Vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe

This vanilla loaf cake recipe should probably come with a light-hearted warning, which is that it's so easy to love, you're pretty much guaranteed to go back for seconds. Not that that's a bad thing, considering the simplicity of the recipe, you can whip it up and enjoy it as the perfect after-dinner dessert. As recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating tells Tasting Table, "a vanilla cake is such a classic flavor that everyone will love." And this one, in particular, is remarkably "moist and fluffy" with an easy American buttercream frosting that is "super creamy and delicious."

"Sweet and simple," this cake is also easy to make thanks to the Brookes' loaf pan-friendly recipe. As Brookes explains, "I like to use loaf pans because it keeps things super simple. No stacking up your cake layers and spreading frosting on each." Baking in a loaf pan means an extra few minutes in the oven compared with, say, cupcakes or 9-inch rounds, but you end up with "just one loaf that you can spread the frosting straight on!" And in that extra few minutes, you'll have time to make a fresh pot of your favorite coffee, which perfectly complements the sweetness of this cake.

Gather your ingredients for vanilla loaf cake

For Brookes' recipe, you'll need the ingredients for the cake and the ingredients for the buttercream frosting, but there will be significant overlap. So, altogether, you'll need 1 ¼ cups of butter at room temperature, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, three large eggs, 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1 ⅓ cups of all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder, 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk.

Start by prepping the wet ingredients

Start the prep process by setting the oven to preheat to 350 F. Then, line a 2-pound loaf tin with a loaf tin liner or parchment paper. In a bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat ¾ cup of the butter and all of the granulated sugar until smooth and fluffy — this should take about four minutes. Then add 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one by one, beating to combine after each.

Mix the dry separately, then add them to the wet ones

Sift in the flour and baking powder (Brookes cleverly uses a strainer with a wooden spoon, which does the job nicely), and gently fold this mixture into the wet ingredients, using a wooden spoon to form the batter.

Bake the vanilla loaf cake

Transfer the mixture to your prepared tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack so it can cool completely.

Whip up the buttercream frosting and enjoy

Add the remaining ½ cup of butter and the remaining teaspoon vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand whisk until smooth. Gradually sift in the powdered sugar about ¼ cup at a time, whisking after each addition. If the icing starts to become a little too dry, start adding a splash of the milk in alternation with the powdered sugar. The final texture should be a smooth frosting that is spreadable but holds its shape. If it's too thick, add more milk. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar.

Spread the frosting all over the top of the cooled cake. Top with some sprinkles if desired, then you're ready to enjoy a perfectly sweet little treat.

Vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe
5 from 57 ratings
Simple and sweet, this vanilla loaf cake makes for a perfect weeknight dessert.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
40
minutes
Servings
10
Slices
vanilla loaf cake
Total time: 55 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the cake batter
  • ¾ cup butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • For the icing
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Optional Ingredients
  • sprinkles for decorating
Directions
  1. Line a 2-pound loaf tin with a liner or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat ¾ cup butter and the sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one by one, beating after each addition.
  4. Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture to your prepared tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake in the tin for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Add the remaining ½ cup butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand whisk until smooth.
  8. Gradually sift in the powdered sugar about ¼ cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Once the icing starts to become a little too dry, start adding a splash of the milk in alternation with the powdered sugar. The final texture should be a smooth frosting that is spreadable but holds its shape. If it's too thick, add more milk. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar.
  9. Spread the frosting all over the top of the cooled cake. Top with some sprinkles, if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 419
Total Fat 24.7 g
Saturated Fat 15.1 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 117.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 46.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 33.0 g
Sodium 80.8 mg
Protein 3.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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