Classic Vanilla Layer Cake


  • Prep Time30 mins
  • Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
  • Makes12 servings
Classic Vanilla Layer Cake

(Photography: Erik Putz; Food styling: Ashley Denton; Prop styling: Jennifer Evans)

Chatelaine Triple Tested

Introducing the only cake we ever make! It’s easy, fast and spectacular. It looks best in two 8-in. cake pans; to use 9-in. pans, decrease the baking time to 30 min.


  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, (355 g)

  • 4 tsp baking powder, (16 g)

  • 1 tsp salt, (6 g)

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (170 g)

  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar, (335 g)

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla, (12 g)

  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk, (375 g)

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (225 g)

  • 1 tsp vanilla, (6 g)

  • 4 cups icing sugar, (510 g)

  • 1/4 cup milk, (63 g)


  • PREHEAT oven to 350F. Spray 2 8-in. round cake pans with oil and line bottoms with parchment.

  • STIR flour with baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Beat 3/4 cup butter with granulated sugar in large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla. Gently beat in one-third of flour mixture, then add 3/4 cup milk. Repeat, ending with flour mixture. Divide batter between prepared pans.

  • BAKE in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 35 min. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 min, then turn cakes out onto rack. Remove parchment. Cool completely, 1 hour.

  • BEAT 1 cup butter in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, until creamy, 1 min. Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup icing sugar. Beat for 1 min. Reduce speed and beat in remaining sugar in 3 parts, alternating with 1/4 cup milk (in 2 parts), ending with sugar. Beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until fluffy, 1 to 2 min.

  • ASSEMBLE cake on a cake stand. Place the first layer, then slip 3 or 4 short strips of parchment paper under edges of cake to protect the stand. Spread 1 cup icing evenly over top of the cake layer. Place second cake layer over icing. Spread a thin layer of icing on sides and top of cake. Refrigerate until icing is firm, about 15 min. Spread remaining icing on top and around the cake. Remove parchment strips.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories 634, Protein 6g, Carbohydrates 90g, Fat 29g, Fibre 1g, Sodium 324mg.

Classic Vanilla Cake Variation

Easy Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Frosting

Replace 1 cup (150 g) flour with 1 cup (90 g) unsweetened cocoa powder. For icing, replace 1 cup (120 g) icing sugar with 1/2 cup (90 g) melted milk chocolate.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Recipe will make about 2 dozen cupcakes. Spoon cake batter in prepared muffin tin, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Decorating tip

Doing a preliminary “mask” of frosting, chilling the cake and then finishing the decoration will make the difference between a cake that looks homemade and one that looks store-bought.

Love baking cakes? Here are 16 classic cake recipes for every occasion.

Watch: How to frost a cake in pink ombre