Vanilla Cake – Back To Basics!

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A Delicious Two Layer Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Strawberry Jam!

Back in 2018, I thought I would start a new series on my blog – Back to Basics. As much as I hope that all my recipes are simple and doable by anyone of any baking ability, I know that some are not! Or, some people do just want to learn the basics – and I want to help with that!

I thought that I would go for an absolute classic for my fourth instalment, a Vanilla Cake. This beauty is a two layer Vanilla Sponge cake, with Vanilla Buttercream frosting, and one of my favourite Jam flavours… Strawberry!

Okay, so Back to Basics has potentially gone a little bit too basic now, with a Vanilla Cake.. but I’ve had endless requests. I do have a Victoria Sponge recipe on my blog already, but this a two layer beauty and potentially explained in a much better way. I hope.

My first part of the Back to Basics series was my Triple Chocolate Brownies, followed by my No-Bake Vanilla Cheesecake, and then thirdly the Chocolate Cake. I figured doing a Vanilla recipe would fit with the system and alternating between the two flavours!

But anyway… this is basically the most simple yet most scientific of cakes. It only really takes four ingredients to make something DELICIOUS, but you have to get it right. It doesn’t really matter whether you use a two egg recipe, three egg, four egg etc… as long as the ratios are equal.

There are obviously other factors that are involved with getting the perfect cake – but really the ratio, how you mix it, and the oven being the correct temperature is so important! I use a Fan oven, so I bake my cake at 160 degrees! As my oven is new, it helps so much, but with other ovens I have used an Oven Thermometer to make sure my oven is correct before baking – as ovens can be drastically out!

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve heard (this could be incorrect), that the ovens on The Great British Bake off are tested each day before the contestants start by baking a Victoria sponge – as it’s the most classic and scientifically easy bake! If the bake doesn’t bake correctly, but you know its weighed and mixed correctly, then usually it means it’s the oven.

If you know your oven is at the right temperature – just make sure you mix it correctly. I personally switch between the all in one method, and the beating sugar and butter first method – but in general, I find the beating the sugar and butter together method is better for the most.

If the butter is too cold for the cake, it can make the cake mixture a little lumpy. I usually use room temperature unsalted butter (the kind you get in foil), or Stork for cake sponges. Either work absolutely fantastically! However, for the Buttercream, you must NOT use Stork. Only use Unsalted Butter for the Buttercream – otherwise it can split or taste horrible!

I personally use my Kitchenaid Mixer with the scraper paddle attachment for a majority of my baking – and all my cake mixes and buttercreams. I don’t use a whisk, as that creates too much air, and can be quite faffy – but if you have just a handheld mixer, then the whisk attachments for those are fine.

You can easily make a cake mix and such with just your hand, a bowl and a spatula, but for buttercream it does take a bit more welly to get it just perfect! You could go the whole hog and make your own Homemade Jam if you want, but I just thought I would stick with this recipe being about the actual cake!

I hope you all love this recipe, and no I am not claiming I created it, because it’s been around for centuries and centuries – it’s just science! But honestly, enjoy! x

5 from 9 votes
Vanilla Cake - Back To Basics!
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins

A Delicious Two Layer Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Strawberry Jam!

Course: Cakes
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Vanilla
Servings: 14 Slices
Calories: 488 kcal
Author: Jane's Patisserie
  • 250 g Unsalted Butter/Stork
  • 250 g Caster Sugar
  • 250 g Self Raising Flour
  • 5 Medium Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 200 g Unsalted Butter (room temp)
  • 400 g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 200 g Strawberry Jam
  • Sprinkles
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan and line two 8"/20cm tins with parchment paper, and leave to the side. 

  2. Beat together your Butter and Sugar for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy!

  3. Add in your Self Raising Flour, Eggs and Vanilla and beat again for a a couple of minutes till smooth.

  4. Try not to over beat - mix until it comes together and is smooth

  5. Split the cake mix between the two tins. I weigh it to make sure its even - each mix should weigh 500g each (roughly)

  6. Once in the tins, bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until baked through. I check my cake is baked by using a skewer, and listening carefully to see if it bubbles!

