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Overhead shot of Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream.
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5 from 1 vote

The Simplest Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

This from-scratch vanilla cake is easy to make and topped with the creamiest vanilla buttercream. It's the perfect simple cake recipe suitable for any special occasion!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time28 minutes
Total Time58 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 799kcal


For the vanilla cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Sonoma Syrup Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush" (or high-quality vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean-Infused Simple Syrup

For the vanilla buttercream:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


To make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer and large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the two flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In two batches, alternate adding the dry mixture and buttermilk into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Start with half of the dry ingredients, add in half of the buttermilk, then repeat, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the two prepared cake pans, gently tapping the filled pans on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
  • Bake the cakes in the preheated 350-degree oven for 28-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each one comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn the cakes out of their pans onto a cooling rack - removing the parchment paper on the bottom - to cool completely.
  • Once the cake layers are completely cool, use a serrated knife to level out the tops. This will help the layers sit nicely on one another without sliding after they're frosted.

To make the buttercream:

  • Combine all buttercream ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium mixing bowl and mix until a fluffy frosting forms. Make sure the buttercream is at a good "spreading" temperature before starting to frost. If it's too soft, put it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to stiffen up a bit again.

To frost the cake:

  • Place the bottom layer of the cake on our desired serving platter. If it's tending to slide around, spread a small dab or two of frosting on the plate before placing the cake on it.
  • Start by frosting the top of the first layer. Don't be skimpy here, we don't want to pull the top of the cake apart. Once you've done the frosting, this would be the time to add fresh fruit slices or jam if you want some extra flavor.
  • Next, place the second layer carefully on top of the first, then frost the top of that. Again, be generous here, as you don't want a lot of crumbs showing through. Once you've frosted the top, frost the sides.
  • Finally, decorate the cake however you'd like! I used fresh flowers, but you can also use sprinkles, food coloring, colored icing, or fresh fruit.


  1. You can make the cake layers and freeze them up to two months in advance, as long as they are wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a resealable plastic bag. 
  2. If you don't want to freeze the cake, you can make both the cake and the frosting up to one day in advance. You can assemble the cake a day in advance as well if you wish. Just be sure to refrigerate any part that involves the vanilla buttercream.
  3. You can flavor the cake with citrus zest, fresh fruit slices or even chocolate chips.
  4. Decorate the cake however you wish. Some ideas include fresh flowers or greenery, food coloring in the frosting, colored icing, sprinkles or fresh fruit.


Calories: 799kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 456mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 1292IU | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1mg