French Vanilla Cake Recipe

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French Vanilla Cake Recipe

Moist, soft and fluffy is how we all want our vanilla cakes to be. And this is precisely what today’s French Vanilla Cake Recipe is. Brace yourself for your next new favourite vanilla cake recipe. 

Every baker must have a perfect fool-proof vanilla cake recipe on which they can rely easily. This recipe is just like that. You will get the softest, fluffy and most tasty vanilla sponge. 

When it comes to vanilla cake, many people find it a safe (but boring) choice for any gathering. But trust me, this cake is beyond basic. And not just for vanilla, you can use this cake recipe as a base for any other flavour like mango, strawberry, fruit cake etc. That is why I love vanilla flavour; it’s so versatile that you can pair it with numerous other flavours and make different cakes or desserts. 

What is the difference between Vanilla and French Vanilla Cake? 

You may wonder how this cake differs from the regular vanilla cake we are used to eating. Well, the use of egg yolks in the French vanilla cake is what differentiates it from other vanilla cakes where only egg whites are used. So the yolks provide a more silky, custard-like taste to the cake. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe? 

  • The Texture: This recipe will provide you with the best vanilla cake whenever you bake it. The crumbs are soft and moist. The method used to make a sponge is a rub-in method, where butter is rubbed with dry ingredients to get a crumble-like texture. Coating flour with butter like this help in less gluten formation, making the cake much softer. 
  • French Vanilla Buttercream: the buttercream that we are making in this recipe will be made using a custard. Making the yolk-based custard will provide a very smooth texture to the buttercream and adds a great flavour. 
  • Perfect for any Occasion: the amazing cake is perfect for any occasion, be it a birthday party, wedding anniversary or just a friends and family gathering. Everyone loves vanilla, and they will love this new vanilla cake as well. 

Important Ingredients Used In The Recipe

The complete list of ingredients and their quantities is mentioned in the recipe card below.

  • Egg yolks: Definitely, egg yolks are the most crucial ingredient in this recipe. It’s the reason why the cake has a velvety plush texture, and the buttercream tastes custard-like. 
  • Vanilla bean paste: Of course, we have the best quality vanilla bean paste in this recipe. The sheer elegance of the cake comes from high-quality vanilla. Now you must be thinking you might have to use some special type of vanilla or “French Vanilla” instead of the Madagascar one. But no, the vanilla used in the recipe is the same as others. So you can use your regular vanilla flavour. However, prefer using vanilla extract or paste for this recipe instead of essence. 
  • Butter: Since the method used for making a sponge is rub – in method instead of usual creaming, cold butter is yet another essential ingredient. Usually, we use room-temperature butter while making cakes. But for this particular method, you need cold butter as you need to rub the butter into the flour. 

How To Make French Vanilla Cake

Preparation: Collect each and every ingredient as well as the Equipment required to make sponge cake and buttercream. Preheat your oven to 180C (OTG mode: upper rod + lower rod + fan). Grease and line two 6-inch round tins with oil and butter paper. 

Method for the sponge:

  • Dry Ingredients: Sieve flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl. 
  • Add Butter: After sieving the dry ingredients, add in cold butter. Start rubbing it with your fingertips and form a crumble-like mixture. 
  • Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, take eggs, milk, oil and vanilla bean paste. Give it a good mix. 
  • Batter: Gradually add liquid ingredients to the crumbled mixture and make a smooth batter. Ensure you are not leaving butter lumps in the batter. 
  • Bake: Pour the batter equally into two prepared tins. Bake at 180C (OTG mode: lower rod only) for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the centre. 

Method for Buttercream 

  • Cook Sugar: In a saucepan, take water and sugar. Start heating it until it reaches 115C temperature. 
  • Beat Yolks: While sugar is heating, beat egg yolks with salt in a bowl until it’s pale and fluffy.
  • Temper Yolk: Once the sugar–water mixture has reached 115C, remove from heat and start adding it to the beaten Yolk gradually while beating the mixture continuously. Beat this until the mixture cools down. 
  • Add butter: Now, add room-temperature unsalted butter and beat till you get a smooth homogeneous mixture. 
  • Add Vanilla: Lastly, add in the vanilla bean paste and beat again. 

