Vanilla Cake With Old-Fashioned Vanilla Frosting

vanilla bean cake

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
441 Calories
25g Fat
49g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 441
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 14g 68%
Cholesterol 142mg 47%
Sodium 543mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 6g
Calcium 132mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This simple one-layer vanilla cake will nicely satisfy a weekend cake craving. Use equal amounts of vanilla extract if you don't have vanilla beans or paste.

We love this cooked frosting because it isn't as sweet as the typical confectioners' sugar frosting. It does, however, take extra beating time to break the granulated sugar down. Use a fine-grained granulated baker's sugar for the frosting if possible. You can find baker's sugar at Amazon.


  • 1 1/2 cups/6 ounces cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick/4 ounces butter (softened)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (superfine if possible)
  • 1 stick/4 ounces butter (room temperature)

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 375 F/190 C/Gas 5. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

  2. In a bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and soda.

  3. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream 8 tablespoons of butter with 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.

  4. Slowly beat in about one-third of the flour mixture, alternating with half of the buttermilk, until well blended. Scrape the bowl with a spatula. Repeat with another one-third of the flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk. Slowly beat in the remaining one-third of the flour mixture.

  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

  6. Cool the cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan to cool completely.

To Make the Frosting

  1. Whisk the milk, 2 tablespoons of flour, and a pinch of salt together in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

  2. Beat sugar and butter together until smooth and creamy and no longer grainy. This will take several minutes.

  3. Beat in the cooled flour mixture until the frosting is light and fluffy. Beat in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.

  4. Use this to frost your cooled cake, serve and enjoy!

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