One Bowl Vanilla Cake with Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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.

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.


  1. 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

    1. Thank you, Serena!

  2. 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.
    Monica recently posted…Zucchini bread cookiesMy Profile

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

  3. 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.

    1. Thanks, Asha!

  4. 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!
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted…Japan Trip 2013 vol. 1My Profile

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

  5. 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

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Shashi!

  6. This is such a beautiful cake. Love it!
    Asmita recently posted…“Back To School” PartyMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Asmita!

  7. I love a simple, no fuss cake and this is soo beautiful my dear!! Love the pastel colors :)
    Kiran @ recently posted…Goat Cheese & Chive BiscuitsMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Kiran!

  8. […] it with me: Vanilla Is Not Plain. Everyone needs a classic stand-by, and The Cake Merchant‘s one-bowl white cake with quick vanilla frosting keeps it simple, […]

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

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

  10. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly
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  11. Question…. When I measure out one cup of sugar it equals 200 g is the measurement or the weight off in the recipe?

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

  12. Granulated sugar means like the normal sugar? Not ground?

    1. It’s regular sugar, although caster sugar or superfine sugar will work as well.

  13. What’s marshmallow creme? What can I use instead? Thanks xx

  14. What can be used as an alternative to marshmallow cream as I’ve never seen that in the UK.

    1. Marshmallow creme is available in the US in the baking section at most grocery stores. It just makes the texture of the frosting light and fluffy. You can replace it with 1-2 cups of additional confectioner’s sugar depending on how sweet you like your frosting, or you can make your own marshmallow creme:

  15. Ashwini Kedar Honrao

    osm cake i wanna basic cake recipe…without egg….

  16. Hi is there anything else I can use to replace the marshmallow ingredient?..

  17. Wow!!! I baked this cake and it is the best, the hint of almond is fantastic. Thank you for this recipe.

    1. I’m glad you loved it, Amanda!

  18. Yellow cake was delicious! Frosting was way too sweet. Sugar whipped with sugar and more sugar! I prefer something less sweetish myself so I would try a different frosting (something more like a swiss buttercream).

  19. I was so hoping for this recipe to turn out, but I tried it several ways and got incredibly flat layers both times. The first time I followed your directions exactly, even though it seemed incredibly odd to add the butter towards the end. The butter never incorporated and the batter was soupy. I figured I’d bake them anyways, thinking that the butter would likely just melt out the top. For round two, I creamed the butter and sugar first, added the eggs, milk and extracts and then the rest of the dry ingredients, like most other recipes I’ve worked with, and the consistency of the batter was much more cake-like. This batch rose better but still was flatter and denser than I’d like. It tasted great though! I’m just trying to rack my brain for where I went wrong but I really don’t know where. Super bummer!

    Regardless, your cake is beautiful! Love the colors. :)

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