How to Make a (Perfectly Delightful) Vanilla Birthday Cake

Perfectly Delightful Vanilla Cake via Sweetapolita

As you may have guessed, I love birthdays. Not just mine, but pretty much any birthday I can be part of. I especially love those celebrated by my family and friends, and now that we’re into spring nearing summer, it’s a birthday extravaganza. Between my husband, myself, my kids, my dad, and more, it seems there’s a birthday every week (and one wedding anniversary in 3 days!), and that’s one way to guarantee there will be no shortage of birthday cake (in case you’re concerned about my lack of cake). The kick off was on April 25th, when our little (but not so little) Reese turned 5. You might remember this colourful post from last year, when she turned 4–I feel as though I just made that cake, and yet it was a year ago. As a mom, that both amazes and saddens me, but of course it’s always a super happy occasion, and making cake for my girls is one most fulfilling things possible.

Perfectly Delightful Vanilla Cake via Sweetapolita

This year we threw her a Baking Party, which was something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I saw this party. I made her a cake just like this pink party cake–it was the perfect balance of girly, fancy, and delicious (and shh, don’t tell the girls, but this is one of the easiest and quickest cakes to make). The party itself was, as you can imagine, so much fun and complete chaos! The girls wore handmade chef’s hats (complete with pink satin lining–thank you Auntie Mary!), adorned with cupcake liner flowers (which the girls made when they arrived) and their names added by them in colourful letter stickers.

Wearing their favourite aprons, we whipped up chocolate sprinkled party spoons, decorated cupcakes, made strawberry jam and more. They each took home a pink-twine wrapped bakery box filled with their own creations as well as a “slice” of this goodie box cake filled with loot bag treats, designed by the talented Linnette of PaperGlitter, and printed and assembled by our friend, Danielle. Planning, preparing for and playing at this party made my inner 5-year old super-duper happy.

I was determined to engage, partake and enjoy every minute first hand this year, which I was able to do, but I wasn’t able to take photos as well, which does break my heart a bit. Looking back I would have designated someone to take photos or even hire a photographer, because there were just too many adorable, hilarious, messy, crazy moments. Most importantly, though, is that the we made the memories and nothing can take that away.

Perfectly Delightful Cake via Sweetapolita

The recipe itself for this cake is really just a very slightly adapted version of some of the other vanilla cakes I’ve posted (like this and this) but enough for 4 layers, paired with one of my best-loved sweeter frosting: a quick and easy (but super creamy and delightful) Whipped Vanilla Frosting that, as a result of whipping the butter and the blended frosting, tastes like creamy ice cream, and there is no sugary residue or chalky texture as with some sweet frosting. With an all-butter base and the addition of pure vanilla (and often vanilla bean), there’s an authenticity to it, even with all of that icing sugar. It also has a glide factor that makes it wonderful when applying it to the cake. I use this recipe anytime I need a fast fix or when baking for those attached to bakery frosting memories from childhood (although, isn’t that all of us?).

The reason I’ve put it together again for this post (aside from the slight adaptations of the cake), is because I’ve never posted it for a full 4-layer version of the cake, which is a simple way to make the cake party-worthy, along with some , again, quick and easy decorating I do when I can’t spend oodles of time on a cake. Truth is, sometimes even if I have the time, I still prefer cakes like these, and cakes that trigger all of my childhood memories.

Perfectly Delightful Vanilla Cake via Sweetapolita

If you knew Reese, you’d know that, like most 5-year-old little girls, she’s devoted to pink. And cake. And anything involving tutus and twirls, so the simple addition of a few retro ballerinas and sprinkles really fancies it up. In the past, I’ve done cakes for the girls that have taken me a week to do, but honestly, not only could I simply not make that happen this time with all of the party prep, but it wasn’t necessary. You know I love that kind of thing, so it’s not to say I won’t make more of those for her down the road, but this cake was enough to make all the girls giddy (even the moms!).

Perfectly Delightful Vanilla Cake via Sweetapolita

The best part about this kind of moist, buttery white cake is that it pairs nicely with this type of sweeter party frosting, as I like to call it, as well my all-time favourite, Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I took the super-simple approach of filling and frosting the cake with the same thing, but I’ve also filled this cake with strawberries and whipped cream, lemon curd, homemade jam, and more.  Just remember that for best results with these cake layers, you really need to weigh your ingredients. It really is the only way to guarantee cake success with this recipe–I promise!

And before I go, I thought it would be fun to share a short home video of Reese when she was 2 years old (I don’t normally share home videos, but just for fun!) This was at a little family dinner at my dad’s for her 2nd birthday (notice one of the early fondant cakes I made–apparently I thought we were serving a few million), and although it’s just your standard Happy Birthday song video, I love the look of wonder in her eyes and the fact that she was almost going to bust of excitement–it’s kind of what this whole baking thing is all about.


And, if you have 3 minutes and 24 seconds to fill, you can watch my all-time favourite video of Reese here. It has nothing to do with cake or birthdays, but funny as can be.

These videos may make me cry, but I hope they make you smile. ♥


Beautiful baker birthday girl, Reese.

