This vanilla layer cake is made with a soft and tender vanilla butter cake filled with light and fluffy mascarpone frosting and creamy vanilla buttercream frosting.
Why you'll love this recipe
This vanilla birthday cake recipe is probably the simplest and most delicious cake recipe to celebrate a birthday with your family.
Made up of 3 preparations, a soft and light classic vanilla cake layers with an unctuous whipped mascarpone frosting filling and a smooth outside finish with a simple buttercream frosting and its pretty sugar sprinkles decoration.
You won't be able to resist the vanilla flavor of this dessert. It's the best birthday cake recipe for both beginners and those more experienced in baking. However, it's also an ideal choice for indulging on any other occasion.
- Simplified Recipe: Enjoy an ultra-easy, step-by-step recipe that guarantees success.
- Irresistible Vanilla Flavor: Savor the rich and enticing vanilla flavor that delights everyone's taste buds.
- Beginner-Friendly: Perfect for pastry beginners, this cake is a breeze to make.
- Endless Variations: Easily customize it to suit everyone's preferences with creative recipe variations.
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Ingredients you need
*You will find the quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of the page.
- Cake Flour: Use only cake flour for a soft, light crumb, measure preferably with a scale, which is more accurate than measuring cup.
- Sugar: White granulated sugar, preferably extra-fine, no brown sugar to preserve flavor.
- Baking powder: Only baking powder is sufficient to make the cake rise. If you use buttermilk, you can mix it with baking soda.
- Butter: Use unsalted and softened butter, take it out in advance or soften it a little in the microwave.
- Milk: You can use regular milk, whole milk or, if possible, buttermilk.
- Egg: Large eggs at room temperature.
- Vanilla and salt: Indispensable for flavoring with pure vanilla extract and table salt to bring out the flavors.
- Mascarpone cheese: Use cold mascarpone cheese, not low-fat.
- Heavy cream: Full-fat and cold heavy cream with at least 30% fat or heavy whipping cream.
- Powdered sugar: Only powdered sugar or icing sugar, so that you don't feel the grains of sugar in your mouth.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract or seeds from ½ a vanilla pod.
- Butter: Unsalted butter with at least 80% fat content and must be softened.
- Icing sugar: Extra-fine sifted icing sugar.
- Heavy cream: A small amount of heavy cream or milk to balances the texture of the buttercream by adding more moisture to prevent it from forming a crust on the surface.
- Vanilla and salt: Pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean seeds and salt to bring out the flavors.
How to Make Easy Vanilla Cake Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 320°F / 160°C and line 3 round cake pans of 6 inch/ 15 cm diameter with parchment paper.
- Place the liquid ingredients in a medium bowl, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
- Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, cake flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.
- Mix the dry ingredients for 10 seconds using the paddle attachment.
- Add the chopped unsalted butter to the dry ingredients and mix on high speed until you have a sandy mixture.
- Add half of the liquid ingredients and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Add the other half of the liquid ingredients and mix again for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
- Divide the mixture into 3 and fill the prepared pans.
- Bake for about 30 - 45 minutes until golden brown on top. (check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center and it should come out clean)
- Allow the cakes to cool slightly before removing them from the cake pan and cooling them completely on a cake wire.
- Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- In a medium bowl place all the ingredients, powdered sugar, cold mascarpone cheese, cold heavy cream, and vanilla extract (or the seeds of a vanilla bean).
- Beat with an electric mixer for about 3-4 minutes until you have a thick cream.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to assemble.
- Place the butter in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed for about 5 minutes until the butter is white and creamy.
- Add sifted powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla and mix again with mixer for another 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Finish mixing at slow speed with a paddle attachment and set aside until ready to assemble.
Assemble the cake
- Place the first layer of sponge cake on a cake board and on your cake turntable.
- Fill the inside with a layer of mascarpone whipped cream and smooth with an angled spatula.
- Place a second layer of cake and repeat the previous step then finish by placing the last layer of sponge cake.
- Apply a layer of American buttercream over the entire cake and smooth first with the angled spatula and then finish with a frosting smoother.
- Make swirls with a pastry bag filled with buttercream and a star nozzle.
- Sprinkle with colorful sugar sprinkles.
- Let the frosted cake rest in the fridge and take the cake out 20 minutes before serving.
These serving suggestions will not only make your vanilla birthday cake extra special but also cater to a variety of tastes and preferences.
- Vanilla ice cream: Accompany each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a perfect combination of flavors.
- Fruit Medley: Garnish cake slices with fresh berries or a fruit compote for a refreshing twist.
- Whipped Cream Delight: Top cake slices with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce.
- Nutty Crunch: Add a sprinkle of chopped nuts, such as almonds or pecans, for extra texture and flavor.
- Chocolate Lovers: Serve with hot fudge sauce, chocolate shavings, or ganache for those who crave more chocolate.
- Tea or Coffee Pairing: Enjoy cake slices with a cup of hot tea or coffee for a delightful afternoon treat.
- Fruit Coulis: Drizzle a fruit coulis (fruit puree) like raspberry or passion fruit over the cake for a burst of fruity goodness.
Storage and Freeze
In the fridge: Store your vanilla cake only in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days in an airtight container or under plastic wrap.
Freezer: Leftover cake can be stored in the freezer wrapped in storage bags for up to 3 months, let them thaw gently in the refrigerator overnight.
Tips for this Cake
- Quality Ingredients: Start with high-quality ingredients, including pure vanilla extract and fresh eggs, for the best flavor.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that your butter, eggs, and dairy (if used) are at room temperature to create a smooth batter.
- Precise Measuring: Use precise measuring cups and spoons to ensure accurate ingredient quantities.
- Don't Overmix: Mix the batter until just combined; overmixing can result in a dense cake.
- Cool Completely: Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting to prevent melting or sliding.
- Crumb Coat: Apply a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat) before the final layer for a smoother appearance.
- Room Temperature Serving: Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving for the best texture and flavor.
Lemon Vanilla Cake: Incorporate lemon zest into the cake batter for a bright and zesty flavor, a lemon curd filling and a cream cheese frosting like my buttercream cream cheese.
Coconut Vanilla Cake: Mix shredded coconut into the batter for a tropical-inspired cake like my coconut cake.
Chocolate vanilla cake: Add a chocolate frosting for a chocolaty, vanilla marriage, such as chocolate buttercream or chocolate ganache.
Oreo Vanilla Cake: Crushed Oreo cookies folded into the batter for a cookies-and-cream variation like this Oreo chocolate cake.
Funfetti vanilla Cake: Mix colorful sprinkles into the batter for a fun and festive appearance.
Caramel Vanilla Cake: Drizzle salted butter caramel sauce between cake layers and on top for a sweet, gooey touch.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
In some ways it's possible, but the cake isn't suitable for making cupcakes, so I suggest you follow my recipe for vanilla cupcakes instead.
As it's filled with a fragile filling it's not possible, but if you use the buttercream inside too then you can cover it with fondant.
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Did you make this recipe?
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