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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1st Apr, 2013
Can someone please help me on this question? I am going to make a three tier wedding cake. Will this be sturdy enough for the bottom tier? Or would I need to do a fruit/carrot/madera cake? Need an answer asap. Thanks in advance xxx
11th Mar, 2013
Can anyone tell me whether this rises all the way up the sides of the cake tin? i.e. so it's 3" deep?
10th Mar, 2013
has anyone made this recipe for a 30cm/12" round cake tin? if so how shall i scale up the recipe? i want to make this for a wedding in a month and need to practice. Thanks!
3rd Mar, 2013
Made this 3 times and always turns out just right.
24th Feb, 2013
This is my new favourite recipe for a vanilla cake. Have made it several times now and everyone loves it! I forgot to add the yoghurt last time and it turned out just the same.
18th Feb, 2013
Hi. This cake is obviously good by the great comments. Has anyone made it in two sponge tins like a Victoria sandwich please. Thank you x
16th Feb, 2013
This was an amazing cake, really easy to follow instructions and lasted well when put in tin. Went down a treat with family and friends. Would definitely do this again.
7th Feb, 2013
I made this cake for a friends 40th Birthday,I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect.I managed to get vanilla paste easily from Tesco and am glad I did, it really made the cake stand out from others I've made.It tasted delicious and was really moist, I'm sure the vanilla syrup made it. Everyone thought it was delicious and was made professionally .I used the dental floss tip which was great (thanks) although I only had mint flavour!! Made the buttercream as per the recipe and also put jam inside, there was enough buttercream to put on the top and sides to hold on the fondant icing too. I make a lot of cakes for kids birthdays etc... And will definately use this from now on, far better than Madeira cake !!
31st Jan, 2013
I have been searching for a recipe for a good celebration sponge for a long time. This was absolutely perfect. I followed the recipe to the letter but doubled the quantities for a 24cm square tin. I cooked it for 1hr 40mins at 165 and it was perfect. Would heartily recommend it and I will definitely be using it for all my celebration cakes from now onwards!
27th Jan, 2013
I used the recipe sized up for the giant cupcake but made a 35x25cm tray bake. It baked in 45 mins and I just wish I hadn't put the syrup on as it is soooo sweet (with jam filling and thin layer of vanilla buttercream with smarties on top). It made 30 squares and the kids like it but the sugar headache is a bit much for me.


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