Today, we’ll talk about how to turn a simple vanilla cake recipe into 14 fun and flavorful cakes. The best part is that once you learn how to make this vanilla cake, it’ll be so much easier to make these other cakes. This cake is beginner-friendly and is a made from scratch recipe.
Mastering vanilla cake tends to be more complex than chocolate for beginners, so that’s why I’ve shared some tips for success and easy to follow tutorial.
These 14 cakes use the same formula and process as the vanilla cake, with an ingredient or two added to transform the simple vanilla cake into something new and delicious!
For example, to make lemon cake, you’ll add lemon zest and fresh lemon juice to make it sweet and tart lemon cake.
Before we begin, I’ve listed some tips for success, keep in mind each recipe has further success tips, so be sure to click the recipes and read all of them before starting.
Tips for success:
- Read through all the ingredients and instructions so you can get a better idea of how much time and what you need to make these cakes.
- To make homemade 3 cups of cake flour, you’ll need 2 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour mixed with ¼ cup cornstarch. This combination makes light and fluffy cakes.
- To make homemade buttermilk, you’ll need 1 cup buttermilk; if you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can easily use 1 cup whole milk mixed with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to make your own.
- A single batch of these cake recipes makes three 6-inch round cake layers or two 8-inch round cake layers. Double the cake recipe to make enough cake batter for three 8-inch cake layers.
- You can bake the cake layers ahead of time. Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month.
- You can make the buttercream a day ahead and refrigerate it overnight. Then take them out to come back to room temperature. Make sure the buttercream is at room temperature before re-whipping; if needed, add heavy cream.
- Serve the cakes at room temperature. To get clean cuts of cake, run hot water over a sharp knife, wipe clean after each slice. Reheat the blade as needed.
Let’s Get Baking!
Here’s the cake that has started it all. With this vanilla cake recipe, you can make any of these cakes.
Vanilla Cake Made From Scratch
For beginner bakers, it can be intimidating to make your first cake from scratch. This vanilla cake recipe is perfect for the beginner home baker. My goal is to teach you foundation steps so you feel like you can make any cake, even vanilla. You can use this vanilla cake recipe for cupcakes or turn it into a sheet cake for a larger crowd. CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE
Watch The How-to Video Below:
- Cinnamon Swirl CakeTake the vanilla cake recipe, add more gooey cinnamon swirl, and you have a sweet-smelling cinnamon roll-inspired cake. The cinnamon mixture is swirled into the cake layers and is perfect in every bite. This Cinnamon swirl cake is made with light and fluffy vanilla cake with cinnamon filling swirled inside topped with cream cheese buttercream.
- Tiramisu Cake This tiramisu cake is made with espresso cake soaked in coffee syrup filled with mascarpone mousse and whipped cream.
- Lemon Buttermilk Cake This cake is made with soft layers of lemon buttermilk cake that’s filled with blueberry jam and zesty lemon buttercream. Learn how to make lemon buttermilk cake layers from scratch. This cake recipe is an excellent staple for any new baker. You can easily swap the lemon juice and zest for another citrus like grapefruit, lime, or orange to create more delicious cakes.
- Blackberry Lime Cake This Blackberry Lime Cake is made with zesty lime cake and filled with sweet blackberry buttercream. The lime cake has fresh lime juice and zest that’s balanced between sweet and tart.
- Cookies n Cream Cake This Koala cake is made with fluffy cookies n cream cake layers and vanilla buttercream. That’s decorated with fondant to look like a Koala Bear. The cookies n cream cake recipe is simple as it starts as a vanilla cake recipe, which you’ll fold in crushed oreo cookies for a sweet treat. You can still see the cookies whole inside the cake batter.
- Pineapple Cake This pineapple cake is made with fluffy pineapple cake that’s filled with creamy lemon buttercream and decorated with fondant. The pineapple cake layers are made with crushed pineapple.
- Rose Pink Champagne Cake This Rosé Pink Champagne Cake is made with fluffy pink champagne cake layers and creamy champagne buttercream.
- Bee Cake (Honey Lemon Cake) This Bee Mine cake is made with honey lemon cake layers filled with creamy honey lemon buttercream. I promise this cake is beautiful to look at, but it’s also freaking delicious, starting with a light and fluffy honey lemon cake. It’s sweet and zesty lemon, which cuts through the sweetness of the earthy honey. The cake layers bake golden brown and delicious!
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake The strawberry cake is made with fresh strawberries, but you can also use frozen strawberries thawed. These frozen berries are picked at their peak of ripeness, so they still make for a delicious cake. The strawberries are pureed with strawberry jam and buttermilk, so it makes the best strawberry flavor. I also added a few drops of super red gel food coloring to make sure the cake stayed pink when it baked; otherwise, it bakes a dull beige color losing its bright red.
- Pumpkin Spice Cake The best part about a traditional pumpkin pie is the creamy filling mixed with warm spices, crispy pie crust, and a dollop of freshly made whipped cream. But what if I told you that you could achieve the same flavors but in a layered cake. This cake starts with a vanilla base recipe with the classic pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger) folded into the batter.
- Apple Spice Cake This Apple Pie Cake starts with soft layers of apple spice cake that’s filled with homemade apple pie filling, creamy vanilla buttercream, and topped with buttery pie crust. The sweet cake layers are the perfect complement to the tart apple filling. The filling is made with fresh granny smith apples, sugar, cinnamon, and orange juice.
- Almond Cake (Brown Butter Almond Cake)This brown butter cake is rich in flavor but incredibly easy to make for any baking skill level. This cake starts with a tender almond cake that’s layered with a creamy brown butter buttercream. The almond cake is light and fluffy with bold, delicate citrus, an almost orange flavor. It’s made with almond meal, orange juice, and almond extract; a few drops of almond extract will go a long way. And that makes the perfect complement to the brown butter buttercream.
- Peanut Butter Jelly Cake This peanut butter and jelly cake is made with tender peanut butter cake layers, filled with homemade strawberry jam, and coated in sweet peanut butter buttercream. The peanut butter cake is made from a delicious vanilla base recipe mixed with creamy peanut butter. This soft peanut butter cake layer is perfect with the tart homemade strawberry jam.
- Maple Bacon Cake This Maple Bacon Cake is made with tender maple cake layers filled with maple buttercream, crispy bacon, and sea salt flakes. This cake is the king of salty and sweet. The flavors of this Maple Bacon Cake are perfectly balanced, so it’s easy to devour it. This cake is perfect for brunch or an afternoon treat!
You May Also Enjoy:
- How to Make Smooth Buttercream for Cake Decorating (post)
- How to Decorate Your First Cake (free course)
- Cake Decorating for Beginners (masterclass)
Now you know how to make this vanilla cake from scratch. With this recipe and tutorial, you’ll be able to make any cake recipe. The more cakes you make, the more natural baking and decorating will become, and you’ll gain confidence in the kitchen.
P.S. Hey, if you liked this tutorial, you really should check out Cake Decorating for Beginners, my signature masterclass. I coach you on everything I teach on these cake tutorials on a deeper level so that you can uplevel your baking and decorating skills. We 10x it to get the results you want most impressive cakes that your friends and family will love. Like any new skill, it’s essential to learn from the ground up to build a foundation so that you can take on any cake challenge. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at XOKatieRosario.com/cake-masterclass. I will see you there!