Vanilla Dream Cake

Prep 25 mins
Cook 25 mins
Add'l 30 mins
Total 1 hr 20 mins

Vanilla Dream Cake: a crazy moist vanilla layer cake frosted with creamy vanilla buttercream icing combines to create the ultimate homemade vanilla cake recipe.

Vanilla Dream Cake: a crazy moist vanilla layer cake frosted with creamy vanilla buttercream icing combines to create the ultimate homemade vanilla cake recipe. #cake #vanilla #dessert

Can you believe that I have made five dream cakes before I got around to finally creating a Vanilla version??

You would think a Vanilla Dream Cake would have been one of the first, but Vanilla was hard y’all!

To qualify as a dream cake, it had to be moist…and a super moist vanilla cake proved nearly impossible.

Vanilla Dream Cake: a crazy moist vanilla layer cake frosted with creamy vanilla buttercream icing combines to create the ultimate homemade vanilla cake recipe. #cake #vanilla #dessert

I made three versions of this cake before I finally figured out the ratios.

Surprisingly, it is based off the chocolate dream cake version — you know the one that has a whole 2 cups of water in it.

Between two cups of water and the use of both butter and oil, I promise you this Vanilla Dream Cake will live up to the other dream cakes!

Vanilla Dream Cake: a crazy moist vanilla layer cake frosted with creamy vanilla buttercream icing combines to create the ultimate homemade vanilla cake recipe. #cake #vanilla #dessert

I made a very classic vanilla buttercream recipe to frost this cake with.

If you wanted to have some fun, you could always add a flavored fruit filling or put some almond extract into the frosting.

I wanted to keep this classic and simple, vanilla on vanilla.

I did dress it up a little with some Sparkling Sugar (the confetti colored one) just around the edges.

Vanilla Dream Cake: a crazy moist vanilla layer cake frosted with creamy vanilla buttercream icing combines to create the ultimate homemade vanilla cake recipe. #cake #vanilla #dessert

I know that the color of the vanilla cake is pretty yellow, but that’s from all my homemade vanilla extract!

If you want the whitest cake possible, make sure and use the clear vanilla (found at places like Michaels). I was looking for flavor – not the perfect white color!

And lastly, this cake calls for a Vanilla Bean. I buy my vanilla beans from Amazon – they usually have great prices on large amounts of vanilla beans (or small amounts too).

Since I use them often and make my own vanilla extract, I like to buy a lot of them at once. I like the Madagascar ones the best. 😉

Vanilla Dream Cake: a crazy moist vanilla layer cake frosted with creamy vanilla buttercream icing combines to create the ultimate homemade vanilla cake recipe. #cake #vanilla #dessert

UPDATE: If you read the comments, you will see that some people LOVE this cake and some people have issues. I remade this cake over the weekend and had the exact same results.

I do not know why some people would be getting different results. Possibly high altitude? Baker errors? Or maybe this cake is possessed?

Either way, fair warning that this recipe apparently doesn’t turn out perfect for everyone. Try at your own risk.

Also, the price of vanilla beans has skyrocketed in recent years due to crop issues. So, feel free to skip the vanilla bean and just make sure you are using a good quality vanilla extract for the most flavor possible.

Yield: Serves 10

Vanilla Dream Cake

Vanilla Dream Cake: a crazy moist vanilla layer cake frosted with creamy vanilla buttercream icing combines to create the ultimate homemade vanilla cake recipe. #cake #vanilla #dessert

Vanilla Dream Cake: a crazy moist vanilla layer cake frosted with creamy vanilla buttercream icing combines to create the ultimate homemade vanilla cake recipe.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


Vanilla Dream Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 large eggs

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 3 tablespoons milk


Vanilla Dream Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8 inch round cake pans. Set aside.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine water and sugar. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted.
  3. Let cool completely (about 20 minutes in the fridge) and then whisk in vegetable oil, vanilla extract and the scrapings from the vanilla bean. Beat in eggs. Whisk in dry ingredients, until smooth.
  4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Let cakes cool in pans until cool to the touch – then frost.

Vanilla Buttercream:

  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  2. Increase speed to medium and add vanilla extract. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting is too thick, add remaining 1 tablespoon of milk.

