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A delicious vanilla cake with three layers and a giant peony on top.

Vanilla Cake

The most moist and perfectly sweet vanilla cake covered in an easy breezy, soft pink vanilla buttercream with a striking peony for a stunning accent. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 Slices
Calories 340kcal


For the Cake:

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 213g
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda 1g
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 5g,
  • 1/2 tsp salt 3g
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter 171g, room temperature or partially melted
  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 15mL
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 120mL, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 118mL, room temperature

For the Buttercream:

  • 1 lb confectioner's sugar 454g
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 226g
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 60ml, or milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 5mL
  • 1 pinch salt add to taste
  • food coloring if desired

For the Decoration

  • 1 Peony optional
  • Floral tape optional
  • 1 sprig of sweet pea flowers optional


For the Cake:

  • Butter and flour three 6-inch pans. I use damp cake strips on my pans for more even baking as well. Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the sour cream, milk, butter, egg whites and vanilla together. 
  • Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Divide the mixture evenly into the cake pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to measure for even layers. 
  • Bake for 30 -35 minutes or until the centers are set and springy. 
  • Let the layers cool in the pans for about 2 minutes, then invert each layer out onto a cooling rack. 

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • Beat the room temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, food coloring and heavy cream. Mix together until desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a piping bag. 

For the Assembly:

  • Pipe buttercream between the cake layer. Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream.
  • Use an offset spatula and a bench scraper to smooth the frosting. 
  • Using floral tape, cover the stem of the peony to form a barrier between the flower and cake. Add to the top of the cake.



  • If you’re not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
  • Raspberry juice will give a beautiful soft pink color with no food coloring. 
  • If you see little clumps of butter after you mix the wet ingredients don’t panic, it all works out by the time you mix in the dry ingredients. You can even use melted butter and warm the milk and sour cream up a bit if you like.
  • You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
  • Don't over-mix your cake batter. Over-mixing your batter will activate the gluten, which will cause your cake to shrink down after baking and become dense.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.9mg