Perfectly Delightful Vanilla Birthday Cake

Yield: One 4-layer, 8-inch round cake


  • 1-1/2 cup (360 ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 7 large egg whites (210 g), at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) almond extract
  • 3-3/4 cups (430 g) cake flour, sifted
  • 2-1/4 cups (450 g) sugar
  • 1-3/4 tablespoons (25 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (8 g)
  • 1-1/2 sticks (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) vegetable shortening
  • For the Whipped Vanilla Frosting:
  • 2-1/2 cups (5 sticks)(575 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 5-1/4 cups (600 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 4-1/2 tablespoons (70 ml) milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons (23 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch or two of salt
  • few drops pink gel colour
  • pastel sugar pearls (I used 4mm), or any other sprinkles for decorating


    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment and flour two round 8-inch pans (you will be using each one twice), or four 8-inch pans (if you're lucky enough to have four on hand). I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease.
  2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir 1/2 cup of the milk, stir the egg whites, whole egg, vanilla and the almond extract. Set aside.
  3. Sift cake flour twice. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together on low-speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the butter and shortening, blending on low-speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 1 cup of milk, and mix on low-speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 -1/2 minutes (90 seconds), but no more.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg/milk/extract mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
  6. Pour 1/4 of your batter (~2 cups)(445 grams) into each prepared pan (if you have 2 pans, you will bake 2 layers first followed by the remaining 2), spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If possible, weigh the batter in the pans to ensure 2 even layers.
  7. Bake cake layers two-at-a-time in center of oven and 2" apart for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
  8. Wash the 2 cake pans and line, grease and flour again and repeat.
  9. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best enjoyed day 1 or 2.
  10. For the Whipped Vanilla Frosting:
  11. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
  12. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low-speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy. If you want all of your frosting (for filling and frosting cake) pink, then add a drop of pink gel colour and mix again, adding one drop at a time until desired pink shade is achieved (see notes). If you want just the outside of the cake pink, you will fill the cake layers first, and then colour the remaining frosting pink.
  13. Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency), but keeps well once frosted.
  14. Assembly of the Perfectly Delightful Vanilla Birthday Cake
  15. Trim any doming or top crust from cake layers using a very sharp serrated knife.
  16. Use a cake turntable for filling, frosting and decorating, if a possible. Place a small dollop of frosting in the center of a cake plate or 8″ round thin foil-covered cake board, and place the bottom cake layer on top, face-up.
  17. Place ~1 cup of frosting on top of the cake layer, and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife. Gently place 2nd cake layer, face up, on top. Repeat until you come to your 4th layer, which you will place face down.
  18. Put a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
  19. Remove from refrigerator and apply another "coat" of frosting.
  20. For the top of the cake border, place a large star decorating tip (I used 1E) in a large Decorating Bag filled no more than 1/2 full with pink frosting.
  21. Hold pastry bag in one hand (your dominant hand) and slowly rotate the turntable with the other. Holding frosting-filled bag at a directly above the top of the cake (90° angle), squeeze a small bit of frosting and turn the table a bit at the same time, releasing pressure slowly then stop (this will create a tapered decoration). Repeat all the way around the cake, overlapping slightly each time you pipe a new "shell."
  22. For bottom border, you will want to have the cake on the plate or pedestal which you plan to serve it upon. Fill another pastry bag the same way, and this time use tip 1M. You will pipe at about a 45° angle this time (give or take). Sprinkle with your favourite sugar pearls or sprinkles atop the top border. For some kitschy charm, add a few Vintage Ballerina Cupcake Toppers to your cake!
  23. Store, covered in a cake dome, at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Best enjoyed day 1 or 2 at room temperature.


[cake layer recipe adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum]

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • If you do not have access to cake flour, you can quickly and easily make your own to cake flour substitute. Learn how in this previous post, Bring Me Flours. Substitutions with other flour types will result in a drastically different cake.
  • This cake batter method of blending the butter with the sugar and dry ingredients first is called the “reverse creaming method,” and was pioneered by cake guru, Rose Levy Beranbaum.
  • As with any vanilla cake, you can use 100% liquid egg whites in the cake layers (simply weigh them on your kitchen scale), which saves wasting the yolks. If using whole eggs and separating, always separate when eggs are cold, but use when room temperature.
  • Baking the cake layers in 4 pans, rather than 2 and then splitting the layers afterwards, yields an evenly baked cake that bakes faster and without overdone edges.
  • I highly recommend (strongly urge!) you to use a digital kitchen scale to measure ingredients.
  • This batter makes fabulous cupcakes.
  • The frosting tastes like vanilla ice cream–you’ll see!
  • Some pink food gel colours cause streaking. I find that, for me, Americolor Electric Pink does not cause streaking (but it’s an intense pink, so go easy!). After several hours there are some teeny darker pin-sized dots, but the cake in the photos is after several days, to give you a better idea. Also note that pink colour fades, particularly in the sun. You still want to go easy with the colour, but just keep it in mind.
  • You may enjoy reading my previous post, 50 Tips for Baking Better Cakes.

Good luck & enjoy!


Share the Sweetness!


  1. says

    I would’ve given anything for a homemade pink ballerina birthday cake when I was Reese’s age. Heck, I’d give anything for a cake like this now! This is beautiful, and I can’t wait to give this recipe a try :)

  2. says

    How has it been a year already? I think that was around the time that I first found your blog and fell in love with you. ;-) Happy birthday to dear Reese… she looks so happy in that video. Speaking of the video, THIS is the proof I was talking about. Hello there! ;-)

  3. says

    The cake is so pretty *pretty in pink* and your Reese (adorable at two and beautiful today) Your Aunt Mary’s Chef Hats are the sweetest things. She should be selling those, I’m sure they’d go like hot cakes.

  4. Mary Sanavia says

    Your video is so adorable!!!! I also want one of those chef’s hats….your party sounds (reads!) like it was a lot of fun!!!

  5. says

    I love this. My 4 year old daughter is obsessed with purple, and ballerinas, and cake. I’m going to bookmark this for December. ;)

  6. says

    I was going to tell you how charming the cake was, how very pretty and youthful without being overdone. Those things are true but they pale in comparison to your darling daughter Reese. She is way more beautiful than the cake. Happy Birthday to her!

