How To Get My Birthday Cake Recipe To Fit Your Tin and Other FAQs

The perfect birthday needs the perfect birthday cake. One that tastes delicious and is just the right size to feed all of your guests.

This vanilla cake calculator will give you the ingredients you need for any size of cake tin as well as the answers to lots of other FAQs to help you get your cake just right.

What ingredients do I need to make this cake in a different size?
What temperature should I bake the cake at?
How long should I bake my cake for
Can I bake two layers in one deep tin?
Can this recipe be used to make cupcakes?
Can this cake be used to make tiers?
How far in advance can you make the cake?
Can you freeze the cake?
Can I use butter instead of margarine?
Can I substitute plain flour for self-raising flour?
What size eggs should I use?
Can I make this cake gluten-free?
How much fondant do I need to cover my cake?

birthday cake faqs title

One post on my blog that’s always popular is my all-in-one vanilla sponge birthday cake. It’s the recipe I use for almost all of my family’s birthday cakes and I absolutely love the idea that people are making and enjoying this on their family birthdays too.

However, it seems that popularity comes with lots of questions and I’m finding similar ones coming up again and again. People have told me that they’ve been scrolling through the comments to see if I’ve answered the questions before but with over 125 comments and counting it cannot be easy to spot the answer you’re looking for in amongst everything else. To try and help you all out I thought I’d pull together a quick post to answer all of your birthday cake FAQs as best I can and of course if I find new questions popping up in future I’ll add them in here.

What ingredients do I need to make this cake in a different size?

The most comment question I’m asked is how to calculate the quantities to make the cake in a different size. To help you I’ve built this handy little calculator (I’m quite proud of myself for getting this working actually 🙂 ). All you need to do is pop your tin size and the number of layers of sponge you want in your cake into the green boxes and it’ll tell you what you need. The first calculator is for a round tin and the second is for a square or rectangular tin.

I’ve also calculated the ingredients needed to coat the cake in a layer of buttercream (with buttercream in between the layers too).

You need to enter the tin size in centimetres, if you only know yours in inches, simply multiply it by 2.5.

NOTE – I’ve not tested the cake in all possible sizes (I don’t have all those different tins for a start) so cannot guarantee success, However, as long as you don’t stray too far away from the original size I expect it should still work well.

Round Cake

Cake Diameter (cm)

Number of Layers

Cake Ingredients

0 g self-raising flour
0 tsp baking powder
0 egg(s)
0 g soft margarine or butter
0 g caster sugar
0 drops vanilla extract
0 tsp milk

Buttercream Ingredients

0 g butter
0 g icing sugar
0 tsp vanilla extract
Approx. 0 tsp milk

Square or rectangular cake

Cake Size (cm)
x

Number of Layers

Cake Ingredients

0 g self-raising flour
0 tsp baking powder
0 egg(s)
0 g soft margarine or butter
0 g caster sugar
0 drops vanilla extract
0 tsp milk

Buttercream Ingredients

0 g butter
0 g icing sugar
0 tsp vanilla extract
Approx. 0 tsp milk

What temperature should I bake the cake at

You can bake this vanilla cake at the same temperature specified in the original recipe regardless of the size of tin you're using.

How long should I bake my cake for?

As long as you split the mixture into sandwich tins the cooking time will be the same as for the original recipe.

Can I bake two layers in one deep tin?

Yes you can. However it will take longer to bake.

If you put the mixture for two layers into now deep tin you'll need to bake the cake for 45-50 minutes.

Can this recipe be used to make cupcakes?

Yes, you can find the recipe to make this cake as cupcakes here.

Can this cake be used to make tiers?

My parties are all pretty small so I've never needed a cake big enough to justify tiers. It is quite a soft, light sponge and so I would expect it to be fine for 2 tiers but personally I wouldn't risk 3.

If you are planning on making two tiers remember to include some sort of support in the lower layer (strong straws or dowelling cut to the height of the cake, and also put the top tier onto a thin cake board the same size as the cake (this adds additional support and also stops the moisture from the sponge ruining the fondant on the bottom layer).

How far in advance can you make the cake?

I usually bake my cakes on a Thursday and decorate them on a Friday for a Saturday party. We only have small parties so there's usually some leftovers which have always lasted for a few days after the party. Make sure you store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh and if the weather is particularly warm I'd suggest keeping it in the fridge.

Can you freeze the cake?

Yes, you can freeze the undecorated sponge. Simply wrap it in clingfilm or an airtight bag and pop it into the freezer. When you want to use it remove it from the freezer and then make sure it's fully defrosted before decorating.

