Let me tell you about the perfect 6-inch vanilla cake: bouncy, soft crumb, loads of pure vanilla flavor, creamy frosting with hints of white chocolate and tangy crème fraîche, and a sweet and simple decoration. Isn’t she just gorgeous?!
The true beauty of this cake lies in its simplicity - there’s no need for flashy fillings or showers of sprinkles.
This tender vanilla cake recipe uses the Reverse Creaming Method to produce its fluffy, tender, and flavourful crumb.
With simple yet superior ingredients like pure vanilla extract, satiny white chocolate, and crème fraîche, the frosting is silky smooth and completely delicious.
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This post is sponsored by Rodelle. Words and opinions are my own.
Ingredients at a Glance
In addition to baking pantry staples, this recipe needs:
- Sour Cream
- Cake Flour
- Granulated sugar
- Confectioners' sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Whole Milk
- Egg Whites
- White Chocolate
- Crème Fraîche
- Vanilla extract
- Baking powder
See recipe card for quantities.
Tools and Equipment
Here are some of the baking tools and cake decorating utensils that will help you achieve this 6-inch vanilla cake:
- Electric mixer
- Three, 6-inch cake pans
- Large rubber spatula
- Offset spatula
- Rotating cake stand
- Piping bag and star tip
- General kitchen tools (measuring cups, spoons, etc).
Cake Flour - For every cup of cake flour, measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons. Add back 2 tablespoons of either corn starch or arrowroot powder to get 1 cup of cake flour.
Sour Cream - you may substitute equal parts buttermilk or full-fat Greek yogurt
Crème Fraîche - you may substitute equal parts cream cheese
The Reverse Creaming Method
For this cake, I used the Reverse Creaming Method. Instead of mixing butter with sugar until light and aerated, we start with mixing all of the dry ingredients.
Next, softened butter is added a few tablespoons at a time followed by the liquids until everything is moist and the batter starts to come together. Lastly, egg whites are slowly streamed into the bowl until the batter is smooth and ready to be baked.
The batter will look rather thick and lumpy before the egg whites are added. The liquid hydrates the flour and mixes until everything comes together in a smooth batter. Be sure to stop the mixer often and thoroughly scrape down the bowl. Some lumps are okay here.
Whipped Crème Fraîche Frosting
Don’t forget about the frosting! This whipped buttercream is likely the best vanilla frosting I’ve tasted in a long time.
White chocolate makes it creamy while the crème fraîche adds a bit of tang to balance out the sweetness and allows the vanilla to really shine! It is smooth and silky, just like my beloved Swiss meringue buttercream, but packed with so much vanilla flavor and made in a fraction of the time.
Keep the consistency smooth and spreadable by not overloading it with confectioners’ sugar. Allow the frosting to whip until light and fluffy, then stir it with a spatula to knock out all the air bubbles before icing the cake.
Serving and Storage
Serve the cake at room temperature. If making in advance, keep the cake in the refrigerator until about 20 minutes before slicing.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You don't have to use cake flour, but cake flour has a lower percentage of protein compared to all-purpose flour that makes the cake softer. See Substitutions for making your own cake flour alternative.
You can bake this in two 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Do not fill more than ¾ of the way full. Bake times will vary.
Choose a good quality aluminum cake pan with at least 2-inch tall sides.
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6-inch Vanilla Cake
For the Vanilla Cake
- ¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream
- 2 teas pure vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups (315 g) cake flour
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teas salt
- ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter softened and diced
- 5 large eggs whites
For the Crème Fraîche Frosting
- 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter softened
- ⅓ cup (78 ml) crème fraîche
- 2 teas pure vanilla extract
- 4 to 5 cups (425 to 625 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 oz (85 g) melted white chocolate cooled
To Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans and set aside
- Stir together the milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, until the butter breaks up into small pieces, no larger than a peanut, and gets coated in flour.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-low and stream in the milk mixture. Continue to mix until the batter is evenly moistened. Stop the mixer and thoroughly scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. The batter will not be smooth
- Working in batches with the mixer on medium-low speed, pour in about ⅓ of the eggs at a time. After each addition of the eggs are absorbed into the batter, stop the mixer and thoroughly scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. The batter will look lumpy at first, but should smooth out by the final addition.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 23 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes before removing them from their pans.
To Make the Frosting
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), mix the butter on medium speed until smooth, about a minute. Add the crème fraîche and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
- Stop the mixer and add about 4 cups of the sugar. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the melted white chocolate and mix until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. The frosting should be very pale in color and easily spreadable. Add more sugar as needed until desired consistency is reached.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake board or serving plate. Dollop about ¾ cup frosting on top and spread out until smooth with an offset spatula. Place the next layer of cake on top and repeat.
- Flip the last layer upside down and place it on top of the cake. Crumb coat the cake in a thin layer of frosting. This traps in all of the loose crumbs and keeps them from getting in your final layer of frosting. Chill the crumb coated cake for 15 minutes.
- To ice the cake, place a large dollop of frosting on top of the cake and spread it around until flat with an offset spatula. Ice the sides of the cake in an even layer of frosting. Use an icing smoother to smooth out the sides of the cake. To clean up the top edge, use a small offset spatula to gently pull excess frosting towards the center of the cake.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the remaining frosting. Hold the bag perpendicular to the surface of the cake and apply even pressure to the bag until a flower forms. Release the pressure before pulling the bag away. Enjoy!
Serve the cake at room temperature to ensure that the frosting is creamy and silky.