Our Easiest Layer Cakes Ever

When it comes to vanilla cake, it’s all about a hip presentation and updated flavor combinations. With these easy layer cake recipes, we’ve taken the fear out of baking; you’ll never need that box of cake mix again.
Natalie Kelly Brown / Marian Cooper Cairns

Recipes:

Pick a Pan

These batters can be baked in many different pans. Follow our guide below for perfect layers every time. As usual, be sure to test the cakes for doneness by inserting a wooden pick into the center. It should come out clean.

  • Bake at 350° in 2 greased and floured (9-inch) round cake pans 32 to 36 minutes. Cool as directed.
  • Bake at 350° in 2 greased and floured (8-inch) square pans 30 to 34 minutes. Cool as directed.
  • Bake at 350° in 2 lightly greased parchment paper-lined (15- x 10-inch) jelly-roll pans 15 to 17 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 30 minutes

Baking Tips and Suggestions

  • Allow butter and eggs to sit at room temperature 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Add extracts to butter-and-sugar mixture instead of at the end to fully incorporate into the batter.
  • Cooking spray with flour works like a charm to keep cakes from sticking to pans.
  • Bake cakes on the same oven rack, but be sure to leave 2 inches of space between pans so heat can circulate freely.
  • Slowly add milk to buttercream, 1 Tbsp. at a time, to ensure a proper consistency.
  • Use ½ cup seedless jam spread instead of buttercream between layers for amped-up fruit flavor and contrast.

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