Plain Vanilla Sponge Cake – Moist and Fluffy

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Plain Vanilla Sponge Cake – Moist and Fluffy.

Your search for soft and spongy Vanilla cake ends here. This is the best basic recipe for simple, fluffy, moist plain vanilla sponge cake with butter and hot milk. With step by step pictures.

This Vanilla Sponge Cake is very close to my heart. This is my mums favorite cake. She calls it tea cake. She would have a piece of this cake with coffee in the evening. This cake is the lightest, fluffiest and tastiest simple plain vanilla sponge cake ever. It is called as the hot milk cake. This old-fashioned cake has been around for a very long time. It’s a very delicate and moist cake.
“If you look over the years, the styles have changed – the clothes, the hair, the production, the approach to the songs. The icing to the cake has changed flavors. But if you really look at the cake itself, it’s really the same.” -John Oates.

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Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Line and grease two 8 inch round pans and keep them ready. Take a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, sugar and vanilla in it.
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Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Heat the eggs,sugar and vanilla until slightly hot, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Don’t move away. Constant stirring is the key..Else you will end up with sweet curdled eggs. Agh….I have done that before and you cannot do anything about it. So all eyes on the bowl. OK.
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Keep stirring until all the sugar is completely dissolved. Run your fingers in the batter and feel the batter. It should be smooth. If its grainy, stir for some more time. This whole process can take between 3-5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the water bath.
Note: Indian sugar granules are really big. Grind the sugar once in the mixie and add or use castor sugar so it dissolves completely.
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Now, lets start whisking. Using the whisk beater, beat the mixture on high speed for 5 minutes or until triple in volume. If you are using a hand beater you might need to beat for at least 10 minutes. Its important that you beat for the above said time. Do not stop after 3-4 minutes even if it looks done. Trust me, the eggs are doing their work. It should form a light ribbon when the whisk is pulled up.
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Combine flour and baking powder and sift. Add it to the batter. Whisk until smooth.
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In a small saucepan, heat milk and the melted butter just until the mixture is slightly hot. Add the hot milk mixture to the batter. Gently whisk to fold in the batter.
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The batter will not be thick. Pour the batter in two 8 inch pans and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking. Cool on a wire rack.
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Update:
A reader used only 1.5 cups sugar instead of the two cups and informed me that the cake turned really well. Using less sugar makes the cake lite too! I tried it and I liked it too!. The original recipe uses two cups of sugar.

vanilla-cake-less-sugar

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Plain Vanilla Sponge Cake – Moist and Fluffy

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.8 from 110 reviews

Your search for soft and spongy Vanilla cake ends here. This is the best basic recipe for simple, fluffy, moist plain vanilla sponge cake with butter and hot milk.

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • Measurements used – 1 cup = 240ml , 1 teaspoon =5ml
  • 2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1.5 cups to 2 cups sugar  (use 1.5 cups for a very lite cake)
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 and 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the real kind)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Line and grease two 8 inch round pans and keep them ready.
  3. Take a large mixing bowl and add the eggs,sugar and vanilla in it. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Heat the eggs,sugar and vanilla until slightly hot, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Keep stirring untill all the sugar is completely dissolved. Run your fingers in the batter and feel the batter. It should be smooth. If its grainy, stir for some more time. This whole process can take between 3-5 minutes.
  4. Using the whisk beater, beat the mixture on high speed for 5 minutes or until triple in volume. If you are using a hand beater you might need to beat for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Combine flour and baking powder and sift. Add it to the batter. Whisk until smooth.
  6. In a small saucepan, heat milk and melted butter just until the mixture is slightly hot. Add hot milk mixture to the batter. Gently whisk to fold in the batter.
  7. The batter will not be thick. Pour the batter in two 8 inch pans and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • Author: Kannamma - Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

van-cake

566 thoughts on “Plain Vanilla Sponge Cake – Moist and Fluffy”

  1. Hi mam,

    Your recepies are awesome and believable to do at last min without second thought.
    I tried this recepie ,I have a query why we are melting egg/butter and sugar at same time .having fear of curdles..
    Instead beat egg and essence for the time you mentioned inbtw add required sugar powder and melted butter..
    Will it give the same results or suggest

      1. Cake taste good but what is the reason for cake breaks out on top and feel like not spongy kind of rigid.
        Could you please assist me
        Thanks

  2. Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.






  3. Really lovely! We had a strong sugar craving last night and I quickly whipped this up – no pun intended :D. YUM! Next time, I might try with dates and nuts. Thanks SV!

  4. This is THE best vanilla sponge recipe I have come across.. foolproof if you follow the steps exactly.. I used 1.5 cups sugar as you had suggested and the cake was literally melt in the mouth.. thank you so much






  5. I enjoy cooking your recipes Suguna, and they are excellent.
    At 71 I am back in my kitchen full time thanks to Covid 19 and the lockdowns. I don’t allow even my cook of 43 years to enter the house.
    Thank you for giving me so much joy in the kitchen and good luck.






