Vanilla Cake With American Buttercream Frosting

Updated on December 31, 2019
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Christy is a self-taught baker who is still learning. She enjoys scaling down recipes to avoid wasting delicious goodies.

Some beautiful piping!
Some beautiful piping!

The Inspiration

So . . . I've been on a huge Mister Rogers' Neighborhood kick. I don't know why. I can't explain it. It's just a refreshing change of pace. Mister Rogers likes me just the way I am, and tells me that he's happy to see me. You know, things that a person who lives alone doesn't hear often.

I was really excited to try to replicate the Neighborhood Trolley. I got all my supplies, baked a cake in a loaf pan, tried to carve it . . . and obviously didn't do enough research. About halfway through, it was looking rough, and I decided to practice some piping, particularly rosettes. So this is more of a practice cake, but the cake actually was really tasty. Even though it's not the prettiest thing, it was still really fun to make.

So I'll just call this "Essence of Mister Rogers' Trolley" because it's got the colors—and it's the thought that counts.

This recipe is a little larger than my usual size but that just means you can invite friends over and wow them with your cake prowess. And it's still smaller than a normal two-layer cake so you shouldn't have a lot leftover. If any.

The Recipe

Serves 4–6 (Time to throw a party!)


  • 1 Stick of Butter (1/2 a cup)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 1 Cup and 6 Tablespoons Cake Flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk or Whole Milk (I used whole because I can use that to eat my Fruity Pebbles! Mmmm Fruity Pebbles)

The frosting recipe can be found here. I just used my go-to American buttercream recipe.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set out butter and eggs to achieve room temperature status. Prepare pan with butter and flour or parchment paper. I only had one loaf pan so I cooked half the batter, let it cool, removed it and regressed my pan and then cooked the second layer.
  2. Beat sugar and butter together until it is light and fluffy. About 5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time. I'm not sure what this does but apparently it does something because most recipes tell me to do this step.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk all these dry ingredients together.
  6. This is another alternating addition so you're going to add a little bit of your milk, then a little of your dry ingredients and repeat until both containers are empty. I think I did dry, milk, dry, milk, dry. I don't think the order matters that much. You're just giving everything time to get acquainted.
  7. Put half in your pan, never fill a pan more than halfway because your cake will grow. Hopefully. If you did it right.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. This is a great test if you're unsure of your oven. I'm always suspicious of my oven.
  9. When fully baked take out of the oven and let cool in the pan for ten minutes. Then remove the cake and put it on a cooling rack. Wait until it is fully cooled before frosting it.
  10. That's it! You now have two layers to play with. You also don't necessarily have to make two layers. I like the extra layer of buttercream but you could totally just put it in a pan and make a single taller cake just make sure your pan is tall enough to accommodate that rise.

The frosting is sandwiched between two layers.
The frosting is sandwiched between two layers.

There You Have It

And boom, there you have it, an (ugly) show-stopping cake for your party with your one friend! You only need one for it to be a party!


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