Raspberry vanilla cake — your favourite vanilla layer cake filled and frosted with raspberry buttercream. Soft, tender, delicious! And it’s very easy to make too.
(Looking for other desserts you can make with raspberries? Try this white chocolate tart with raspberries and mascarpone or start your day by drizzling homemade raspberry sauce on your waffles and pancakes.)
I love to make this cake in the spring, but it’s really a great cake to make all year-round.
With its pretty pink buttercream and classic vanilla layers, it’s perfect for birthdays, baby and wedding showers, and more.
Why you’ll love making this recipe
We probably all grew up having a vanilla cake on one of our birthdays and I just love the simplicity of it. You’ll love making this version because:
- It’s a really good vanilla cake. Bakers need a go-to, no-fail, classic vanilla cake in their repertoire and this is mine. It’s based on Ana Olson’s recipe from her book Back to Baking so you know it’s good!
- Raspberry and vanilla go so well together. The frosting does not bring down the lightness of the cake. The vanilla flavour does not get overpowered by the frosting.
- We use raspberry jam to make the buttercream. Quick, convenient, available all year.
- But you can also substitute with another flavour. No raspberry jam? Try strawberry, blueberry or blackberry.
- Make-ahead. You can make this cake when you have the time and assemble or serve when you need it.
How to make vanilla raspberry cake
This recipe has two components: the vanilla layer cake and the raspberry buttercream.
To make the cake, you’ll need:
- All purpose flour
- Cake flour — if you can’t find cake flour, you can easily make your own
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla bean paste — I love the specks of vanilla you get when using vanilla paste but you can certainly use vanilla extract. Whatever you use, try and buy the best vanilla paste or extract that budget allows. It really makes a difference.
- Buttermilk — we’ll need 1 cup of buttermilk in this recipe. Here are ideas on how to use leftover buttermilk.
And for the buttercream:
- Unsalted butter
- Raspberry jam — I always use Bonne Maman, which has seeds in it. My family and I don’t mind the seeds on the frosting but if you do, buy a seedless jam. The important thing is it’s jam that you like eating on its own. You can also make your own raspberry jam; that would be amazing.
- Confectioner’s sugar — also called powdered sugar or icing sugar.
As far as baking tools go, you’ll need:
- Electric mixer — handheld or stand mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wire rack
- Optional cake decorating tools like a cake turntable, angled spatula and icing tips
- I also always recommend using an oven thermometer and a kitchen scale
How to make vanilla cake
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 8-inch round pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease again then lightly dust with flour.
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients then set aside.
In a larger bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each addition is incorporated.
Stir in the vanilla.
Switch to low speed and add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk. Scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl as necessary.
Transfer the cake batter into your prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of each cake comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to make raspberry buttercream
While your cakes are cooling, you can make the frosting.
Using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and raspberry jam on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
Switch to low speed and add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time until well incorporated.
Once you’ve added all the sugar, add milk and beat the frosting on high speed for 2 minutes until very smooth and fluffy.
At this point, check your frosting and decide if you’re happy with the consistency.
If not, add more sugar or milk about ½ teaspoon at a time and continue beating until you get the consistency you want. Be sure to taste the frosting as you go.
To assemble, take one cake and place on a platter or cake turntable smooth side down.
Using a piping bag fitted with your favourite large tip, pipe a border around the cake.
Fill the centre with raspberry frosting. You’ll want the height of the frosting equal to the height of your border so your cake doesn’t sag in the middle.
Put your other cake on top, smooth side up and decorate as desired.
I like to chill the cake in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes to allow the frosting to set but the cake is best served at room temperature.
Expert baking tips
For perfect vanilla and raspberry cakes every time, remember to:
- Use room temperature ingredients. They are easier to blend and incorporate and result to smoother batters.
- Measure ingredients properly. Baking relies heavily on carefully measured ingredients. In my recipes, I provide both volume and weight measurements but when I’m baking, I always weigh my ingredients. A kitchen scale is an inexpensive but worthy investment in any kitchen.
- Don’t over bake. You don’t want your tester to come out immaculately clean because the cakes will continue to cook as they cool and end up too dry. You want your tester to come out with minimal dry crumbs.
- Bake at the right temperature. Ovens are different — some run hot and some run cold. Investing in an oven thermometer ensures that you’re always baking at the right temperature.
- Allow the cakes to cool before frosting. While this kind of buttercream is sturdier than others (for example, cream cheese frosting), it will still melt and become runny if you spread it on a warm cake.
You can absolutely use jam instead of frosting as the raspberry filling. Make sure to still pipe a border around the cake to ensure that your jam doesn’t ooze out.
