A buttery, vanilla-scented cake, sandwiched with sweet jam (and often whipped cream), is a British teatime classic. In this version, fresh raspberries are added to the filling as well, delivering a tart, juicy contrast to the sweet jam. Be sure to take the time to cream the butter and sugar thoroughly—that essential step provides lift and good structure to the cake.

Anna Theoktisto


Credit: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe Summary test

20 mins
1 hr 25 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Split vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise, and scrape seeds from pod using the back of a knife. Place scraped seeds in a medium bowl, and add the sugar. Using your fingers, rub vanilla bean seeds and sugar together until well combined and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans (alternatively, coat pans with baking spray with flour). Set aside.

  • Using an electric mixer, beat softened butter and 1 1/2 cups of the vanilla-sugar mixture in a on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.

  • Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. With mixer running on medium speed, add flour mixture alternately with milk to butter mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating until combined after each addition. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans (about 2 1/4 cups per pan ).

  • Bake until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cakes comes out clean, 24 to 26 minutes. Let cool in cake pans 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Using a long serrated knife, trim the domed tops off cake layers, and discard (or enjoy them).

  • Whisk together 1/4 cup hot water and 1/4 cup vanilla-sugar mixture in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Brush trimmed cut sides of each cake layer with the vanilla syru.

  • Place 1 cake layer, cutside up, on a serving plate. Spread top evenly with jam; top with halved raspberries. Top with remaining cake layer, cut -side down. Using a fine -mesh strainer, sift remaining 1/4 cup vanilla-sugar mixture over top of cake. Garnish with whole raspberries. Cut the cake into wedges, and serve with whipped cream, if desired.