  7. says

    Ohhh my gooodness gracious!! I can’t even handle the sweetness! The photos!!! The CAKE! The video!! The recipe!!! Just making me smile BIG BIG BIG!! :)

    Thanks for sharing your sweet world!

    Love from NJ!
    xo Jenny Holiday

  8. says

    Rosie, all your posts are trully wonderful, but I promise you this one is my favourite. Not just for the cake (which is perfect and I can’t wait to try), but for the writing, pics, emotions, and your little girl birthday’s video. It was really sweet and beautiful. :’) Happy (late) birthday to her! And congrats on this post! Lovely! xo

  9. Angela says

    Hi Rosie,

    I am from Australia and really enjoy all your cakes! And your daughter is cute!

    Could I just ask you how many days in advance can I make the chocolate spoons??


    • says

      Thanks so much, Angela! I would say you could make the spoons pretty as ahead of time as you need–because the chocolate just sets back up, it will behave just like a solid chocolate does. I would keep in a single layer in a plastic seal bag, or the like, though. I hope that helps!

  10. says

    When I was 21, I had a giant pink cake in the shape of a fairytale castle. Somethings never change ;)

    Gorgeous cake for a gorgeous little girl, your cakelets are so precious.

  11. says

    Oh, Yes, I see those yellow Mosser cake plates ! I LOVE them. The cakes look amazing and your photos are wonderful too. I’m trying this cake out this weekend and will remake it for a bridal shower. Shower is in pinks and yellows, my really really good reason to get all four sizes of said yellow Mosser cake plates !!!!

  12. says

    Oh my goodness, Reese is so cute! It’s funny being on the outside and watching bloggers little one’s grow. You have an adorable little girl!!

  13. says

    This cake is so cute! I’m about to turn 30 and I also love pink and this kind of cakes :D Please, be my mum!
    Great pics and video!!! Your little Reese is such a lovely girl. Happy birthday to her!

  14. Stephanie says

    This cake is on this weekend’s to-bake list! I have a few questions. I am thinking about using this cake under fondant; would you say it is a good idea? And since it is for a christening (my first “big” cake), is it safe to use SMB under fondant during summer?I am thinking about stacking 2 cakes (e.g. 9-inch + 11-inch). Or should I use a different kind of frosting?I wouldn’t want a beautiful cake to collapse or melt,especially in public!

    Thank you for your help.

  15. Salma says

    Love the cake and the video has captured lovely moments . The best part is the wonder in her eyes after blowing the candles. may she have a blessed life.

    Would like to know how did u cut this cake . its so sharp and perfect in a line without any crumbs sticking out if the sides of the slice.


  16. Asher says

    I so want this party for myself, and that delicious looking cake. The vanilla frosting is the BEST. I don’t think I’ve ever raved about vanilla frosting, but this is my new favorite.

    And can I just mention how completely adorable your daughter is? It doesn’t matter if she’s 2 or 5. By the way, I love that apron she’s wearing. I need one for myself!

  17. says

    Hey! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your website and blog! I currently have this cake in the oven baking, in readiness for piped ruffle icing decoration and adorned with butterfly cookie pops, for my friends 30th birthday tomorrow! Im always looking for new vanilla cake recipes, I live in the UK and we have the standard half egg to flour, sugar and butter recipe which everyone makes and as i own my own cake company i want to stand out from the crowd!! I used your suggestion for plain flour (all purpose) minus 2 tbs per cup as we don’t have non rising cake flour here, so i hope it works! – ill keep you posted! – by the way, that video of your beautiful Reese brought a little tear to my eye! My daughter Peggy is 17 months and has the same wide eyed wonder about the world xx

  18. says

    Wow that sounds like such a fun birthday party! I cannot wait to have a little girl of my own to throw a party like that! I love your posts and I love the notes you give at the end. So helpful! :) oh and Happy Anniversary in a few days!!!

  19. Toni says

    You are indeed a wonderful mom with the blessing of a wonderful daughter! How very sweet and happy the cake looks as the little ballerina’s wait to “dance” for your little princess! She is a very fortunate little girl with a very loving mom! Enjoy every moment of these little years because they grow up so fast, though I have the feeling that even as she gets to be a big girl, she might still be asking you to make her this special cake. Some things transcend time and make memories come back in an instant. I think that this cake just might definitely be one of those miracles! Thank you for sharing! God bless!

  20. says

    Happy belated birthday to the adorable Reese – I too celebrated a birthday this week! Yay for gemini!. What a beautiful post, Rosie. That video of Reese’s 2nd made me tear up and got me thinking I may be ready for motherhood – maybe… Thanks for sharing.

  21. Rebecca says

    Please tell us how you made the cupcake liner flower on Reese’s baker’s hat. I love the way it looks and would love to do something like that for my daughter. Beautiful family and party, a baking party… that’s the best!

  22. says

    How lovelly she was telling the goose story. Loved it!!! I’m a mom too…so I know how this videos can make us cry. Of joy and also for the nostalgia that it brings. We can’t turn back time. :) Loved the cake…as always.

  23. Rene says

    Havent come across any on your site as yet, but would be really interested in gluten free baking – if you dare! When I make your recipes, I never actually get the eat them myself, but my husband and mother’s group loves them!

  24. Blair says

    Hello! Love your site. I was wondering how many cupcakes this recipe makes? I am making some cupcakes for a wedding shower this weekend and I think this would be great!Thanks!!!

    • says

      Hi! I know you probably dont need the information anymore but this is for anyone else wondering,… I believe it makes about 40 cupcakes. I say this because after weighing 3 pans (as directed by Rosie at 445g each since I am making a 3 layer cake) I used a medium ice cream scoop to fill 10 cupcake wells. The cake is for friends but my nephews would die if I didnt make them something as well. lol HTH!

