I love making cakes but I must admit, never really felt confident enough to make birthday cakes with the fancy icing – somehow I feared I could never be able deliver those amazingly decorated cakes with the children’s favorite characters. Until I saw the birthday cake recipe at Rose Prince’s brilliant cookery book, Kitchenella. I gave it a try to her Vanilla sponge and was inspired by her Smarties studded icing. The result was impressive and the birthday boy was very happy 🙂 Indeed a love letter to your children, as Rose says.
Vanilla Sponge (from Rose Prince’s Kitchenella)
A great basic recipe, ideal for a base birthday cake or fairy cakes.
Makes enough to serve 12-14
280gr/10oz unsalted butter, softened
280gr/10oz caster sugar
5ml/1 teaspoon vanilla essence
280gr/10 oz self-raising flour
30ml/2 tablespoons ground almonds
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
Prepare your cake tins – two shallow sandwich tins or a 12 hole muffin/fairy cake tin – greasing with butter and dusting with plain flour or lining with paper cases.
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy-textured (an electric beater is helpful). Beat in the eggs, one by one, each with a teaspoon of the flour, then the vanilla essence. Fold in the remaining flour with the ground almonds.
Put into the tin(s) or cake cases and bake. Shallow sandwich tins will need 30-40 minutes; loaf tins about 1 hour and 5-15 minutes; fairy cakes about 15 minutes. Test the cake near to the end of cooking time by sticking a skewer into it. If the cake feels firm and the skewer comes clean, it is done.
Sandwich the cake together with raspberry or strawberry jam, and then decorate with the icing.
140gr/5oz butter, softened
280gr/10oz icing sugar
Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add remaining icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat again until creamy and smooth. Beat in more milk to loosen if necessary. Spread the icing over the cake. You can add sparkles or Smarties as decoration over the top.