This Simple Vanilla Cake is made using 6 ingredients and one bowl only but is incredibly moist and outright delicious! Throw away those ready-made mixes because this from-scratch recipe is as easy as it gets- no electric mixer needed!
Everyone needs an easy, reliable vanilla cake recipe to whip up a thoughtful celebration cake or a last-minute dessert. This novice-friendly recipe will show you how to make a classic batter ready to go in the oven in 15 minutes only! This cake keeps fresh and flavourful for several days. Top with your favourite frosting, or serve with whipped cream and fresh berries.
Homemade Vanilla Cake Recipe
If there is ever a cake suitable for any occasion, it will be this one! Whether it’s for a birthday, baby shower, anniversary, or a simple gathering of loved ones, you can never go wrong with a classic vanilla cake. The best part is, it can go from an elegant white cake by adding a simple frosting to a stunning cake art by embellishing it with various goodies! But first, let’s take a look at what you need to make the base cake and how to bake one.
Simple Vanilla Cake Ingredients
No need to rush to the nearest grocery store to make this cake. All you need is a quick rummage of your pantry to find them.
- Plain flour (all-purpose flour): this versatile flour makes a perfectly soft and crumbly cake. Make sure to check on the package instruction for flour to liquid ratio depending on the brand you are using for best results.
- Can I use cake flour? Yes, you can. Using this will result in a fluffier and airy cake that is equally as delicious.
- Can I use gluten-free flour? Absolutely! There are a lot of available gluten-free flour brands that you can substitute for plain flour 1:1.
- Baking powder: Do not substitute this with baking soda. Using the right amount of this will give you a nicely risen cake that is soft and fluffy.
- What happens when I add more? Too much will make your cake rise too quickly and eventually collapse.
- What happens if I lessen it? You will end up with a tough and dense cake.
- Caster sugar: also called superfine sugar. It is more refined than granulated sugar but coarser than confectioner’s sugar. Since this is a quick cake recipe, using this type of sugar is more convenient as they are lighter and dissolves easily.
- Can I use granulated sugar? Yes. The only difference between the two is their texture, so if this is what you have, go ahead and use it.
- Butter: makes the cake moist and adds a delicate flavour. Make sure that it is melted or softened at room temperature before adding it to the dry ingredients.
- Can I use dairy-free butter instead? No problem. There are lots of vegan butter that are equally as creamy and delicious.
- Milk: gives the cake a tender and moist mouth feel.
- Can I use dairy-free milk? Yes, you can use almond, oat, or soy milk instead.
- Vanilla essence: adds a delicate floral flavour and enticing aroma to the cake. You can substitute 1 tbsp. of vanilla essence with 2 tsp. of vanilla extract.
Make Simple Vanilla Cake From Scratch
Are you ready to make the easiest cake ever? Here’s how:
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 355°F. If using a convection oven, preheat to 160°C / 320°F.
- Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inches) round cake tin with baking paper.
- Using a large mixing bowl, sift together plain flour and baking powder, then mix the sugar until everything is well incorporated. Create a well in the centre and add the rest of the ingredients. Whisk until well combined.
- Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until it turns golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool on the tin for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely.
Top Tips & FAQs
How can I Serve it best?
From simple to stylish, elegant to fun and charming, it depends on how you design it!
- Serve this cake with a simple vanilla buttercream frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 125 g (4.5 oz / ½ cup) softened butter with 1 ½ cups of sifted icing sugar. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla essence and 2 tbsp. milk then beat well until fluffy.
- Place some rainbow sprinkles on top to add some colour and make it fun!
- Keep it classy by adding whipped cream and fresh berries and fruits on top.
- Make it chocolaty by adding some chocolate chips or shavings and decorating it with chocolate buttercream frosting.
Can I use this recipe to make a layered cake?
If you want a more elaborate layered cake that is equally delicious and easy to make, check out my Easy Layered Vanilla Cake recipe.
How do I Store Leftovers?
This cake stays beautifully moist for days! You can keep this cake un-refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze this cake?
Yup! To freeze the cooked cake, wrap tightly using cling wrap, then place in a zip-lock or freezer bag. Allow to defrost for 6 hours or overnight, and then serve as usual.
Can I use other pans instead?
Yes, you can. You can play around with the shape of the cake you want. A square pan, Bundt pan, or even a muffin pan will work. Just make sure that you adjust the baking time when using smaller pans to prevent over baking.
Tips when making Simple Vanilla Cake
- Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before using them. Take the milk and out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before starting.
- Do not over mix the batter or you will end up with a dense and dry cake. You just have to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are well blended.
- The butter may solidify and make the batter a bit lumpy – this is expected and is fine.
Baking time depends on the size of the cake pan you will be using. It is best to check if the cake is baked through by poking the center with a skewer or toothpick. It should come out clean before you take it out of the oven.
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 180 g (¾ cup / 6.5 oz) butter, melted
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla essence
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan/convection) or 180°C / 355°F (standard). Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin with baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together plain flour and baking powder. Whisk in sugar. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add melted butter, milk and vanilla essence. Whisk altogether until well combined (the butter may solidify and make the batter a bit lumpy - this is okay).
- Pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- You can keep this cake un-refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. This cake stays beautifully moist. To freeze the cooked cake, wrap tightly in clingwrap then place in a zip-loc or freezer bag. Allow to defrost for 6 hours or overnight then serve as normal.
Substitutions & Tips
- I serve this cake with a simple vanilla buttercream frosting: in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 125 g (4.5 oz / ½ cup) softened butter with 1 ½ cups of sifted icing sugar. Add 1 tsp of vanilla essence and 2 tbsp milk then beat well until fluffy.
- Vanilla essence: you can substitute 1 tbsp of vanilla essence with 2 tsp of vanilla extract.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1/8th of Cake (No Frosting)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 397Total Fat: 19.5gSaturated Fat: 11.8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 48.4mgSodium: 186.1mgCarbohydrates: 49.2gFiber: 1gSugar: 26.7gProtein: 4.8g