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)

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

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

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

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?


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

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

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!

cookaholic81's picture

I made this cake for my nephews birthday and it was great. Everyone loved it and I will definitely be making this again.

squitten's picture

This makes a fantastic cake - perfect for decorating. My family thought I'd bought it and were very impressed! The syrup makes it beautifully moist and it keeps well for quite a while. Definitely my new standard sponge from now on!

sarahbal4's picture

Gorgeous! Made this for my parents ruby anniversary - it was very popular with the whole family! In fact my daughter has requested one for her birthday cake!

kirstyjane13's picture

I made a trial run of this cake on monday, and it went perfect and had it taste tested by all the family and they all loved it, so I have today made 2 square cakes which i will use to make a number 1, for my friends sons 1st birthday cake, really happy with how they have turned out (i used essence instead of vanilla pod/paste) x

vickyhitchco's picture

I made this cake over the weekend for my Niece's birthday and although it turned out really nice ( and I would make it again) I thought the recipe was a little heavy even though I followed it to a t.... Any ideas anyone? I don't want too give up so easily after the first try as the size of the cake was perfect :-))

denirvo's picture

What a lovely result. I was a bit surprised by the price of the vanilla pods though. Might use essence next time to see if there is a noticeable difference. Didn't cook it for quite as long though, just one hour, but I have a fan oven. Used floss to cut the cake and filled with jam and butter cream, yummmmm, but bang goes the diet! Oops!!

foggyamh's picture

I love this cake. It's my choice of cake whenever I make celebration cakes now :)

madeitwithlove's picture

I will be baking this cake for my husband's 65th birthday next week. We will also be enjoying Jane's zingy lemon cake and her delicious chocolate cake. Fail safe each time so no need for practise runs. Thank you Jane for lovely recipes.

madeitwithlove's picture

Jane's recipes never fail, she has got to be one of the most honest bakers on the internet. I bake every cake recipe submitted by her with results which work every time. I never change Jane's recipes, for me there is no point is spoiling perfection!


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