A delicious, light vanilla sponge birthday cake recipe. Quick and simple to make and perfect for decorating to make a birthday really special.
When I was a child I loved the birthday cakes my mum made and decorated for me. At my parties, I was always really proud to show off my birthday cake to my friends. In the weeks running up to my birthday, I used to look through my mum’s cake decorating book and choose the cake I wanted (actually I always chose the fairy castle, but never got it).
Now I have my own children, it’s important to me to do the same for them. Rather than choosing from a book, I let them describe what they want and then scour the internet for inspiration to achieve it (I don’t know what I’d do without Google Images and Pinterest). Today is my littlest’s second birthday so I thought it would be a good time to share with you the recipe I use for making the vanilla sponge which goes inside most of the cakes I make for my family. The recipe is adapted from a book called Cake Magic by Virginia Welsh and Alison French – the same book I chose my cakes from when I was little.
The theme I was given for today’s cake was Chuggington. I was told it must include an engine shed, three trains (Wilson, Koko and Brewster), and a turntable (they don’t ask for much!). I’m not a professional cake decorator, but what I lack in skill I hopefully make up for in enthusiasm and effort. Here’s what I managed…
If you want to take a look at the other cakes I’ve made for friends and family then visit my cake gallery.
To make my vanilla sponge I’d recommend the following equipment…
NOTE – These are affiliate links which means that if you purchase from Amazon after clicking on one the product links below I will earn a small commission.
Accurate scales are essential when baking and I love these Electronic Scales from Salter. You can reset the weight every time you add a new ingredient which is perfect for something like this all-in-one sponge. They’re also compact so take up hardly any space in your cupboards.
If I’m making a round cake I use these tins from Delia Smith (well if it’s good enough for Delia then it’s good enough for me!).
Instead of using greaseproof paper to line your cake tins I recommend trying these Bake-o-Glide reusable liners. There’s no need to grease the tin as they’re easily removed, and they’re pre-cut to size so there’s no fiddling around trying to get the greaseproof cut to the right shape.
You’ll also need a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer (you can mix by hand if you don’t have a mixer just be prepared for some arm ache!).
Fancy making a chocolate birthday cake instead?
Then try my new CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE RECIPE, it’s really chocolatey, easy to make and perfect for decorating.
Birthday Cake (All-In-One Vanilla Sponge)
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs I usually use medium but large also work well
- 225 g soft margarine
- 225 g caster sugar
- 6 drops vanilla extract
- 2 tsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan
- Line your baking tins(s) (I usually use 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins or a 20cm x 30cm rectangular tin, depending on the shape of cake I want to make).
- Sift the self-raising flour (225g) and baking powder (2 tsp) into a large bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients (4 eggs, 225g soft margarine, 225g caster sugar, 6 drops of vanilla extract and 2 tsp milk) and beat until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour into the tin(s)
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. To check if the cake is cooked insert a skewer and if it comes out clean the cake is ready.
- Leave to cool in the tin(s) for about 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely – Make sure the cake has cooled completely before decorating.
NotesUsing a different shape or size of tin? Find out the exact quantities you need and the answers to lots of other FAQs about this recipe – BIRTHDAY CAKE FAQs. If you’d like to make your own buttercream to fill and cover the cake you can find the recipe here – VANILLA BUTTERCREAM. Adapted from Cake Magic by Virginia Welsh and Alison French.
Free From/Suitable For
- Suitable for Vegetarians
The ingredients for this recipe are commonly available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.
I’m sharing this with the following recipe challenges… #TastyTuesdays with Honest Mum.