To assemble cake:

  1. Assemble the 2 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between the layers. Then apply a thin crumb coat on the top and sides. Pop the cake into the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake. Store in the fridge if not serving within the next couple of hours. Let cake come to room temperature before serving (let cake sit on counter for about 30 minutes before serving to warm up!).

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 548Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 504mgCarbohydrates: 101gFiber: 1gSugar: 77gProtein: 5g


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306 Responses
  1. Jessica

    Could I add sprinkles to the batter for funfetti or is it too thin to hold them throughout? This looks amazing. I have been looking for a vanilla cake recipe with water as the chocolate one I have with water always comes out perfect but I never could figure out what to exchange the cocoa for.

  2. The Toy Box

    I use cake flour as opposed to all purpose flour. Would I still use the same amount of flour that you use with all purpose?

    1. The Toy Box

      Never mind. I think I found a good ratio. I used 2 1/4 cups cake flour PLUS an additional 8 tablespoons. Baked at 375 for 14 minutes – WOW! What a flavor! Yes, the batter was still very soupy, and I was very skeptic, but they turned out great. Going to let them cool, and see if the fluffy moist consistency stays. Also have another batch in the oven going for 20 minutes on 350. Will update with what my final outcome is. As of now though, great recipe!

      1. The Toy Box

        350 for 20 minutes seems the better option. At 375 I got the volcano effect that others mentioned. At 350 I got perfectly rounded tops. Going to see how they hold up in the moist department overnight. BUT, I will say this – While these are good, they have a very similar flavor and mouth feel to that of cornbread.

        1. The Toy Box

          I feel like I’ve taken over this post….

          After sitting over night, the cupcakes definitely firmed up, and got a little dense – Just a little. They retained their moistness though.

          The very noticeable thing about these is that they definitely smell like vanilla – In fact, they’re almost a little too strong in the scent department. I dare say you could leave a dozen out in your house in lieu of an air freshener.

          In handing out a dozen around the office, everyone commented how good they were – Which is the most important thing out of all of this. If they don’t taste good, it doesn’t matter what they smell like.

          This recipe is definitely going into my rotation. The one thing I’m considering is adding half a cup of vanilla pudding in place of 1/2 a cup of flour. Perhaps this will help them stay light and fluffy.

  3. Brandi

    Wondering what kind of texture is the cake supposed to have? Dense or light and fluffy? Most cakes with all purpose flour tend to be a bit more dense. Thanks.

  4. Melinda

    Hello Jessica, Kathy Pollack from Noble Pig blog, posted your beautiful cake today. I live in England so I need to know if the all purpose flour you were using was bleached flour or unbleached flour. ( we don’t have any bleached flour here…banned in 1997. I have ways around it though.)
    I can see this is quite the controversial cake from the comments ( Let the criticism roll off your back.. No one has paid to get your recipe!) I am willing to gamble a few ingredients to see if I can recreate the dream cake. I admire your curiosity and tenacity to experiment with cake baking. Consider yourself a baking explorer!

  5. Celyn

    Is the batter supposed to be runny and soupy? I followed the recipe to a T and it came out badly. Hopefully, you’re able to answer my question.

  6. Valerie Walker

    Very disappointed with this recipe. It is not at all fluffy as shown but sad and heavy. I followed the recipe exactly but did bake for another ten minutes. The batter was very thin. I have made chocolate cake this way and it was very good but I don’t think we can even eat this one.

  7. Lisa

    How would I make this cake with srf please?  I have been dying to find a fluffy moist white cake as beautiful as this and I believe that I just found it!

  8. Dee

    Eating this cake as I write this review. It really is quite dreamy, with a wonderful vanilla flavour and moist texture. I have a new go-to vanilla layer cake!

    A few things to keep in mind. The batter is quite runny – don’t be put off or add extra flour. I found it hard to get the cakes out of the pans (I buttered and floured). Using an icing spatula helped me to successfully lift the cakes out of the pans. I also found it strange that the cake didn’t rise evenly, despite rotating the pans. This has never happened before in my oven. These are small issues and they would not deter me from making this cake again. Once baked, the cake speaks for itself. 

  9. Jasmine

    Hi! I want to make this cake but I would like to know if I can substitute the all purpose flour with cake flour? And if so what are the proper measurements for the cake flour and the baking soda and baking powder to the cake flour measurements? Also how much vanilla extract should we use if we do not have vanilla beans? Thank you!

