Simple Vanilla Sponge

My parents have never been big birthday people, but when your turning 50 you need to celebrate somehow. Along with some of my family, we took them out for a birthday meal complete with balloons and cake.

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We went to The Blacksmiths Arms in Biggin (North Yorkshire), as it’s a firm favourite of theirs as well as myself and my boyfriend. It’s a small, charming pub in a secluded village and their dishes use local, seasonal produce where possible. While their menu is small there’s a lot of variety to choose from (the menu is a huge chalkboard on the wall, which I love!).

I decided to bake a cake rather than buy one as my Mum has always loved a personal touch to things. I settled on a plain vanilla sponge with white chocolate buttercream, so hopefully everyone would be happy with the simplicity!

Even though they were stuffed, most opted to have a slice and I heard good things! Result!

Here’s the recipe so you can try it yourselves…

You will need:

For the cake:

180g unsalted butter, at room temperature

180g caster sugar

3 medium eggs, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

180g self-raising flour

1 tablespoon warm water from the tap

For the buttercream:

100g white chocolate

150g unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

280g icing sugar

1 tablespoon milk

  1. Heat your oven to 180 degrees and grease a deep, round cake tin.
  2. Put the butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until it’s very creamy. (I don’t have an electric mixer and I have the wooden spoon hand blisters to prove it. Ouch!)
  3. Gradually beat in the sugar.
  4. Put the eggs and vanilla into a small bowl and mix with a fork, gradually add to the butter mixture a tablespoon at a time. Add a tablespoon of flour with the last 2 egg additions to stop the mixture curdling.
  5. Sift the rest of the flour into the mixture, fold in gently with a large metal spoon and add the warm water.
  6. Place the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly, bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the sponge is a light golden brown (I placed tinfoil over the tin halfway through baking to stop the top burning). Place on a wire rack to cool.
  7. To make the buttercream place the butter and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and beat until very soft and pale.
  8. Gradually sift in the icing sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk to give a softer consistency.
  9. Spread some of the buttercream over the top of the cake and use the rest in a piping bag to add little rosettes around the edge.
  10. Decorate as you wish!

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I can’t wait for the next birthday so I can go all out! What’s that? It’s my boyfriends birthday next? I hope he’s ready for the birthday onslaught he’ll receive!

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