Vanilla Snack Cake/ School Cake

Get ready to dive into a banger of a recipe: the ultimate snack cake. This buttery, vanilla-infused delight is perfect for any time of day. Topped with smooth whipped icing and colourful sprinkles, it's sure to bring smiles all around. Join me in the kitchen for a baking adventure that's both delicious and fun. Let's get started!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
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Whether you’re craving a sweet treat to enjoy with your morning coffee, need a pick-me-up for those hectic afternoons, or simply want to indulge your sweet tooth after dinner, this vanilla snack cake has got you covered.

Picture this: a buttery, moist cake infused with the irresistible aroma of vanilla bean paste, topped with a smooth and creamy icing that’s guaranteed to make your taste buds dance. And let’s not forget the finishing touch – a sprinkle of colourful confetti to add a pop of fun and flavour to every bite.

close up of sliced school cake with fluffy crumb texture

Why This Vanilla Snack Cake Is Amazing

  • Decadent Flavour: A rich, buttery flavour, perfectly balanced with a hint of vanilla bean paste.
  • Stays Moist for days: We tested this recipe multiple times and it stayed moist for 5+ days. While I don’t think you’ll be leaving it that long, it blew our minds and was delicious days after baking with no sign of yucky dry cake!
  • Easy Preparation: With simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, this recipe is ideal for both novice and experienced bakers alike.
  • Versatile: Enjoy this cake as a delightful treat for any occasion – whether it’s a school snack cake, dessert for a family gathering, or a sweet indulgence for yourself.
  • Customisable Icing: Elevate your cake with luscious vanilla bean icing, easily adjustable to your preferred colour, consistency and sweetness level.
  • Kid-Friendly: Children and adults alike will love the soft texture and sweet taste of this classic vanilla snack cake, making it a hit for school lunches or afternoon snacks.

What ingredients are needed

Ingredients used to make vanilla school cake. Eggs, butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, vanilla bean paste, hand mixer and bowls.
  • Butter: provides moisture, flavour, and richness to the cake. It also contributes to the tender texture.
  • Sugar: not only adds sweetness but also helps to tenderise the cake by trapping air during creaming with the butter, resulting in a softer texture.
  • Eggs and Egg Yolk: act as binders, helping to hold the cake together. They also add structure and richness. The additional egg yolk adds even more moisture and richness to the cake.
  • Sour Cream: adds moisture and richness to the vanilla cake batter, resulting in a moist and tender crumb. It also adds a subtle tanginess that balances the sweetness of the cake.
  • Plain Flour: provides structure to the cake. The protein in flour, when mixed with liquid and leavening agents, forms the cake’s structure. Plain all-purpose flour is versatile and commonly used in cake recipes.
  • Baking Powder: is a leavening agent that helps the cake to rise by creating bubbles of carbon dioxide gas when mixed with liquid and heat. This results in a light and fluffy texture.
  • Vanilla Bean Paste: adds a rich vanilla flavour and aroma to the cake. It contains vanilla bean seeds suspended in a syrup-like mixture, providing an intense vanilla flavour compared to vanilla extract.
  • Powdered Sugar: is used for making the icing. It dissolves easily and creates a smooth texture without any grittiness.
  • Milk: is used to adjust the consistency of the icing. It also adds richness and creaminess to the icing.
  • Sprinkles: are optional but add fun and colourful decoration to the cake, making it visually appealing and adding a bit of texture and crunch.
Slab of vanilla snack cake with pink frosting and sprinkles.

Setting You Up For Success – Tips & Tricks

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your butter, eggs, and sour cream are at room temperature before starting. Room-temperature ingredients mix more evenly, resulting in a smoother batter.
  • Creaming Method: Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This process incorporates air into the batter, resulting in a lighter texture.
  • Don’t Overmix: Once you add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix gently until just combined. Overmixing can lead to a dense, tough cake.
  • Even Baking: If your cake is looking like it is browning on one side more than the other, rotate it cake halfway through baking. Every oven is different, so keep an eye on your cake towards the end of the baking time to avoid overbaking.
  • Cooling Time: Allow the cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. This helps prevent the cake from breaking apart.
  • Icing Consistency: Adjust the amount of milk in the icing to achieve your desired consistency. Add more milk for a thinner icing or more powdered sugar for a thicker icing.
  • Decorating with Sprinkles: Add sprinkles immediately after spreading the icing, as the icing sets quickly. This ensures the sprinkles adhere to the icing.
Slice of cake sitting on side showing the fluffy soft texture.

Troubleshooting Vanilla Snack Cake:

  1. Cake Sinking in the Middle: This could be due to overmixing the batter, opening the oven door too often during baking, or underbaking. Ensure the cake is fully baked before removing it from the oven.
  2. Dry or Dense Cake: Overbaking, using too much flour, or not enough moisture (such as butter or eggs) can result in a dry or dense cake. Be sure to measure your ingredients accurately by using a set of scales and avoid overbaking.
  3. Icing Too Runny or Too Thick: If your icing is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more milk, a little at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
  4. Cake Sticking to the Pan: Make sure to properly grease and flour your baking pan or use parchment paper to line the bottom. Allow the cake to cool slightly before attempting to remove it from the pan.
Lifestyle image of slice of snack cake sitting on baking paper and cooling rack.