  7. Once baked, leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

  8. To make the Buttercream, make sure your butter is at room temperature. 

  9. Beat the Butter on its own for 3-4 minutes, I use the paddle attachment. 

  10. Once the Butter is nice and supple, add the icing Sugar in 1/2 at a time, and beat fully before adding any more in. 

  11. Add in the Vanilla, and beat again for 3-4 minutes until it's all come together. 

  12. Carefully pipe or spread half of your Buttercream onto the first cake, and then top with some Jam.

  13. Add the second sponge on, and then spread the rest of the Buttercream on top. 

  14. Decorate with your favourite sprinkles, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes
  • This cake will last for 3 days at room temperature, in a cake box. 
  • You don't have to use the vanilla, but obviously that is the theme of the cake!
  • You should always use Vanilla Beans/Pasta/Extract over Essence as its much more natural!
  • The Jam is optional - or you can swap to whatever flavour you prefer!
Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Cake - Back To Basics!
Amount Per Serving
Calories 488 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Cholesterol 127mg42%
Sodium 33mg1%
Potassium 60mg2%
Carbohydrates 62g21%
Sugar 45g50%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 810IU16%
Vitamin C 1.2mg1%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. These are only estimates.


Find my other Recipes on my Recipes Page!

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About Author

Hiya! I'm Jane, and I adore baking, cooking and all things delicious. I'm also partial to homewares, lifestyle posts and more!


  • caitlin
    March 26, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe which was very easy to follow. Its looks great and cant wait to taste it.

  • Ashton Jarratt
    March 14, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Hi Jane,

    I always use your recipes they are awesome and I never ever have a fail!!!! So thank you for sharing all these, my family love them, you really inspire me.

    I was wanting to make a 6 tier rainbow cake and want to use a standard vanilla sponge- what measurements would you use?

    Thank you xx

  • Lyn
    March 6, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Hi Jane
    In the vitoria sponge baking powder is used and in the vanilla cake there is none. Why is this different?

    • Jane's Patisserie
      March 6, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      Because they are two different recipes – This is a post about a basic vanilla cake.

  • Jess
    February 28, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Hello! I’ve made this cake a few times now – always gone down a treat and tastes lovely, but I find it to be a bit more dense than I would like. How do I get it to be more light & fluffy? Thank you 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie
      February 28, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      It shouldn’t be dense – but it depends on what you consider dense. How are you mixing it? are you definitely sure the oven is on the right setting/temp? are you using stork/butter?

  • T H
    February 25, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Jane,
    I’m really trying to improve my baking game and looking into your platform is a great start for me. I’m always getting my maths wrong in baking so wanted to ask, if I wanted to make a 9inch/23cm cake using a round sandwich tin, what would I alter the ingredient measurements to?

    Thank you

  • MA
    February 5, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    5 stars
    Hello Jane
    Thumbs up Your cakes look sooo tasty and attractive am in Love with the cake texture.I really want to try but my problem is In my country is difficult to get selfrising flour , please can you help me how much baking powder can I add if am not using selfrising flour

    • Jane's Patisserie
      February 6, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      For this I would use 1.5-2tsp baking powder!

  • Sarah
    January 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Jane,
    What quantities would you recommend for a 7” tin?

    • Jane's Patisserie
      January 16, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      A 200g mix would be the best – 200g flour, sugar, butter and 4 medium eggs! x

  • Caroline Litteboy
    November 23, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Jane,
    I bought the oven thermometer through the link above. Please can I ask when you put the thermometer in the oven and do you bake your goodies in centre?
    Many thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie
      November 24, 2019 at 9:05 am

      I have a fan oven, so I happily spread the bakes across two layers with no issues!

  • LizZy
    November 19, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    5 stars
    I made this for the first time at weekend – winner!! All your recipes are amazing and easy to follow – thanks so much for sharing them !

  • isma
    November 17, 2019 at 12:22 am

    hi jane do u remember which piping nozzle u used to pipe on buttercream? looks great!

  • Nilly
    October 24, 2019 at 7:17 am

    5 stars
    Hiya jane, what jam would you recommend if u dont make homemade jam xx

    • Jane's Patisserie
      October 24, 2019 at 9:01 am

      Any that you fancy – I love Bonne Maman or Tiptree!

