- 250g pack unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 250g golden caster sugar
- seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 5 large egg, cracked into a jug
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- 85g plain flour
- 100g full-fat Greek yogurt (I used Total)
- 250g self-raising flour
- 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
For the syrup
- 50g golden caster sugar
- seeds ½ vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla paste
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Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease a round, deep 20cm tin, then line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
Using electric beaters or a tabletop mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and ¼ tsp salt together until pale and fluffy, then pour in the eggs, one at a time, giving the mix a really good beating before adding the next. Add 1 tbsp of the plain flour if the mix starts to look slimy rather than fluffy. Beat in the yogurt.
Mix the flours; then, using a large metal spoon, fold them into the batter, followed by the milk. Spoon the mix into the tin and bake for 1 hr 20 mins or until well risen and golden – a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
Meanwhile, make the syrup by gently heating 50ml water with the sugar and vanilla in a pan until the sugar dissolves. Set aside. Once the cake is out of the oven, leave to cool for 30 mins in the tin, then use a skewer to poke holes all over the cake, going right to the bottom. Pour the syrup over, letting it completely soak in after each addition. Leave to cool completely, then either wrap the cake well or fill and ice it. If you wrap it with baking parchment and cling film, the unfilled cake will keep well for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to a month.
For ideas on how to decorate the cake and to try out some variations on this basic cake mixture, have a look at the 'Goes well with' recipes for Simple elegance wedding cake, Birthday bug cake and Summer celebration cake.
A good, basic vanilla buttercream
Put 175g soft unsalted butter into a large bowl. Beat with electric beaters for a few secs until pale. Gradually add 300g sifted icing sugar, a spoonful at a time. Keep beating until mixture is pale and creamy. Beat in seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla paste. Makes enough to cover a 20cm cake. Will keep in fridge for 1 week. Bring back to room temperature and beat well before using.