Stop Using A Toothpick To Test Cake!

Testing with a toothpick is a widely used technique for checking if a cake is baked through, but it’s not always foolproof for several reasons:

  1. Location Variation: Results may differ depending on where the toothpick is inserted, potentially leading to false readings.
  2. Moist Ingredients: Cakes with added moisture may still appear wet on the toothpick even when fully baked, leading to overbaking.
  3. False Positives: The toothpick can come out clean even if the cake is slightly underbaked, especially with dense textures.
  4. Surface vs. Center: The cake’s exterior appearance doesn’t always reflect its internal doneness, causing potential inaccuracies.
  5. Cake Type: Different cake textures may not provide reliable readings with the toothpick test, such as dense cheesecakes or flourless cakes.
  1. Gentle Touch: Gently press the center of the cake with your finger or the back of a spoon. If the cake is done, it should spring back slightly and feel firm to the touch. If it feels too soft and leaves an indentation, it likely needs more time in the oven.
  2. Observation: Take a look at the surface of the cake. It should be evenly golden brown and slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan. If the edges appear to be pulling away and the surface is set, it’s likely done. If the edges are still moist and the surface looks wet or shiny, it needs more time to bake.
  3. Visual Clues: Another visual cue is the sides of the cake. If they start to pull away from the pan, it’s a sign that the cake is nearing completion. Additionally, you may notice that the cake has started to shrink slightly from the sides of the pan when it’s done.
Two slices of cake stacked on small plate. Cooling rack of cake sliced in background

Frequently Asked Questions

When I made this dish on our live cooking show, some community members asked:

Can I use a different type of flour, like whole wheat or cake flour, instead of all-purpose flour?

Yes, you can experiment with different types of flour, but keep in mind that they may alter the texture and flavour of the cake. Whole wheat flour will result in a denser texture, while cake flour will produce a lighter and more delicate crumb. Adjustments may be needed in the amount of liquid used.

Can I substitute yogurt for sour cream in this recipe?

Yes, you can typically substitute yogurt for sour cream in equal amounts. However, keep in mind that yogurt may result in a slightly tangier flavour and a slightly different texture. See the substitution list.

Is there a substitute for vanilla bean paste if I don’t have any on hand?

Yes, you can certainly use an equal amount of vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean paste. It will still add a delicious vanilla flavour to the cake, I have found and prefer using vanilla bean paste for its stronger flavour and the seeds make me feel boujee.

How can I store this cake, and how long will it stay fresh?

Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. If you prefer to store it longer, you can refrigerate it for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Can I freeze this cake?

Yes, you can freeze the cake either whole or in individual slices. I prefer to freeze unfrosted as the butter and sugar may separate when thawed. It’s not a huge issue but it can be easily fixed by smoothing the surface and remixing the frosting on the surface of the cake. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminium foil to prevent freezer burn. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Slices of vanilla cake with pink frosting and sprinkles.

Looking For More Yumminess?

Whether you’re after more simple snacks, easy dinner ideas or delightful desserts, we have you covered!

Did you make this recipe?

Let us know how it turned out for you! Comment below, tag @missmolly_makes on Instagram using #missmollymakes or visit us LIVE at twitch.tv/missmollymakes.com

Lifestyle image of slice of snack cake sitting on baking paper and cooling rack.

Vanilla Snack Cake/ School Cake

Servings 15 Slices
Get ready to dive into a banger of a recipe: the ultimate snack cake. This buttery, vanilla-infused delight is perfect for any time of day. Topped with smooth whipped icing and colourful sprinkles, it's sure to bring smiles all around. Join me in the kitchen for a baking adventure that's both delicious and fun. Let's get started!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients
 

Cake

  • 225 gm butter softened
  • 230 gm white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 40 gm sour cream
  • 235 gm plain all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

Icing:

  • 350 gm powdered icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3-4 tbsps milk
  • Sprinkles

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a 23x33cm / 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla bean paste.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing gently until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until gently pressed in the centre and it springs back. See the section above about the 'toothpick method'.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the cake cools, prepare the icing. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, and enough milk to make a smooth, spreadable icing.
  • Once the cake is cool, spread the icing over the top and decorate with sprinkles.
  • Slice and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 463IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Recipe Published: May 1, 2024 Last Updated: May 17, 2024
Lauren and Troy George, Creators of MissMollyMakes smiling to camera.

Hiya, I’m Lauren but you can call me Molly!

Former OR Nurse and self-taught home cook passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. Together with my husband Troy, we create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
To learn more about us, our cooking show and more, click here!

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