18 Vanilla Desserts That Are Anything But Boring

Vanilla Buttercream
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

When has vanilla ever let you down? Tasty and reliable, this classic flavor has had our back in a pinch and pleased a crowd at even the fanciest of soirées. It may not be the flashiest of dessert options, but it has the possibility to turn into a dessert fit for any occasion.

Whether you're a pro in the kitchen or rely on the boxed mix, these vanilla desserts are recipes any baker can tackle. Vanilla stands center stage in many of these recipes, while others combine a few of our other favorite flavors to create desserts you'll want to make again and again. Try our Strawberry Vanilla Cake for a refreshing treat when the weather gets warmer. These vanilla dessert recipes are year-round winners that go with everything. It's certain that they'll never disappoint.

01 of 18

Buttermilk-Lime Mini Cakes with Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream

Buttermilk-Lime Mini Cakes with Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Buttermilk-Lime Mini Cakes with Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream

Vanilla-mascarpone buttercream tops these sheet cake masterpieces. The tangy lime syrup adds a burst of fresh flavor.

02 of 18

Vanilla Custard with Bourbon-Caramel Sauce

Bourbon-Praline Cheesecake and Vanilla Custard with Bourbon-Caramel Sauce
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop styling: Lydia Pursell

Recipe: Vanilla Custard with Bourbon-Caramel Sauce

This elegant custard has the texture of flan and the taste of crème brûlée.

03 of 18

Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake with Lavender Glaze

Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake with Lavender Glaze
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake with Lavender Glaze

Use baking soda and sour cream to give this dense pound cake an extra lift.

04 of 18

Peach Shortcake Trifle

Peach Shortcake Trifle
Pam Lolley; Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Peach Shortcake Trifle

Layers of peaches alternate with layers of vanilla cake to make the ultimate peach dessert.

05 of 18

Snowy Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Snowy Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Snowy Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Top these light vanilla layers with cream cheese buttercream for a rich finish.

06 of 18

Strawberry Vanilla Cake

Strawberry Vanilla Cake
Sarah Epperson

Recipe: Strawberry Vanilla Cake

Fresh strawberries add spring sweetness to this layered cake.

07 of 18

Banana Cream Pie with Vanilla Wafer Crust

Banana Cream Pie
Southern Living

Recipe: Banana Cream Pie with Vanilla Wafer Crust

Crush vanilla wafers to make the crunchy crust on this sweet banana cream pie.

08 of 18

Sock It To Me Cake

Sock It To Me Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey, Food stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey

Recipe: Sock It To Me Cake

Popularized in the '60s, this bundt has a hidden brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecan surprise on the inside and a vanilla glaze on the outside.

09 of 18

Carrot-Pineapple Mini Bundt Cakes with Buttermilk-Vanilla Glaze

Carrot-Pineapple Mini Bundt Cakes with Buttermilk-Vanilla Glaze
Cedric Angeles; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Carrot-Pineapple Mini Bundt Cakes with Buttermilk-Vanilla Glaze

These personalized bundt cakes are cute as can be with their pretty vanilla glaze and bright flavor.

10 of 18

Sprinkle Sandwich Cookies

Sprinkle Sandwich Cookies
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Sprinkle Sandwich Cookies

Add vanilla buttercream to half of these sprinkle cookies to make adorable sandwich desserts.

11 of 18

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Crème Brûlée Cheesecake

Vanilla bean cheesecake is elevated with a glassy, brûléed top.

12 of 18

Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake

Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake

Creamy toffee frosting coats this delicious vanilla layer cake.

13 of 18

Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Moist vanilla cake is sandwiched between two layers of red velvet cheesecake in this gorgeous holiday cake.

14 of 18

Cushaw Pie with Vanilla Bean Custard Sauce

Cushaw Pie with Vanilla Bean Custard Sauce
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Cushaw Pie with Vanilla Bean Custard Sauce

Top this winter squash filling with our vanilla bean custard and candied pecans.

15 of 18

Snowball Cake

Snowball Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe: Snowball Cake


Use a biscuit cutter to cut sheet cake into small bites. Transform them into "snowballs" for your next winter gathering.

16 of 18

Buttermilk-Glazed Mini Fig Cakes with Vanilla Hard Sauce

Buttermilk-Glazed Mini Fig Cakes with Vanilla Hard Sauce
Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Recipe: Buttermilk-Glazed Mini Fig Cakes with Vanilla Hard Sauce

Top these mini cakes with vanilla hard sauce while they're still warm.

17 of 18

Chocolate Velvet Cake With Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Velvet Cake With Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Recipe: Chocolate Velvet Cake With Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla buttercream balances out the rich chocolate of the cake.

18 of 18

Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla-Rum Sauce

Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla-Rum Sauce
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla-Rum Sauce

Vanilla-rum sauce adds extra sweetness to this fun coffee cake rendition.

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