Vanilla Cake Disasters

Baking By Megabot Updated 30 Oct 2015 , 3:25am by Happyfood

Megabot Posted 9 Oct 2015 , 12:09am
post #1 of 16

Hello! After a couple years making cakes I'm still not happy with my vanilla recipes.  And lately for some reason they have been baking horribly (falling in the middle, too dense, etc). It seems to always be something and I'm going crazy. Does anyone have a fail proof amazing tasting vanilla cake? I would really appreciate it! Thanks! 

15 replies
julia1812 Posted 9 Oct 2015 , 3:59am
post #2 of 16


*Last edited by julia1812 on 9 Oct 2015 , 4:05am
shannonh917 Posted 9 Oct 2015 , 4:19am
post #3 of 16

I feel the same way about my vanilla cake recipe.  Sorry I am not much help

ramblinrs8 Posted 12 Oct 2015 , 11:47am
post #4 of 16

I have been having the same issue with both my vanilla and chocolate cakes.  I have tried so many recipes and they all turn out too dense and cave in the middle.  I've adjusted cooking times, bought all new ingredients and I'm still having the same issue.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 13 Oct 2015 , 12:24am
post #5 of 16

Here's my basic vanilla cake...I use it for both layer cakes and cupcakes.  The basic recipe makes 3 eight inch round layers thick enough to trim to 1 1/2 inches in height (my cakes are three layers) or about 4 dozen cupcakes....the recipe can be halved easily.

NOTE that I use the whisk rather than the flat beater to make my cake batter!


Vanilla Cake

4 cups all purpose flour (I use white lily brand)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup shortening or butter (or can be mixed)

2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

4 large whole eggs or 6 egg whites (if you want a really white cake use shortening and egg whites)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together into mixer bowl.

Add the shortening and/or butter and use a fork to break up somewhat (I find this helps prevent large chunks getting stuck in the beater).

Using the WHISK attachment, turn the  mixer on LOW and blend the flour/shortening mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.

Add the buttermilk and vanilla and set timer for 4 minutes and increase mixer speed to low-medium and beat for the first two minutes, scraping bowl occassionally.

With mixer still running, add the eggs one at a time about 10 seconds apart.  Scrape bowl a couple times to insure the edges are blended well.  

Divide into pans greased, lined with parchment and greased and floured or sprayed with pan spray, or scoop into paper-lined cupcake pans.

Bake at 325 F until cakes test done with a cake tester and spring back when lightly touched in the middle.

Cool in pans 5 minutes for smaller layers; 10 for larger.  Remove from pans and wrap in plastic wrap until ready to use.

Mine go directly into the freezer at this point overnight and are iced and decorated the next day.  Unfrosted cupcakes will freeze great too.  If I have extras I place them in plastic storage boxes and freeze until needed.  I frost them frozen then let them thaw in the cooler.

Pastrybaglady Posted 13 Oct 2015 , 12:56am
post #6 of 16

When you've got a big chunk of time, grab a beverage and a snack, sit back and read: http://www.cakecentral.com/forum/t/746365/best-white-cake-recipe

It should also be mentioned Michelle Bratko's recipe is only available for sale.  Once upon a time she had posted it on CC, but then began to sell it on Etsy.


*Last edited by Pastrybaglady on 13 Oct 2015 , 1:00am
craftybanana2 Posted 13 Oct 2015 , 1:07am
post #7 of 16

@Jeff_Arnett  Thanks for this recipe! I've yet to find a good vanilla cake recipe that's not a pound cake. I have a good vanilla cupcake recipe, but it's too delicate for a cake. I like that you use a whisk with the flour and shortening. Sounds like a great way to make a lot crumb topping for muffins/quick breads (instead of a pastry blender).

Question though, since you use White Lily and I've read that to be lighter than regular all purpose flour, any suggestions for using regular all-purpose? Should I do part cake flour, part all-purpose?

*Last edited by craftybanana2 on 13 Oct 2015 , 1:12am
Jeff_Arnett Posted 13 Oct 2015 , 2:15pm
post #8 of 16

The original recipe called for regular AP flour.  I just started using white lily because it is made from soft winter wheat the same way as cake flour...just much cheaper per pound.

Try it once with your flour...if you think it's too heavy, then reduce the flour by 1/2 cup [2 tablespoons per cup of flour].

craftybanana2 Posted 13 Oct 2015 , 6:43pm
post #9 of 16

@Jeff_Arnett  Thank you. I may just make a batch with both, I have another cake coming up next month and while the box wasc worked well enough last time, I'm still looking for a scratch vanilla in general.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 14 Oct 2015 , 3:26pm
post #10 of 16

If you have White Lily flour avaiiable by all means use it...it is superior to regular AP flour for cakes!


*Last edited by Jeff_Arnett on 14 Oct 2015 , 3:27pm
inahCortez Posted 16 Oct 2015 , 6:44am
post #11 of 16

Hi I'm just new here
I always find it difficult making cakes :) I'll try your advice on using whisk attachment instead of a regular one.

Mine are not floppy and soft.

cutiger Posted 16 Oct 2015 , 9:20am
post #12 of 16

Jeff, I agree about the White Lily flour!  It is the only flour I use for cakes.  My decorating teacher said it was the best and I have had much success with it.  

CTD1 Posted 16 Oct 2015 , 11:42am
post #13 of 16

Thanks for posting the recipe, Jeff.  I think I'm going to give it a try.


I sure wish I could get White Lily flour in my area.  It's available on Amazon but seems pretty pricey at the moment.

craftybanana2 Posted 21 Oct 2015 , 6:55pm
post #14 of 16

@Jeff_Arnett  I baked your recipe today, it came our really well! I used the White Lily flour and it came out just fine. I was afraid it would be too light. Thank you for sharing it! And for those who want to know, it makes about 8 cups of batter.

@CTD1  If you can't find White Lily, go with regular cake flour, apparently White Lily is a brand of superior cake flour (and cheaper than the other brand at my store which is Swans Down).

Jeff_Arnett Posted 21 Oct 2015 , 7:40pm
post #15 of 16

If you can't find White Lily just check the ingredient list on the bag....cake type flours are made from soft winter wheat rather than hard winter wheat....look for one made of soft winter wheat.....

Happyfood Posted 30 Oct 2015 , 3:25am
post #16 of 16

I am still trying to get a nice white layer cake.  I am going to give this one a try.  Thanks for sharing!  :)

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