This moist and tender Vanilla Loaf Cake makes the perfect quick and easy dessert, afternoon snack, or breakfast.
Follow the basic loaf cake recipe to bake a simple, flavorful vanilla cake that's covered in vanilla icing. Or, use this recipe to create 4 other delicious loaf cake varieties: cinnamon, chocolate chip, blueberry, or raspberry swirl.
Loaf cakes, or quick bread as they are sometimes called, are delicious, crowd-pleasing cakes that are as easy to make as they are to serve.
Even the most basic vanilla loaf cake is somehow perfect for any occasion, and always exactly what everyone wants to eat.
- This simple cake is baked in a loaf pan and needs no adornment except perhaps a drizzle of icing or a spoonful of berry sauce.
- The batter is made with oil which helps the cake stay moist and delicious for several days. (Ha! So funny that it could possibly last that long without being eaten.)
If you love cakes that can be baked in a simple loaf pan as much as I do, here are three more recipes you might like:
One Loaf Cake Recipe, 4 Flavor Variations
This loaf cake recipe is something that I like to call a building block recipe because it's one of those tried-and-true recipes that I come back to over and over again.
Sometimes I bake the basic vanilla version and sometimes I use the recipe as a jumping off point to create something new.
With just a few tweaks and additions, this one vanilla loaf cake recipe can be easily transformed into 4 different types of cake:
- Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake: simply stir 1 cup mini chocolate chips into the batter before folding in the whipped cream.
- Blueberry Loaf Cake: Fold fresh or frozen blueberries into the batter. >Recipe for Blueberry Loaf Cake
- Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake: Swirl in thick gooey ribbons of cinnamon sugar. >Recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake
- Raspberry Swirl Loaf Cake: Swirls of raspberry throughout rich vanilla cake. >Raspberry Swirl Loaf Cake
Basic Loaf Cake Ingredients
You'll only need a handful of basic ingredients to make this simple cake:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Plain, unsweetened whole milk yogurt
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy whipping cream
Step-by-Step Photos and Instructions
Dump the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine everything.
Beat the eggs and sugar for a few minutes until the mixture is light and aerated. To know when you've beaten the eggs and sugar enough, lift the beater from the bowl. The mixture should look like a ribbon falling from the beater, folding over itself as it drops back into the bowl.
Pour the oil into the beaten eggs and sugar while the mixer is running. It's important to do this very slowly, so the oil is fully emulsified into the sugar and eggs.
Mix in the yogurt and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir just until the batter is smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until medium peaks form. This means that if you lift the beater from the cream, peaks of whipped cream will form that gently fold back over themselves.
Fold the whipped cream into the batter very gently, mixing just until it's about 90% incorporated.
You should still see a few white streaks of whipped cream in the batter.
Pour the batter into a loaf pan that's been greased and floured and bake.
Allow the cake time to cool before covering it with glaze.
Tips for Moist and Tender Loaf Cakes
This cake relies on two techniques to create an incredibly soft, moist, and tender crumb that practically melts in your mouth:
#1. Combine the eggs, sugar, and oil in such a way that they create an emulsion.
An emulsion is a situation in which tiny droplets of liquid are dispersed in a fat. Certain substances, like egg yolks, act as emulsifiers. This means that when agitated, they help fat and liquid come together and stay together.
In this recipe, an emulsion is created by beating eggs and sugar until they are light and aerated, then slowly beating in some oil. The process creates a water-in-fat emulsion that increases stability and gives the cake a light, soft, super moist texture.
#2. Folding whipped cream into the cake batter right before baking.
One of my favorite baking books of all time is BakeWise by Shirley O’Corriher. In one recipe, Shirley explains that when folded gently into the batter right before baking, whipped cream adds additional air, which gives cakes a soft, silky texture. This genius trick works like a charm to do exactly that for this loaf cake.
How to Ice and Serve This Cake
You can serve the cake right after covering it icing it for a more saucy flavor with each slice. Or, wait for the icing to firm up so it creates a crackly, sugary surface to the top of the cake.
More ways to top vanilla loaf cake:
- Follow the instructions in the Vanilla Icing recipe to make maple, honey, almond, or any other flavor of icing.
- Top it with this super quick and easy fresh berry sauce and a spoonful of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
- Top with vanilla or lemon icing then add a few candied orange slices.
- Opt for the classic chocolate and vanilla combination and drizzle it with chocolate ganache or slather on some milk chocolate buttercream.
Vanilla Loaf Cake FAQs
A loaf cake is simply any cake that's baked in a loaf pan, including pound cake. Pound cakes got their name because they were made with a pound each of flour sugar, butter, and eggs. Today's recipes, like my favorite Perfect Pound Cake, often have slightly different proportions, but the basic idea remains intact.
Store this cake at room temperature, iced or plain, for up to 4 days. Make sure the cake is well wrapped, or store it in an air-tight container to prevent it from drying out.
I sometimes slice the cake and wrap each piece individually to put in lunch boxes, or take on picnics, hikes, or anywhere you might appreciate cake-on-the-go.
A: Yes! After the cake is completely cool, wrap it in a couple layers of plastic wrap then a layer of aluminum foil. Well wrapped, the cake will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freeze the cake without any icing.
Allow the cake to thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature. Top with icing after the cake has thawed.
- 1 ¾ cups (210g) flour
- 2 teaspoon (8g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2.25g) table salt - OR ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100g/ 118ml) vegetable or canola oil
- ½ cup (4oz/ 113g) plain, whole milk yogurt
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (2oz/ 57g) heavy whipping cream
- Vanilla Icing
- Grease and flour a loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Here's how to Grease and Flour Cake Pans.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a medium size bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- Beat the eggs and sugar with an elecric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is lightened in color and thick. If you lift the beater from the batter, the mixture should fold back on itself like a ribbon. (See photo above for reference)
- With the mixer running on medium speed, pour the vegetable oil into the egg and sugar mixture very slowly. Pour the oil in a thin steady stream as the mixer runs, so that it creates a fully emulsified (combined) batter.
- Add the yogurt and vanilla, mixing just until combined. Then use a spoon or rubber spatula to stir in the dry ingredients into the batter. Mix just until the batter is smooth.
- In a seperate bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until medium peaks form. If you lift the beater from the whipped cream, a peak of cream will form that gently folds back over itself.
- Using a spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the batter. Mix just until about 90% of the whipped cream is incorporated into the batter. You should still be able to see a few white streaks.
- Pour the batter into the preapared loaf pan and bake for 40 - 43 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out without any evidence of raw batter.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completly before covering with icing.
- My three favorite ways to finish this loaf cake is with a drizzle of simple Vanilla Icing or Lemon Icing or a few spoonfuls of this easy Berry Sauce.
- Store this cake at room temperature for up to 4 days. Make sure the cake is well wrapped, or in an air-tight container to prevent it from drying out.
Loaf Cake Variations:
This basic loaf cake recipe is the starting point for the following variations:
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 Slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 259Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 309mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 6g