  25. christine dewing says

    What a delicious sounding recipe, can’t wait to try it! Love, love, love the video of Reese reading Mother Goose, that is such a treasure of a memory; when mine were small home video was in it’s infancy, too, and the few I have of those moments are dear. Thanks for one of the best blogs out there, Rosie.

  26. Katie Wahlquist says

    This looks delicious!! Would this cake hold up well under fondant? I need to make a small white wedding cake for a friend (an 8 inch stacked with a 6 inch) and would love to use this recipe with SMBC.

  27. says

    I Love that cake – but your daughter’s Chef’s Hat is the cutest think I have ever seen! I live the flower on the side and her smile is just so infectious! You can’t help but smile and know how happy she is!

  28. Stacey says

    Just made this cake and I have to say it is the most delicious cake I have ever baked and the icing does taste exactly like Vanilla ice-cream. Can’t wait to bake this again for my nephews 8th birthday in 2 weeks. Found a flour by McDougall’s specially for cakes & cake was light, fluffy and rose beautifully (in the UK). Thank you so much for the recipe. Your wee girl is absolutely adorable. Have now bookmarked your site. xx

  29. Linnette says

    Gorgeous! Simply gorgeous—the cake, Reese, the photos, the video–everything!!! I got teary-eyed watching the video. Reese is around the same age as my little Kaylee and I remember her turning 2 fondly-seems like yesterday. You have inspired me to bake a cake for the first time in my life. I’ll let you know how it goes ;) Thank you for the sweet mention. Happy belated birthday, sweet baby girl Reese!

  30. maryam says

    Oh Rosie!! What a beautiful and fun party you threw for an absolutely cutest girl!!!! Reese is so lucky to have such a talented mommy…. Loved both the videos too. Thank you so much for sharing and bringing some sunshine my way. This is making me want to move to Canada so I can be your neighbor….
    Happy Birthday to Reese….

  31. Lilosita says

    Hi! Thank you so much for your posts, they are all beautiful and look so delicious!!
    I would like to bake this cake over the weekend and I was wondering if I used the egg yolks would I need to leave anything out? I feel sorry for them! Would the end result be less fluffy?
    Many thanks

  32. Karen says

    Reese is adorable! Thanks for the videos and photos, they are so precious. Your cakes is pretty wonderful too!

    • says

      Thanks, Aanya! To measure egg whites, I always do it by weight. I measure the ounces (weight, not liquid ounces) and grams with a small digital kitchen scale for accuracy. It’s also handy to know that 1 egg white = 30 grams/1 ounce. I whole egg = 50 grams. Hope that helps!

  33. says

    Must have been about a year ago since I found your blog and it´s such a joy and inspiration for me! Thank you for sharing!!!!

    No need to say my little girl (not so “little” anymore at 4½ years…) demanded me to bake that cake for her. A.S.A.P. Just need to find ballerinas…

    • says

      That’s so cute, Louise! Little girls and ballerinas–it’s a force to be reckoned with. :) I’ve linked to ballerinas (in “Sweetapolita’s Notes”) from my favourite etsy shop, HeyYoYo. She has the funnest doodads and wonderful customer service. Best of luck!

  34. Chayo S. says

    I am so so happy I found you website and blog, thank you for sharing your recipes and you wonderful girls!I love your family pictures. Thank you again.

  35. Tissa says

    This cake truly is perfect! I made it rather quickly this morning and the house smells wonderful. If there is anyone else out there like my family (dairy free, soy free), I made this cake successfully with vanilla rice milk, and golden shortening.

    The video of Reese at 2 is so ADORABLE! Time really does fly. She looks so grown up already.

  36. Mary says

    The cake…beautiful (as always!), the pics…gorgeous (as always), the videos of Reese…causing water works!!!!!! A wonderful trip down memory lane of my lovely little lady of a niece. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and I had a blast making those hats!!) xoxo

  37. Jay says

    Just finished the first two cakes and have to say they turned out beautifully. I am making this cake for a friend so I cant speak to flavor but if it is anywhere near as good as the batter than she is in for a treat. Just found your site about a week ago…love it! Also made the campfire-delight-6-layer-rich-chocolate-malted-toasted-marshmallow-cake. Amazing!!!

  38. says

    Wow love love love, can I just use butter?? do I ‘need’ shortneing. It is really hard to buy here just wondering what differance it makes.

  39. Leah says

    Hi Rosie,
    I am going to be baking this cake for my son’s upcoming 2nd birthday. I plan to use your SBC and decorate the top with Elmo piped in icing. Any suggestion on how much SBC to frost and decorate a cake this tall? Thanks!


  40. Linda says

    O.M.G. … I remember these ballerinas on my cake when I was a kid. My cake didn’t look as spetacular as yours but the ballerinas were like magic. I can’t believe they still make them.

  41. says

    Thanks so much for sharing and the great details. I was wondering if you thought this icing would be good under fondant and if it would need refrigeration due to the butter (either with or without fondant.)

    Thanks so much. I love your website/blog! Faithful follower! :D

  42. Angie says

    Wow, what a gorgeous cake! I’m going to attempt it for my daughter’s 1st birthday cake next week. I need to serve 24, though, and I’m not sure how much to make. Would doubling this recipe and baking it into 2 layers of 9×13 work? I’m a little baking illiterate so we’ll see how this turns out! :) and happy birthday to your little girl…she’s even prettier than the cake. <3

  43. says

    Hi Rosie, just wanted to know before I try your recipe: doesn’t that whole lot of egg whites dry out your cake? Or does the milk balance that?

