*** IMPORTANT: This recipe is ONLY for people who live in high altitudes! And should work or be a good starting point for altitudes of 4,000-6,000. This is calculated for 5,200 (Denver). For a regular vanilla cake recipe, check out Kara’s Perfect Vanilla Cake!

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High Altitude (5000 ft) Vanilla Bean Cake by: Lisa Herrera
After many trials and errors, I have finally found a vanilla cake that works for me here in the Denver area at 5280 feet elevation. I adapted Liz Marek's vanilla cake, and after finding my perfect formula, I have a tried and true friend for life. The mixing process is a little tricky, but it is similar to Kara's perfect white cake. If you like a tall cake, you will need to double this recipe and your cooking time will be closer to 50-60 minutes. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't turn out the first time. Baking in this altitude can be tricky, and has many variables. So tweak things here and there if you need to. Now bake away!
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Type of Recipe Cake, White/Vanilla
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30-45 minutes
Type of Recipe Cake, White/Vanilla
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30-45 minutes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
  1. Heat oven to 345 degrees (check you oven temp with an oven thermometer) and prep your pans. I use a parchment collar for taller cakes, and also baking strips for added assurance of even baking.
  2. Measure the liquid in a bowl, give it a little whisk and set it aside.
  3. Measure out dry ingredients in your mixer bowl.
  4. With your paddle attachment on the lowest speed, slowly add your softened butter a little at a time. Mix until it looks like coarse sand. It should also hold its shape like wet sand when you squeeze it in your hands.
  5. Add 1/3 of wet ingredients while your mixer is on low speed, just until it is moistened. Don’t add too much liquid.
  6. Stop and scrape your bowl, then increase your mixer speed to medium speed and mix for 2 minutes. Let mixture whip until it has become thick and the color has lightened. It is important not to over or under mix at this stage.
  7. Stop and scrape your bowl, then on low/medium speed, slowly add the rest of your wet ingredients a little at a time, stopping halfway through to scrape your bowl. Your batter should be a little thick and not runny.
  8. Now it’s time to fill your pans. This recipe will fill 2-8’ pans 2/3 of the way. But only 1-8’ pan ¾ filled, if you are like me and want a tall cake. And if you do, make sure to double your recipe. Also, be mindful of your baking times depending on your batter amount.
  9. I like to use a scale to measure out my batter evenly (Can you say OCD!) you can just eyeball it of course. I also like to bang my pans on the counter a few times. This will help bring those pesky air bubbles to the surface. Warning: Your family will hate you for this.
  10. Now bake! I have found if you don’t bake it long enough for the cake to set, you are likely to get a sunken middle. We hate that! So don’t be tempted to open your oven door. Use your oven light to keep an eye on it. I will normally bake ¾ of the way through before checking on it.
  11. When I do check on it, if it still wiggles, I add another 7 minutes. Why 7 minutes? Because its more than 5, but not quite 10…lol Check it every couple of minutes till the cake is done. And you know it's done when a skewer comes out of the middle with just a few crumbs, or they release from the pan easily.
  12. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then turn it over onto a baking rack and let it cool completely.
  13. Your cake should be tender and have a nice tight crumb, great for layered and sculpted cakes.
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  1. Rsweetart 1 year ago

    Hello I just upgrade my subcription, and I would love Lisa Herrera recipe, how can I get it.
    Thank you

  2. Avalon Yarnes 1 year ago

    Hi! Sorry about that, just updated it! Also – are you at a high elevation location wise? This is for 5000 ft above sea level. For a regular (and delicious) vanilla recipe, try this: https://avaloncakesschool.com/recipe/perfect-vanilla-cake/
    To learn how to adjust the recipe to the serving you need (member-only), check out these quick videos: https://avaloncakesschool.com/tools/cake-calculator/

  3. Rocio 1 year ago

    Hello Thank you for your respond
    I am in Florida

  4. Avalon Yarnes 1 year ago

    Flordia is close too sea level, I would try Kara’s recipe that i linked before 🙂

  5. Jacqueline Caughey 1 year ago

    I am at 7500 feet. I have struggled with vanilla cake at this altitude so I am excited to try this!

  6. Laila Sayed Ibrahem 10 months ago

    Hi I am from Egypt I well try this one i love it

  7. Anne 10 months ago

    Do you think this recipe would work down in the Springs. Or up in the Springs if your speaking elevation wise. Lol. I’ve been trying white cakes for years and they always fall!!

  8. Author
    Lisa Herrera 10 months ago

    Anne…This recipe should work just fine in the Springs. A great tip is to check your oven temp with an oven thermometer. I was getting very frustrated with the sinking in the middle, and ended up checking my oven and it was almost 20 degrees off! Makes a big difference. Also, I found patience is key. As much as you want open that oven door, let your cakes bake at least 3/4 of the way through before opening the oven door to check on them. I hope you have great success with this recipe as I have and I am happy to help you in any way I can.

  9. nydia mercado 8 months ago

    I’m moving to Hawaii currently living in seattle should I make this recipe?

  10. Avalon Yarnes 8 months ago

    Depends on where in Hawaii you are.. I think the mean altitude is like 3,000 there which requires only small alternations in recipes… if you are higher up, around 5k, then yes definitely give this a go!

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