The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe: Easy and Impressive

Discover the joy of baking by whipping up this vanilla cake recipe. Whether you use a cast iron skillet or a cake pan, this recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth!

piece of vanilla cake sprinkled with powdered sugar

Sometimes it’s good to try something new. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering…even the simplest new thing can make you feel accomplished. I’ve always wanted a cast iron skillet, but never bought one because I wasn’t sure exactly what to buy. Vintage or new? What brand? Anyway, the decision was taken out of my hands when a friend bought me my very own skillet. And you know what? I love it!

vanilla cake recipe batter in cast iron skillet

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It’s made by Lodge and measures 10.25 inches. It’s new and came preseasoned. I followed the directions from Lodge, and seasoned it with oil before I used it the first time. This vanilla cake is moist and delicious. It’s actually the sort of cake that could be eaten for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. It pairs perfectly with any kind of fruit, ice cream, or other toppings.

vanilla cake in cast iron skillet

Why This Recipe Works

This is a very straight-forward, simple recipe that uses basic pantry ingredients. At any given time, you should be able to whip up this cake. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can us any 10 inch round pan (if the sides are tall enough) or a 9×9 inch square cake pan.

vanilla cake recipe sprinkled with powdered sugar

How To Make

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the shortening and milk for 3 minutes.
  • While still mixing, add the vanilla sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the shortening/milk mixture in three batches. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl very well.
  • Separate the yolks from the whites of 4 eggs. Add the egg whites to the batter and beat until mixed. Don’t overmix.
  • Spray a 10-inch cast iron skillet with Baker’s Joy OR coat well with shortening and dust with flour.
  • Pour batter into prepared skillet.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cake is done when a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack. Lightly dust with powdered sugar if desired.
  • If not using vanilla sugar, add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste with the regular sugar.
piece of vanilla cake with fork

Vanilla Cake Tips

  • Vanilla sugar is easy to make. Or this brand is delicious.
  • This vanilla cake can double as a shortcake. After a few days it does dry out a bit (if there’s any left!) If that happens, top it with fruit and whipped cream, milk, or half and half. It’s delicious!
  • You don’t have to use vanilla sugar. Just add two teaspoons of good quality pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste along with the sugar when you are making the cake.
vanilla cake recipe with powdered sugar

I will be sharing more skillet recipes as I find them, so stay tuned. This particular cast iron skillet is very reasonably priced, so if you don’t have one, I hope you treat yourself. Thank you for stopping by and spending part of your day with me. Now get in that kitchen and bake a cake!

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More Skillet Recipes

piece of vanilla cake sprinkled with powdered sugar

The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe from Scratch

Discover the joy of baking by whipping up this vanilla cake recipe. Whether you use a cast iron skillet or a cake pan, this recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth!
Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.17 from 6 votes
Servings: 8 pieces
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used Crisco)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the shortening and milk for 3 minutes.
  • While still mixing, add the vanilla sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the shortening/milk mixture in three batches. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl very well.
  • Separate the yolks from the whites of 4 eggs. Add the egg whites to the batter and beat until mixed. Don’t overmix.
  • Spray a 10-inch cast iron skillet with Baker’s Joy OR coat well with shortening and dust with flour.
  • Pour batter into prepared skillet.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cake is done when a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack. Lightly dust with powdered sugar if desired.
  • If not using vanilla sugar, add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste with the regular sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 piece | Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 540mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 49IU | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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If you make this recipe, and love it, please come back to leave a comment and a 5-star review. I would really appreciate it, and it would help me so much. Thank you

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19 Comments

  1. I’m wondering about using a cast iron skillet on a smooth top range. Do you use it ONLY in the oven. My instructions for both smooth top ranges I have say NOT to use cast iron on it so I donated by skillet. I’d love to be able to use cast iron if it’s safe for my range top.

    1. Hi Kay…I have used my cast iron skillet on my glass range top. The thing is that the skillets are VERY heavy, and with one wrong move your glass top could break. To my knowledge, and I don’t know for sure, the skillet won’t actually damage the top as long as you don’t slide it. You have to lift it carefully. I have strong hands, and am very careful. If you have any doubts at all, I would not do it. I hope this helps!

  2. Looks terrific and comforting for the colder weather! I love my cast iron pans, they’re especially good for cornbread. I put it in the oven during preheating and it lends a nice crisp edge and bottom to the cornbread. I made your small batch applesauce a couple days ago, it’s delicious for a light dessert. Saving this recipe – thanks!

  3. Lisa Cicchinelli says:

    Oh my ! That vanilla cake looks amazing, I love that you use and attach the link to the best vanilla bean paste ever ! Normally the extract is everyone’s go to but until you try recipes with that Madagascar paste you’re missing out on an amazing flavor. I first tried it when my husband brought home a jar and since then ? The rest is history . I adore reading your emails and trying your recipes and tips and this cake is a must try. Thank you for bringing your special touches into our homes .

    1. Hi Lisa…my favorite part of using vanilla bean paste is licking the spoon! :)

  4. Hi Ann,
    I was going to use this cake for my pineapple upside down topping, in the cast iron skillet. What’s your thoughts?

    1. Hi Crystal…I think it would work well. My only concern is that there might be too much batter. Just make sure you leave about half an inch space in the pan so it doesn’t overflow. If you try it, let us know how it works out!

  5. This cake was very easy to make and everyone enjoyed it. Didn’t have cast iron but made it in a large pie plate and increased the baking time. Served with sliced strawberries. Shared the recipe with several family members.

  6. Just wondering if you could substitute butter for the crisco? I can’t eat shortening. Looks delicious!

    1. Hi Marian…I don’t know for sure but honestly, I don’t see why not. The texture may be a bit different but it should bake up well. If you try it, please let us know how it tastes!

  7. I love your posts on iton skillets! My nesting trio of vintage skillets is on my stovetop at all times: a 6”, 8”, & 10”, but not usually used for cake. This versatile cake is changing that. I’ve made it 3x so far, using coconut oil instead of shortening, and trying other flavorings such as almond and lemon. The best was beating the egg whites separately before adding, and using White Lily self-rising flour. Can’t wait to make a pineapple upside down cake.
    Thank you for all the ideas!

  8. Cake for Breakfast, a snack or dessert?!? What could be better?
    I’ve been thinking about Cast Iron Skillets recently. My Grandmothers made everything from scratch and with only a couple of Cast Iron Skillets. I’ll have to get one! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Jan Painter says:

    Just made this cake a few hours ago. I didn’t use a cast iron frying pan as I’m vacationing for the winter and only brought my 12” cast iron frying pan with me. I did use a 9” springform pan and the cake was delicious! I did not have vanilla sugar but hope to find it for next time. This truly is a fabulous, cake with simple ingredients that was easy to make.
    Thank you!

    Jan…🇨🇦

  10. Ann- This cake sounds absolutely delicious AND easy. Than you for the recipe!!! I love using my cast iron!

  11. Barbaraa Sullivan says:

    Do you pre-heat the skillet? Like for cornbread?

  12. Looks yummy.Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

  13. I haven’t used my cast iron skillet in many years. This delicious sounding cake has inspired me to put it to use. Thanks!

  14. Dear Ann. I am a new subscriber and just want to tell you how much I enjoy your emails. Your decorating tips are wonderful and crafts. And your recipes are amazing. I have made so far your lemon bread and the blueberry coffee cake, both delicious. Couldn’t keep both in the kitchen long enough… My husband loved them. When I see your emails it brings a smile to my face,,, it makes my day. Thank you so much!!