Easy vanilla cake

Easy vanilla cake

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(118 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Serves 12

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

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

kcalories
399
protein
6g
carbs
48g
fat
21g
saturates
12g
fibre
1g
sugar
27g
salt
0.31g

Ingredients

  • 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 eggs, cracked into a jug
  • 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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Method

  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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2009

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Comments

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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
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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
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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
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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!

lleflufy's picture

I live in Colorado and have a problem sometimes with baking at altitude Anyone got any tips for cooking this cake at an altitude of about 5000ft (1500m)? Does it rise a lot like a light fluffy cake?
If not I'll give it a go and see what happens!

helena81's picture
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I use this recipe for all vanilla sponge cake requests as it is simply beautiful and lasts and lasts and lasts!!! How could I adapt it to make it a chocolate sponge instead? Omit some of the plain flour for cocoa??

ak2's picture
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Very good basic cake recipe. Shame my attempt at decorating it is a snowman was so poor! But tasted good all the same!

lucydawn61's picture
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I use this recipe for most of my large cakes. It's very easy & stays beautifully moist. It is quite a 'dense' cake which I personally find easier to work with.

kellyseye's picture

I made this cake for my daughter's birthday at the weekend. It was easy to make and turned out perfect. This is my celebration cake of choice from now on. While the sryup keeps it moist, it makes it very sweet. Next time I will reduce the amount of caster sugar.

infiniteblue's picture

Feel a little silly here, but after you have added the syrup to the cake do you continue to cool the cake in the tin or take it out and cool on a cooling tray?

Thanks

anbarh's picture

I'm going to double the quantity of this recipe as I am baking it in a 10" tin. I know that I need to increase the cooking time, but for approximately how long? Also, do I need to change the oven temperature?

Help would be greatly appreciated!!!

bibster's picture

Looby Loo and Debbie T - Im also thinking of making this as a giant cupcake for my Husband's Birthday but wanted to check, do you not fill this then, but just decorate the top like a normal cupcake would look? What did you do on top - to give me some ideas? Thanks!

bacon-n-egg's picture
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Weberson - you would need a 23cm/9" round cake so you would need to add 1/4 of the recipe.

I would log onto cakecraftworld.com forum for more help.

Personally, I would bake and freeze, as you have a faultless cake and no stress. Make sure you wrap well to prevent freezer burn and cutting is easier when semi froze. Buy vanilla paste from Waitrose and add a drop of vanilla extract (not essence) to boost the flavour. Use the best eggs pref farm gate, this will give a nice yellow cake and better eggs make a better cake. Best of luck!

annerose's picture

Please help me I want to make this cake as the second tier on the (creating your wedding cake - page) instead of the proposed zingy lemon tier. I am new to baking and afraid to mess it up, can anyone help by telling me how much of each ingredient i need for the vanilla tier, to serve 30 people. Thank you!!

sammyv's picture
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What a fantastic recipe - really easy and the syrup results in a moist cake that keeps for a few days (if the cake is around for that long!). My cake turned out absolute huge, possibly because the tin was too small. It also took an extra 20 mins to bake and peaked a little. I cut mine into three and iced with buttercream and jam, before covering with marzipan and royal icing.

Will definitely be making again, and will try out the trick with dental floss!

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