A classic Vanilla Loaf Cake, topped with vanilla flavoured buttercream and sprinkles. This cake will stay fresh and moist for days and is very easy to make in just three simple steps.
Fluffier and much tastier than standard vanilla cakes, I'll let you in on the secret (and very ordinary!) ingredient that gets perfect results every single time.
Having a tried and tested vanilla cake recipe up your sleeve is very handy; the recipe to turn to when you want to make an excellent crowd-pleaser.
It's such a good all-rounder for birthday cakes, special occasions - or just because you fancy making a quick and easy loaf cake.
Granted there are no bells and whistles, and it doesn't shout decadence in the same way a chocolate cake might but it's far from plain. There is something rather lovely about its simplicity and the flavour really does speak for itself.
This is the best vanilla loaf cake there is.
What makes it the best?
- Moist, soft and even crumb
- Fluffy on the inside with a golden halo around the edge
- Outstanding natural vanilla flavour
- Delicious smooth and creamy buttercream frosting
- Easy to make using simple, everyday ingredients
- Stays fresh for days
I do champion cake recipes made in the traditional way, like this Victoria Sponge and Lemon Cake. And when I say traditional I mean creaming the butter and sugar, adding eggs and folding in flour very gently.
While this method does produce a wonderful cake, I've played around a lot trying to achieve the most perfect Vanilla Loaf Cake and I've definitely cracked it.
My recipe doesn't use the creaming or all-in-one method and you don't need to be worried about overmixing either.
Three easy steps
- First, beat the sugar with the eggs.
- Then alternate between adding the dry ingredients and wet ingredients.
- Lastly, add melted butter and beat until well incorporated.
So what's the secret?
The not-so-secret-secret is to add melted butter to the cake batter. This completely changes the texture of the cake, making it soft and full of flavour.
The cake will stay moist for much longer than other sponge recipes and will taste better too.
The loaf still gets a good 'lift' because you will have already aerated the eggs when they were mixed with the sugar.
Adding the melted butter at the end creates less of an open structure and more of a good old-fashioned buttery vanilla sponge, and it's so tasty.
Amy's tip: Allow the butter to cool off slightly before adding it to the cake batter.
To make the vanilla loaf cake you'll need 8 very simple, cheap and easy to find baking ingredients. You probably have most of them in your kitchen cupboard already!
I've used plain flour for this recipe instead of self-raising. I find plain flour to be more predictable because I can control the amount of raising agent (baking powder and eggs). Using plain flour for a loaf cake recipe is also a lot easier for most people, especially in other countries where it's the only flour available.
The buttercream frosting is also made from everyday ingredients and is very quick to make.
Simply beat softened butter and icing sugar then add a splash of milk and vanilla.
Amy's tip: When making buttercream beat it for at least 5 minutes to ensure a light and fluffy buttercream. Beating it for longer will also turn the colour from a pale yellow to a clean and bright white.
I am a big fan of making things as easy as possible when it comes to baking and decorating loaf cakes.
I say ditch the piping bag and slather the buttercream on instead. I'm so over neatly piped lines on top of loaf cakes!
Of course, you do you and if you have time to pipe it on then be my guest. Personally, I prefer the more natural look.
As you can see, I've strewn over a handful of rainbow Jimmie sprinkles, you can use any sprinkles you have on hand - or leave it plain.
- For Lemon Drizzle Cake: add the zest of 2 lemons to the cake batter. Bring the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 50g of caster sugar and 100ml of water to a simmer until it has reduced by half. Pour over the baked cake as soon as it is out of the oven.
- For Nutella Loaf Cake: make the cake batter as instructed. Add a third of the mixture to a loaf tin then a layer of Nutella and repeat.
- Vanilla Loaf Cake with Chocolate Buttercream: make the cake and buttercream as instructed adding 120g of cocoa powder to the buttercream.
- Follow the recipe exactly and use a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients.
- Allow the melted butter to cool slightly before adding it to the cake batter.
- Line your baking tin with baking parchment.
- Use a 2lb loaf tin or halve the ingredients if using a 1lb loaf tin and reduce the baking time to 30-40 minutes.
- When you add the batter to the tin it will look fuller than most recipes you follow. As this cake is baked in a low oven it will not overflow, rather, it will cook slowly and rise above the top of the tin (it will not be flat).
- You can trim the top of the cake to make it level, although I did not do this.
- Allow the cake to completely cool before attempting to add the buttercream or it will slide off.
- Storage: Wrap in clingfilm or store in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place. This type of cake doesn't need to be kept refrigerated and will stay fresh for at least 4 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Vanilla Loaf Cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. I suggest cutting into slices and individually wrapping each slice before freezing. Allow the cake to thaw in the fridge then bring to room temperature before eating.
I hope you love this Vanilla Loaf Cake and find it as tasty and fresh as I did. Please leave me a star rating and review or comment, I really appreciate every single one!
More easy Loaf Cake recipes
- Courgette Loaf Cake
- Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake
- Biscoff Loaf Cake
- Carrot Cake Loaf
- Chocolate Loaf Cake
- Malteser Loaf Cake
- Red Velvet Loaf Cake
- Strawberry Loaf Cake
For the Vanilla Loaf Cake
- 320g (1.5 cups) caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 350g (2 cups) plain flour
- 1.5 tsps baking powder
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 250ml (1 cup) whole milk
- 2 tsps vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 200g (0.75 cup) unsalted butter, melted
For the Vanilla Buttercream
- 80g (0.25 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 225g (1.5 cups) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 2 tbsps whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- sprinkles to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC/150ºC Fan/Gas 3/330ºF Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
- You can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted or a handheld electric whisk. Add the sugar and eggs to a large bowl and beat until light and frothy.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Combine the milk and vanilla in a jug. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on a low speed until combined. Then tip in ⅓ of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat with the next ⅔ of ingredients until they've all been added. Turn the speed up to medium and beat for 1 minute to ensure everything is well mixed.
- Next, slowly pour the cooled melted butter into the cake batter then beat for 1 minute until the mixture is very smooth and well combined.
- Pour the cake mixture into the loaf tin. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake will be golden brown on top and will feel springy when touched with your finger. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.
- To make the buttercream: add the soft butter and icing sugar to a bowl and beat. When the mixture looks like sand add the milk and vanilla then beat for 5 minutes or until it becomes fluffy and white.
- Spread the buttercream on to the cooled loaf cake using a palette knife. Add the sprinkles on top for decoration.
- For a natural vanilla flavour use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Do not use vanilla essense.
- You can make this recipe using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted or with a handheld electric whisk. You can also do it by hand but it will take longer!
- Allow the butter to cool before adding it to the cake mixture.
- The cake batter will look quite thin and runny - it is supposed to.
- The loaf tin will will be almost full with cake batter. It won't overflow as long as your oven isn't too hot.
- If your oven usually bakes things very quickly, reduce the temperature by 10 degrees. The recipe depends on being baked 'low and slow'.
- The cake will rise above the top of the cake tin and will probably bake with a crack down the middle, this is not a perfectly flat cake! You can trim the top before adding the buttercream if you want to.
- Allow the cake to completely cool before adding the buttercream or it will slide off.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 587Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 1gSugar: 56gProtein: 7g
Nutrition is an estimate only.