    Thanks! Love your blog! :)

  44. Regina@SpecialtyCakeCreations says

    What a lovely cake and birthday party.
    But I just can’t get over the two videos of 2-year-old Reese. Soooo adorable, she is almost bursting of excitement on her birthday :D
    And her reciting all those nursery rhimes…thats just UNREAL!!

  45. Noor says

    Wow, all your cakes are so beautifull! You’re now in my top 3 favourite bloggers!! xxx (sorry if my english is very bad, I’m from the Netherlands..)

  46. Mary says

    Hi Rosie! I’m looking to make the perfect vanilla cake for my daughter’s first birthday. I was reading about your fluffy vanilla cake recipe but then came across this post. I’m wondering which may be a better option for a 4 layer cake? Thanks so much! Also, I’m wanting to color the layers with different shades of pink-any recommendations for that?

  47. Emily says

    Rosie! I’m soo happy I came across your page! :D I love all your recipes, even though I’ve only tried this one. I made it for my birthday last friday and it was the most wonderful cake I’ve ever had! Tasted like I was eating a cloud :) I’ve never baked a cake before, can’t say I’m much of a baker at all, but with your help and wisdom I believe I could enjoy it for many years to come. Two lessons I learned… 1 being don’t get your sifter wet.The second, invest in an air conditioner when baking a cake in 90 degree weather! None the less, the cake came out as delightful as you said! Thank you my cake guru! <3 emily

  48. says

    Hi Rosie , I just found out about your website and actually this is the first post I’m reading of yours. I’m not the comment giving person but I just couldn’t leave untill I left a comment. Your site is my ultimate best bakers website. I promise….it’s just all of those emotions, those sharing and that lovely video. Have to say that video is the cutest girl ever. The video is so cute, just that excitement in her wee little eyes. Luv your site. And that vanilla cake sounds delicious and sooo prett. Have to try it.
    Happy late birthday to reese , who is the most adorable girl ever.


  49. Karen says

    Hi Rosie, I’m making a sheet cake for a graduation and wanted to know if this recipe will still turn out well if I bake it in a 11x15x2 pan. Do I need to double the recipe?

  50. Sara says

    Hi Rosie! My name is Sara and I absolutly love your website!!
    This saturday is my brother’s birthday and I want to make this cake for him.
    But here (in Spain) I can’t find vegetable shortening at all, so can I replace the vegetable shortening with another kind of shortening, or more butter, or can I make the cake without that ingredient, using only the rest of ingredients?
    Your cakes always look so wonderful and tasty! But I feel a little insecure about its method, one of my friends tried to make cupcakes in the reverse way and they didn’t taste fine :(
    Hope you’ll be able to answer my questions, but if you can’t there’s no problem, because I’d love to try your vanilla bean latte cake this saturday, it’s only that this cake got stuck in my head! :)
    have a nice day! :)

  51. says

    Hi Rosie!

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and I absolutely love it! I just wanted to let you know that I recently used this recipe and made my FIRST EVER layer cake for my beautiful mum’s birthday. It turned out so well, and the look of amazement of her face was worth every minute! I, of course, am now addicted to perfecting the layer cake technique – I can’t wait to try out more of your recipes.

    Thanks so much for the amazing blog :)

  52. amarjeet singh says

    sorry i want to know that what is vegetable shortening? if the cake base is baked without that thing

  53. Angie Reneau says

    Rosie your cakes and etc. are “WOW TO THE WOW” everything I’ve baked has been awesome !!!! May I ask where to purchase the flavorings you use,the gel colors you use and where can I find the little cake stands you have posted here.Also trimming something pretty around the cake stand. Iam trying to start my own small cake business in my home.I have compiled recipes form my Granmama from the 1900’s:my Late Mama’s;and the ones that I have invinted on my own.(that took alot of trials and errors!!!!) Any help or advice would be great !!!! Thanks and Sweet Blessings to your little family !!!! Angie Reneau

  54. Elizabeth says

    Hey Rosie! I’ve wondering … How did get that pretty simetrical and clean piezes of cake?
    What do you recommend for cutting like that my cakes, some special knife?
    That cake is adorable! ♥
    Greetings from Mexico.

  55. Sylvia says

    I loved the video. Your baby Reese is so sweet and so very smart to be able to memorize all the nursery rhymes. It brought a smile to my face. Thanks for sharing.

  56. Ya says

    Hi, I am hooked to your blog. I read it nearly everyday, quite addicted to cakes and beatiful photos ^_^ All of your cakes are so inspiring. I just wonder about one thing, when you bake your batch separately, how do you keep the dough? Do you keep it in the fridge or leave it outside while waiting for the first batch?

  57. Sophia says

    The cake looks amazing and I also love your other recipes.
    The little girl looks very cute and happy. I wish I had lovely parents like hers.
    Greetings from Germany. (:

  58. Kris says

    Lovely lovely cake! I would love to make this cake for my daughter’s birthday. I’m kinda new to baking and all so I just have this dilema of baking cakes with more than one layer since i have a small oven and 2 or let alone 3 cake pans won’t fit on the same rack. How do i go about this problem? Do i bake them together, with one pan in the middle rack and the other one in the bottom? Or do i just wait for 1 to finish and then put the other one after?

    I would really appreciate the suggestions! Thanks! :D

  59. Alaina says

    I never post comments on blogs but I felt compelled to tell you how absolutely beautiful your daughter is! The video of her reading the nursery rhymes made me cry. I’m beginning to play with cakes and fondant. My inspiration has been my daughter’s first birthday coming up. I wanted something unique and beautiful and I feared the local bakers wouldn’t be able to understand my passion for Sophia’s birthday to be as wonderful and perfect as she has made my life. Although, a party could never compare. So far my efforts have been successful. I still have a long way to go but I’m getting there! You’re blog is amazing!

