Basic Vanilla Cake

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: two 9-inch cakes
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Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole milk (or 3/4 cup heavy cream mixed with 1/2 cup water)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch-round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper; butter the parchment and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. Whisk 3 cups flour, the baking powder and salt in a bowl until combined. Beat 2 sticks butter and the sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium; beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. (The mixture may look separated at this point.) Beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with flour, until just smooth.
  3. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely. Remove the parchment. Trim the tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife to make them level, if desired.