Chef’s Tips For The Recipe

Tip For Tempering Yolk

Add the cooked sugar at the right temperature which is 115C. Also, while adding the sugar to the yolk, ensure you are adding it in a slow and steady stream and not all at once.

Tip for Buttercream 

While beating the yolk after adding sugar and butter, the mixture may go flat or deflate, but it will regain the aeration and become voluminous again when beaten continuously. 

How To Store French Vanilla Cake

Assembled cake must be consumed within three days. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

You can store only a sponge for a week by cling-wrapping it and storing it in the refrigerator. 

Buttercream must be used within three days of storing it in the refrigerator.

More Easy Recipes

Check out other delicious and tempting cake recipes

Chocolate and blueberry cake

Black tie mousse cake

Victoria sponge cake

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why is it called French Vanilla Cake?

By now, you must know that type of vanilla has nothing to do with it’s name. So then, why do we call this cake French Vanilla? Well, the name comes from the method used in making sponge and buttercream. Originally, the French vanilla flavour name was given to an ice cream where in yolks were used to make custard-based ice cream. Similarly, since we use yolks in the sponge to provide that custardy flavour, the cake is called French Vanilla. 

Can I pair the sponge with any other frosting? 

Definitely yes! You can pair the sponge with any other frosting like American buttercream, Russian buttercream or Swiss meringue buttercream. If you like, you may whipped cream as well. 

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French Vanilla Cake Recipe

French vanilla cake: Soft and delicious, add this elegant cake to your go-to vanilla cake recipe list! 

  • Total Time: 80 to 95 minutes
  • Yield: 1.5 kg 1x




  • 155g All-purpose Flour
  • ½ + ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • 175g Castor Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 100g Butter
  • 1 no. Egg
  • 35g Oil
  • 145ml Milk
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Bean Paste


  • 137g Egg yolk
  • 450g Sugar
  • 75g Water
  • 1+1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 350g Unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp Salt

Soaking Syrup:

  • 30ml Water
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla Extract


Gipsy Flowers


Method For Sponge:

  1. Prepare two 6-inch tins by greasing them with oil and placing butter paper at the bottom. Preheat the oven to 180C (OTG mode: upper rod + lower rod + fan).
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Add cold butter to the dry ingredients and rub it with your fingertips to get a crumbly texture.
  4. Now, in a different bowl, mix eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla bean paste.
  5. Add this liquid mixture to the crumbled mixture and form a smooth batter.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tins equally.
  7. Bake them at 180c (OTG mode: lower rod only) for 30-35 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

Method For Buttercream:

  1. In a saucepan, cook sugar and water until it reaches 115C
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat egg yolks until they are very pale and fluffy.
  3. Once the sugar water mixture reaches 115C, gradually add it to the fluffy egg yolk while still beating the egg yolk mixture simultaneously.
  4. Beat until the mixture has completely cooled down.
  5. Now add room temperature butter to it gradually.
  6. The mixture will go from very voluminous to flat, but it will get voluminous again when you keep eating it.
  7. Lastly add vanilla bean paste and beat again.

Method For Soaking Syrup:

  1. Add vanilla extract to water and mix.


  1. Demould the sponges and divide them into two parts with a cake leveller. ( we should have four layers of sponges)
  2. Now, on a cake base, pipe a tiny amount of buttercream, then place a layer of sponge on it.
  3. Soak the sponge with soaking syrup using a pastry brush, and pipe buttercream and smooth it out using a bent palette knife.
  4. Place another layer of sponge, then repeat the same process as before.
  5. Now pipe a thin layer of buttercream on top and side of the cake to crumb-coat it. Then smooth it out.
  6. Keep it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  7. Now, pipe thick layers of buttercream all over the top and the sides of the cake to give it a final coating.
  8. Remove the excess with a metal scrapper.
  9. Now pipe spirals of buttercream on top using a 1M nozzle.
  10. Lastly, decorate it by placing wild gipsy flowers randomly.
  • Author: Chef Mansi Jain
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Assembly Time: 30 to 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes

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