Can you believe that I have made five dream cakes before I got around to a Vanilla version?? You would think Vanilla 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 moist vanilla cake was near impossible.
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!
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.
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 colored 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 Beanilla – they 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.
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 error? Or maybe this cake is possessed? Either way, fair warning that this recipe apparently doesn’t turn out perfect for everyone.
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
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
up to 3 tablespoons milk
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.
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.
Let cool for 5 minutes and then whisk in vegetable oil, vanilla extract and the scrapings from the vanilla bean. Quickly beat in eggs (do this quickly so they don't cook). Whisk in dry ingredients, until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cakes cool in pans until cool to the touch - then frost.
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.
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.
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.
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!).