This is a scratch cake recipe that makes a cake comparable to the texture and taste of a box mix….only better. It makes a tender crumb that, when cool, carves easily, and stacks well. It’s versatile too. I use it for my rum cakes, substituting 1/2 cup of rum for half of the milk, bake in a bundt pan, and then brush with a sugar/rum syrup.

Vanilla Butter Cake from The Mermaid Bakery


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbls white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp Creme Bouqet or 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, put oven rack into center of oven.
  2. Grease and flour pans (9X13, 3=8″, 2=9″, or 1=10″)
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Mix the Creme Bouqet or Vanilla into the milk. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl. Add flour to butter/sugar/eggs in two parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beating well after each addition. Divide batter into prepared pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.


moxey2000 Says... 2009-09-22 11:27:46

Update to this recipe: add 1 small box of vanilla pudding and 1/2 cup more milk. I like to use the creme bouquet and the vanilla, for a nice depth of flavor. Double the recipe for a 12X18" cake layer and use a flower nail in the center.

brittalicious Says... 2009-09-23 10:46:16

is this good for cupcakes as in it melts in your mouth?

kkitchen Says... 2009-09-25 10:12:35

This is my go to butter cake.

Kims_cakes Says... 2009-10-02 11:14:35

Best butter cake I've ever made. Very yummy!

Notsosweet Says... 2009-10-29 16:25:03

Excellent Recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I believe it is key to have all ingredients at room temp!

Jemoiselle Says... 2009-12-23 20:15:37

I have made this recipe three times, and felt the need to comment on how lovely it is when a person makes it the correct way! LOL The first two times went badly, believe it or not. BUT it was mostly my error! First, don't bake this cake too long! I had fairly large sheets to make, so I reduced the temp to 325 from 350. It resulted in the middle being concave, and the cake turned out dry due to excess baking time. I wrestled with using flower nails as heat cores, and that did help but the dryness was killing me and I wanted it to have a bit more flavor as well. Moving on, to the third time is a charm.

The success came after I raised the temp to 350, and added a teaspoon of almond extract to the recipe with the vanilla. That is what really did it for me! The difference in taste is astronomical, it is moist and easy to handle/carve. Thank you so much for posting this recipe, I appreciate it SO much.

Take Care! Jessie

migimoo Says... 2010-01-07 12:16:56

This cake is not move until 1oo% cooled tho as it's v soft when first cooked and I broke my first one....much to my family's delight as I had to remake it whilst they scoffed the original!!

loopilu Says... 2010-01-18 09:52:50

can this cake mix be simply doubled?

KerrieD Says... 2010-01-24 18:47:29

Regarding the almond extract...if someone has a nut allergy, can the almond extract be used? Thanks.

kel58 Says... 2010-01-25 20:43:34

LOVE LOVE LOVE this cake for carving. I made my first carved cake stress free... well as stress free as if could get. lol. Has anyone ever made this cake into a marble cake? feedback?

rvercher23 Says... 2010-01-30 08:04:21

Kel58, I have made this in marble, and it is so good. I just added cocoa to a portion of the batter I divided and then mixed it in. So good!

arbakes Says... 2010-02-11 13:10:26

Is it possible to use Buttermilk in place of the milk and vinegar?. Rvercher23, if you don't mind sharing, how much cocoa do you add to how much of the batter?

Mandi79 Says... 2010-02-16 21:55:48

I made this cake tonight for my Wilton class on Friday. I followed the directions exactly except I used coconut milk in place of the regular milk (still included the vinegar). And I used cake flour instead of the all purpose flour. The cake turned out wonderful...although I have not been able to taste it as it is for class. It looks like it is going to be really moist! It got a little crusty around the edges as I had to bake it a little longer to get the middle done. Will post again to let everyone know about the actual moistness and taste! :)

sherlocklui Says... 2010-03-03 07:15:34

@Jemoiselle i also want to try adding a different flavor to my cakes but fear that i might put too much. i read somewhere that when adding flavor, the vanilla should be skipped altogether. For this recipe, did you use 1 tsp each of the vanilla and almond extract?

sherlocklui Says... 2010-03-04 06:58:23

Okay, so I baked this cake today and everyone said it's better in terms of taste and texture compared to the yellow cake recipe i use, which agrees to most of the comments here about the cake being soft, moist, and delicious! However, a part of me says it's a bit undercooked because the center is almost wet and has no holes. another part of me says this is how it should be because when i inserted a toothpick on the thickest part of the cake, it came out clear. What do you think?