  6. Tried it for my daughters birthday today
    to make as a layer between chocolate cake.
    Came out awesome pa. Thank You.

  7. I tried tis recipe today, after three unsuccessful efforts at baking a simple sponge cake, I thought this recipe was by far the simplest and easy to understand.
    I went by the book, followed all instructions to the T. I baked it in my convection oven and not OTG (All my previous attempts were in OTG), though the batter did not overflow this time, the cake collapsed (this was in a 8″ did 2.5″ deep pan lined with foil. What could be the reason?






    1. You should try and bake the cake for some more time or just let it cool in the microwave for around 10- 15 min.






  8. Can we make this with whole wheat flour? It’s lockdown and shop doesn’t have maida🥺🥺 please suggest substitute

  9. Delicious, moist sponge. Where sponges such as a traditional genoise are often somewhat dry, this one is tender, moist and flavorful. Recipe is as easy as any sponge with excellent results.






  10. Tried the recipe today and it came out Soo perfect. Thanks a ton. Please can you also post ghee cake recipe.






  11. Tried the recipe today and it came out Soo perfect. Thanks a ton. Please can you also post ghee cake recipe

  12. Hi akka, I love all your recipes ♥️. I have one doubt in this recipe
    Can I bake this cake with cooker???

  13. My 10 year old son made this cake with some help from me and it turned out perfect. Very nice and spongy, not too sweet! Thanks for the recipe!






  14. Hello ,
    I have tried this cake and it came out very well.
    Thank you for the recipe
    Could you please post vanilla cupcake recipe also?






  15. Hi Suguna,
    I absolutely love this recipe – made it several times, always with great success!

    I have a question for you though on a possible modification: I am planning to make a birthday cake for my daughter, which should be a coconut cake with pineapple filling. I’ve used this cake recipe to make thin cake layers before, for multi-layered cakes, and what I’m wondering about now is whether you think it might work with this recipe to substitute part/all of milk for coconut milk, to give it a coconut flavor?

    Thank you in advance for your reply and thank you for the great recipe!






  16. Hi Suguna,

    I absolutely love this recipe – made it several times, always with great success!

    I have a question for you though on a possible modification: I am planning to make a birthday cake for my daughter, which should be a coconut cake with pineapple filling. I’ve used this cake recipe to make thin cake layers before, for multi-layered cakes, and what I’m wondering about now is whether you think it might work with this recipe to substitute part/all of milk for coconut milk, to give it a coconut flavor?

    Thank you in advance and thank you for the great recipe!

  17. I tried this cake today..The inside of the cake was soft and moist..But the sides and bottom were hard ..What could be the reason?






  18. This is confusing and I am confused. Why are the instructions confusing? This is a weird, confusing cake. Moral of the story I am confused. Thanks for confusing me.






  19. Vijaya Gowri

    Hi Suguna I tried this cake using traditional cake oven which will be like a ifli cooker. And I poured entire batter in a single deep container. The cake became so stuffy instead of fluffy. But the taste was awesome. Can you suggest me how to bake in such traditional oven?

  20. Vijaya Gowri

    Hi Suguna I tried this cake in a traditional cake oven which will be basically like a idli cooker. And I poured the entire batter in a single deep container. So it became stuffy instead of fluffy. But the taste is awesome. Please suggest me how to bake in such aluminium ovens.

  21. Hi suguna.. can i bake the whole thing in a single container.. please tell me the changes i must make.

  22. I baked this cake over the weekend. Turned out delicious and soft, and my son loved it. Your instructions are so clear. Thank you for the effort.

  23. Nishita Upadhyay

    Couldn’t stop myself from posting at almost midnight!
    This is the first eggbased vanilla sponge I’ve tried out. It is light and fluffy.
    This will be my no fail vanilla sponge recipe.
    Absolutely liked the way you’ve explained the details.
    Thanks.






  24. Hi there!

    I’m baking this recipe right now for my dad’s birthday but instead of whole milk I substituted buttermilk, I’ll have to let you know how it comes out. Have you ever tried it that way?

  25. Hello mam .. I have tried this cake 3 times but every time the top becomes sticky the next morning . The base is awesome but again the top sticks to fingers … y so ??






  26. I made the cake a week ago. The family raved about how good it was. I’m making it again for Easter as a base for strawberry shortcake.

  27. Hi Suguna…..
    I am going to try ur cake recipe in 2 or 3 days…..
    I hav a question…..
    Can we bake the cake in small ramekin?

