Sunday, 7 May 2017


Since starting this blog a few years ago, my cake making has definitely improved. Originally I could only make cakes using a Betty Crocker mix however this year for my daughter's birthday I made one from scratch (I made 2 in fact and nearly ate an entire one to myself). My daughter Arabella's stepmother is an excellent baker and she shared this recipe with me. I am much more into the icing than the cake and so I used the ingredients for a 20cm cake even though my cake tins are 23cm however it is obviously up to you what size you do. Here is a chart of the different ingredients needed for various sized cake tins.

Ingredients for a 20cm cake:

325g unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
6 medium eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
325g self-raising flour

For the vanilla frosting:
500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter, at room temperature
50ml whole milk
A couple of drops of vanilla extract
Pink food colouring if you want a pink cake

 Plus toppings for decoration - I used every sweet imaginable!

Preheat the oven to 160 C / 325 F / gas mark 3 and prepare your cake tins by lining them with baking paper and I also sprayed the bottom with cooking spray. 

Using an electric mixer (mine is handheld), beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well between each addition and then add the vanilla extract. It is important to take your time over this part - I would say it took me at least 20 minutes in total to do this and my arm was aching by the end but it is worth it.

Sift the flour, add to the mixture and mix very carefully until just combined. I didn't really know when it was "just combined" so I guessed. Finish off by folding the mixture through gently with a spatula to finish. 

Tip the mixture into your prepared tins and spread with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. I think this is one of the hardest parts of baking a cake - my mixture never freely pours into the tin and I find it difficult to make it all even. Oh well, I am not entering the Great British Bake Off!

Bake in the oven until a skewer inserted into the centre of your cakes come out clean. The baking time varies depending on your oven, just to add another complication! Check smaller cakes after 20 minutes and larger cakes after 40 minutes. I started checking mine after 20 minutes but it took 30 minutes. It is a good idea to keep a close eye on your cakes!

Once they are ready, allow the cakes to cool whilst you make your icing.

Thankfully the photo doesn't show how uneven my cakes actually were!

For the icing, beat the icing sugar and butter together using a handheld electric whisk or in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat at a medium speed until the mixture comes together and is well combined. Another good arm exercise if you are using a handheld device.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add this to the butter and sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, and slowly mix. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy - the longer you do this the better. It should take a minimum of 5 minutes.

If you want to colour your icing now is the time to add some food colouring - we mixed in pink. Once it is ready, ice the cake. I found using a blunt knife made this easier and don't forget to lick the spoon when you are finished - the best part!

Finally time for the cake toppers. You can decorate however you like - sprinkles, marshmallows, skittles, smarties or little figurines. We went sugar crazy and covered the cake in sweets - as many as we could fit on!

I love cake and I LOVED this cake. The sponge was so light and despite being so decadent, the cake itself tasted deliciously delicate. It is definitely worth putting the effort into beating the ingredients slowly and taking your time over it all. Yes it was a sugar overload but you only have your birthday once a year. I can't wait till mine in September now. I think this might be a little OTT for Olympia's first birthday cake!!

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