Easy vanilla cake

Easy vanilla cake

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(142 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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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.
9th Mar, 2014
I was baking a 12 inch (30cm) square birthday cake and wanted a recipe which wasn't a madeira cake, and a recommendation led me to this recipe. I was concerned about some of the comments so made a small 15cm round tester version to begin with, omitting the syrup. It was delicious, so we went ahead with it. We used the quantities for a 30cm round cake (found under simple elegant wedding cake) x 1.3 and it was the perfect amount. Baked at 140 fan for 2hrs 30 mins. Baked perfectly. Sliced and covered with buttercream and fondant icing it was a winner again. Baked on a Wednesday night for the party on Saturday, it was beautifully moist. The remainder of the cake was still being eaten the following Tuesday and it was still good (and we still didn't use the syrup). Highly recommend!
24th Mar, 2014
Hi jennypiccolo, I was hoping you could enlighten me on the quantities please. I am hoping to make this cake for my son's first birthday which is coming up very soon. I want to make it in a 30cm / 12" round cake tin. I am having trouble understanding the conversion. Under the simple elegant wedding cake it says to triple the ingredients which you said you followed but then you have x 1.3 beside that. I'm sorry if this is really obvious I just can't get my head around it. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
20th Jan, 2014
This cake was fab.After reading the comments I decided to leave out the syrup and im glad I did as it was lovely and moist without it, I did as in the photo with 2 layers of the butter cream filling with jam and covered in rolled icing - great birthday cake.
7th Jan, 2014
forgot my rating :)
7th Jan, 2014
I have used a few vanilla recipes in the past which have been commented on as being nice but I always find them a little dry and heavy. I used this recipe for my partners birthday cake on new years eve and it was simply the nicest recipe I have used and the result was excellent. I actually forgot to put the milk in which made me worry it would be dry like the others I have made but having used the vanilla syrup once it was cooked it was perfectly moist and extremely tasty. Everyone said it was the nicest cake I had made so I was very happy. I plan to use this recipe in March for my mams 50th birthday cake. I will be making a 9inch and 7inch cake to stack so I am hoping they turn out as well as the first. I may even leave the milk out and just use the syrup to keep it moist and add that extra flavour boost.


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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