There is Nothing Wrong with Plain & Simple

There are some amazing things you can do with cakes, different flavours, colourings and styles. But no matter how amazingly beautiful a cake looks, surely taste is still the number one priority? I mean don’t get me wrong, I love experimenting with flavours .. Chocolate chip and peppermint, coffee and walnut. But I have to admit, the plain and simple vanilla sponge gets me every time! It’s the basics to any cake. The mixture has to be light and fluffy and from there is when the adventurous one’s decide on colourings and flavourings.

It took me ages to find the perfect vanilla sponge recipe too! You’d think it wouldn’t be that difficult, but how much vanilla extract (or essence) is enough and when does it become too much?

And the smell… As a baking fanatic (yes, I would go as far to say I am a little bit of a nutty baker!  I mean Hannah-Bakes-a-Lot had to have come from somewhere!), the smell of freshly baked cupcakes in the oven is enough to make you want to eat the entire contents of the tray before they have even made it onto the cooling rack.

So when I had a dozen vanilla sponge cupcakes fresh out the oven the other day, it was a struggle just to leave them be while I decided on the topping!

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I’m sure everyone has their tried, tested (and favoured) recipe, but for those that want to perhaps try something new, here is my favourite vanilla sponge recipe for you to try! I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

(recipe to make approx. 24 cupcakes or 2 small sponge cakes)

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
  • 2 tbsp milk

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 190C/gas 5. Line your baking tray with cupcake cases, or butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line with non-stick paper if you are making a larger “Classic Victoria Sandwich” style cake
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs.
  3. Add the chopped softened butter, caster sugar, baking powderer, vanilla extract and milk and mix until all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Next, add the self-raising flour and mix until the mixture is light and creamy. This is where I think its very important to do a cake test (any excuse!) as this is when you could add more vanilla extract if needed. 
  5. Divide the mixture into the cupcake cakes using a tablespoon, or into the two tins for a larger cake, making sire that the surface is smooth.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden in colour on the top and the cake springs back when pressed.

And there you have it! You can’t go wrong with this perfect cake recipe full of spongey goodness! Yummy, yum yum!

And the thing I love most about a plain vanilla sponge, is that you can be adventurous as you like with the topping …

… How about using crushed Oreos and a drizzle of melted chocolate over a vanilla butter cream frosting? You can also add a hidden surprise by popping a whole Oreo at the bottom of the cupcake case before adding the mixture and baking (For my “How To”, check out my earlier blog post “Death by Oreos!).

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This simple, yet equally scrummy cake contains a vanilla buttercream frosting, a drizzle of melted milk chocolate, and a handful of honeycomb pieces. A perfect combination to please that sweet tooth!

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Or you could even go with my favourite, vanilla sponge and a plain vanilla buttercream frosting top! (Look out for my new post on how to make the perfectly creamy Buttercream Frosting!)

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What would you use to decorate yours?

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