How to make a basic vanilla cake (2 ways)

Learn how to make a basic vanilla cake and turn it into either Pink Jelly Cakes or a Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd. One vanilla cake recipe for every occasion.

In partnership and featuring recipes from Fairy Baking.

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How to make a basic vanilla cake (and 2 ways to eat it)

A basic vanilla cake is a must-have recipe in any baker's repertoire. It's a treat that's loved by all, and makes a fantastic base for decorating and fancying up with other flavours. Here you can see how to make a fluffy vanilla cake and turn it into two great desserts: Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd, or classic Australian Pink Jelly Cakes. 
Master this vanilla cake recipe and you’ll have a cake ready to be dressed for any occasion. 

How do you make vanilla cake from scratch?

  • 125g (½ block) Fairy margarine, chopped, at room temperature
  • 165g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 125ml (½ cup) milk
  • 200g (1 ⅓ cups) self-raising flour
1. Preheat oven 180°C/160°C (fan forced) and grease a 20cm round cake pan, or 20cm x 30cm lamington pan if making the Pink Jelly Cakes. Line base and sides with baking paper, extending paper 3cm above pan edges
2. To make cake, beat Fairy margarine, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Mixture may look curdled at this stage
3. Add milk and sifted flour, in two batches, folding until combined. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth over top
4. Cook 45-50 minutes in the round cake pan, 25 minutes in the lamington pan, or until lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove. Stand in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool
Now you have a fluffy vanilla cake! It's delicious on its own, but to really make the most of it take it a bit further with one of these recipes.

Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd

Get the recipe: Vanilla Layer Cake with Passionfruit Curd

Stack your vanilla cake high with zingy passionfruit curd, freshly whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes for a tropical twist.
This would make a show-stopping celebration cake for a birthday, Father’s Day or more.

Pink Jelly Cakes

Get the recipe: Pink Jelly Cakes

These little pink lamingtons are so nostalgic. Filled with tart raspberry jam and sweet vanilla cream, and of course coated in fluffy coconut, they’re almost too cute to eat.
These little servings are perfect for a high tea, Mother’s Day, picnic or baby shower.

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More vintage baking recipes

The basic vanilla cake is something that brings on waves of nostalgia, from birthdays to bake sales and weekends at Nanna's, a slice of vanilla cake was never amiss. Want more nostalgic baking recipes? Browse more below, or click here for vintage baking recipes that are just like nanna used to make.
*DISCLAIMER: Fairy is a contributing recipe partner at This article features content sourced from Fairy and our own opinions. For more information visit the Fairy website.
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