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One-Bowl Vanilla Cake

From the book Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by
Serves 8 to 10

Culinate editor’s note: This cake is delicious with fresh strawberries, but it’s equally good all by itself (think light pound cake) with a cup of tea.


This is my favorite all-in-one-bowl plain Jane vanilla cake. Serve it with fresh fruit, top it with vanilla or chocolate frosting, or fill it with coconut cream or lemon curd; see variations that follow. The oven takes longer to preheat than this batter takes to prep and mix. Gather your ingredients, but don’t start actually mixing until the oven is ready!


¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (6.125 ounces) sugar
1 cup (4.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
tsp. baking powder
cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. (1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and hot, or vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the sides of a 8-by-2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Add the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder to the food-processor bowl and pulse to blend the ingredients thoroughly. Add the cream and butter or oil and pulse quickly, 8 to 10 times, until the ingredients are blended (if you’re using oil, the ingredients will be moist and beginning to clump together but not yet smooth). Add the eggs and vanilla and pulse 5 to 6 times. Scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse 5 to 6 more times, just until the ingredients are blended and smooth — no more.
  3. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.
  4. Slide a thin knife or a small metal spatula around the edges of the cake to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake onto the rack and peel off the parchment liner. Turn the cake right side up on the rack to cool completely.


Once cooled, the cake keeps, wrapped airtight, at room temperature for 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months; bring to room temperature before serving.

Variations: You can grate the zest of a medium orange or lemon into the bowl with the other ingredients and/or add 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract. Either way, reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. You can make the cake with citrus zest as described and add 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds.

This content is from the book Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich.

There are 4 comments on this item
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0% recommend this recipe
1. by anonymous on Jun 6, 2012 at 1:04 PM PDT

Can I make this without using a food processor?
I do not have one.

2. by Rebecca on Jun 6, 2012 at 3:58 PM PDT

Can I use this recipe for cupcakes and about how many will it make?

3. by Lynn on Jun 6, 2012 at 5:09 PM PDT

I live at 7000 feet. What accommodations should I make? Thx.

4. by Carrie Floyd on Jun 6, 2012 at 6:15 PM PDT

I made it without a food processor and it turned out great! At each step, I stirred until the ingredients were blended, roughly the same amount of strokes that Medrich says to pulse.
Rebecca, I’m sure you can turn the batter into cupcakes and let us know how many it makes; I’m guessing somewhere between 8 and 12.
Lynn, I have no experience cooking at high altitudes! I’d say follow whatever rule you usually follow when baking cakes.

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