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Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe

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Learn how to make my classic Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting and I’ll show you how to make the best vanilla cake recipe and decorate it simply and impressively!

Hi Bold Bakers! 

Every Bold Baker needs a Master Vanilla Birthday Cake recipe with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. A vanilla cake recipe is a must have in your repertoire. I promise you this cake recipe will never fail you and you will have it for years to come.


How to Make the Best Vanilla Cake Recipe

This cake is a classic with a lovely vanilla flavor. It is soft and light and the buttercream helps make it a simple, big slice of heaven.

I know my strengths as a baker and cake decorating is not one of them. So what I do is use the simplest technique to get over-the-top results like this beautiful Birthday Cake covered in sprinkles. 

 Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe): An incredible cake recipe that you will use for years to come.

Don’t worry if you are not a great cake decorator. Adding Sprinkles covers a multitude of sins. Your cake will look flawless with my method.

Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe): An incredible cake recipe that you will use for years to come.

You cannot beat a classic Vanilla Cake, it’s one of my favorite. The sprinkles on this cake make it over-the-top amazing!

Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe): An incredible cake recipe that you will use for years to come.

When making your next celebration cake remember you cannot go wrong with Sprinkles!!! Just when you think you added enough, add MORE!

Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe): An incredible cake recipe that you will use for years to come.

Once decorated, this cake keeps well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe): An incredible cake recipe that you will use for years to come.

This Vanilla Cake freezes really well and can be kept for 4 weeks in the freezer.

Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe): An incredible cake recipe that you will use for years to come.

This Birthday Cake is best served at room temperature. The flavors and texture will be much better.

Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe): An incredible cake recipe that you will use for years to come.

Find my Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe here. And you can use this cake to make my Lemon Meringue Cake recipe. I really hope you give my recipe a go and enjoy the best vanilla cake recipe!

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4.26 from 301 votes
Vanilla Birthday Cake
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 8
Author: recipe adapted from Life Made Sweeter Blog
  • 3 cups (425g/15oz) cake flour, sifted
  • 2 cups (453g/16oz) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg whites , at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg , at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8floz/227ml) whole milk or full fat buttermilk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (170g, 6oz) unsalted butter, cold
  • Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe Here)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large jug combine and whisk together the egg whites, whole egg, milk, and the vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 1 minute. (You can also do it by hand)
  4. Add the cold butter and continue to mix on low until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture.
  5. Add the liquid mixture into your dry ingredients in 2 separate batches making sure to scrape the sides and bottom before and after each batch, mixing until light, fluffy, homogenous and well incorporated. Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  7. Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 25-35 minutes. Be very careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 25 minutes to see how it is doing and judge the timing from there.
  8. Once Bake let the cake cool on racks for 20 minutes before removing them from the tins.
  9. When the cake is completely cold you can start to decorate. If you are not using it straight away wrap the cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.
  10. To Assemble the Cake: With a serrated knife cut off the top of the cake layers to give them even, level surfaces to frost on.
  11. Place bottom cake layer on the table or cake turntable.
  12. Spread your chilled butter cream frosting on top with a small offset spatula. Gently place 2nd cake layer face down on top. Place more frosting on top of this layer and spread out.
  13. Gently add the 3rd cake layer. Add a generous scoop of frosting and spread evenly with a small offset spatula working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. This is called the “Crumb layer” . Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
  14. Remove from refrigerator and apply a final “coat” of frosting. Decorate all over with sprinkles. Just keep on applying them until they stick all over.
  15. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Before serving let it at room temperature for 30 minute and then enjoy!
Recipe Notes

I scoop cup measurements, so flour will come in as 5ozs.

“A party without cake is just a meeting” ― Julia Child


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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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Write a Comment and Review

  1. Evans on February 20, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Hello Gemma!
    Tried it and loved it. I have a question: i’m wondering if I can use this recipe and divide the batter into two, vanilla and choco, for a marble cake? If yes, can you please tell me how much cocoa powder I can add in half of the batter please?
    Thank you very much

    • Gemma Stafford on February 20, 2019 at 4:10 pm

      Yes that’s a great idea i would add 1/3 cup cocoa powder but i may change the texture. Let me know how you go!

