Swans Down Vanilla Cake Recipe

This recipe for swans down vanilla cake recipe is a classic British sponge recipe that uses the less well-known drawing and sifting method. This is an easy recipe; it keeps well if you need to make cakes in advance.

It is traditional to serve swans down. This is a simple, modern method of serving a sponge made with egg whites and caster sugar instead of weight. It was invented in 2015 by a pair of dessert chefs,

Swans Down Vanilla Cake Recipe
Swans Down Vanilla Cake Recipe

who were also food bloggers and marketers. They started the company Swans Down Bakehouse, which now sells swans down vanilla cake in all its forms and coffee granita and hot chocolate, among other things.


How To Prepare Swans Down Vanilla Cake Recipe?

Preparation Time: 45 min

Baking Time: 35 min

Servings: 12 slices


  • whisk or sieve,
  • mixing bowl,
  • measuring spoons and cups,
  • spatula or wooden spoon,
  • electric mixer


For the Cake:

  • 100 g (3¾ oz) sugar
  • 150 g (5½ oz) egg yolk
  • 35 g (1¼ oz) plain flour (not self-raising or cake flour), sifted
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar/vanilla extract
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) milk,
  • 7 g (¼ oz) baking powder
  • 4 g (⅛ oz) baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar/vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 75 g (2½ oz) homemade or purchased apricot jam
  • 150 g (5½ oz) butter
  • 200 g (7 oz) icing sugar

Making Method Step By Step:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5) to make the Cake. Grease a 25 cm (10 inches) (base measurement) springform cake tin.

Step 2: Measure out 35 g (1¼ oz) of sugar in a small bowl.

Step 3: Sift together the flour and cornflour in a large bowl.

Step 4: Add the sugar and pour in the milk. Stir well without disturbing the dry ingredients. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.

Step 5: Add the vanilla sugar and gently fold the stiffly beaten egg yolk.

Step 6: Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes clean.

Step 7: Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing sides of the tin. It should still be warm, as we will fill it later. Leave to cool completely before filling it with fruit and buttercream.

For the filling:

Step 1: Put the apricot jam in a saucepan with 50 g (1¾ oz) of butter. Heat very gently until melted. Cool before spreading on the Cake.

Step 2: To prepare the buttercream, beat together the remaining butter and icing sugar and add vanilla extract to taste. Sandwich your Cake with layers of buttercream, finishing with a generous layer on top.

Step 3: To finish, decorate with more jam and raspberries.

Step 7: Enjoy swans down vanilla cakes!

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 507.6 kcal
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Carbohydrate: 63.4 g
  • Fat: 24.
  • Sugar: 56.1 g
  • Fibre: 0.4 g
  • Sodium: 5 mg
  • Cals from fat: 23
  • Saturated Fat: 9.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 62 mg

Do You Need To Add Baking Powder To Swans Down Cake Flour?

No. Baking powder helps to keep the cake tender, and the aeration is best achieved by the egg yolks alone. The amount of flour you use will be sufficient to provide a light, soft crumb.

Swans Down Cake is similar to no-bake sponge cakes, but rather than being cooked in a water bath, it is cooked in an oven (190°C/375ºF / Gas 5) and baked immediately once cooked.

Can I Use Swans Down Cake Flour?

Swans Down Cake flour is unbleached, untreated plain flour. For the best results, use it with a thermometer and a kitchen scale when measuring.

Can I Add Other Ingredients To Swans Down Cake?

You can add Swiss Meringue Buttercream or homemade or purchase jelly to the filling. You can use a regular (not no-bake) sponge recipe and fill it with jam, jelly, and cream. You can also use sugar syrup instead of sugar in the recipe.

Which Ingredient Makes Cake Soft And Fluffy?

The softness of your Cake depends on the ingredients used, especially the level of air you allow in the mixture. The air can be achieved with the egg yolks alone,

and using a whisk or a balloon whisk helps. The amount of liquid in your recipe will also make a difference.

Should I Cover A Cake While It Cools?

Cakes are best out of the oven, as they are still warm and the texture is softest. Do not cover it with a damp cloth. Instead, use a clean tea towel. Please leave it to cool at room temperature (not in a cold place).

Should I Cover The Cake While Cooling It In The Fridge?

No. The Cake is best out of the fridge, as it is still warm and has the softest texture. Do not cover Cake with a damp cloth. Instead, use a clean tea towel to remove excess moisture. Please leave it to cool at room temperature (not in a cold place).


The recipe is so easy to make, and the result was fantastic. The Cake was moist, soft, and fluffy. I will be making this Cake again. I would like to hear from you if you decide to make it too.

Leave a comment below, check the recipe page for updates and write down any changes you made so we can discuss them further!

Thanks for reading!