DeeDelightful Says... 2010-03-04 19:50:32

I tried this recipe. I thought it was dry, but had a good flavor. It just wasn't as moist as i'd like.

Jemoiselle Says... 2010-03-20 23:33:40

@Sherlocklui, I added the teaspoon of almond extract in addition to the vanilla teaspoon. This cake has the best taste yet, but I still wrestle with it being moist enough. I thought I had it perfected, but then my client told me it could have been more moist and I was crushed! I will go back and play with this one when I have some time to breathe, too many cakes now! LOL If anyone has an idea of why this is turning out dry for me, please let me know =) The tops were nice and moist though, hehe. I STILL recommend people try this one, it really does taste incredible.

V-dizzy Says... 2010-03-30 19:30:43

Made this cake, loved it, but it seemed to taste a little bit "flour-y"... If i can figure out a way to get past the floury ness, it would be my favorite cake ever. Has anyone ever tried using slightly less flour? Or maybe I will try using cake flour like someone else did...hopefully i can figure it out!

margi24 Says... 2010-04-04 11:21:10

hi, im wanting to try this recipe but im in uk and dont understand the cup measurements also the bouquet thing? What is this and where can i get it? I need 3 really tasty flavour cakes for my 1st wedding cake for my brother next month and would really like to try this recipe?

Arita Says... 2010-04-24 20:47:10

I baked this cake today and it result a complete success. I love the texture and flavor. It melts in your mouth. thank you for sharing. Next I am planning to try the rum version.

Recluse Says... 2010-04-25 19:53:22

This cake is delicious, moist, and my new go-to vanilla cake recipe. The only thing I altered was the flavoring (used 1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract, plus the caviar of one vanilla bean for more intensity). Really excellent!

I made cupcakes, so I preheated my oven to 375, then turned it down to 350, since this approach gives me better domed tops. They took about 20 minutes.

Lisa9962 Says... 2010-05-03 11:33:20

Tried this recipe today - used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup vegetable shortening instead of a full cup of butter (I don't like a cake too buttery). Delicious!! Wonderful recipe. thanks!

2SchnauzerLady Says... 2010-05-07 10:05:36

What type of milk did you use - whole or low fat?

paintergrrl73 Says... 2010-05-12 14:10:17

Does anyone know how many cups of batter one recipie of this makes? I'm trying to plug it into Alice's Cake Matrix as my "go to" vanilla cake and right now I'm working on the assumption that it yields 4.5 cups of batter. Trying to get better at estimating ingredient purchase needs. Any help appreciated. P.S. This cake is dee-lish!

insertft Says... 2010-05-19 22:01:06

I tried the original posted recipe without the added pudding and milk, for a 9" x 13" pan it took 35 minutes to cook all the way through! I haven't tasted it yet but wanted to mention the extra time needed since I went by the recommended 20-25 minutes. I did not use a heating core.

creativecreationsbykamica Says... 2010-05-28 19:15:05

Just tried this recipe...but I didn't use the update!! It was alittle to sweet for me...but I still loved it! I am goin to try the update next time!!! I made 12 cupcakes & 2-6" rounds

moxey2000 Says... 2010-06-05 16:54:45

I didn't realize there were so many comments and questions on this recipe! I'm so happy that others like it as much as I do. I have this recipe written out so I can make 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 or 3 times the recipe. I haven't noticed any difference. I've used buttermilk, but I usually add about a 1/4 cup more than regular milk. I've made this recipe with whole and 2% milk, no problem. For marble I just add a heaping tablespoon of cocoa to a part of the batter and then swirl it in. I don't really measure, I just eyeball it.

I usually wrap the cakes while they're still warm (not hot) and then refrigerate or freeze them. This seals in the moisture and make them easier to work with and carve.

Hope this helps:-)

Beth_A Says... 2010-06-23 09:41:51

Help...whenever I make these some do this bubbling thing where something will bubble up and pop during baking making them look aweful. I thought it was only if the batter sat for too long before being baked but it is happening even when put into the oven right away. We follow this recipe exactly, what is going wrong??

kizmet Says... 2010-07-10 22:46:06

Made the cake with 3/4 spenda for a pre-diabetic... added 1/2 cup powdered milk and 1 tsp baking soda to make up for the splenda (recommended online). Don't think the baking soda was required as I got a few large bubbles... but otherwise it turned out fantastic! Everybody loved it and nobody guessed it was lower sugar :) (I used the addition with 1 tsp almond extract, sugar-free pudding mix and the extra milk too).


