Easy vanilla cake

Easy vanilla cake

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(132 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 (270)

monilouise80's picture

I made this cake for my birthday cake as I wanted to make my own this year. I filled it with raspberry jam and vanilla butter cream, covered it in vanilla butter cream tinted green and made fondant icing daisies for the top.
My first attempt at the sponge didn't work as I used a square tin but forgot that a square tin should be 2cm smaller than a round one so it sank once I took it out of the oven (I still iced it and it actually tasted lovely, just didn't look as impressive) but my second attempt in the round tin was fabulous! I forgot to put the milk in so I'm sure it could have been better, if that's possible, but the result I got was a huge, very moist gorgeous sponge - everybody thought it had been made for me by a professional! I will be using this recipe for all celebration cakes now.

cocoas's picture

if i wanted to use this recipes to make cupcakes would it work? how long will i bake for

tashynadarling's picture

Fantastic vanilla cake, if you're thinking of making it do!
Made it for a birthday and everyone raved about it.
I substituted the greek yoghurt for low fat vanilla, as that's all I had, and then put full fat milk in.

man1shad's picture

A lovely cake with a great homemade taste. I didn't fill it which is why I believe it was not moist enough but shall definitely repeat this recipe with a filling. I iced it with buttercream. Any suggestions on the filling?

alinabake's picture

Well, I decided to have a go myself. I followed the recipe to the letter and found it very heavy and not particularly tasty. Much prefer the Mary Berry flag cake to be honest. This was a lot of ingredients for a not particularly memorable cake. Nice yes but not the best. I'm disappointed after all the rave reviews.

alinabake's picture

Well, I decided to have a go myself. I followed the recipe to the letter and found it very heavy and not particularly tasty. Much prefer the Mary Berry flag cake to be honest. This was a lot of ingredients for a not particularly memorable cake. Nice yes but not the best. I'm disappointed after all the rave reviews.

alinabake's picture

I've not tried this recipe yet but just wanted to ask- has anyone tried with four eggs? It's got a lot of liquid in cake already and u read that too many eggs can make cake heavy? And advice? Thanks!!!

sumarks's picture

I've just made this for my little girls birthday and was really looking forward to it after reading all the glowing reviews but was left feeling a little nonplussed by it to be honest. Maybe my ingredients weren't of the right quality or maybe as I'm quite a novice I did something wrong, but it was a bit heavy and greasy I felt, no one complained about it but equally no one jumped up and begged me to make one for them. So upset as this was going to be the cake that knocked baking queen off the top spot in the office. tsk, back to the drawing board!

anna-soffia's picture

Has anybody ever made this in an aga? Does the cooking time vary at all???
Thanks in advance!! :)

littleredflutterby's picture

Lovely cake very moist. Made with the expensive vanilla extract, not paste or pods, still turned out really nicely. Added sugar strands to the mix for flecks of colour. Excellent for birthday pales etc.

bakingbarker's picture

Tasted amazing but was quite heavy and dense. I might try less eggs next time.

mrsmanzie's picture

Absolutely Fantastic!! Made this cake as my first attempt at sponge (I have only even done fruit celebration cakes before - sponge was always a disaster) and I am delighted. The cake is moist and tastes fabulous. I will not try any other receipe if doing a sponge birthday cake from now on. The tin I used was a 23cm so just added another fifth and it still worked beautifully and at the same timing and heat. Also, used the dental floss suggestion and this works a treat.
Any suggestions to make this a choc cake would be fantastic ? ?

eilidhrobertson's picture

Made this for son's 1st birthday and was a success, iced as per simple elegance wedding cake instructions although only split in half rather than in thirds. I think this will be a staple cake recipe in our house for birthdays to come. Thank you.

clairel322's picture

I tried this recipe for a wedding cake and it was perfect! Very sturdy cake and not as light as others I've made but still tasted fantastic. Will be using this recipe from now on for any celebration cakes!!

alfie00's picture

First time Ive made a Birthday cake turned out well. Lovely moist sponge.

keri1106's picture

well ive made this cake and just waiting to ice it... smells lovely..... was a bit hesitant about the yog but heyh-...

jess68's picture

Any ideas how I can adapt this cake by adding white choc chips, I take it I just leave out the vanilla, then the vanilla syrup would be a no-goer?
with the cutting with dental flos I take it the colder the better for the cake?
thanks, Jess

smurph57's picture

Great recipe - i have used this numerous times now, it's easy, tastes wonderful and is perfect for celebration cakes as it's good and sturdy and will take sugarpaste and tiering well.

Freezes well if you are making a celebration cake and need to carve it. Really worth making sure you use the best ingredients (e.g. golden caster, vanilla bean paste) in this as it really shows in the final result. Yum!

lleflufy's picture

Wow, it worked!!!!! Very very good and thanks for the dental floss tip - didn't have any un-minted floss but used nylon tread - worked a treat!! I cooked it in a 9X9 square pan and used jam and buttercream in the middle with a thin layer of buttercream on the top; I would definitely recommend the jam layer in the middle, it transformed it.

spangle2204's picture

Am going to try this for my son's birthday party next week!


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