  10. Karina

    Hi, Iam so happy to find your post, Iam loving your recipe and I haven’t try it. How sweet is this cake?
    I have to do a Tres Leches Cake ( 3 milks cake ) or wet cake, do you think that if I cut the sugar to 1 1/2 cups on the cake will afecct the flavor? Tres Leches Milk is sweet and I do not want a super sweet cake. What do you recommend? 

  11. Sonya Gildred

    One more comment I think is important to make that I forgot to mention is definately use parchment to line your pan with.  I did notice the cake doesn’t completely separate from the pan when nearly cooled down.  I sprayed a metal pan with cooking butter spray and the bottom only stuck to the pan.  I was not looking this time for aesthetic appeal, so I just put the cake back into the pan and frosted the top only.  The top only was definitely enough to frost using the frosting recipe that’s given to go with the cake.  Sweetness is personal likeness, and Jessica does say she loves lots of sweetness 🙂  Also my website was incorrect in my first comment.  If you click on my name now in this comment you will find my family homeschool website now, hopefully 😉  The website is under construction, but if you are patient, I should have much content added to the website over time to look at, and I hope what I post will be found useful to anyone who homeschools or is thinking of homeschooling 🙂

  12. Sonya Gildred

    Awesome cake!  I almost did not dare comment on my results due to the negative feedback being given, namely the comment that if I loved this recipe I was then a liar and a friend of the baker making false positive comments about this recipe. I assure you I am a complete stranger to all here, including the baker.  Anyway, I did a one layer 9×12 pan Birthday Cake for my husband.  The kids even helped out.  I gave the cake 10 extra minutes since the pan I used was larger and hence needed more baking time.  I think I will make this again using next time cornstarch.  Does anyone know what ingredient should be omitted if I use cornstarch?  I normally use pudding in my cake recipes for moistness and believe me the results are always a moist cake.  If you thought this cake smells and even tasted eggy, then completely cool the sugar water first, and try to add a few Tablespoons of premade Vanilla pudding to your mixture as one resolve to any lack of flavor you thought the recipe had.  There are actually so many different ways to alter this recipe to your liking. The only thing you probably won’t be able to most of all alter is the heaviness of the cake.  I loved this recipe, and it has become one of my favorite keepers as far as making the basic recipe, but making a few changes to it every time I go to make it, until I find the changes I prefer to make to this recipe that will eventually put my personal mark on it.  I think the best kind of bakers out there would not so quickly discard this recipe, and I encourage novices to experiment with this recipe as well. I have never used water before in a cake recipe, but it works..water evaporates during cooking, and this technique of using water really does make this cake very moist as an end result.  I used food coloring for the frosting adding 3 drops of red and 3 drops of blue to make a purple color frosting since my husbands favorite color is purple.  The cake was so good.  If anything the frosting was just too sweet and my husband and I agreed the cake was delicious without needing such a sweet frosting.  We both thought whipped topping and fruit would be a great topping for this heavy moist cake.  I Again this cake is delicious without any topping at all, and served with coffee or tea any time of the day, and to make for any kind of event.  The cake recipe without the frosting gets 5 stars in my recipe book!

  13. Katherine

    It must be a matter of taste. My daughter and I think it is gross, but my husband and son are gobbling it up.  I will be baking another cake because this week one was supposed to be for my daughter’s birthday.  Oh ours looked like a brain in the miidle too.

  14. Bree

    So Sorry, Every Sunday I make a cake this Sunday I wanted vanilla,I found this recipe after 3 hours of research,I have all the ingredients and this was different. This cake tastes like cornbread and smells like egg,I will never use a recipe off of this site again. 

  15. Deb

    Didn’t work for me either 🙁
    Cake looked and smelled amazing but when I cut it wasn’t baked through even though the stick came out clean.

  16. Kristin

    This cake is amazing… however, I just “buttered the cake pans” as it stated and cooled the cake in the pans as it said, but when I went to pop them out… they stuck horribly. I should have listened to my inner voice saying “parchment paper your pans!!!” Ugh.

  17. Megan

    I LOVE this cake. I’ll be making it again for my son’s 4th birthday in a couple of weeks. A Ninja Turtle will replace the beautiful sugar sprinkles, but it will still be amazing! 😉


I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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