  28. Hello.. I wanted to know how to store it? And what can be used in place of butter? Is it salted or unsalted butter? Do we need to cover the baking pan with aluminum foil paper?






  29. Anisha Fathima

    Hi
    Planning to do this for my hubby’s bday.. I have a doubt I don’t have such round pans.. can I pour the batter n rectangular glass container which s microwave safe??

  30. Hi Suguna.. Thanks 4 dis Awesome recipe. I just have a small doubt. The milk n butter mixture should be hot or warm..? And can we decrease the amount of milk if the batter is already lil runny..

    1. Hi Priya, Do not alter the measurements. The batter should not be too runny if you followed the correct measurements. The milk and butter mixture needs to be slightly hot.

  31. Good day Suguna,
    Awesome work you’re doing here.. can I use margarine instead of butter? The issue is, margarine is cheaper and motr accessible than butter here in Nigeria.
    Awaiting your response 😊






  32. Hi Suguna

    The first batch cake came out so well, just the same as your picture is. thanks a ton for sharing wonderful recipe.
    However the second batch is sinking a Bit and taking longer than expected. Though I have 2 pans, I was unable to accommodate both in my convection oven. Any suggestions please on using convection at the same time for both pans?
    Also, if I need to halve the recipe, should every ingredient (incl vanilla) be halved?

    Thanks again.






    1. Hi Poorni, Yes you can halve the ingredients and the batter sinking might be because it was out for a long time. Try storing the raw batter in the refrigerator till the first batch is finished.

  33. Thank you for delicious recipe.
    I followed instructions but my cake ended harder. I baked cake in microvave mode 900 for 7 minutes and Combo mode (microvave + conv) for 22 minutes…please suggest what is wrong in baking process






  34. Hi Suguna !! I made the cake today.It came out awesome.I used the exact measurement and got 2 super-soft cakes.My kids finished one in half an hour.Thank you so much!!






  35. HI Suguna, thanks for your blogs, tried sponge cake, the day we baked it was soft & smooth, but next day become bit hard & dry. Please suggest what could be wrong? thanks

  36. Thank you very much for this nice recipe, I’ll practice it this week end.pls ma can I use it for cup cakes and what’s the shelf life

  37. Thank you for the awesome recipe. The cake is perfect. I tried your tea biscuits too, they too came well.






  38. This is like my favorite sponge cake recipe ever. I’ve made it a few times now and it always turns out great. I’ve made sheets of this for birthdays with buttercream sandwiched between them and it was easy. Thanks for sharing this recipe!






  39. Hi Suguna. I tried this vanilla sponge cake. It was my first time im baking anything and i was just perfect. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.Will be trying more from your page. Love your blog 🙂






  40. I made the cake yesterday,it was good enough but a little bit hard or say lack of softness. I was confused about the milk measurement,it was stated 1 cup, not in ml. Actually I used a small cup which contains 120 ml,moreover I used raisins (soaked in Red Wine) in the batter. Next time I shall try using more milk(240ml) & hope the result will be good. Thanks,






  41. hi, if i halve the recipe –will the specified timings change for the beating, whisking and baking?
    granulated sugar is very coarse here in India- can I use castor sugar instead?

      1. thanku for the info – will be trying this some time soon when time permits-will let u know the resuts then.
        god bless!

  42. Hi Suguna! Thank you for the great recipe! I’m going to try. Will like to check with you, for your cups measurements, do you measure off literally from a USA metric cup (because I realised, conversions from online tables from cups to grams varies, also if I measure off a physical cup , it doesn’t tally with cup measurements I see online 🙁 , so your advice will be of great help to
    Make this beautiful cake!

  43. Govardhani Ethirajan

    Hi Suguna I have prepared the cake it was awesome, can I use this as a base cake and use cream for decorating the cake

  44. Hi, I am beginner. what exactly should be the measurements for flour, sugar and butter in grams and milk in ml. I am a little confused about the size of the cups used. Wish me luck!.

  45. Nemburis Asiyo

    hey, I haven’t baked this yet. Just curious to know if I can switch butter with vegetable margarine?

  46. Hi. I followed the instructions to each and every word. And the taste and texture of the cake was brilliant. Thanks for it. But the top of the cake cracked. Any idea how to avoid it next time?






  47. My first time baking a sponge cake and I am thrilled with the result. You are amazing! Thank you for a great recipe. The cake turned out perfect. I did mess up a few things and thought this is going to be a disaster, nevertheless turned out great! Reminds me of home “(and of course the Iyengar bakeries 🙂






  48. Hey thanks for sharing the recipe. I tried it today and the cake turned out OK. It was a bit too sweet for my taste so will b reducing sugar to 1.5cup next time. Also the crumb was a bit dry. I’ll try increasing butter content to 3/4th cup and see how things go. The side & bottom crust of the cake came out thick and the top cracked. Dont know what went wrong..






