I think when it comes to cake simple is definitely underrated. As it was D’s birthday this I obviously made him a cake. Not one to usually do cake making by halves I also made cupcakes to have at his birthday party. Simple vanilla cake is a big favourite with D (and his friends) so I thought I’d use the opportunity to sing the praises of the most versatile cake mix in my repertoire. The techniques for making this are exactly the same for the cupcakes and the full cake, just scaled up for the cupcakes.
170g self raising flour
170g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling
Good quality jam
160g soft butter
320g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk (or as we ran out of milk, i used apple juice)
For 12-14 cupcakes you will need
225g self raising flour
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140g butter, softened
280g icing sugar
1 teaspoons milk
Food colouring (I used blue for a Dr Who theme)
Silver balls/other cake decorations
To make your sponge mix preheat your oven to 180°C. Sift the caster sugar into a large bowl, crack in your eggs and add your vanilla essence. Whisk this mix until thick and foamy. Sift in your flour. Melt your butter and gradually whisk this into the mixture until smooth.
Depending upon whether you’re making a cake or several cupcakes either split your cake mix between two larger cake tins lined with baking paper, or between several cupcake cases in a muffin tin. Bake for around 15 minutes or until the cake is golden.
To decorate the cake sandwich together the 2 cakes with the jam.
Whisk together the butter, milk and icing sugar together to make buttercream. If you whisk the buttercream enough it goes a lovely pale colour. I always like to add the buttercream to cakes in excess and then smooth the whole thing over taking buttercream off as I go until its in a smooth even layer.
To decorate the cupcakes just do the same thing but add food colouring to the buttercream (I have just discovered gel colouring and I am a fan, although my nails are now pretty blue). Decorate the cupcakes with a swirl using a flat knife, if like we you’re in a hurry and have no time to pipe. I topped my cakes with silver balls and some Dr Who decorations (we might be 27 now but we’re both big fans).