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.


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

Recipe Summary

1 hr 25 mins
20 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.