  49. Amazing recipe Suguna! Thanks a ton.. been waiting for eons to get a perfect sponge cake and Voila! You made it possible. Made a loaf cake and a round cake… Both turned out super duper. Wanted to post pics too but am afraid here there is no provision.






  50. Caitlin Carey

    Thank you for this recipe, Suguna! It is a big hit in my house. I’m making one for 4th of July like I did last year with strawberry jam in between the two cakes for my father, he went crazy for it. I don’t know why other people are having problems making this cake, I’ve made it about 6 times and the only problem I ever had was one broke once because it was TOO moist lol.

  51. This recipe was fantastic! I followed the directions and the cake came out of the oven very moist and delicious. I also added about a tablespoon of orange zest to give it a citrus taste and it was amazing! Thanks so much for the recipe and step-by-step instructions!






  52. Hi Suguna, in India which pan material can be used in microwave oven – the one that combines microwave and oven. Can we use glassware ? Aluminium? Thanks

  53. I followed the directions but it turned out thick and goupy… not sure what went wrong. Put it in the oven anyway and we will see what happens, may be trying again.

  54. Dear Suguna, thank you for the recipe. I tried and it was soft and yummy. But, the top layer has risen and cracked. What would be the reason?

  55. DivyaPrathima

    Hi Suguna, I tried making it, but something is wrong. I tried beating the eggs, sugar and vanilla, the sugar didn’t dissolve even after about 15 mins, I proceeded anyway(Err.. I shouldn’t have) the batter didn’t fluff up even after beating it for about 20 mins, we tried mixing the flour beating slowly, but the flour was too much, it was lumpy.. I didn’t proceed furthur 🙁 What went wrong?

  56. Thank you for your reply, Suguna. Yes, I beat the eggs for a full 10 minutes. I tried it again with AP flour and used 1 cup milk instead of 1 1/4 cup. It turned out lighter than the cake flour one I made previously. It was delicious!!! Thank you for this recipe.

    I have another question. Can I use 9 inch round pans? Will I have to adjust the recipe?

  57. Hi Suguna,

    I’ve made your recipe three times for a strawberry cake and I was very happy with the result. However, some of my friends wanted a lighter crumb so I used cake flour. The result was a dryer cake with little rise. What could I have done better? I noticed that when I add the butter and hot milk, the batter gets really runny, could the eggs be deflating?

    Thank you!






  58. Hi suguna
    Thanks for the receipe it turned out so well everyone loved it ? i had a query can i use wholewheat in this recipe






  59. Hi Saguna! On step 3 when you put the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on top of simmering water, do you whisk the 3 ingredients before and then put on top of the water or just pour in and whisk after they’ve been heated?

  60. Hi. I am going to try this recipe today.just one question is the butter salted or unsalted?






  61. Hi mam .. i tried your recipe cake came out really well .. but little sticky wat is the reason. .and one more doubt can we add icing sugar..if so wat ratio..

  62. Instead of all purpose flour, can we use self raising flour ? If so, any difference in taste or texture ?

  63. Angel Morrow

    This. Recipe. Is. Amazing. It is absolutely delicious. Easy to follow recipe. THANK YOU!

  64. Such a lovely recipe! I tried it coz of the excellent rating. Halfway through I realised I dint have as much butter so I used half butter half ghee. Except for some extra crispiness it tasted great. Can’t wait to try more recipes!






  65. Hi Kannamma,

    First of all, thanks a lot for boosting my spirits 🙂 I cannot tell you how happy I am today! I tried this cake just now.. I used a 9″ inch so yes the cake is thinner but I can see its soft and spongy.

    If you can, could you tell me how much will the ingredients be for 9″ tin? Else, I will get a 8″ of course.

    Thanks again. Cannot wait for it to cool down now !






    1. Just one thing.. the bottom of the cake is very pale and not crusty like yours. I am guessing because of spring form tin? Do let me know.

      Cheers!

        1. Yes and yes. I think it is because of the spring bottom. I will try this in an 8″ tin like you have shown. Also, I took the cake out in 25-30 minutes because it was done (inserted a fork and it came out clean).

          If I want to spin a chocolate cake variant from this one, what do you suggest should be done?

          Cheers
          Ruth

  66. Dear Suguna. …tried this cake today n it came out extremely soft n spongy. …thank you so much. .






  67. This cake turned out awesome. I baked it for my husband’s bday. I did whipped cream frosting and layered with fruits. It was an instant hit. Kids loved it and wanted second serving.
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe.






  68. Hi..Ur recipe s awesome…I want to try for my daughter’s bday…But I have a doubt…I have only one 8 inch pan…So can the remaining batter stay out till the first one is cooked?