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)

snapper2's picture

thinking of baking this for a 3 tier cake,10" 8" and 6 " what quantities would i need?any help appreciated

jujudobbo's picture

How do you increase this to a 10" cake

furrywillow's picture

Does anyone know how to change amounts for an 8inch Square tin?

tania77's picture

Best vanilla cake ever!! Moist delicious cake

traceym123's picture

Forgot to rate!

traceym123's picture

I've used this recipe for 5 celebration cakes so far and it turns out great every time. Easy, basic mix that gives a robust cake that will hold up well to carving or sugar paste decorations. Highly recommended

cuppycake3's picture

I halved it and worked well filled 12 cases.

villarie's picture

I changed the flour to cocoa, 1/2 the sugar to brown sugar and it makes a brilliant chocolate cake
Thank you so much it's taken the pain out of finding the right recipe for my son's wedding cake

cuppycake3's picture

If I half this mix can I make into cupcakes? Trying to find the perfect cupcake recipe. Humming bird is lovely but too light thanks

ellesbellsbaking12's picture

I made this recently for a quick-sponge cake(without the syrup) and it was apparently yum! I couldn't eat it but my family really liked it and went back for seconds.

igivegoodcake's picture

Lovely cake - really good texture and the vanilla syrup keeps it moist and enhances the flavour.
I wanted to make it into more of a traybake so used 3/5 of the recipe and baked it in a 9inch square tin that was approx 1.5inch deep. Covered with one quantity of the good, basic vanilla buttercream as listed above - this was probably slightly too much icing, as it was quite a thick layer on top!

rukshanamiah's picture

Can someone please help me on this question? I am going to make a three tier wedding cake. Will this be sturdy enough for the bottom tier? Or would I need to do a fruit/carrot/madera cake? Need an answer asap. Thanks in advance xxx

pipertj's picture

Can anyone tell me whether this rises all the way up the sides of the cake tin? i.e. so it's 3" deep?

harribo's picture

has anyone made this recipe for a 30cm/12" round cake tin? if so how shall i scale up the recipe? i want to make this for a wedding in a month and need to practice.

pcoleman9's picture

Made this 3 times and always turns out just right.

rozaling's picture

This is my new favourite recipe for a vanilla cake. Have made it several times now and everyone loves it!

I forgot to add the yoghurt last time and it turned out just the same.

ladyinred1100's picture

Hi. This cake is obviously good by the great comments. Has anyone made it in two sponge tins like a Victoria sandwich please. Thank you x

beckyboo444's picture

This was an amazing cake, really easy to follow instructions and lasted well when put in tin. Went down a treat with family and friends. Would definitely do this again.

kathcook's picture

I made this cake for a friends 40th Birthday,I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect.I managed to get vanilla paste easily from Tesco and am glad I did, it really made the cake stand out from others I've made.It tasted delicious and was really moist, I'm sure the vanilla syrup made it. Everyone thought it was delicious and was made professionally .I used the dental floss tip which was great (thanks) although I only had mint flavour!! Made the buttercream as per the recipe and also put jam inside, there was enough buttercream to put on the top and sides to hold on the fondant icing too. I make a lot of cakes for kids birthdays etc... And will definately use this from now on, far better than Madeira cake !!


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