This vanilla cake recipe is moist, light, and airy, probably the best cake you will ever make. Delicious on its own but even better when filled and frosted for a celebration. Perfect to cover with fondant or stacked for tiered cakes.
Dry ingredients - Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and oil. Whip for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Next add the eggs, one at a time. Followed by the vanilla bean paste or extract. Pro tip- adding eggs one at a time will prevent the eggs from curdling. If the batter does curdle just add a tablespoon of flour to help stabilize it.
Next, add the flour and sour cream in three batches. Combine well but do not over mix. Pro tip - we do not want to activate the gluten in the flour so work gently once you add the flour.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Pro tip - using baking/ cake strips for your pans will prevent a dome and excess caramelization around the edges which looks better for layer cakes.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Pro tip - always cool cakes completely before decorating otherwise the frosting will melt on warm cakes.
In the bow of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
Then, add the salt, and powdered sugar one cup at a time. Once all the powdered sugar is in add the water or milk and vanilla extract.
Continue to whip for 2 to 3 minutes until the buttercream is pale but light and fluffy.
To prepare the simple syrup, boil the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Once all the sugar is dissolved, boil a minute more - then cool completely.
Place the first layer on the cake board or cake stand. Add a dollop of buttercream and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Then, place the second layer on top. Chill the cake for 15 minutes. Pro tip - chilling the cake will help hold the two layers together and prevent them from moving while frosting the outside.
Add more frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Smooth the buttercream as best you can. Pro tip - an offset spatula for the top and a straight-edged spatula for the sides of the cake does a better job of smoothing. You can also dip a bench scraper in warm water for final smoothing
Transfer any remaining buttercream to a piping bag with a piping tip. Pipe a border on the top and bottom of the cake. Alternatively, this cake can be coved with fondant as well.