tuthfairy Says... 2010-07-27 21:11:14

I have to say that I was excited to try this cake because there were so many good comments. However, my husband and I found the cake to be very dry. The flour comment I read earlier was right on as well. it did have more of a four taste- not vanilla/butter. My husband thought I baked a pound cake. Not the outcome I was going for.

texastj Says... 2010-07-30 12:11:31

I tried this cake recipe just recently. Found it to be dry and it tasted a little like sweet cornbread. Don't know if it's because I left out the vinegar and used half and half. Has anyone tried using cake flour instead and what was the result? I read that using cake flour allows the cake to absorb more moisture during the baking process.

texastj Says... 2010-07-30 12:35:35

I'm also new to baking so this may be a stupid question...but why so much baking powder? Most recipes call for 1tsp or a little more.

texastj Says... 2010-08-02 07:02:12

Tried this recipe again. Totally different results. It's all in the creaming. The results were light, fluffy, and moist cupcakes. I would recommend if anyone had problems with this recipe in the past, to try it again and make sure you cream the butter and sugar properly. HTH :o)

HoneyTee Says... 2010-08-05 14:21:17

I am going to try this recipe tonight for a shower cake I have to do this weekend. I am nervous and I have a tried and true doctored butter cake recipe that I use, but I want to try backing one from scratch. I will remember to cream the butter and sugar properly.

pixiefuncakes Says... 2010-08-29 23:41:41

I am looking for a go to cupcake recipe and with all the good reviews want to try this one. How many cupcakes would this recipe make?

deMuralist Says... 2010-09-17 15:38:07

I am in the process of making this as cupcakes right now, I am going to get at least 2 dozen out of it. I am making it Kahlua and Cream. I subbed 1/2 the milk for Kahlua, I will then spritz the cupcakes with some more Kahlua and I am making a creamy BC to top it. the batter was wonderful and the smell is divine!

deMuralist Says... 2010-09-17 16:08:30

ok, I got a generous 24 cupcakes, and I did not use the version with pudding and extra milk.

Did also use the vinegar-I think that or something as acidic is essential-so the poster who skipped the vinegar even though they used 1/2 and 1/2 needed to make up for the loss of acid.

Also to the poster who asked about substituting buttermilk, basically that is what the milk vinegar mixture is.

Chynna Says... 2010-09-28 10:46:03

My family and I absolutely love this recipe! I used the updated version with vanilla pudding, but instead of milk, I used 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. I also added vanilla bean to the recipe for more intensity and reduced the sugar to 1 1/4 cups. I made this recipe into cupcakes and they turned out perfect! I will be using my doctored version of this recipe for both my niece's and my daughter's birthday next week and I'm sure it will be a hit with all of our guests. Thanks for sharing this one! It's delicious!

JenniCakesAZ Says... 2010-10-01 10:16:43

I've doubled this and it's in the oven right now. Can't wait to see how it comes out!

mrs_potatohead Says... 2010-10-01 22:02:54

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This recipe is exactly what I was looking for in a from scratch cake. I made it for the first time today and am so happy, this is now my go-to recipe. My only tweek was adding a little more vanilla. Perfect!

zaco Says... 2010-11-25 20:59:25

This is a really great cake. I've made if 4 times and every time it's a hit. Thanks for posting!

belizeandevil Says... 2011-02-15 15:32:52

I made this for my Cousin, It was a big hit. I used the pudding, and it was very moist cake. Thank you, now one of my to go to recipes.

miggitycakes Says... 2011-02-25 20:29:30

This cake is amazing. Its density is perfect and it is moist and yummy. Thank you for sharing and providing the updates.

Kitty5Kat Says... 2011-02-28 23:04:24

I just tried this recipe and I was very pleased. I made Lemon blueberry cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream on top and they were melt in your mouth delicious. I kept the vanilla extract and added lemon pudding instead of vanilla and then just folded in the blueberries. The texture was amazing. The best scratch vanilla cake recipe I've tasted so far. One trick for those that have not had any success. Beat your butter for 30 seconds before adding the sugar and after you add the sugar beat the butter/sugar mix for about 3 mins so that it is light and fluffy. It makes a difference to almost any cake that requires creaming the butter and sugar first.

jennifer22780 Says... 2011-03-09 20:04:54

ok, so i made this cake this morning. i made 3 8 in round cakes. the first two went right into the oven. they came out looking (and smelling) good. a little more brown on top than i wanted, but not enough to cry over. the batter sat for 25 min waiting for the 3rd pan's turn in the oven. then i put that pan in for 23 min. it LOOKED like cornbread. I cut it tonight and my mother and i sampled it and thought it certainly did not live up to the great reviews here. i figured something MUST have gone wrong. it taked blah- like flour- and was soooo heavy and dense. maybe good for carving, but nothing i could serve. so i thought mayyybe it was from it sitting for so long. i couldnt even try the other two out because i had already popped them in the freezer by the time i sampled the other one. then i came on here and saw i missed teh update to the recipe. soooo is that where i went wrong??? i really think i creamed the butter and sugar fine, so i dont think that was the issue..... help! i am in desperate need of a delicious from scratch cake and i keep striking out! the reviews here certainly point to this cake.... i want to try it again tomorrow, with the update, but any other hints/critiques would be helpful!

yodarita Says... 2011-03-18 09:27:14

this may seem like a really dumb question but ive been taught if you dont know ask, so.............. what is vanilla pudding, im from the uk and was wondering if its what we call custard?? thanx

PamG Says... 2011-03-22 23:50:41

Ok so I am an experienced baker and have made this recipe into cupcakes 3 times all times using the updated version and all 3 times they have came out the same- all the cupcakes sink once out of the oven and take a lot longer to bake all the way through so theyre crispy on top. They taste really good just dont look good at all. not something I could sell to my customers. Does anyone else have this problem!!??

lakailah Says... 2011-04-08 19:08:26

Ok, I gave the recipe a try with my daughter's help. I've got 35 mini cakes to do in a week and have been in desperate need of an amazing recipe.I haven't had a chance to taste it yet but am a little worried it may have dried out. It took over 35 minutes to cook (@ 350 degrees) completely and my daughter, who has a thing for tasting batter, said that it tasted like there was too much flour added. Does anyone know if changing to regular all purpose flour or cake flour would make any difference in reducing the flour taste? Any help is GREATLY appreciated :-)

alittlesugar Says... 2011-04-12 23:32:30

I use this recipe all the time! I made some alterations though. I brown the butter with a seeded vanilla bean. Refrigerate it until it's solid then let come to room temp again. I also use 1/2 cup French vanilla syrup and 1/2 cup whole milk (with vinegar). I also double the vanilla extract ;-) The vanilla flavor is amazing and the browned butter gives it such depth and richness. Very moist as cake or cupcakes! oh, and I bake about 10-15 degrees lower temp.

Allie06 Says... 2011-04-26 12:59:40

So I tried this last night, it was amazing! I was testing it out for my Son's Bday party this weekend, and I made a 10' round...took almost 50 minutes to bake, and the top was pretty deep golden brown, not burnt. I used a flower nail as my heating core. I guess my question would be...should I use two nails? IS the 20-25 minute baking time, estimated off of smaller cakes? Should i turn my oven temp down a few degrees since i already know it takes a while longer to bake? suggestions PLEASE! I loved the flavor, didn't taste the flour-tast some posters talked about...its just the cooking time I am worried about.

MidnightMacchiato Says... 2011-05-08 20:29:56

I love this recipe!! It always comes out super moist and flavorful and it is great for stacking! I can't wait to make it over and over again, it has made vanilla my new favorite cake flavor!

MidnightMacchiato Says... 2011-05-08 20:32:04

Oh yeah I forgot to mention! I have also made this cake without the milk and eggs being at room temp. just because I forgot to set them out and the cake still turned out amazing!

DolceDreams Says... 2011-06-06 18:12:38

When do I add the pudding? With the dry ingredients? (Sorry, I have never added pudding mix to cake).

ttorr1127 Says... 2011-06-11 14:30:23

I love this cake. I was wondering does anyone know how to make it into a chocolate butter cake?

jewordsoflife Says... 2011-06-16 14:04:07

I made this yesterday with the updates. I'm sorry, but this just didn't work for me. The flour taste was over powering and the flavor wasn't good. I don't know if I did something wrong, but I think I'll just stick with the Durable cake for 3D and the WASC recipes. They haven't failed me yet. Sorry, I was really hopeful after reading all the great reviews :(

madeitwithlove Says... 2011-07-01 13:06:49

Try quarter teaspoon of glycrine per egg to make this cake more moist, or one tablespoon of golden syrup to the mixture. This cake is just a regular butter cake and can be dry. Sometimes it has to be helped by experimenting with different moistening agents. When I make my own version of butter cake I wrap it in parchment paper whilst warm, then in foil and leave for a couple of days before cutting. I don't understand why this cake should taste or smell floury, it is possible that the mix is too dry.

