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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19th Jan, 2013
I wasn't at all sure about the syrup but went with it and it was lovely - I would probably omit this step if icing the cake however. I also thought the cooking time might be a little long but it did need it. I'm a coeliac and replaced the flours with the same amount of gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm) and added just a little more milk. Fab cake, will be one of my regulars from now on :o)
16th Jan, 2013
A really good recipe. Tastes wonderful (I was worried it might be far too sweet, but I was wrong) and the extra moisture in the batter adds tolerance if your oven's a bit dodgy - I made this in a very unreliable caravan oven and it still came out fab!
15th Jan, 2013
Can somebody help me please? I would like to bake this in two 6 inch tins. Can I just split this recipe in to two and also how long would it need to bake for approxinmately. Many thanks
2nd Jan, 2013
This is my second cake using this recipe and once again it is extremely successful. This time I needed a 30cm square cake (hurrah for the 'Alan Silverwood 12" Multisize cake pan'), so used a full recipe for each layer (each layer was 2cm high). I cooked the mix at 160 degrees for 40 minutes, rotating the tin half-way through cooking. It produces a reasonably dense, close crumb professional looking and tasting sponge that is incredibly tasty. Not the simplest of recipes, but with a little preparation and organisation you can make a very worthwhile cake for a large audience!
29th Dec, 2012
Filled this with jam and butter cream. I don't think this really needs the syrup if you are using frosting. Lovely cake though, would certainly make again.
28th Nov, 2012
Absolutely amazing cake. I used this recipe to make my son a cake for his 2nd birthday, I also made the vanilla buttercream. The cake is quite time consuming to make but is very much worth all the effort in the end. This is the only cake recipe I will use to make all my special occasion cakes.
27th Nov, 2012
I made this cake for my daughters first birthday. I used a number one mould and decorated it as the suggested ladybirds and butterflies. Ive never baked before and It was delicious. Everyone was shocked at my creative little number one!!!
26th Nov, 2012
Absolutely delicious...very moist. I am not too keen on vanilla flavouring but bought the paste from Waitrose and once it was mixed and cooked, the flavour was yummy! I didn't fill it but covered thinly with butter icing....it went down a treat for my Dad's birthday. Everyone was impressed! It's very easy to make too..in fact, I'm making it again this week for my son's birthday! yum yum!
17th Nov, 2012
Used this cake a few times and it's been a huge hit!
14th Nov, 2012
Really like the sound of this cake bit I have a few questions...I'm new at this cake stuff, I need to make double the amount, what size tin should I use and do I have to do layers or can I just make one cake in a deep tin. I've been speaking to my mum and she has confused me?!? :)


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