  60. Amanda says

    I just made this cake for my niece’s 3rd brthday yesterday and she loved it!!! It was absolutly delicious and vanilla-y :) so yummy!!!

  61. Wati Rahman says

    Hi Rosie, I’m from Brunei. Chanced upon your blog a few months ago and has been following since. OMG I’m so in love your adorable princesses! and I love the videos of Reese! Soooo adorable! They brought tears to my eyes too! I have a one-year-old daughter too, love watching her grow up. Wouldn’t wanna miss it for the world! Thanks so much for sharing. Bless you and your wonderful & beautiful family! ❤

  62. Alyssa Jaffrey says

    That looks like a delicious cake there! I would LOVE that to be my cake. My 11th birthday is coming up and i want to do something really special this year because i didn’t do anything big last year and it is the last birthday i will have with all my friends. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try! (With help form my mum)if this works it will really make my day. :) x P.S. Your daughter looks so happy there, i wish that was me when i was young;)

  63. Catalina says

    Hi Rosie,
    After searching for a classic (American) birthday cake for hours, I finally came across your site. I made this cake for my daughters 4th birthday, and it was perfect. It game me nostalgia, it brought me back to my childhood. The fluffy cake and creamy buttercream was wonderfully tastey. I GREATLY appeciate all the notes, advice, and measuring conversions as I live in Italy and the extra notes help understand if your doing everything the correct way. Absolutely wonderful, very pleased I happened upon your site. Catalina

  64. Shannon says

    Ditto Catalina’s comment above. I spent a very long time researching the perfect recipe and decided on your perfect vanilla cake recipe. After reading the comments and seeing that some people had no problem while others did, I went back to the drawing board and found this gem! I made just a few adaptations: used freshly ground soft white wheat flour, using 2T arrowroot powder then filling the rest of the cup w/flour for each C flour called for. Also replaced shortening with butter. The results? My house smells delightful, the cake layers, while at first glance appeared sunken slightly in the middle, are perfect. I CANNOT wait to frost this cake tomorrow for my baby’s 2nd b’day and finally taste what has been making my mouth water all evening. Thank you, thank you.

  65. Taylor says

    Do you have to line the pans with parchment paper and flour? My cakes usually slide right out just with using vegetable shortening.

      • Beth CHU says

        Hi Rosie

        May I cover and fill this cake with chocolate ganache and then cover in fondant? Is this cake dry in texture or moist? Do I need sugar syrup to moist it before frosting?

        Many thanks

  66. Amy says

    Hi Rosie, I am such a fan of your website. May I ask if this cake is suitable for fondant covered cakes , or even a rainbow cake?

    Cheers, Amy

  67. Elisa says

    I want to thank you Rosie! I made this cake for my dear Sofia’s 2nd birthday and it was amazing. As a working mom everyone told me I was crazy to make a cake, that I should get one from a bakery and not stress. Granted I did stress a bit, but it would have happened with or without the cake baking. I had such a great time making the cake and learning a new technique. I baked the cakes 2 days before the party and stored them in the fridge. I made the icing the day of and iced the cold cakes and then left it out at room temp before guest arrived. It was magical…3 tiers,loads of pink frosting, sprinkles and a very happy 2 year old. Happy mommy too. Working moms can make cake! It was so worth it and quite honestly the best cake I have ever had! We all loved it. Finding this blog has made me believe in the scratch made life!

  68. Alissa says

    I am inlove with your beautiful recipes. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!!! I have made this cake for my daughter’s 1st birthday. It was so light and delicious. I have made your nutella cupcakes and am planning on making many more of your cakes in the near future. So glad I stumbled upon your blog!!!

  69. suzy says

    I love all your photos. beautiful. love your recipes too!!! i was wondering what kind of camera you used to capture all these great clear shots :)

  70. sunreeka says

    hi. i was wondering would there be a problem if i change the shape of the cake tin to a rectangle? im planning on making this cake for my daughter’s 3rd birthday next week.

  71. Michaela says

    Hi I really love your website!your tutorials are a lifesaver!!

    I plan to make this cake for my daughter’s 3rd birthday and would like to add sprinkles in the batter to make it a funfetti cake. do you think it will keep its moisture if I make it one day ahead of the party? Also can I add strawberry puree in the wipped vanilla frosting or will the frosting get too soft to pipe?

  72. Linda says

    Hi Rosie, I was wondering how it would work if I substitute the cakeflour for cakemixes like Betty Corcker of Duncan Hines.

  73. Jane says

    Hi Rosie, i tried this recipe and it was a dream (particularly the frosting). I divided the batter into 4 parts and dyed each part a different hue of blue, then lined them up darkest (at the bottom) to lightest to give a gradient effect. For the icing, i added the smallest amount of blue dye that gave it a super cloudy-like look. The result was amazing!!! I love love love the icing on this cake, best i’ve ever made so far i would say and i’ve made ALOT of cakes over the years:) SO happy that i found this blog<3

    p.s. your daughter is gorgeous:)

  74. Rhiannon says

    Hi there, just wondering if you could please tell me what I could use to replace the almond extract in the recipe? More vanilla, or imitation? Or just leave it out? (My little nieces have nut allergies)
    I can’t wait to make this!

  75. Jessica says

    I made this for my birthday today and I am severely disappointed. The frosting was super slick and it had way too much butter. It tasted like vanilla Vaseline. I wish you wouldn’t have built it up so much, it went straight in the garbage. And I am a great baker.

