Easy vanilla cake

Easy vanilla cake

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(138 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 eggs, 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, questions and tips

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29th Jul, 2014
This recipe makes for an absolutely delicious cake, made it for a birthday recently and was delicious. I left out the vanilla syrup and the sponge was still lovely and moist. I also used two cake tins instead of one deep one and cooked them for about 50 mins instead of 1h20
28th Oct, 2014
Hi I am thinking of using two tins for making a birthday cake and noticed that you did this too. Was it ok doing this just wondered if it would be a bit dry? Thanks
sarebearcarebear's picture
21st Jul, 2014
I made this cake last week for my daughters 7th birthday. I am a keen baker and have made many cakes before but never for a particular celebration. I was a little worried it wouldn't turn out right but it was yummy :) My other half said it was a *little* dry but I had to disagree. Didn't bother with the syrup this time round. All in all a very good recipe and the best thing was my daughter said the cake was scrumptious
6th Jul, 2014
Fantastic recipe. I have made this a few times for celebration cakes. Works perfectly every time. Delicious.
1st Jul, 2014
Made this as a practice run for a birthday cake. A really nice texture and flavour. Will use again.
10th May, 2014
Have just used this recipe to make a two tier wedding cake for my brother's wedding. Had a couple of dummy runs first using the recipe. It was easy to make and was met with lots of positive comments from my 'tasters'. As a result I was confident that all would be good on the day, and it was. Lots and lots of compliments. I would definitely recommend this recipe.
2nd Nov, 2014
Hi Jogee, I am using this recipe to make my friends wedding cake. Can I ask how far in advance did you make the sponge cake? and did you use the syrup?
17th Apr, 2014
Disappointing - likewise after 1 hrs 30 mins still undercooked, stogy, very greasy- returned to oven after cooling and splitting otherwise it would have been inedible. Will return to using my Madeira receive.
9th May, 2014
This recipe is foolproof - it is a basic sponge with yogurt. I assume that you made a mistake somewhere along the line - I use this for wedding cakes etc and never fails.
11th Apr, 2014
I made this cake for the first time yesterday upon a friend's recommendation. It's lovely, came out perfectly! I didn't make the vanilla syrup after reading the comments and it was still beautifully moist. A keeper for sure! You can see a pic of it here, as well as a write-up. http://annauk1.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/easy-vanilla-sponge-or-butter-vs-stork/ I made it with Stork instead of butter and it still worked perfectly. Be aware though that it's a very dense cake, not light and airy. But this is a good thing in my eyes.


3rd Oct, 2014
This recipe is for a 20cm tin . I am using a 25cm round tin unsure of how to calculate accurate measurements and quantities of ingredients HELP ? Thanking you in advance
goodfoodteam's picture
15th Oct, 2014
Hi there, thanks for the question. There is no exact science when adapting cake recipes to fit other tins, for best results follow a recipe for your tin size, thanks. 
23rd Sep, 2014
I'd love to use this recipe for a christening cake - how would I adapt it to fit a 9x13 inch rectangular pan?
21st Sep, 2014
Can you substitue the Greek Yoghurt for an equal measure of sour cream? Thank you
17th Jun, 2014
Has anyone ever made this recipe as a dairy and gluten free cake? Planning to use it with substitutes but wondered if anyone else had tried it?
Pickle von Moom
26th Feb, 2014
Does anybody know how much the ingredient quantities would change for a 23cm cake tin?...Thanks
4th Jul, 2013
Do you pour the syrup over the cake while still in the tin? Making tonight..... Thanks.
goodfoodteam's picture
10th Mar, 2014
Hi there. For this stage, remove the cake from the tin after 30 minutes, then pour the syrup on.


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