A basic vanilla cake recipe made with vegetable oil instead of butter or shortening.
This was my first attempt at baking a vanilla cake using vegetable oil instead of butter or shortening. I wanted to bake a cake for someone’s birthday that had severe food allergies. They couldn’t have butter or shortening and the only two oils I could use were either soybean or sunflower oil. I have to admit at first I didn’t know if it was possible to make a good cake with oil. But now that the birthday has passed and the cake has been eaten I can safely say it is possible!
I recommend using a high quality vanilla extract for this recipe, Nielsen-Massey makes one of my favorites.
The cake reminded me of something that was in between a pound cake and a shortcake. I think it works great as a basic cake recipe that can be used for anything from birthday cakes to strawberry shortcake. It would have tasted great with strawberries and whipped cream frosting on top but I had to keep the cake very basic. I used my Nordic Ware Bundt Pan for this recipe but you can also use a 9×13″ pan or two 9″ round cake pans. I chose to make mine in a bundt pan because a glaze doesn’t require any butter or shortening unlike frosting recipes.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the cake pans
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cups vegetable oil (or 1½ sticks of butter)
- 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk
- Oil or butter, for greasing two cake pans
- Optional Glaze:
- 1½ cups powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 3-4 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Add the flour, sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. (If you don't have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer but the batter it pretty thick to mix, I used a hand mixer.) Mix on slow until the ingredients are blended together, then mix on medium for about a minute.
- With the mixer on, add 1 egg at a time & mix until each egg gets absorbed. Stop to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula when needed. After all the eggs have been added, continue to mix for an additional minute.
- With the mixer on, add the milk, ½ cup at a time, stop to scrape the sides. Continue to mix for another minute or until the mixture appears smooth. Grease two 9-inch cake pans or a bundt pan with oil or butter, and flour them.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans or pour into bundt pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for the 9" cake pans or 35-45 minutes for bundt pan or until the top is starting to turn golden brown and is springy to the touch.
- Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes. The cakes should be at room temperature before you remove them from the pan.
- Frost or glaze the cake as desired. If you want to make a glaze just mix a little over 1 cup of powder sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, & a couple tablespoons of milk together in a bowl until you have a thin glaze, using a spoon drizzle or pour over the top of cake.
Adapted from Buddy Valastro’s Vanilla Cake Recipe.
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