  76. Ariel says

    I just made this cake (not frosting)..I even went out and bought some cake flour for this.. and while the texture was beautiful and perfect, I have to say that the cake tasted very “eggy”. I made sure to measure everything correctly and let it all come to room temperature and made sure to follow your instructions to a T. Does anyone else have this problem with this recipe or is it just me? Would it be possible maybe cut back on the amount of eggs or would it completely mess up the cake?

  77. says

    Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is all about favourite foods from childhood. I do hope you link this lovely one in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links. Have a great week.

  78. Valerie says

    Just made the cake and it came out really short, less than an inch high per level. Is there something I can do to make the cake rise a little more? Thanks.

  79. says

    I baked this cake last weekend for my daughter’s first birthday, and it was DELICIOUS! I was really nervous about the cake as I’m not a seasoned baker, but it was so easy, and the directions were incredible. Thank you! I’m adding a link to it in my blog this week. :)

  80. says

    Hi Rosie,

    I tried your whipped vanilla frosting.. It was absoolutely delicious and tasted like icecream!! My son licked his bowl of cake and the frosting.

    I did have a problem when piping it on the cake. I presume it was the warmth of my hands that made the frosting melt. I had to refrigerate it a couple of times for it to harden. Is there any fix for this? I live in california and its sometimes humid if not dry weather. What can be done. Thanks for responding.

  81. Katie J says


    Just had to tell you how adorable your girls are! I watched the nursery rhyme video and it is beyond cute. It’s amazing to watch their minds working and learning. Reminded me of when my daughter was that little and would recite The Hungry Caterpillar to me at bedtime. A memory I cherish so much. :)


  82. says

    I love the recipe, I have to try it! :) but what I really really love is the video, can a little girl be more cute??!!! I laughed a lot, thanks!

  83. says

    This cake is aahhh-mazing! I recently discovered my love for baking and this was the first cake I made from scratch for my friend’s birthday yesterday. It was a huge hit and it was SO much fun to make! Thank you for such detailed directions and an awesome recipe. :) I can’t wait to make another of yours! Next I think I will try a chocolate or funfetti!

  84. Shahla says

    Woow the cake luks awesome even the birthday luks soo cute I luv her when the time I saw hero got to remember my little cousin I miss her a lot

  85. Denise says

    I just watched both links and your daughter is so darn cute and smart. Watching them made my night. Can you tell I’m a grandma?
    Where did you get her apron at? It was so cute too!

  86. Kyra says

    Does the whipped icing hold up in hot weather? Im from the deep south and this cake will be outside for at least an hour. Could I use the whipped or should I stick to regular old sweet buttercream?

  87. Shubha says

    I had a query…. ur cake is so sos beautifyull the the best part is the icing….:P the smoothness… how do u get it soo smooth? n also what knife u use to cut ur cake??? the piece itself looks so good

  88. Jenni says

    Followed your recipe and I’m sad to say my bake time was much different. I had to add 15 minutes and even more so for a 6 in round, which I found very frustrating. I’m hoping the flavor of the cake will be worth the extra time since I’m making a friends birthday cake with it!

  89. Ashley Engen says

    Hi there. Just discovered your website and I have to say, I am smitten. I love cake making/decorating; however, I am not as good as I wish I was. I am a recipe follower to the core and have trouble altering (yes, I am scared). I would like to make this cake recipe for my son’s 5th birthday but am needing to make a 9×13 vs round because of the decorating. Can I do two 9×13’s instead of the 4 rounds?

  90. says

    I was recommended to your site after tasting your strawberry layer cake. I specifically came to find a vanilla cake recipe for my son’s birthday. After reading the above post I was glad to find a good recipe and helpful tips but mostly I just wish I knew you. :) You have a wonderful skill for writing as well as baking. Thanks for the awesome blog.

  91. Nikki Henry says

    I made this cake for my daughter’s first birthday! It was so delicious and lovely too! Thanks for sharing!

  92. Christina says

    Hi! This is my favorite frosting EVER! Thank you so much for changing my life with it! How many cupcakes do you think this recipe of frosting will cover? If I’m doing a piped rose? 36? Thanks so much!

  93. Tania Torres says


    I just want to say that I made this cake for my daughter’s 1st birthday
    And everyone loved it and made me feel great about it.
    It’s absolutely delicious and easy to make.

    I want to thank you for sharing all this great recipes with us!
    They just make my world a better and sweeter place :)

    I just have a question… how do you get your tiers so even. Mine turned
    Out not somehow lower in the middle I don’t know if I did something wrong
    Or if you have any tips about it.

    My name is Tania, I’m from Mexico and I’m a faithful fan! :D

  94. Jackie says

    Hi Rosie! Im from Australia, and was just wondering if instead of the vegetable shortening, I could just use more butter? Would this make a big difference to the end cake result? Thank you :)

  95. Apeksha says

    Hey! I am 14 years and I was wondering if this would be easy enough for me to bake since I’m a beginner. Thank you so much! And by the way your daughter is adorable!!

  96. LILMISSTATA says

    I didn’t egt to make the cake due to lack of time (I used a box) but your frosting was to die for!!! I will try the cake next time I have to bake a birthday cake….in a few weeks.

  97. Tim says

    Made this for my daughter’s birthday and unfortunately it was very disappointing. It had a bitter taste of baking powder. Wondering if I did something wrong…

  98. tine says

    Reese is so adorable! She melts me :D
    Sorry! Should talk about your cake but can’t resist to have a say about Reese coz she is soooooooooooo cute!!!

  99. Amy says

    Thank you for this wonderful website you put up! Couple of questions, how much kosher salt would you use and second is the baking powder measurement correct? I made this cake and it is very bitter. My baking powder is only a couple months old. Do you use a different brand of baking powder that is less bitter?

