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Simple Vanilla Sponge Cake

If I tell you I’ve been testing the perfect vanilla sponge cake for years you have to believe me.

Simple Vanilla Sponge Cake

Vanilla Sponge Cake cut into squares on white paper

Yes I have many recipes that I’ve created, tried, photographed. They never made it to my blog.

The reason why I never posted them was just that I was never totally convinced it was the perfect one.

I think I have finally made the perfect Vanilla Sponge Cake. At least in my books I think it turned out perfect.

My kids are crazy about a simple vanilla sponge cake and so am I.

There’s something comforting about a simple piece of cake that goes perfectly with a cup of your favorite tea.

A piece of vanilla cake definitely brings me comfort.

I am going to share a few tips that I have learned from all my millions of trails and errors.

If you follow the tips I promise you will have that perfect cake. And trust me everyone will ask for the recipe.

You don’t have to share if you don’t want to. I know many people that hate sharing recipes but sharing is caring.

Tips to make the perfect cake

Timing is important. As you become more familiar with baking you will be able to time the steps without a timer. But if you are starting out I suggest you use a timer.

Everyone always ask how do I get that fine crumb in a cake and how do I get it to rise.

The trick to this is to beat your butter and sugar for a few minutes. A minute is not going to work. You will need more like 4 or 5 minutes. This will aerate the batter.

In order to beat without any hassles your butter must be soft, not melted. Soft enough for your beater to work through it.

Beat your eggs in, one at a time. You want the eggs well incorporated.

I prefer to sift my flour and baking powder and the add it to the butter mixture. This makes the flour lighter and airier.

When adding your flour to the mixing bowl add 1/3 at a time and mix just until incorporated. Do not over mix. This is what results in a dense cake

I prefer to use warm milk, just slightly warmer than room temperature. This helps speed up the process of emulsification that traps air bubbles and makes your cake rise.

Cold milk will make your cake more crumbly.

For this recipe I added just a dash of vegetable oil. This does tend to keep the cake moist, tender and fluffy.

I use salted butter in my baking. It is cheaper than unsalted and doesn’t make a major difference to baking. I don’t add any more salt to the recipe.

Baking the cake

Ensure your pan is greased well. A piece of baking paper on the base of the pan is fine, as long as the sides are greased.

This cake is baked at 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Always bake your cake in the middle rack. This is where the air circulates well and heat is evenly distributed. There’s no danger of the cakes bottoms or tops from getting too brown too quickly

When removing the cake from the pan wait for at least 10 minutes.

If you remove the cake too soon it will crack and you will have a disaster. Trust me on this, I’ve done it.

When the cake is removed from the oven and just to be extra safe, gently scrape the sides of the cake pan with a slim knife so the cake loosens.

Frequently asked questions?

Can I use buttermilk instead of milk

Yes you can but with buttermilk you will have to substitute baking powder with bicarbonate of soda. 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda is required for every cup of buttermilk

Bicarbonate of soda is same as baking soda.

What can I use instead of cake wheat flour

You can use all purpose flour. However from research I see you will need to add a little cornstarch to get a perfect substitute.

Can I substitute butter with margarine

Yes absolutely you can. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Butter does have a high fat content which gives cakes a better texture.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. If you do try it please drop a comment and a star rating. It is always appreciated

More recipes to try:

Easy Apple Cinnamon Cake

Orange Bundt Cake

Chocolate Banana Bread

Vanilla Sponge Cake cut into squares on white paper

Simple Vanilla Sponge Cake

This cake is easy to make and makes a delicious tea-time treat
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 16


  • 125 gram/1/2 cup butter salted
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups cake wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk warm

Buttercream Frosting

  • 125 gram/1/2 cup butter soft
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3-4 tbsp fresh cream


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius or 350 degrees celsius
  • Grease a 20cmx25cm baking pan and line the base of the pan. set aside. Sift the flour and baking powder and set aside
  • Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Start at a low speed at first and thereafter medium speed
  • Add eggs, one at a time and beat until each one is well combined
  • Mix in the vanilla essence
  • Add 1/3 cup of flour/baking powder mixture and 1/3 cup milk together with the oil. Mix until combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk. Add the vegetable oil. Mix again until combined. Do not over mix.
  • Pour the batter into the lined baking pan. Tap the pan on the countertop, gently, a few times to release any air bubbles
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a slim knife on the sides of the pan and gently turn the cake onto a cooling rack. Wait for it to completely cool and then decorate as desired

Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat the butter until light and fluffy. About 2 minutes
  • Add the icing sugar and beat for 2 minutes, on a medium speed. Add the vanilla essence and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add the fresh cream in between beating to the consistency you prefer. I used about 4 tablespoons but you could use more or less. Should take about 8 to 10 minutes of beating before you achieve a fluffy frosting
  • Decorate the cake once completely cooled


  1. You can substitute the milk with buttermilk, however you will also need to substitute the baking powder for bicarbonate of soda
  2. Margarine can be used a substitute for butter
  3. I always use salted butter therefore I don't add more salt. If using unsalted butter feel free to add some salt
  4. For the buttercream frosting the more you beat the whiter the butter
Keyword easy cake recipe, sponge cake recipe, tea-time recipes, vanilla sponge cake
Tried this recipe?Mention @tamarindnthyme

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Made today. Came out delicious.
    Kids loved it and recipe just in time for my daughter’s birthday next week

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