Makes a 3 Layer x 8” Round Vanilla Cake
Based on our mother mix recipe for cakes of all kinds and sizes. Easy for anyone to make, it's soon to be a new family favorite!
- 3 3/4 cups or 525g unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups or 525g sugar
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 4.5 tsp baking powder
- 21 tbsp or 300g unsalted butter
- 6 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups or 420g buttermilk (regular milk will do just fine, too)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp vanilla extract or paste
Let's do this!
1. Add all your dry ingredients directly into your mixing bowl and gently whisk to combine. Cube your butter, drop it on top and then set the bowl aside.
2. Next, combine your wet ingredients directly from the refrigerator in a measuring cup.
3. Once your butter is room temperature, mix the dry ingredients and butter together on a low speed until sandy. Sandy means if you run some of the mixture through your hand it will feel sandy as it passes through your fingers.
4. Now make a well in the center of the sandy mixture. Add half of the wet ingredients and mix on a low speed just until combined. Stop, scrape the bottom, and add the remaining wet ingredients. Mix on a medium speed until the batter is smooth and ribbony.
5. Divide the batter evenly among your pans. Bake on the center rack at 350°F (176°C) until done.
6. Cool. Frost. And, of course, decorate!
Wait, back up. What the heck is "bake until done"?!
- Every oven is different, so giving exact times will just frustrate you and undermine your confidence.
- For cake pans this size we recommend a first check at 15 minutes. If the batter doesn’t appear set do NOT open the oven. Set means the batter doesn’t look like liquid anymore.
- Keep checking the cake through the oven glass door every few minutes until the cake has set.
- When the cake appears set, THEN pull it out and touch the cake top. If it springs back, it’s ready to put a toothpick in. If it’s still loose, giggly, or shiny, put it back in and check again in 2-3 minutes. Repeat until done.
- Done means a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs (but never wet).
- Oh, and be sure to heat your oven for at least 30 min before baking to ensure even heat!
weigh whenever possible
A kitchen scale is the easiest, most accurate way to measure ingredients – and hello, fewer dirty dishes!
Don’t be intimidated, you literally just dump everything in a bowl. And don’t fret if you’re off by a gram or two when weighing. Your cakes will be just fine.
cube your butter
Cutting your butter into little cubes makes it come up to room temperature faster and more evenly. It’s easiest to cut it straight from the fridge, and then let it warm up. Otherwise you'll have a greasy mess on your hands.
Room temperature butter is super squishy. But you want to be technical, it's around 65°F (18°C). You can use an instant read thermometer to track your butter’s temp. Just make sure to stick it through a couple of cubes to get an accurate reading.
mix until sandy
Sandy means if you gently run some of the mixture through your hand, it will feel sandy as it passes through your fingers. If you’re using a hand mixer start on low and work up to medium for 5-6 minutes total. If you’re using a stand mixer, keep it on low for 3-4 minutes.
making a well
This just means sticking you hand in the dry mix and making a hole at the bottom.
smooth & ribbony batter
Smooth means that as the batter moves around, it looks even in color and texture. The beater will also leave a brief trail, or ribbon, in its wake. Once you see the ribbon only go for another few seconds. More isn’t better when it comes to mixing cake batter!