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Magnolia Bakery's Everyone's Favorite Vanilla Cake

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Recipe - Magnolia Bakery's Everyone's Favorite Vanilla Cake

Image and Recipe from Magnolia Bakery

Vanilla cake is the heart and soul of Magnolia Bakery. It’s the basis for this cake and for our best-selling cupcakes, the perfect foil for our Classic Vanilla and Classic Chocolate Buttercreams. In 2007, when we took over the bakery, we noticed that while people liked the buttery vanilla flavor of our cake, they no longer cared for its dense, pound cake– like texture. As you can imagine, we make a lot of vanilla cake every day at all our bakeries, so we needed a foolproof recipe that would produce consistently delicious results.

I went back to the drawing board and developed a new recipe with an updated texture and enhanced flavor. Now, we use cake flour and all egg whites to produce a very tender crumb. I also added a little sour cream for extra richness. The result is a moist cake that is irresistibly buttery and perfectly light.

The Confetti Cake shown on the next page is a simple variation on Everyone’s Favorite Vanilla Cake. A festive cake, with pastel confetti throughout as well as sprinkled around the sides, it makes a memorable and celebratory addition to any special occasion.


  • 4⅓ cups (498g/17.3oz) cake flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cups (420g/10.6) whole milk
  • ⅔ cup (150g/5.3oz) sour cream
  • 1¼ cups/2½ sticks (282g/10oz) unsalted
  • butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ cups (500g/17.7oz) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites
  • Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream or Chocolate Buttercream

For the Confetti Cake

  • 1½ cups (195g/6.9oz) confetti sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk and the sour cream until no lumps remain; set aside.
  4. Using a hand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle.
  5. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the egg whites, a little at a time, beating until incorporated before adding more. Once the egg whites have been incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the milk and sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix for about 15 seconds, just until incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  7. If making the confetti cake add 1¼ cups (162.5g/5.75oz) of confetti. Mix again for 15 seconds. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and the paddle.
  8. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake 45 to 47 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. To decorate the cake as in the image with smooth sides, place one cake layer top side up on a cake turner. Use an icing wand to evenly spread 1½ cups of vanilla buttercream over the surface. Add the second cake layer top side up. Using an icing wand, spread about 1 cup buttercream on the top of the cake and about 2 cups on the sides, spreading as you go around the top and sides of the cake until the cake is smooth.
  11. For the scallop border, place ½ cup buttercream in a pastry bag with a #32 tip. With even pressure, squeeze the bag and pipe around the top and bottom of the cake. Sprinkle with confetti sprinkles.

Makes: two 9-inch layers; serves 8 to 16

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