Easy vanilla cake

Easy vanilla cake

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(134 ratings)

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)

cupcakelover's picture

Jenwastar - thanks for the feedback! I'll definitely give it a go then :)

jenwastar's picture

Made this cake for my sister's birthday last year and it was great! Went down a storm! Very tasty and very moist, but also very dense. I think all the baking-mad Moms at the party were quite taken aback by the fact it had 5 eggs in it (means nothing to me...I'm an amateur!) and it weighed a ton. In fact, I may use this recipe again this year but attempt to make a marbled chocolate cake with it as i find that marbled sponges are a bit too bland. Cupcakelover - the cake was MASSIVE...filled my cake tin to the brim and was easily 3inches high. I was able to slice it into three layers with ease. Hope that helps and that it rises to the occasion (...ha I made a funny...!).

cupcakelover's picture

Could someone advise me how tall/high this cake will be once baked, if using a 20cm tin? I need to bake a cake for a class and it needs to be 3 inches high! Appreciate the advise.. thank you..

lucuma's picture

Fabulous sponge! I have tried different recipes but this is the best so far. For the filling I used caramel and chopped walnuts for 2 layers and raspberry jam for another layer...delicious!!!!

samcoates's picture

Delicious moist cake and this is the second time I have made it however I keep having problem of it 'peaking' in the middle. This has caused problems when icing as I wanted it flat on the top. Other than slicing a layer off the top does anyone have any suggestions of what I may be doing wrong??

dianet's picture

I am making this cake at this very moment for my sisters birthday. I've made 1.5 times the recipe amount and i'm making a 3 tierd stacked cake which i will coved with lots of buttercream. If the finished cake tastes as good as the batter think i'll be onto a winner!

lyn_sa's picture

Made this for my daughters 6th birthday. I reduced sugar by 50g in the cake because I thought that the syrup was going to make the cake too sweet, but it was not necessary.
The cake was easy to cut into a flower.
Next time will use recommended amount of sugar.
The cake was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

DrNat's picture

I'm making this for a wedding next week, and I had a slight issue with the trial run; when I turned the oven off (I left the cake in the oven with the door open for ten minutes, as I'd been having trouble with sponges sinking), the cake sank and came away from the sides quite a lot, and ...in a weird 'waisted' shape, which meant I had to use a lot of buttercream on the outside to give it a flat edge for the fondant icing. Any ideas how I can stop this happening? I'd increased the ingredients by 80% to go in a 25cm tin, and used newspaper tied on with string around the edge of the tin to stop the edges cooking too fast. Also, does anyone know when you are meant to take the cake out of the tin? I left it in to cool completely, but not sure if this is correct, as the bottom was stuck to the greaseproof paper when I took it off. The cake tastes amazing though, and it was as white as it looks in the picture (but I used white caster sugar).

thetastybaker's picture

Mmmmm, this cake was really scrummy! I made it for a friends birthday and it went down really well. It was very soft and moist and was simply perfect, smothered in buttercream and filled with strawberry jam.

annahmiller's picture

One more question: did your recipe really turn out a cake this "white" (as in the photo). Meaning, there's hardly any naturally browning from the baking process it seems.

annahmiller's picture

I'm just getting ready to make this for a birthday. I'm using a square pan. Do I slice the cake for filling before drenching it (wouldn't it be too soft to lift off the slices)? Has anyone tried adding chocolate bits (or similar) or would they sink? My girl is asking for chocolate cake so I'm looking for something prettier on the inside without disappointing her wish. Any suggestions please?

torialldred's picture

I have made wedding, birthday and celebration cakes for years and came across this recipe a few years ago...and havent used another one since, its perfect,....dense enough, but with the greek yoghurt, it gives it a light but moist flavour that all my clients comment on!

jocarla's picture

thanks t44snm, will give the recipe a go with cupcakes

vmarchesi's picture

Thanks -t44snm. It sounds so good that I have to try making it - good excuse for a new cake tin!

heypresto's picture

Really easy and tasted amazing. It was still really fresh by day 3!

t44snm's picture

oh and vannessa80 the depth of the cake tin is quite important because the cake will obviously rise as you cook it! i think you will have to buy a deeper cake tin, or if your using sandwich tins split the mixture between the 2 and fill it as you would.hope this helps.

t44snm's picture

i doubled this recipe to fit in a bigger cake tin and used what was left over to make cup cakes,they turned out nice.

t44snm's picture

This is such a nice cake, but im really kicking myself because i forgot to do the syrup bit! so i know it could have been better. regardless the cake itself turned out wow, i made it for my daughters 6th birthday,covered the cake in pink royal frosting, made sugar paste flowers in different sizes and arranged them on the cake finally decorating with sparkly sprinkles and edible glitter. real stunner! oh and i used double cream instead of the greek yogurt.

vmarchesi's picture

could anyone tell me how important the depth of the tin is? Can this be done in a standard 20cm x 7cm tin or do I need to buy a deeper tin? Thanks

jocarla's picture

I'm making my friend's wedding cake at the end of the month. After reading all of the positive comments about this recipe I wonder if it would be possible to use it to make cupcakes. If not could anyone point me in the direction of a good vanilla cupcake recipe.



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