Whilst I may be adventurous making birthday cakes for mini me (1st birthday – candle; 2nd – a number 2; 3rd – Postman Pat van; 4th – rainbow; 5th – flip-flop), I decided it was best to play it safe and make a round vanilla sponge with white icing and red hearts (40 to be precise).
I use Jane Asher's basic sponge mix and it has never failed. I even use it for making cupcakes.
To make life easier I cheated and bought ready rolled white icing.
Basic Vanilla Sponge
(makes 2 x 8inch round cakes or 12 good sized cupcakes)
250g Butter, softened
250g Caster Sugar
250g Self Raising Flour, sifted
2 tsp Baking Powder (omit for cupcakes)
2 tsp Vanilla Essence
- Preheat the oven to 160C / gas mark 4. Grease 2 round cake tins or if making cupcakes, place cupcake cases in a 12 hole muffin tin.
- Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
- Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla essence and continue to mix on a medium speed untilall is incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between the tins (or cupcake cases). Bake in the oven for 25 minutes for sponge, 15 minutes for cupcakes. A skewer should come out clean.
- Leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.
Chocolate cake – replace 50g flour with 50g cocoa powder
Coffee cake – replace vanilla essence with 4tbsp of instant coffee dissolved in 4 tbsp of boiling water
Orange / Lemon cake – replace vanilla essence with 2tsp or desired fruit juice and grated rind
200g Butter, softened
½ tbsp hot water
300g Icing Sugar, sifted
- Put the butter into a bowl with the hot water and mix together well.
- Beat in the sifted icing sugar a little at a time, until the mixture is light and creamy.
Vanilla butter cream – add 1 tsp vanilla essence
Lemon butter cream – substitute 1 tbsp lemon juice for the hot water
Chocolate butter cream – add 150g melted dark chocolate
Coffee butter cream – dissolve 2 tablespoons instant coffee in the hot water