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slice taken out of a vanilla cake sitting in front of the rest of the cake and a tea cup

Plain Cake Recipe

This is an easy butter cake recipe that makes the perfect plain cake to either eat as it is, or use as a base to create fabulous decorated birthday cakes
4.63 from 24 votes
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Course: Baking
Cuisine: Australasia
Keyword: Plain Cake Recipe, Plain Cake, Vanilla Cake, Butter Cake, Butter Cake Recipe
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 148kcal


  • 17cm cake tin
  • Electric beater or stand mixer
  • Kitchen scales


  • 125 g butter 0.5 Cup | 4.4oz | I use salted butter, if you are using unsalted I would add a pinch of salt to the flour
  • 125 g caster sugar 0.5 Cup | 4.4oz | You can substitute with granuated sugar, although the cake texture is a little better with the finer caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence You can reduce to 1 tsp if you don't want too much vanilla flavour
  • 2 eggs I use size 6 eggs which are medium sized eggs
  • 250 g self rasing flour
  • 250 g milk 1 Cup | 8.5 floz | I use full fat milk


  • Line the sides and base of your cake tin (I use a 17cm cake tin) You will find instructions for how I line my cake tins in the recipe infomration above.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius or approx 360 F
  • Weigh or measure out the softened room temperature butter and the sugar, and add the vanilla.
  • .Beat the butter and sugar until well creamed, the mix will get fluffy and will start the colour will change from yellow to closer to white.
  • .Beat in the eggs, it is best to do this one at a time, otherwise, the creamed mixture can split.
  • Fold in the flour, I use a wooden spoon or spatula for this step. I tend to weigh this straight into the bowl you can see the scales in the photo.
  • Fold in the milk, again I tend to weigh this in as it saves me dishes and was how my grandma taught me), but you can use cups to measure if you prefer.
  • .Pour into your lined cake tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius (360 F) for 40 mins or until when pierced with a skewer in the centre the skewer comes out clean. The cake should be golden in colour.
  • Cool in the tin for around 10 minutes before turning out on to a cake rack.
  • It can be nice to dust the cool cake with a little icing sugar before serving


  • This cake will store in an airtight container for up to 5 days
  • This cake freezes very well, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months


Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg