Make this vanilla cake for an afternoon treat, then try our vanilla cupcakes, Oreo cake, school cake, angel cake, easy pound cake and more easy cake recipes.

Recipe tip: Seal a spent vanilla pod in an airtight container of sugar for a few weeks to create delicious vanilla sugar – it's perfect in coffees or vanilla-scented bakes such as this classic sandwich cake


  • 200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tins
  • 200g vanilla or golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder


  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 500g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line the bases of two 20cm loose-based sandwich cake tins with baking paper.

  • STEP 2

    Beat the butter and vanilla sugar with an electric whisk for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking in between, then fold in the vanilla, flour and baking powder, along with a pinch of salt. Divide between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and lightly golden – they should spring back when gently pressed. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

  • STEP 3

    To make the buttercream, mash the butter with half the icing sugar in a bowl until it forms a paste, then add the remaining icing sugar and beat with an electric whisk until very pale and airy. Whisk in the vanilla and add 1 tbsp of just-boiled water to loosen, if needed.

  • STEP 4

    Sandwich together the cooled cakes with a quarter of the buttercream and put on a plate or cake stand. Spoon the remaining buttercream onto the top of the cake, then work it down the sides using a palette knife. Smooth over the top and sides with a cake scraper or palette knife. Or, for a neater finish, use half the buttercream for a thin crumb coating, chill for 10 minutes in the fridge, then add a neater, second coating over the top for a smoother finish. Decorate with fresh flowers or sprinkles, if you like.

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Anna Glover profile
Anna GloverSenior food editor

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