Vanilla Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Vanilla Cake

Cake Dessert

This Vanilla Cake is an ideal choice for nearly any occasion. It’s light and moist and endlessly customisable. And of course, it’s really freakin’ good.

Vanilla Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

They say that to have a good blog, you have to have a good life. Of course, each of us is going to define a good life in a different way. Both my life and my blog have always been about finding joy in the simple things.

For the first few years of How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day, extravagance was a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or going to Starbuck’s two days in a row. A good life was a simple, home cooked meal, watching the sunset, and taking a walk somewhere close by and beautiful.

Vanilla Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Now that we’re slightly more financially stable, I find that those simple things are still the ones that make me the most happy. Laughing with friends over a home cooked meal, and spending time in the sunshine with my love. True, a nice meal at a restaurant is slightly less stressful. My home has much more space than it used to, though strangely, costs much less. Some things are easier, and I’m immensely grateful for that.

Yes, sometimes I’m now able to do the things I love the most in various European cities. Yet even when we’re forced to stay close to home, I know it’s the simple things that make my life truly awesome.

Vanilla Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Why is Vanilla Cake so awesome?

This Vanilla Cake is the perfect example of the beauty of simplicity. It doesn’t have 87 different types of candy bars popping out of the top. It’s not infused with any exotic fruits. It’s just an insanely amazing, light and fluffy vanilla layer cake with creamy, smooth vanilla frosting. I honestly can’t think of anything better.

Now, if you did want to jazz up this cake, it’s ready for that. You coud color the frosting, or decorate it elaborately. You could change out the filling. I’ve used raspberry jam and lemon curd on separate occasions. You could even put a bunch of candy on top if you really wanted to.

You can use this cake for nearly any occasion, as well. Birthdays, Father’s Day, 4th of July. This is actually the recipe I used for my wedding cake. It’s simplicity is really it’s beauty. Make it into anything you want.

Vanilla Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

How to make Vanilla Cake

While there is certainly nothing complicated about this cake, it’s not a miraculously easy dump and stir situation. You’ll need to bring your baker’s patience and precision. But you can totally do this.

I definitely recommend you take the time to butter your pans well and line them with parchment for a little extra insurance.

We’re going to use the reverse creaming method here, so you’ll actually start by combining most of your wet ingredients first and setting them aside. Then we’ll combine the dry ingredients and add the butter, bit by bit, with the mixer running. You’ll have a crumbly mixture sort of like when making biscuits.

With the mixer on, we’ll drizzle in some milk and mix it for about five minutes to make a smooth, very thick batter. Then we finally add in our waiting wet ingredients. Scrape your bowl down a few times throughout this process to make sure everything’s completely smooth and incorporated.

I think it’s a good idea to weigh up your batter in your cake pans to get them all roughly the same size. These are going to bake for about 30 minutes then get cooled on a wire rack before decorating.

How to make Vanilla Frosting

The trick to getting the frosting so smooth and creamy is just to mix it for a really long time. Mix the butter on its own for about 8 minutes, then add in the rest of the ingredients and mix it for another six minutes until it’s light and fluffy. If you’ve invested in a stand mixer, this is where you’ll really start to appreciate it.

I am a terrible cake decorator, but I think even a simply decorated cake can still be beautiful, and it’s no less delicious. Get creative but don’t take it too seriously. A few sprinkles can really go a long way.

Vanilla Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Simple is beautiful. Sure, having money is nice, but it’s certainly not necessary to be happy. A good life is up to each of us to create, but we can start from nothing. Find a little happiness in a piece of Vanilla Cake. It’ll be awesome.

Love cake? How about this Practically Perfect Chocolate Cake? It’s divine.


Vanilla Cake

Vanilla Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Vanilla Cake is three layers of fluffy cake and plenty of creamy vanilla buttercream. Customize this cake for any occasion.

  • Author: Renee Rendall
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 pieces 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian



For the cake

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 21/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (345 grams) cake flour, sifted
  • 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

For the frosting

  • 3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) butter, softened
  • 3 cups (475 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


For the cake

    1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Butter, line with bottom with parchment, and then flour two 9-inch round cake pans or 3 20 cm round cake pans. You don’t want to take any chances on this cake sticking.
    2. In a small bowl, stir together the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup of the milk, and the vanilla.
  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Whisk or use your stand mixer on stir to combine for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the butter bit by bit with the mixer running on low. Beat about 10 second after each piece. You’ll have a crumbly texture like when you make biscuits. Add the remaining 3/4 cup milk and beat for five minutes on low.
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then begin to mix in the egg mixture on low. Add it in three stages and mix thoroughly between each. Scrape and fold the batter a few times to make sure everything is completely mixed.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans. You can even weigh them to make sure they’re even. Smooth out the batter with an offset spatula to help avoid a domed top.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few small crumbs. Be careful not to overbake. Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then cool, tops up on a rack until cooled completely. If you’re working ahead, wrap your cake layers completely in plastic wrap and store in the fridge over night.

For the frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 8 minutes. This will make it very light and fluffy.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed until combined, then turn the speed back up to medium and beat for another 6 minutes. It will be fluffy and dreamy and beautiful.

For assembly

  1. Place the bottom layer of your cake onto a cake board or its final destination. Spread a few scoops of frosting evenly onto each layer before adding the next one.
  2. Frost the side of your cake carefully. You’re better off having too much frosting so you can take some away. Finally, frost the top of the cake and let inspiration guide you as you make it look exactly the way you like.

Keywords: Vanilla, Cake

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

If you make this cake, I really want to see what you’ve created. Share your photo and tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #awesomeon20. Happy baking.

2 thoughts on “Vanilla Cake”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.