Easy vanilla cake

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins


Serves 12
A moist cake drenched with vanilla syrup. Use as the basis for a range of fabulous celebration cakes

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal399
  • fat21g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs48g
  • sugars27g
  • fibre1g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.31g
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  • 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



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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Comments (271)

nicachu's picture

Fantastic cake, made it for my daughters 10th birthday earlier this year and it was a massive hit! Will always make this now for celebrations and i am doing it right now for my younger daughters birthday

nicirob's picture

I would like to make this cake for my grandmas 80th. The cake would need to serve 30 people. Would a 10 inch square tin be ok for this? Would it work if I just doubled the recipe? Also how much would the cooking time need to be increased by for this 'new' quantity?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, I've never baked a cake this size before.

hollyleaf14's picture

Ive been looking for a good vanilla cake for agesss this was brilliant ill definately use it in the future!

lou153's picture

SPARROW - I done it for a 10 inch square and i had to double the amount, so possibly 3 times for u or possible 4 to be on the safe side,if that is any help to u???

fallen_nemesis's picture

made this and added some pink food colouring for my grans birthday cake and finished it off with a layer of buttercream then royal icing and pink fondant roses all over the top and sides. Went down a treat! the sugar drizzle meant it stayed lovely and moist and it tasted even better the next day if that's possible! It did however take a bit longer than the stated time to cook all the way through, and the first one I did ended up burnt and in the bin! Second attempt went much better though and I turned the oven down by 10 degrees and left it in for a fair bit longer. I'm sure it was more to do with my oven being wonky than the recipe though! But it's been added to my cookbook for the base for pretty much every birthday cake I get asked to make in future!

jarofdirt's picture

I tried this recipe and it was divine. I now have to make a 16 inch cake and I wanted to use this recipe. I needed to know how many times I would have to multiply the ingredients. THANKS.

donnasch's picture

Excellent cake that is easy to make, tastes fantastic and was a lot bigger than expected! Recommend the buttercream icing. It managed to survive a tropical climate without all of the bugs sliding off when I made it for the birthday bug cake!

indigo12's picture

Maybe it was a mistake on my part but I definately couldn`t use this cake as awedding cake tier.It was very flat and wasn`t deep enough to be cut in half to fill it.I couldn`t of cut it once,nevermind twice! I ended up having to make 2 more to get the right height.They all turned out very thin?????

lou153's picture

looking to make the cake for a 1st birthday,never made it before and hoping someone could tell me what size of tin this recipe is for, im wanting to use a 10" sqaure cake tin??

ambam213's picture

DELICIOUS! I halved the ingredients and baked in two sandwich tins for 20 mins and was still plenty! I used half fat creme freche instead of the yoghurt and didn't have any jam so just butter cream filling and normal icing on the top. Kept so so moist for days after - could have easily have been shop brought!

anothermember's picture

as many other members have said it is a delicious cake. made for my mother in laws' birthday and went down a treat, followed the recipe word for word, was usure how it would turn out as i have followed other recipes from various sites and had some disasters but this was gorgeous!!!!! will ALWAYS use this recipe for those special occasion cakes from now on.

millie-ann's picture

I only have low fat plain yogurt in the fridge, will that work?

julietulip's picture

I made the cake this weekend for my son's 5th birthday party. Compliments all round ... a lovely recipe. I wasn't sure how much I'd need for a 9x13x2 inch cake tin, so I doubled the quantities and there was enough over to make 6 cupcakes. (Its the first time I've ever used 10 eggs in one cake!!! Slightly scary ... and I now know I need a bigger mixing bowl ... but it worked really well!!) My oven is fast so it took a bit less than an hour and 20 minutes. Very generously filled it with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream ... then covered it all with fondant icing and turned into a fabulous football pitch!!!! Excellent!!!! This is the recipe I will use for ALL future family party cakes.

samcoates's picture

3rd time of baking this cake and as before it has turned out delicious and moist. wouldnt even bother trying a different vanilla sponge recipe anymore as I doubt any would be as good! Also lasts much longer than normal sponge as it doesnt dry out, not that it lasts that long!

mummy_scrummy's picture

made this cake for my nephew's bday. It was the best recipe I have tried for vanilla cake, very firm and easy to shape as desired, very moist and yumm - I made a Toy Story 3 Pizza Truck birthday cake using this recipe. I will definitely use this recipe again for celebration and decoration. Thank you

tracytroll's picture

This cake is absolutely divine and I found the recipe really easy to use. I was wondering if anyone had ever used it for cupcakes and if so did it work and at what temperature you cooked them on and for how long?

joanneeland's picture

Made this recipe for my boyfriend's 30th birthday with 20 guests. I used a rectangle 25x35cm pan, doubled the recipe and cooked it for just under 1 hour at the suggested temp. Covered it in rolled fondant to make it into a poker table. It is one of those cakes that just gets better and better the longer you leave it. I made it on Thursday, its now Tuesday and I've brought what's left into work and it's still moist and delicious. One thing I would say is that I tried a bit from the corner and it was slightly dry - so make sure you coat the entire cake in the vanilla syrup, I think I missed a bit!! Even my friend, who hates sweet stuff, said this was delicious and asked would I make it for his wedding!!! I'll use this recipe from now on.

hughesmota's picture

I made this cake in a 10" round time, I did 3x the recipe but left out the milk and the cake was lovely and moist but was denser on the bottom than the top. Also, the bottom and sides cooked a bit too much. I've tried cooking it at a lower temperature for longer but it didn't make any difference. Any ideas how I can solve this problem?

teenytinybaker101's picture

The syrup makes it beautifully moist, everyone absolutely loved it. It did make a rather big cake though, which was probably a good thing!

bacon-n-egg's picture

This is the best victoria type sponge. Its moist and has an amazing taste. I do mine in two sandwich tins or convert into cupcakes. Its totally foulproof as I just throw it all into the magimix - quick mix. I aways use the vanilla paste (from waitrose) and a touch of rich vanilla essence just to give it a bit more strength. I use jam and a fresh double cream mixed with butter and icing sugar filling. A real winner!


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