You can make a frosted cake 1-2 days in advance. The frosting should keep it moist.
I usually keep it uncovered in the fridge because my cake containers won’t fit (!!) but if you have one that does, it’s best to keep it covered to protect it from air and fridge smells.
You can also bake the layers 3-4 days in advance.
Wrap them in cling wrap, then in foil, before keeping them in the fridge. Take them out when you’re ready to assemble.
While I like to chill the cake right after frosting, it’s best served at room temperature. That way, the cake has the chance to soften up again.
We like to serve the slices with fresh raspberries.
Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. They should stay fresh up to 3 days.
Other layer cake recipes
If you love making layer cakes, check these out:
- Ube Cake with Ube Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd Filling and Lemon Buttercream
- Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting
- Yema Cake Recipe with Stable Yema Frosting
They will be the star of any celebration!
Raspberry Vanilla Cake
For the Vanilla Cake:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 3 pieces large eggs room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
For the Raspberry Buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup raspberry jam
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar more may be needed to achieve desired consistency
- 3 tbsp milk more may be needed to achieve desired consistency
For the Vanilla Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 8-inch round pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease again then lightly dust with flour.
- In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients then set aside.
- In a larger bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each addition is incorporated.
- Stir in the vanilla until combined.
- Switch to low speed and add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk. Scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl as necessary.
- Transfer the cake batter into your prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of each cake comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Raspberry Buttercream:
- Using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and raspberry jam on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
- Switch to low speed and add confectioner's sugar a little at a time until well incorporated.
- Once you've added all the sugar, add milk and beat the frosting on high speed for 2 minutes until very smooth and fluffy (see note).
For the Assembly:
- Take one cake and place on a platter or cake turntable smooth side down.
- Using a piping bag fitted with your favourite large tip, pipe a border around the cake.
- Fill the centre with raspberry frosting. You'll want the height of the frosting equal to the height of your border so your cake doesn't sag in the middle.
- Put your other cake on top, smooth side up and decorate as desired.
- Chill in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes to allow the frosting to set. Best served at room temperature.
- Total yield depends on how thick or thin you slice your cake.
- After adding the milk, check your frosting and decide if you’re happy with the consistency. If not, add more sugar or milk about ½ teaspoon at a time and continue beating until you get the consistency you want. Be sure to taste the frosting as you go.
- See post for lots of baking tips, FAQs and step-by-step photos.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make raspberry vanilla cake? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
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Can I cut the butter with shortening to get a “crusting” raspberry buttercream frosting?
Hi Sharon, unfortunately I don’t use shortening when making frosting so I can’t say.
This looks so delicious! My daughters birthday is coming up so I might have to surprise her with this cake!
I really enjoyed the raspberry frosting on this cake! I don’t like ones that are overly sweet but this one was perfect and went really well with the simple vanilla cake.
Happy to hear you liked it Veronika!
I substituted strawberries/strawberry jam for raspberries & this cake was awesome!!! The cake itself was perfect & icing was divine! Adding to my recipe staples for dessert!
Yum! That sounds delicious Mandielei! And you get to keep that nice natural pink/red tint too 🙂
Can I make the buttercream ahead of time? If so how much ahead?
Hi Tierra! It’s best fresh but yes, you can refrigerate it 1-2 days (I won’t go beyond two days). Make sure to cover it properly so it doesn’t absorb fridge smells 🙂 When you’re ready to use it, allow the buttercream to cool to room temp. You’d need to whip it again and possibly add milk/sugar to fluff it up and make it spreadable or reach the consistency you like. Enjoy!
I made this cake, I thought it was a bit dry, but overall good. I added some fresh raspberries in the cake. Thank you for sharing.
This cake looks absolutely perfect! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
This cake looks so pretty and delicious! I love the idea of a raspberry frosting – I feel like I tend to only see raspberry thrown in with other flavors like lemon or chocolate.
Thanks Kate! I must say the raspberry frosting steals the show here. I may or may not have eaten it with a spoon haha. Hope you get to try it…it’s a great spring frosting.
The crumb on that cake looks amazing
I lOVE YOUR BLOG! There is a sense of comfort when I started reading (I felt like I was stalking haha creeps) your recipes…because I am from Manila too (hallooooooo!) But I was drawn to your little space of heaven up north! Haha layo! Keep blogging! ❤ love, love your masterpieces. I shall try doing them. 🙂
Awww this made my day Lica! 🙂 That’s very kind of you to say. Are you in Manila still? If you are know that I am jealous lol! And I hope you get to try one of the recipes on here soon. Have a lovely evening!