One Bowl Vanilla Cake with Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

by Natasha on August 15, 2013

One Bowl Vanilla Cake-12

Keep it simple. It’s a wonderful life lesson that can also be applied to baking. Although cakes that take hours to prepare and lots of dishes to create can be worth the time and effort, there’s no point to them if they never get made. The “one day I’ll have the time to try that recipe” cakes have their place, but I guarantee that this one will get made again and again. And nobody will know that it’s a dump and stir recipe. It’s just as easy as a cake mix, but without all the chemicals.

This recipe comes from Piece of Cake, a book devoted entirely to one-bowl recipes. The only change I made was to pair it down from the original 9-inch variety to a 7-inch layer cake. For me, 7-inch cakes are the perfect size, since they don’t look diminutive, but aren’t too overwhelming for a small gathering. Plus, I just don’t get enough use out of my 7-inch pans.

Vanilla Cake

The vanilla cake recipes on this blog are piling up, mostly due to my slight obsession to find the perfect one. If you’ve never made a cake from scratch before, this is a great recipe to begin with. It’s almost foolproof, and frosting is also really quick and easy. Neither the cake nor the frosting require a stand mixer.

While this cake isn’t quite as light and fluffy as this one, it’s moist and full of vanilla flavor. If you prefer not to use the almond extract, you can leave it out. It doesn’t make the cake taste like almond, but just adds some nice depth.

Vanilla Cake

To finish it out, I used a few drops of Sky Blue food coloring to the frosting (although it turned out to be more of a mint green), piped some pink roses on the side, and topped it off with some white sanding sugar.

One Bowl Vanilla Cake with Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Yield: One 7-inch layer cake


    For the cake
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large egg whites (120 grams), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (161 grams) milk
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (78 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 ml) almond extract
  • For the frosting
  • 1/2 lb (226 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 jar (7 oz, 198 grams) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • A couple of drops of Americolor Sky Blue food coloring (optional)


    For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Grease two 7-inch baking pans and line them with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the egg whites, milk, butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium low speed, until combined.
  6. Turn up to high speed and beat for an additional 2 minutes. (If you are using a stand mixer, reduce this time to one minute).
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans (I used a scale to do this).
  8. Bake in a preheated oven for 28-34 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Turn the cakes out of the pans onto the wire racks and cool completely.
  11. For the frosting
  12. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  13. Add the marshmallow creme and beat until incorporated.
  14. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar and beat until just incorporated.
  15. Turn the mixer on medium high and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  16. Add the vanilla extract and beat until just combined.
  17. If you are going to add food coloring, add a couple of drops and beat until the color is mixed evenly throughout.
  18. To assemble the cake:
  19. Place one layer of the cake on a cake board.
  20. Place 1 cup of the frosting on top, and spread evenly with a palette knife.
  21. Place the second layer on top of the first.
  22. Place a generous scoop of frosting on the top of the cake, and spread evenly across the top of the cake.
  23. Work your way around the sides until the entire cake is covered with a thin layer of frosting. I find that a turntable is helpful when frosting a layer cake.
  24. Let the crumb coat set in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  25. Once the crumb coat has set, spread a thicker layer of frosting on the top and sides of the crumb coat to create a smooth finish.
  26. Decorate the cake by piping with additional frosting or topping with sprinkles.
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Cake and frosting recipe adapted from Piece of Cake
For a two layer 9-inch cake, multiply the ingredients by 1.5
I used two of these 7-inch pans for this recipe.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Serena @Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch August 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm

This looks like a wonderful white cake. I love that it’s one bowl and the texture looks amazing!
Serena @Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch recently posted…Pineapple Strawberry Raspberry SmoothiesMy Profile


2 Natasha August 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Thank you, Serena!


3 Monica August 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Your cake is simply gorgeous. I love pastel colors and you’re right, 7-inch cakes would be perfect. I wish I had that size pan! I only have the 6-inch.

I feel like the “perfect” yellow cake is really elusive. I’ve only tried a couple and I do really like the Hummingbird Bakery’s vanilla cake but I’m no expert. I tend to gravitate towards chocolate all the time but yellow cakes are so beautiful, like this one.
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4 Natasha August 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Thanks, Monica! I’ve never tried the Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe, but thanks for the recommendation!


5 Ash-foodfashionparty August 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I hear ya and agree that the simplest one of them are made often and this one is so pretty. Your frosting work is so nice too. Love the colors and the modest approach.


6 Natasha August 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Thanks, Asha!


7 Nami | Just One Cookbook August 19, 2013 at 1:31 am

Hi Natasha! How GORGEOUS your cake is! Simple cake shines through good ingredients and detail work! I’ve never made a real cake like this before. I hope to be able to make a cake for my kids’ birthday one day. Gotta start learning soon!
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8 Natasha August 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thanks for your kind words, Nami! If you’ve never made a cake before, I would recommend this one.


9 Shashi @ August 19, 2013 at 8:16 am

Wow – I stumbled on your blo today to find this! This cake looks so light and the frosting! Oooh – I could just eat it by the spadeful!
Such easy cleanup too! Thanks for sharing this!
Shashi @ recently posted…Browned Butter, Rhubarb, Blackberry Scones with White Chocolate Drizzle!My Profile


10 Natasha August 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thank you for stopping by, Shashi!


11 Asmita August 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

This is such a beautiful cake. Love it!
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12 Natasha August 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Thank you, Asmita!


13 Kiran @ August 21, 2013 at 4:51 am

I love a simple, no fuss cake and this is soo beautiful my dear!! Love the pastel colors :)
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14 Natasha August 27, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Thank you, Kiran!


15 Shikha September 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Wow, this looks so beautiful.I can never frost my cakes so that they look so even and seamless – what do you do?


16 Natasha September 23, 2013 at 11:12 pm

What tools do you use? I find that a turntable and an offset spatula are essential.


17 Veola April 9, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly
loved browsing your weblog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your
feed and I am hoping you write once more soon!


18 Erin August 13, 2014 at 11:31 am

Question…. When I measure out one cup of sugar it equals 200 g is the measurement or the weight off in the recipe?


19 Natasha August 13, 2014 at 12:09 pm

It’s a typo. Should be 200 grams. I’ve corrected it- thanks!


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