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A slice of yellow cake with chocolate frosting on a white cake stand being lifted up by a cake server
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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Vanilla Cake

This vanilla birthday cake is made from just two small 6” layers of yellow cake covered in chocolate Swiss buttercream frosting. It is the perfect classic vanilla birthday cake recipe with soft crumbs and creamy frosting, only in smaller form.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 543kcal
Author: Trang



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (125 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (4 g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (135 g)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (14 g)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (122 g)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter (28 g)
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil (40 g)


  • 3 oz egg white (85 g)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (104 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar (3 g)
  • 7.5 oz unsalted butter (213 g, room temperature, cubed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (2 g)
  • 3 oz dark chocolate (85 g)
  • 1 tablespoon dutch-processed cocoa powder (7 g)


Make the cake

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Butter two 6” cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a piece of round parchment paper cut to fit (optional but highly recommended).
  • In a small mixing bowl, add flour, salt, baking powder and mix with a whisk to distribute evenly. Set aside.
  • Add egg, sugar and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Heat the milk in the microwave for 40 - 50 seconds, add butter and oil to the hot milk and stir until the butter is completely melted. Add milk mixture to the stand mixer bowl while stirring to combine. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to ensure thorough mixing.
  • Divide batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans, about 280 g of batter per pan.
  • Bake in the middle oven rack for 20 - 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool to the touch. Run a paring knife along the edge to loosen the cakes if necessary and remove them from the pan. Peel off parchment paper if using and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the frosting

  • Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water just until most is melted. Continue to stir as you take it off the heat until all the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
  • Add egg white to the stand mixer bowl and beat with a wire whisk attachment on medium low speed until frothy.
  • Increase speed to medium and slowly add sugar, one tablespoon at a time to allow it to incorporate into the egg white. Half way through adding the sugar, stream in the vinegar. Then continue to add the sugar until all gone.
  • Increase speed to medium high speed and beat until stiff peak forms and the meringue is shiny and smooth.
  • Reduce speed to medium low and slowly add the room temperature cubed butter, one cube at a time and allow it to incorporate into the meringue. When all the butter is added it will look chunky, like cottage cheese.
  • Add vanilla and increase mixer to high speed and beat for 4-5 mins until buttercream is formed and smooth. Add the completely cooled melted chocolate and cocoa powder and beat until incorporated and fluffy.

Assemble the cake

  • When the cakes are completely cool, place 1 layer on a cake stand or plate. Put a few pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake to cover the cake stand or plate. This is to keep the frosting from smearing everywhere.
  • Add 1/2 cup of frosting on top of the first layer and even it out with an offset spatula. Add the second layer of cake on top.
  • Frost the side and top to your liking. If there is any left over frosting, add piping decoration on top and side. Carefully pull out the pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Serving: 135g | Calories: 543kcal