You guys love your Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes! That post has over 400 comments, most of them talking about how it’s one of the best vanilla cupcake recipes ever. It’s definitely my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe and I’ve used it as a base recipe for countless other cupcake recipes.
Since I posted the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake recipe two years ago, I’m asked about converting the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake into the Ultimate Vanilla Cake at least twice a month. Readers always want to know how much cake the recipe makes and if anything needs to be changed about the recipe when converting it to the Ultimate Vanilla Cake. I don’t make cakes; I make cupcakes. After years of saying, “Sorry, I’m not really sure,” I decided to turn to a cake baking expert for some help. Today, I’m letting the incredible Amanda of iambaker take over Cupcake Project to finally answer your questions and to share her experience converting my vanilla cupcakes to vanilla cake.
Thank you so much, Stefani, for letting me hang out in your beautiful online home today! I am honored to have been able to contribute some insight into your Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake recipe because, seriously, it is amazing! Stefani thought it would be a great idea to convert her world-famous recipe into the Ultimate Vanilla Cake recipe and I can’t help but think that is brilliant.
On my blog, iambaker, I make a lot of cakes. I have tried more vanilla cake recipes then I care to admit and have only been truly satisfied a few times. I would definitely rank this recipe as one of the best vanilla cakes I have ever had!
I didn’t make any changes to Stefani’s recipe because, really, why mess with perfection? But, I do have some tips to use when converting the cupcakes to a vanilla cake:
- The recipe yields about 3 1/4 cups of cake batter. So, I divided the batter into two 8-inch round cake pans, using just over 1 1/2 cups per pan. While a perfect dome is essential in a cupcake recipe, it’s not always the best result for a cake maker. I adore this recipe so much that I didn’t want to waste one single crumb, so I used a number of tricks to help create a level cake. Every trick, that is, except leveling the cake with a knife. Did I mention that I didn’t want to waste a single crumb? In the end there was still a slight dome, but that is easy enough to work with.
- I baked the cake at 350 degrees for 19 minutes in my convection oven. I recommend checking the cake at 18 minutes; simply insert a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is done. Make sure the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan as well.
- Allow cakes to cool to room temperature in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack.
- Since this cake has such a beautiful fine crumb, I chilled my layers prior to frosting. If the cake is too soft when applying frosting, it can tear and crumble. I wanted to avoid that at all costs with this masterpiece!
All in all, I would say that this is a fantastic and delicious cake. Thanks so much for your generous hospitality, Stefani!
Ultimate Vanilla Cake
This is the best vanilla cupcake you will ever have!
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup canola oil you can also use vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract use pure, not imitation
- 2/3 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. (For those of you who are new to using vanilla beans, check out this video to learn how to get the seeds out of the bean.)
Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the mixture as needed to make sure that everything is incorporated into the batter.
Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong. It's supposed to be that way.)
Divide the batter evenly between two 8" round cake pans.
Bake for 18 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
When the cakes are done, place them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool to room temperature. Then, refrigerate before frosting.
Tips: Because everyone's oven is just a bit different and your liners may be a slightly different size than mine, I highly recommend that if you have time, you bake a test cupcake before baking your whole batch of vanilla cupcakes. Read my FAQ on filling cupcake liners to learn how to do a test cupcake and why it's useful.