Vanilla buttercream cake recipe
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pans
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup for dusting the pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated 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)
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream, plus additional if needed
1. Spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper; spray the parchment and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. Whisk the baking powder, salt and 3 cups flour together in a bowl until combined. Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, then 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 and ending with the flour, until just smooth.
3. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middles comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely. Remove the parchment.
4. For the buttercream: Mix together the confectioners’ sugar and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low speed until well blended, then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
5. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
6. Trim the tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife to make them level, if desired. Spread frosting on each layer, stack layers and cover with frosting.
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