I have been looking forward to posting up this recipe all week. I have a mini mountain of cleaning in front of me today but I needed to take 5 minutes to share this recipe. It is revolutionary. Light and fluffy like a sponge but with that yummy buttery flavour of a butter cake but without so much butter. In fact I use one 250g pack of butter for the cake and icing, as opposed to other recipes that require 500g in total.
It is one of those recipes where you throw all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixmaster and beat for several minutes and then bake. Then once cooled slightly, tip onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
The cake is perfect just like that but I like to trim the edges for a little more uniformity. Then you have a blank canvas to decorate. Kids like sprinkles or grated chocolate. I did raspberries as I was inspired by Bill Grangers ‘Cake For A Crowd’. This recipe is similar to Bills except this one has cornflour like a sponge and makes a bigger cake. So essentially this is a cake for a bigger crowd. If you have an even bigger crowd then I like Bill’s idea of baking 2 cakes and putting them side by side and icing them together as one big cake.
The cake recipe is a Women’s Weekly recipe and they suggest it be baked in a 23cm square cake pan. I bake this recipe in a 20 x 30cm brownie tin. The original name is Quick Mix Sand Cake. This name turned me off making it for several years so The Perfect Vanilla Cake is more fitting as I can’t think of a better vanilla cake I’d rather make or eat.
I have a collection of several cake recipes that have all the ingredients thrown in a bowl and mixed together and this is by far the yummiest and lightest. I have made 2 of these cakes this week for different get togethers and kids and adults alike love it. So file this recipe away for birthday cake ideas.
Vanilla paste is pricey so I use it sparingly but worth it for this cake and icing. You can see the black vanilla seeds throughout the cake and icing and when you taste it you remember how beautiful vanilla is. But vanilla extract can be used here too.
One final tip – have all the ingredients at room temperature before you start.
the perfect vanilla cake
(slightly adapted from The Women’s Weekly ‘All Time Favourite Cakes and Biscuits’)
185g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
1 1/4 cups (275g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
1 1/2 (225g) self-raising flour
1/3 (50g) cornflour
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease and line the base of a 20cm x 30cm brownie tin.
In the bowl of a mixmaster add all the ingredients and beat on low until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat for a further 3 minutes or until the batter is fluffy and pale in colour. Spread mixture into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes.
Stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Ice.
For the icing I just pop the remaining butter from the pack (if using a 250g pack of butter) which should be about 65g along with 300g icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste and 2 teaspoons of milk in the cleaned bowl of the mixmaster. Beat on low until combined and then increase speed to medium and mix for several minutes until the icing is light and fluffy, adding a little more milk if needed for a spreadable consistency.