  2. Himanshi Sadhwani on February 6, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Hi Gemma, This is Himanshi from India. I found your videos on YouTube and I am a big fan of yours. I am a beginner at baking and honestly your recipes helped me a lot. Now I have started taking orders and soon want to start a bakery shop.
    Few things I faced issues at is that every time I bake using the same recipe, the outcome is different. I don’t know whether its coz of the products from different brands. My egg-less cake doesn’t come out fluffy.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 8, 2019 at 3:06 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      The reason eggs are commonly used in baking is that they give the best results. When you change this you will get a different result, it cannot be the same. Traditional cake recipes are designed for eggs.
      That said, there are good alternatives. ( Matching the sub to the recipe really helps too, flax egg or applesauce are best for a sponge type cake. If you experiment a bit you will get this right for you.
      Technique is so important too, mixing, not over mixing, are all vital to a great outcome. The temperature of the oven too, it needs to be consistent for good results.
      That is as much as I can think of. I wish you well in your business,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Abir on February 2, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for the recipe this is the last yellow cake recipe
    I will try I have tried way to many I. Give up my question to you is did you use buttermilk or whole milk and is it moist enough thanks so much

    • Gemma Stafford on February 3, 2019 at 1:51 am

      Hi Abir,
      You can use either one, buttermilk gives a tender crumb, but whole milk will be good too. I have a recipe here for a buttermilk substitute, if you do not have it to hand. (
      You can see too the Celery Stamp cake, which is a classic Victoria sponge, and also a good one for you to practice. I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Rachida Mansouri on January 27, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Dear Gemma, I’m a day care cook. I used your recipe to make 14 birthday cake for children! Thank you so much

    • Gemma Stafford on January 28, 2019 at 2:15 am

      Hi there,
      WOW! that is a lot of baking for a lot of children! Well done you, and thank you for telling us about it,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Sassymoo3 on January 20, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Hi Gemma, could I get away with using 7 inch cake tins or will the cakes be too thin? Thanks, loving the site!

    • Gemma Stafford on January 21, 2019 at 12:50 am

      Hi there,
      The 7×7 inch pan will be about 1/3 bigger than the 6×6 inch pan. You can increase the batter if you wish, or, as you say you will get a thinner layer, but that will be good too. Watch the baking time, it will reduce if you go for the thinner layer, and increase if you increase the batter. Keep an eye on it at about 15 minutes in to the bake, a peep into the oven will do it, when it is nicely browned on top it is likely to be baked, then you can test it.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Anonymousbaker on January 17, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Is it necessary to use whole milk? I usually only have lite milk.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 18, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      Hello, no you can use whatever you have.

  7. Mikki on January 9, 2019 at 8:19 pm


    Made this cake and it came out fantastic! (I know because I cut off the tops to level it and then did some quality control 😉 ) really so delicious – thanks for the recipe! I actually made it a couple weeks ago and froze it, fully frosted, with your buttercream frosting, for my daughters birthday this Sunday. Please please advise – what is the best way to defrost it?! It’s wrapped well in plastic wrap and then in a ziplock.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 11, 2019 at 10:21 am

      Hi there, wow very handy great idea, i would suggest just letting it defrost in a cake stand at room temperature so you don’t have to move it around once its soft.

  8. Alice on December 18, 2018 at 1:39 am

    Hi Gemma, love your recipes.. Can I substitute butter with oil..

    • Gemma Stafford on December 18, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      Yes you can, enjoy!

  9. Lala on December 13, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Too dense, heavy and gummy. I think the instruction to use cold butter is off. I tried a 2nd recipe where you cream butter and sugar first – came out much better. Pics are pretty but did not like the results.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 14, 2018 at 7:31 am

      Hi Lala,
      there are different results with different methods to be sure. I have found that this recipe has worked really well for so many people, and not so much for others, and I am not too sure why!
      I am glad that you resolved it for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Joy on December 10, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Can I use powdered milk missed with water instead of liquid milk,thanks.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 11, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      Yes you can in this case 😀 Enjoy!

  11. Rifa on December 6, 2018 at 4:26 am

    Hi gemma
    Can this recipe be halved?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 6, 2018 at 10:41 am

      yes, it can 😀

  12. Satpal on December 1, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    U frosted ur cake without making the sponge moist. Does this cake not need added moisture to get those melt in the mouth sponge feeling.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 2, 2018 at 3:29 am

      Hi there,
      I never do this! I do know that that is a tradition in some places, but not where I come from. I find it unnecessary.
      If you wish to do it you can paint on a sugar syrup ( like one of these, all will be well,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Danielle Petrik on November 29, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Hi Gemma, my family loves this cake so much. Is there any way I can make this a lemon cake? I know you have other lemon cakes recipe however would love to stick with this recipe.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      Great idea, sure you can add lemon zest and juice or extract 😀 Enjoy!