MissT Says... 2011-07-07 13:19:50

I cream the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes, then beat for at least 30 seconds after the addition of each room -temp egg, and I have never had a floury taste. I use both a teaspoon of the Creme Bouquet and a good quality vanilla and the flavor and texture are always wonderful!!!! I might have to try the update soon, sounds yummy!!!

preciosa225 Says... 2011-07-28 14:58:16

I made this cake last night and I must say that the texture was great!!! Very moist and fluffy yet sturdy at the same time (if that makes sense). It was a real easy recipe to follow/make but I am not a fan of the creme bouquet flavor. It was my first time trying that flavor but I did not like it and neither did anyone in my family. I think I am going to try the recipe again with Vanilla Butternut or some other flavor. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

sandra05 Says... 2011-08-10 05:22:33

the creme bouquet makes this recipe, amazing!!!

lalia101 Says... 2011-09-08 11:22:45

I have this in the oven right now! Making my hubby a birthday cake! Can't wait to try this! I'm happy to have found a scratch butter cake! Luckily I had creme bouqet on hand! Thank you for posting!

Lemmers Says... 2011-11-07 08:54:18

I tried this recipe for a 9" round cake, and it did take a LOT longer to bake then the 25 mins. It was also very moist to the point where some may have thought it was undercooked, however I will be baking another soon and using a flower nail in the centre to see if this helps. Otherwise, still a beautifully flavoured cake (I made cupcakes to sample). I used 1tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp vanilla paste and 1 tsp almond extract.

shimmering Says... 2011-12-15 10:42:12

I found the cake to be not as moist as I would like it. Also I wanted an intense vanilla flavor which I couldn't get even after adding a tablespoon of vanilla. It seems to lack something. Well it falls short of that perfect vanilla base cake I am looking for. But its ok with some major changes.

poyita12 Says... 2012-02-08 09:46:00

This cake is fenomenal!! I just took it out of the oven and pinch a little piece to taste it. It was really delicious. The texture and fluffiness is amazing. It the very best vanilla butter cake ever!

Krista512 Says... 2012-02-11 15:04:29

How would this do putting 8 egg whites instead of 4 whole eggs?

Krista512 Says... 2012-02-18 00:43:53

made this recipe tonight but used 1 1/4 cup buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar. and i used 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp butter flavoring ( mccormick brand) i think it needed more flavoring. other than that they were pretty good. wish they would have risen a little more but its ok. so much better than the recipe i just tossed in the trash. that was a waste of money.

tjames30 Says... 2012-03-29 10:13:19

What about adding 1 cup of sour cream? I wonder if that would help keep it moist and reduce the flour like taste.

margeann Says... 2012-08-21 21:50:23

Whenever I add a box pudding to my cake mix I always add and extra egg. See if this will make a difference. Hope everyone is using an oven gage to make sure their oven is accurate ! What a difference it makes, when you find out your oven is off by 25 or 50 degrees!!!!

lileclair Says... 2012-09-28 19:23:22

I was blown away by this cake- moist and delicious. I used buttermilk in place of the milk/vinegar mixture and followed the updated notes and added the pudding mix and increasedthe milk (1 1/2 cups buttermilk total). I baked a 10" square and the baking time was definitely much longer than the stated time.

DriksBride Says... 2012-10-26 04:19:36

I am making this cake right now for a shower cake I am doing this weekend. I did not do the vanilla pudding because I didn't have any on hand (thought I did but turned out to be Banana pudding).

Anywho, the batter is very thick - is this normal?

KarolinaG75 Says... 2014-03-30 20:41:57

What an amazing recipe! I've been experimenting and researching for months, trying to find the perfect vanilla/butter/buttermilk cake, and I believe that this is it! I did not use pudding mix in mine as I like to make my cakes as "scratch" as possible. I used cake flour as that's the only flour I use for cakes. I also used 1 cup of buttermilk rather than the 1.5 cups. After reading some comments about the cake tasting too much like flour or lacking flavor altogether, I went ahead and did a teaspoon of both Creme Bouquet and pure vanilla extract. The cake was delicious! It was my first time using Creme Bouquet, so I did notice a bit of a citrus-like taste, albeit very mild. I might try this cake using strictly vanilla, but the cake was fantastic with the CB. I'm just curious as to how it'll taste without it. I made sure not to overmix or anything. The batter was a bit thick, but I went ahead and put it in the oven like that, and I'm glad I did. Dense, yet moist. Believe me when I said I "searched" for that flour taste some were complaining of... I didn't taste it. I used the cake to make an Italian rum cake for my uncle's birthday. Everyone loved it. :)

I'll be using this recipe for an upcoming baby shower cake I'll be making as well. Thanks so much!

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