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Best Vanilla Cake

There's a reason this vanilla cake recipe is the best. Adding creamy vanilla bean paste into the moist, rich cake batter creates a power-packed vanilla flavor that can't be bought in stores. Try spreading vanilla buttercream frosting on top to finish it off. —Margaret Knoebel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + standing Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature


  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, mix sour cream, vanilla paste and vanilla extract until combined. Let stand 10 minutes. Line bottoms of 3 greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease paper.
  • Sift cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together twice into a large bowl. Add butter and canola oil; beat until mixture is crumbly. Add egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream mixture just until combined.
  • Transfer batter to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely. Frost cake as desired.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 399 calories, 16g fat (8g saturated fat), 54mg cholesterol, 462mg sodium, 59g carbohydrate (32g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.


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Average Rating:
  • Robson56
    Dec 30, 2020

    The picture of the cake looked beautiful. I made it for our 19th anniversary. I'm sorry, but the cake was sooo dry, the icing was good, but we ate a couple of pieces and threw the rest away.

  • Amanda
    Jul 20, 2020

    I don’t understand all the bad reviews. This cake was amazing. I made it for my mom’s birthday and everyone loved it! It reminded me of vanilla wedding cake. Maybe the other reviewers didn’t have fresh ingredients or over baked it. Not dry in my opinion.

  • Diane
    Jun 16, 2020

    This cake was disappointing. It was dry and dense and the flavors didn’t come together. It not as sweet as I thought it should be and had a flour taste rather than a rich vanilla taste. It was almost like a muffin base where i would have added bananas or blueberries.

  • Reenbytheshore
    May 17, 2020

    I was a little leery making this cake because of the expense of the ingredients. I thought let me give it a try. I am a very accomplished baker and I followed the recipe to the T. It turned out dry and dense and all I could taste was vanilla and flour. This recipe (and the Best Vanilla Buttercream recipe that goes with this cake) is the reason I have not renewed my subscription to Taste of Home.

  • Jane
    Apr 19, 2020

    This looked so good that i opted to make this for Easter instead of our traditional desserts. I was so disappointed. It was dry and dense like cornbread. This is the first time i ever saw a recipe where you add the butter

  • gaschoenecker
    Apr 13, 2020

    My family loved this cake. It was dense and moist with great vanilla flavor. The frosting was outstanding!

  • James
    Apr 12, 2020

    No comment left

  • SweetsGuy
    Mar 22, 2020

    Big disappointment. Very dry and dense. Virtually tasteless. Took me more than 4 hours to finish, using exact ingredients and following exact instructions. Also quite expensive, with vanilla paste plus vanilla, more than 2 pounds of butter and 14 eggs! Definitely needs fresh fruit and purée poured over slices, otherwise too dry. Don’t waste your time and money on this one. You can use a cake mix or buy a better vanilla cake at the bakery. Fair warning.