Easy vanilla cake

Easy vanilla cake

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(149 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins

Easy

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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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
    Eggs

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  • 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

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.

  3. Add 1 tbsp of the plain flour if the mix starts to look slimy rather than fluffy. Beat in the yogurt. Mix the flours; then, using a large metal spoon, fold them into the batter, followed by the milk.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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, questions and tips

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melissa_lark
24th May, 2018
Made this cake yesterday using the exact ingredients the recipe stated and followed it precisely. The only thing I changed was dividing the cake between two slightly smaller tins rather than the single 20cm tin. Ended up with two pancakes! Haha. Luckily filled with jam and buttercream, stacked on top of each other and then covered with royal icing so the end result was a small-ish cake but I got away with it. Can't comment on taste yet but I'm quite disappointed after hours of hard work. My advice would be don't split the mix unless you double the ingredients first :)
laurabaker
17th May, 2018
1.3
I made this cake as a practice run for my naked wedding cake. My plan was to do it in 6, 8 and 10 inch tins, and do two of each. However I found it really very dense. I know from the reviews that it is a dense cake but it really was solid! I used Waitrose own greek yoghurt- perhaps that wasn't right? And I used 5 medium eggs rather than large. But otherwise I followed it to the letter. Any ideas from people who have made this regularly?
laurabaker
17th May, 2018
1.3
I've now made this cake as it stated in the recipe. I found it very dense in texture. I split one side into three and one side into two as I was practising to use this as part of my wedding cake. I'm not sure if did something wrong but it really was pretty dense. My plan is to make a large naked wedding cake scaling this recipe up and down for 6, 8 and 10 inch tins. But not sure whether to go ahead with it! FYI I used Waitrose own full fat greek yoghurt
sophie_2016
2nd Mar, 2018
5.05
Really great cake. I have made it in a variety of different size tins and it always turns out perfectly. I have also adjusted it to add lemon zest in place vanilla and use lemon curd instead of jam. A very versatile recipe. Covers well with fondant icing and holds it shape very well.
Danielle Lilley's picture
Danielle Lilley
1st Feb, 2018
5.05
This recipe is amazing! I made a two tier cake using instructions from the Simple Elegance Wedding Cake. Made the top 2 tiers, a 15cm and 23cm, therefore doubling the quantities of the cake mix. It's worth noting I am an amateur baker and this was my first ambitious project (80th birthday cake) so I really wanted to get as professional a look as possible. This recipe does not disappoint! The cake is so forgiving, I was so scared about levelling it and slicing into layers but it carved like a dream and even if I made an error when cutting, the sponge basically moulded back together with some light pressure! I forgot the milk and the sponge still came out great. I did use the syrup and would do so again for that extra vanilla flavour and moisture. Will try to remember the milk for next time because although the sponge came out great, I put a lot of faith in this recipe! This is a very dense cake, the kind you only have a small slice of (i.e. birthday/wedding cake!). People looking for a fluffy cake will be disappointed. The vanilla flavour was lovely. I filled with raspberry jam and the vanilla butter cream (tripled quantities) and also iced with the latter. I actually baked the cakes 2 weeks prior, covered well in cling film and foil and froze. Defrosted the night before and cut, filled and iced while still partially frozen (which made the cake super easy to handle). The cake was definitely a hit at the party and if ever I need to do a cake for an occasion again I will be using this recipe. Truly a failsafe recipe which is so crucial when the stakes are high!
amyb86
30th Nov, 2017
5.05
I've used this cake for both lemon and vanilla birthday cake with excellent results. can I adapt the recipe to make chocolate cake or does anyone know of a good chocolate cake that will be strong enough to be fondant iced for a birthday cake? tia x
keamari
7th Jul, 2017
Made this today to form their 2 of naked wedding cake trial. The top half of the cake shrunk onwards. Any ideas why that might be? It was very easy cake to make and timings accurate
Gemma H
12th Jun, 2017
5.05
Hav made this twice, first with the tin as stated, second time split between 2 20cm sandwich tins without syrup but added extra half tsp vanilla and halved the baking time. Both were lovely.
dylanhugh
27th Apr, 2017
How can I adapt the measurements for a 23cm cake. Don't want it to be thin. Thank you
Josietoes74
3rd May, 2017
Try the cakeometer on http://www.cakebaker.co.uk/baking-tin-size-conversion-calculator.html you just add the original ingredients / quantities and cake tin size then input what cake tin size you want to use and it calculates the quantities for you.