  • Sian
    October 21, 2019 at 5:03 am

    5 stars
    Hi Jane! I was wanting to adapt this recipe to make a firmer cake like a Madeira type sponge for a wedding cake. I noticed you replied to a comment on another recipe which said to add in 75g plain flour. Is this to replace the self raising flour? Thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie
      October 21, 2019 at 9:46 am

      Hey! No, you add that in as well!

    • Sian
      October 23, 2019 at 9:48 am

      5 stars
      Thanks for replying Jane! Sorry to be silly but just want to make sure before I start baking. If I was to increase the recipe size would you increase the amount of plain flour too?
      So is the 75g extra based on the above recipe size.

    • Jane's Patisserie
      October 24, 2019 at 9:00 am

      Yes it is, if you made different sized cakes it would decrease or increase! x

  • Louise Brookes
    October 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    5 stars
    General question about the buttercream. Can you make this the day before to save some time? If so, how would you have to store it?

    • Jane's Patisserie
      October 15, 2019 at 9:19 am

      Do you mean to bake and decorate the cake and then store that? Or make the buttercream, and then decorate a different day?

  • Scarlett
    October 9, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Hi jane, I was wondering if you had ever tried making this with half butter and half oil? I prefer cakes that use oil but have found when making a vanilla sponge cake, using only oil doesn’t work as well as other cakes. Let me know your thoughts!

    • Jane's Patisserie
      October 9, 2019 at 9:12 pm

      I haven’t I’m afraid – this post is purely for the basic science of butter/sugar/eggs/flour!

  • Georgia Jade May
    September 29, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Jane for a child’s party could you adapt this and use fondant icing over the top? How would you adapt it?
    Thank you!

    • Jane's Patisserie
      September 29, 2019 at 6:36 pm

      It would be fine as it is – but maybe double the buttercream so that you can do a crumb coat for the fondant to go on top of!

  • Nimmi
    August 28, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Hey Jane

    Absolutely love your recipes! How much buttercream would I need to make if I’m coating the cake with it? Thank you x

    • Jane's Patisserie
      August 29, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      For this size cake, I would typically double it!

  • Helena Mann
    August 23, 2019 at 8:54 am

    Hiya. If I wanted to make this a 3 tier what would you suggest regarding quantities? Is there a general rule of thumb I should follow if I want to make any 2 tier recipe into a 3 tier? Many thanks!

    • Jane's Patisserie
      August 23, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Most of the time if you want to make a two tier, into a three tier, I would add another half of the recipe on, and bake into three tins for the same time! So you’ll just be adding another layer in! x

  • Asia
    August 13, 2019 at 11:11 am

    What if i want to make half the quantity of this cske… do i need to half all the ingredients?

    • Jane's Patisserie
      August 14, 2019 at 9:03 am

      If you wanted to make one layer of cake, then yes!

  • Sophie
    July 8, 2019 at 11:36 am

    5 stars
    Hi Jane,

    I tried this recipe yesterday as a birthday cake and it went down a storm! Such an easy recipe to follow and it was as light as you could get, I swear by your recipes. I’ve never done a two layer cake before but this came out brilliantly! Thank you so much!

  • Leanne
    May 30, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Hi if I wanted to make this smaller (7”) but three layers how much would I need to reduce recipe by? Love your recipes by the way, always turn out amazing! X

    • Jane's Patisserie
      May 31, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Have a look at my Victoria Sponge recipe, as that is already three layers, but use 0.8x that one for 7″!

  • Alexa
    April 15, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Hiya do u ever happen to freeze any of your sponges prior to decorating?

    • Jane's Patisserie
      April 15, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      I don’t personally as I never have the need, but I know a lot of my readers do! Best practice is to double wrap in clingfilm and then in foil to prevent any freezer burn!

  • Nu
    April 11, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Hi I want to make 3 layers to this cake using 8” cake tins how much more ingredients do I need ??



  • Jackie Newark
    February 10, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Love all your recipes Jane – especially the cheesecakes! Thank you.


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