  100. says

    i love your site and this and this cake recipe! its super yummy! I’ve always just done 2 inch tiers, I’m just wondering when you say you make it using 4 pans, are you just doing 1 inch layers stacked 4 high?

  101. says

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have
    clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added
    I recieve four emails with the exact same comment.
    Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service?


  102. Alyssa says

    Could someone please help me; I’ve looked in the comments but can’t seem to find a direct answer. How many cups of frosting does this recipe make? Thanks so much!

  103. Tannah says

    If I wanted to make a dairy free cake, could I just substitute the the Whole Milk with rice or almond milk and the butter with a dairy free margarine?

  104. says

    This cake looks awesome and delicious. I noticed that it called fore five sticks of butter to four cups of confectionary sugar. How do you get your frosting to not taste like pure butter. I have tried other recipes with similar ratios of butter to confectionary sugar, and they always taste like pure butter. Do you have any tips?

    • Mary says

      Try adding more vanilla extract or substitute some of the butter with hi ratio shortening . Maybe this would help.

  105. Sheila says

    I *finally* got around to making this cake, and it was by far the best vanilla cake I have ever made. And the sweetness of the icing balanced out the not-so-sweet cake.

    I also found it very helpful to have the amount of mixing time and speeds as well. I’m never sure when to stop and it may have been the extra long mixing times that made the icing sooooooo smooth.

    I took it into work for a celebration and it was gone in one afternoon.

    Loads of compliments about the cake, and as always with the recipes and helpful hints on Rosie’s website, it came out perfectly.


  106. Harmony says

    Hi there,
    This looks amazing!
    I want to make this for my daughters birthday cake. I’d only need one or two layers at most and it can’t have any nut products. So do I just divide the ingredients by say 2 or 4? And can I replace the almond extract with something else or leave it out? Daughters birthday is in a weeks time.


  107. Nawal says

    Hi Rosie,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for the continuous inspiration and support! You are an absolute gem. The way this cake turned out for me.. not so much. I tried the recipe twice, and both times the cake would not rise! I have so much un-risen cake sitting in my kitchen right now, I am contemplating making a body scrub out of it (hey, it could be the next big thing!) I have absolutely no idea what I am doing wrong. I think it might be this reverse creaming technique that is throwing me off.. Regardless, I love your work and I wish you the best of success and happiness.

    Thank you!

  108. Happybunnyjenna says

    Hi Rosie, I’ve just discovered your website and I love it!!

    I’m from Australia and was wondering if your cup measurements are metric? I’m going to make this cake for my birthday :)

  109. says

    Hi, I LOVE YOUR BLOG. Am baking a birthday cake for my 1 year old and I want to use this recipe to frost a two tier, 10 inch and an 8 inch cake. Can you please help me with the conversions?

  110. Stephanie says

    I live in Colorado and I’ve been trying to make your method work for high altitude. I was successful today, so I thought I’d share my changes for anyone else who needs to bake this at high altitude!

    I reduced the milk from 1 1/2 cups to 1 cup (237 ml)
    I reduced the egg white from 7 to 6 (180 g)
    I reduced the baking powder from 1 3/4 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon (15 g)

    Hopefully this will be helpful to other mountain state bakers!

  111. Laura says

    Please be specific when referring to veg shortening, here in Australia it’s called copha and is a hard mass. Iv been beating the mix now for 10 minutes because it is in hard lumps…,.,did it need to be melted? or softened? Very frustrating

    • says

      Laura, the vegetable shortening is used just as it comes–at room temperature, otherwise I would have stated melted, softened, cold, etc. I’m not sure how much more specific I can be. It would be hard for me to refer to shortening as it is referred to in other countries, as I would have no way of knowing those terms, and readers are global. In North America vegetable shortening is pure white and the same consistency as softened butter, so when it is added to the mixture it blends right in as the butter does–first in a crumbly texture and then once the liquid is added and beaten, the mixture becomes fully incorporated.

      • Laura says

        Thanks Rosie,
        I ended up sieving the cake mix to get out the lumps, cake turned out tasting nice just didn’t rise because I had beaten so much. Sorry for my message before I was fustrated because the shortening wasn’t something I had used before and didn’t know how to make it work. The ‘copha’ sold in Australia is in the fridge section but doesn’t go soft only melted I think. Could I use more butter next time? Again I’m sorry for being a bit rude in my message, I use your recipes for all my cakes especially the chocolate one with coffee and buttermilk everyone loves it! Is there a vanilla cake recipe that is more like the texture of that one? Also have your book! Thanks, Laura

  112. Michelle says

    Omg! Your daughter Reese is adorable! I loved her rendition of the nursery rhymes, especially! And you could see that she was about to burst during Happy Birthday! Love! 😍. Your cakes are gorgeous, of course, and I look forward to trying my hand with them! Thank you! 😊

  113. Karin says

    Hey Rosie!

    I am writing from South Africa and I’m quite an enthusiastic aspiring pastry chef! I have never come across vegetable shortening in our grocers, what can I use to replace it with? Some websites suggest any neutral vegetable oil or butter (but then you have to compensate for the extra liquid in the butter). What about coconut oil, could that work?


  114. Kelly says

    Put this bad boy together last night and this morning for my son and daughter’s shared birthday (7 and 2). Loved it, everyone was really into the flavor. Very dense cake, good stuff, thanks for sharing. Adorable daughter cake vid, btw. My fam loved it.

  115. Kathryn Gross says

    This cake is delicious! I baked it for my daughter’s birthday and it came out beautifully. I colored the frosting 3 different colors and did a watercolor technique. It was sooo pretty and delicious. Did I mention how good it was? I like the fact that it’s not all butter. This one is a keeper.

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