should be as delicate as possible while being sturdy enough to construct a massive tiered cake drowned in icing or mounds of cream and fruit. In contrast, Chiffon Cakes and Japanese Sponges, while lighter, cannot withstand much more weight – the bottom layer becomes rather compressed.
So, if all of that appeals to you, I venture to suggest this may become YOUR favorite vanilla cake recipe as well! And here’s a sneak peek to show you how soft and fluffy it is even after 4 days: Vanilla Cake Recipe!
The history of this vanilla cake
This vanilla cake was created by combining the finest of Japanese sponge cakes and Western butter-based cakes. It has the world-famous very soft, fluffy texture of Japanese cakes and is baked in the Japanese style, yet with the buttery deliciousness and sweetness of Western cakes. Vanilla Cake Recipe!
However, it is more robust than Japanese cakes, which are so fragile that they can only be adorned with cream. Anything heavy squishes the bottom layer!
Importantly, this cake meets my cake shelf-life criteria of being absolutely fresh for at least two days after it’s created. (This is good for four days.) Who bakes cakes on the day they are supposed to be served?
Interestingly, baking experts will recognize the method and ingredients in this cake as very similar to what is known as a Hot Milk Cake in America – albeit strangely, it’s often described as a “dense” cake, presumably because they don’t preserve the egg aeration to the extent that I insist on, and also because it’s sometimes baked in bundt pans, which takes far longer to bake (= dense cake). Vanilla Cake Recipe!
Ingredients for my Best Vanilla Cake
This velvety, silky vanilla cake requires the following ingredients. There is no cake flour, buttermilk, or sour cream. I tried them all and found that ordinary/all-purpose flour and only milk work best for this cake. Vanilla Cake Recipe!
- Plain/all-purpose flour – When compared to cake flour, the flavor of the butter and vanilla is more prominent, the crumb is slightly more velvety, and it retains somewhat more moisture. Plus, there’s no need to seek for or pay a premium for cake flour! Do not use self-rising flour or gluten-free flour as an alternative.
- Eggs – When beaten to aerate, they are essential for making the cake exceptionally light and fluffy. You don’t get an eggy taste;
- Baking powder – Baking soda (bi-carb) does not work as well. This is our safety net, an additional hand to assist the cake rise.
- Milk, full fat – Simply simple cow milk. Low fat works just as well but produces somewhat lower results. Do not use nondairy milk or buttermilk as a replacement.
- Sugar – If possible, use caster / superfine sugar since it melts easier in the eggs. However, plain granulated sugar works just as well – you may just wind up with some small brown patches on the bottom.
- Oil – Only 1 tablespoon offers a subtle hint of additional moistness, especially on Day 4, without weighing down the cake. Don’t add more — I tried an extra tablespoon and it didn’t rise as well;
- Vanilla extract – Only 1 tablespoon adds a slight touch of extra moistness, especially on Day 4, without weighing the cake down. Don’t add any more – I tried a tablespoon more and it didn’t rise as well; Vanilla Cake Recipe!
How I Make My Favorite Vanilla Cake
This vanilla cake comes together quickly with a stand mixer, but it may also be prepared with a handheld electric beater. While beating the eggs to produce a wonderful fluffy cake takes time, this recipe is more fail-proof than the conventional “cream butter and sugar until frothy” recipes — read the top box to find out why. Vanilla Cake Recipe!
1. Whip eggs and sugar – Eat the eggs with sugar for 7 minutes, or until thick and glossy, the color changes from yellow to white, and the volume triples (just over double the depth in the bowl).
This step’s aeration is critical for a delicate, fluffy crumb. This method was inspired by Japanese sponge cakes.
Tips: After this, keep your thumping to a minimum to avoid knocking the air out. You can’t go wrong if you stick to my timing and beater speeds!
Here’s how it looked before and after the beating: Vanilla Cake Recipe!
2. Gradually add flour – Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Then add three batches to the egg mixture, mixing for 5 seconds on Speed 1 in between. This should result in the flour being just integrated – don’t worry if some portions remain unmixed. Vanilla Cake Recipe!
3. Hot melted butter in milk – Heat the milk and butter in a microwave or on the stove until the butter melts. HOT milk, believe it or not, aids with aeration in this cake. I was skeptical, so I tried it using cooled melted butter in milk and discovered that it did not rise as well.
Another technique employed in some varieties of Japanese sponge cakes is the incorporation of hot milk and melted butter into the cake mixture (such as this one from Chopstick Chronicles, a Japanese food blog). Surprisingly, it is also utilized in a classic Southern confection known as Hot Milk Cakes.