  14. Kim on November 28, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I’ve been making this recipe for around 2 months now. In my previous review, I said I had a hard time finding cake flour so replaced 6tbsp of AP flour with cornstarch and subbed out 1/4 cup of butter for oil. I finally found cake flour and just made a cake for someone (I still subbed out the same amount of butter for oil). Such a huge difference with the cake flour! Definitely worth more than five stars! Thanks for a great recipe! Now to find a chocolate one that’s just as amazing. I already have an excellent chocolate cake recipe but the batter is very soupy and I need a thicker one to make half chocolate, half vanilla cupcakes.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      It’s my pleasure! Enjoy 😀

  15. Ana Crespo on November 25, 2018 at 2:56 am

    I just made the cake and smells really good!
    However the cake sunk in the middle and I did not open the oven before 25min. What did I do wrong? I’ve been having this problem lately and I don’t know why 🙁
    If you could help me I will much appreciated 🙂
    Thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 25, 2018 at 4:42 am

      Hi Ana,
      I am sorry that this happened for you.
      There are just two possibilities I think.
      1. the cake is under baked
      2 there is something off with your oven temperature.
      Ovens vary, there is no such thing as a precise baking time for a recipe, checking/monitoring is always really important. In this case it sounds like the cake needed about 10 more minutes in the oven.
      I hope this sounds right to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  16. Denise on November 18, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Can u add coco to make one portion chocolate ?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 19, 2018 at 8:49 am

      I would not add cocoa to this recipe.

  17. Martha on November 13, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Can you use this same recipe but put into cupcake pans instead?


    • Gemma Stafford on November 14, 2018 at 1:49 am

      Hi Martha,
      Yes you can, and you can also check out the Crazy cupcake recipe, a great standard sponge recipe for all of your baking too. (
      Thank you for baking with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Sarah on November 13, 2018 at 6:21 am

    Hi can this be done eggless ?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      you can use my chart and just follow the instructions for cake


  19. Shaimae on November 13, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I’m so excited and thankful I found your posts and videos I’m self teaching myself to become a baker. I would like to ask I wanted to make this for my sons birthday cake how would I adjust the ingridents for a 10” and a 8” cake please x

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      Delighted to hear that you like it. So you can just divided it between 2 (10 or 8) inch tins. Just keep an eye on the baking time, they will need a little longer. 🙂


  20. Akshara on November 8, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Hey Gemma,

    I added 4 teaspoons baking powder and my cake cracked in the pan itself. Also, the center part was soggy while the edges were really rubbery and hard. I followed your measurements exactly the way you’ve put.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm


      Oh I’m sorry to hear that. I haven’t heard that before about this cake. I hope you were still able to use it.


  21. Jackie on November 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    How do you get the sprinkles to stick to the cake?
    Also are there any sprinkles in particular you recommend?
    Thanks so much! Love your site.
    Jackie (Canada )

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Jackie,

      Really glad you like my site. The sprinkles stick to the buttercream because it’s sticky. Just make sure you put on the buttercream and then straight away put on the sprinkles so it doesn’t dry.

      The sprinkles are called ‘Rainbow Non Pariels’. They are small and round.

  22. Jacklyn on November 4, 2018 at 2:02 am

    Lovely recipe, worked out really well apart from the colour. I used Waitrose sprinkles and they did not show in the cake as the picture does. Otherwise a great cake!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 4, 2018 at 4:42 am

      Hi Jacklyn,
      Thank you for the kind words. Some sprinkles can bleed into the cake batter, and it sounds like this is what happened to yours! The stronger the color starting out too the better they will hold up.
      Thank you for this kind review,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. Jacklyn on November 4, 2018 at 2:02 am

    I made a two layer version of this and it turned out really well. I needed about 3/4 of the icing quantity used in the full recipe. Do use the rainbow sprinkles from America that are mentioned in the tips – the colours in the cake were really vivid!

  24. Namita on November 3, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Hello Gemma HW r u .iam from Nairobi Kenya.I just want to share something with u first of all Iam very lucky that I got Ur site and ur video came in my contacts and and Iam very very thankful to u .u really changed my life u made me independent professional women just becoz of Ur help and Ur videos Iam earning well now Iam professional in baking now Iam very thankful to u .I feel so proud on my self and Iam getting many orders now and people r liking my cakes .thanku

    • Gemma Stafford on November 4, 2018 at 6:36 am

      Hi Namita,
      I am really delighted to hear this! Well done you, all your own hard work is paying off, that is amazing!
      Thank you too for sharing this with me, and with other bold Bakers, they will be encouraged to try too.
      Good to have you with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  25. Tania Ramirez on October 31, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Can i use all whole eggs or does it have to be all white?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 1, 2018 at 8:53 am

      You can try adding 4 whole eggs Tania. I’m sure that will be fine.

      • Tania on November 3, 2018 at 7:59 am


  26. Namita on October 29, 2018 at 2:47 am

    I want to ask u can I use this mixture half of Itake half measurements will it come out good

    • Gemma Stafford on October 29, 2018 at 5:40 am

      Hi Namita,
      Yes! you can do this. The difference will be in the baking time, you will need to monitor it.
      When you adjust a recipe it is best to write it down, then change every ingredient as you wish, one by one, this is how you get it right.
      My crazy cupcake recipe will also be an easy sponge recipe to reduce or increase as it is proportional, and makes a lovely vanilla sponge. (
      do let us know how this works for you,
      Gemma 🙂

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