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laurabaker
2nd May, 2018
1.3
I am going to make my own wedding cake(!) for my wedding in July and would like to use this recipe. But I'm really confused about the quantities for upscaling and wondered if you can help?? I've got 6, 8 and 10" tins. How do I up and down scale the recipe to make it accurate? I was planning on making 2 cakes for each tier, and splitting them in half. Would this 8" recipe work to be split in half once or is it too dense, and would need splitting in 3? Thank you!!!
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
8th May, 2018
Thank you for your question. We would recommend using recipes specifically designed for the cake tin size to ensure success. This recipe is for an 8" (20cm). We have a range of wedding cakes in different sizes. You can find them here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/wedding-cake Also, check this recipe out: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4578/creating-your-wedding-cake Hope that helps.
hgm285
6th Aug, 2017
How could i adapt this recipe to make a lemon sponge and a chocolate sponge?
sophie_2016
2nd Mar, 2018
5.05
I have made it lemon before my swapping the vanilla paste for lemon zest. It works really well!
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
7th Aug, 2017
Thanks for your question. We have this lemon cake: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4576/wedding-cake-zingy-lemon and this chocolate cake: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4577/wedding-cake-rich-dark-chocolate-cake which we've designed especially for weddings. We hope these appeal.
hgm285
5th Aug, 2017
I would like to make this cake for the bottom tier of my wedding cake how much ingredients will i need for a 30cm instead of 20cm please
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
7th Aug, 2017
Thank you for your question. We have not tested this recipe in different sizes so are not able to give you exact quantities or cooking times. We'd suggest using a recipe for a 30cm cake if you don't feel confident experimenting. We have a simple wedding cake here which may help you work create your cake: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4578/creating-your-wedding-cake Enjoy your Big Day!
xaxa91
15th Jul, 2017
I am planning to use this recipe as the basis for a 3 tier wedding cake which will have a vanilla layer, a lemom layer and a chocolate layer. I can work out how to adapt this recipe for a lemon cake but can anyone suggest a good way to adapt this for a chocolate flavoured cake? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
17th Jul, 2017
Thanks for your question. You could replace some of the plain flour with cocoa powder. We haven't tested this alternative so can't give an exact quantity. If it's for a wedding cake, it might be worth doing a dummy run so you're sure you're happy with the results. Alternatively for guaranteed results, you could try our rich dark chocolate wedding cake recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4577/wedding-cake-rich-dark-chocolate-cake Good luck!
lizarris
18th Apr, 2017
It says "the unfilled cake will keep well for up to 3 days" but if I bake and cover in butter icing on a Monday, will it be ok to eat 4 days later on the Friday?

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Petawilson
16th May, 2018
5.05
Weigh eggs 1st Sugar, butter and flour need to be same weight as eggs Beat sugar and butter for a good 5-10 mins on fastest setting Beat the eggs well with whisk so light and airy before adding to sugar and butter Your cake will now rise beautifully
Sweety6
27th Dec, 2014
3.8
I made this cake for my brother's bday and it turned out really good! My good.
bacon-n-egg
9th May, 2014
5.05
Change tins - this works with two 20cm sandwhich tins too. Rounds tins: 18cm - 3/4 15cm - half recipe 23cm -1 plus 1/4 25cm - 1 plus 1/2 Square: 18cm - 1 20cm - 1 plus 1/4 23cm - 1 plus 1/2 25cm - x2
Bluebell2004
1st Nov, 2013
Tastes great without the syrup