4. Combine some batter with hot milk – This serves two purposes: a) it reduces the temperature of the hot milk so that it does not “cook” the eggs (i.e. tempering), and b) it lightens the density of the hot milk (see above – it becomes foamy) so that it blends together faster when added to the remainder of the whipped egg mixture. Remember, we want to avoid knocking out the cake-rising bubbles we generated in Step 1.
5. Pour the milk mixture back into the beaten eggs slowly for more than 20 seconds on Speed 1 Scrape down the sides of the bowls, then mix on Speed 1 for 10 seconds – the batter should now be smooth.
6. Pour into 2 cake pans parchment/baking paper lined.
7. Optional: Remove large air bubbles slamming the cake pans three times against the counter will have no effect on the cake-rising bubbles formed in Step 1. Large bubbles in the batter, however, rise to the surface and explode, Vanilla Cake Recipe, cupcakes.
May You Also Love This!
Vanilla Cake Recipe
Watch the recipe video above. Your favorite vanilla butter cake, but with Japanese methods for the plushest, soft, and delicious yellow cake you’ve ever tasted. This professional bakery-type cake remains fresh and moist for 4 days – unheard of!
- Before beginning the batter, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C fans) for 20 minutes (Note 8).
- Place the shelf in the center of the oven.
- Butter 2 x 20cm / 8″ cake pans, then line with parchment / baking paper.
- (Note the additional 9 pan sizes) If possible, use a cake pan with a solid base.
- In a large mixing basin, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place aside.
- 30 seconds on speed 6 of a Stand Mixer equipped with a whisk attachment or by hand.
- Pour the sugar in for 45 seconds while the mixer is still running.
- Then, on speed 8, beat for 7 minutes, or until the loudness and whiteness have tripled.
- Heat Milk-Butter: While the egg is beating, combine the butter and milk in a heatproof jug and microwave on high for 2 minutes to melt the butter (or use a stove).
- Do not allow milk to bubble and boil (foam ok). Do not do this ahead of time and allow the milk to cool (this affects rise).
- Gently add flour: When the egg is beaten, sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over the surface and beat for 5 seconds on Speed 1.
- Mix on Speed 1 for 5 seconds after adding half of the remaining flour.
- Add the remaining flour and mix on Speed 1 for 5 – 10 seconds, or until barely combined.
- Stop as soon as you can’t see any flour.
- Add some Egg Batter to hot milk to lighten it up: Fill the now-empty flour basin halfway with hot milk, vanilla, and oil.
- Pour around 1 1/2 cups (2 ladles) of the Egg Batter into the Milk-Butter (the amount does not have to be exact).
- Mix with a whisk until smooth — be forceful here. It will seem frothy.
- Slowly add milk: Return the beater to Speed 1, then pour the milk mixture into the Egg Batter for 15 seconds before turning it off.
- Scrape & final mix: Scrape down the edges and bottom of the basin. For 10 seconds on Speed 1, the batter should be smooth and pourable.
- Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Knock out bubbles: To remove large bubbles, tap each cake pan three times on the counter (Note 10 for why)
- Bake 30 minutes Alternatively bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Take out of the oven. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.
- Cool upside down if used as layer cakes – a small dome will flatten properly. A level cake means tidy layers.
- Frost with your favorite frosting, cream, and fresh berries or jam. See the post for a list of suggestions!
COMBINE DRY INGREDIENTS
BEAT THE EGGS UNTIL AERATE:
FINISH CAKE BATTER:
COOL & FROST:
- To ensure success:
- Before beginning, read the recipe from beginning to end.
- Make sure your baking powder isn’t expired — here’s how to tell;
- Fresh eggs ensure that the cake rises correctly (old eggs do not aerate as effectively).
- Work in the sequence specified in the recipe.
- Don’t use funfetti or blueberry add-ins (they sink); and once you start, keep going until it’s in the oven. Never let the batter sit around — the bubbles will disappear!
- Stand Mixer speeds are for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with ten-speed options. Hand beater operates at the same times and speeds (though not as powerful, I have found that the ability to move around the bowl makes it just as effective).
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 339
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 13g20%
- Saturated Fat 7g35%
- Cholesterol 91mg31%
- Sodium 97mg5%
- Potassium 190mg6%
- Total Carbohydrate 51g17%
- Sugars 31g
- Protein 6g12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.