This moist vanilla cake makes for the perfect Smash Cake Recipe! And don’t let the title of “Smash Cake” fool you; this cake is perfect for any special occasion.

A three tiered blue ombre smash cake on a cake stand.

Time is slipping through my fingers; my son William turned 1 earlier this week. I can’t believe it! I thought it’d be fun to make a smash cake recipe to celebrate his special day. The cake was a huge hit! Everyone loved it.

This has to be the best vanilla cake I’ve ever had. This cake has an ultra fine and velvety texture. One of the first words that came to mind when I took a bite was “soft.” Maybe that’s weird to describe a cake. But the cake was just perfect! Tender, moist, and fluffy. I don’t know about you, but I want all of these requirements in every cake a bite into.

A slice of smash cake, vanilla cake, on a plate.

Smash Cake Recipe and Tutorial

This vanilla cake is a tad different, rather than use the typical creaming method (where you cream the butter and sugar for several minutes) I used the reverse creaming method.

The reverse creaming method requires mixing the dry ingredients with the butter before adding the liquid ingredients.

Baking Sense explains why this is done, “Gluten won’t start to form until the flour comes in contact with water (in the egg whites). Coating the flour molecules with butterfat before the eggs are added creates a barrier which slows the formation of gluten. Reverse creaming should, in theory, make a cake with a more tender and velvety texture.”

A bowl with dry ingredients and butter (reverse creaming method) in a glass bowl.

How to make a Smash Cake

This smash cake recipe will make a 3 layer 6 inch cake.

Begin by sifting the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. With the mixer on low speed add the softened butter 2 tablespoons at a time. Mix until it resembles course sand. (The picture above illustrates what it will resemble).

In a large liquid measuring cup combine the eggs, vegetable oil (or canola oil), milk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.

A glass measuring cup with the wet ingredients whisked together.

With the mixer on low, pour the liquid ingredients into the stand mixer. Mix on medium speed for 1.5-2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the sour cream. Mix on medium speed for an additional 20 seconds.

The batter will be fairly thick, but soft. (There I go again with that word, “soft.” Make it and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about)!

Close up photo of a smash cake batter.

Bake the Cake

Sneak a small taste of the batter because it’s really good. Then pour the batter into the greased and floured cake pans.

Level the batter in each cake pan and then lightly tap the pans on the counter to remove any possible air bubbles.

Bake the cakes for 28-34 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool on a wire rack.

Tips for making the Smash Cake in Advance

If you want to make this smash cake in advance, you can do that. Wrap the *almost* cooled cakes in a double layer of plastic wrap and store them in the fridge.

Remove the cake layers from the fridge when you’re ready to assemble and frost the cake.

You can also freeze the cake layers. Remove the frozen cake layers from the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge overnight.

A three layer vanilla cake recipe, smash cake.

Smash Cake Frosting

I went with a cream cheese buttercream frosting. However, I didn’t want a super noticeable cream cheese flavor, so I upped the amount of powdered sugar I used. If you want to keep the cream cheese flavor strong, you can either add more cream cheese, or add less powdered sugar.

To make the frosting simply cream the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream. Whip on medium speed for 4 minutes. The frosting will appear very light and fluffy.

To assemble the cake place a cake layer on a cake plate or cake stand, add frosting between each cake layer and then frost the top and perimeter of the cake.

A slice of vanilla cake, with blue frosting for a smash cake.

That’s all it takes! This is an easy smash cake recipe that any girl or boy would love! Tip: you can get creative with how you frost the cake. You don’t need to frost it how I did… my frosting skills are definitely subpar!

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A slice of smash cake, vanilla cake, on a plate.
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5 from 1 vote

Smash Cake Recipe (Moist Vanilla Cake)

A super moist vanilla cake! This cake is perfect for any occasion.
prep time 15 mins
cook time 34 mins
servings: 8 servings
author: Salt & Baker

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder see notes
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • gel food coloring if desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour 3 - 6 inch cake pans.
  • Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • With mixer on low speed add butter, 2 T at a time. Mix until it resembles coarse sand, about 1 minute.
  • In a large liquid measuring cup combine the eggs, milk, veg oil, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  • With the mixer on low, pour the liquid ingredients into the stand mixer. Mix on medium speed for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the sour cream. Mix on medium speed for 20-30 more seconds. Gently run a butter knife through the batter to break up any large air bubbles.
  • Pour into cake pans. Bake for 28-34 mins or until done and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs but no batter.
  • Cool cake in pans for 5-10 mins, remove from pans and cool on wire racks completely.
  • Cover cakes with double layer of plastic wrap, store In fridge If you want to frost them the following day. Or, let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

  • Cream butter and cream cheese in stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Add vanilla and cream. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. If the frosting is too thick add more heavy cream, if the frosting is too thin add more powdered sugar.

RECIPE NOTES

*this cake was baked at sea level. You may have to make slight adjustments if baking at a high altitude (You may want to reduce baking powder to only 1 teaspoon) and your cake might bake more quickly. Just a few things to keep in mind. 
Tip: make sure cake is cooled completely before frosting. Have the frosting and cake the same temp, otherwise you’ll pull crumbs as you’re frosting.
  • You can line the bottom of the pan with parchment. Simply grease the pan first, line with circle parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper and flour the bottom and sides. (this is if you struggle with getting your cakes out the pans. Which you shouldn’t if you grease and flour).
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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