Can I use butter instead of margarine?

Yes, just make sure you take the butter out of the fridge a little before you want to start baking to allow it to soften.

Can I substitute plain flour for self-raising flour?

I've only ever used self-raising (as I've always got it in the cupboard). Nigella suggests you can substitute plain flour by simply adding an extra 2 tsp of baking powder for each 150g of flour used (so for my original recipe you'd need an additional 3 tsp of baking powder).

What size eggs should I use?

I use whatever I have in the fridge! Most of the time that'll be medium eggs but it works just as well using large.

Can I make this cake gluten-free?

You should be fine to substitute the self-raising flour for a gluten-free self-raising flour. Also, double check that the brand of baking powder you're using doesn't contain gluten (some do, some don't).

How much fondant do I need to cover my cake

If you'd like an idea of how much fondant you need to cover your cake then head on over to my fondant calculator where it'll tell you for any size of round, square or rectangular cake.


This post was originally published on 17th May 2016 and updated with an improved calculator and more FAQs on 11th July 2018.

127 Comments:

  1. Thank you charlotte
    How long should my 10″ x 4cm depth round take to cook as mine took 50-55 mins which I thought was long as its a single sponge . I cooked it in the middle gas mark 3 . If I cooked a 10″x4″depth round 2 layer how long would you say to cook it for . thanks

    • Charlotte Oates

      I would usually expect a two-layers in one tin cake to take about 45-50 minutes. It can vary depending on the oven so whilst yours was a little longer its not hugely outside what I would have expected.

  2. Hi charlotte making a 3 layer 10″ round sponge cake do i have to cook separate and what is the depth of the tins if so .

  3. Maggie Speirs

    Hi I have just made your recipe for a tray 26cm x 36cm to make two shallower cakes for my grandson’s large birthday cake – the calculator worked just as promised and the two cakes – to be sandwiched together – were excellent

  4. Hi Charlotte
    I am Liji I am planning to bake a 9 inch 23 cm cake and 7?inch cake for my daughter 3 birthday I would like to get the quantities that required to make these two inch cakes. Also I am using cake gel do can you please advise me how much cake gel is needed for this birthday cakes. Thanks

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Liji, is there any reason you’d like to add cake gel to the recipe? it’s not something I’ve used before so can’t answer your question about that – sorry, If it’s something you’re definitely keen on using then I’d suggest looking for an alternative recipe online that includes it in the ingredients list.

  5. Hi Emma, I’d love to bake this cake for my daughter’s 1st birthday in a large rectangle shape (35.5 x 25.5cm) with two layers so will be baking it as two separate cakes. How long would you recommend cooking each layer? Would I do them separately or put them in the oven at the same time of two separate shelves? Also is this recipe compatible with a vanilla syrup glazed over for flavour and moisture?
    Thanks in advance! Steph

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Steph, If you’re using the layers with the ingredients given in the calculator then they should be cooked in 30-35 minutes as per the original recipe (the cooking time varies far more by cake depth than the tin width). Personally with a cake that size I’d cook the two layers one after the other. You can cook them at the same time on different shelves but you may find the one at the bottom doesn’t cook as well. I’ve not tried it with a syrup glaze but it should work. However it is quite a moist cake to start with so may not be needed.

    • Maggie Speirs

      I made 2 this size today and it took 40 minutes at 150 in a fan oven for each cake.

  6. Hi Charlotte,

    I was wondering if you could please help me

    I can’t open or even see your calculators on my phone for some reason…

    I am making a unicorn cake for my wee girls 7th birthday party on Saturday

    I have a 12″x12″ cake board & I’ve drawn out my design. I have a tin which is roughly 25x35x6.5cm. 24 kids are invited to the party {I’m not sure what the actual number attending will be but I do love birthday cake so the more cake the better } & I’m wondering whether I’m best doing 2 layers of sponge {so baking 2 cakes & layering with a jam & butter cream filling} rather than 1 thicker layer {+/- cutting it across the middle & filling ~ I’m undecided} ~ I’m thinking 2 cakes….

    Would you be able to give me advice based on your experience & quantities if you don’t mind please?

    Thank you so much

    Karen x ♥

    P.S. It was so nice to come across a British page with measurements I understand

    • Hi Karen, sorry if I’m too late I’ve only just seen this.

      Personally I would bake two sponges as splitting a cake that size and shape evenly would be tricky.

      The ingredients you’d need to make two layers of a cake that size are…

      620g SR flour
      620g margarine
      620g caster sugar
      11 eggs
      5.5 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp vanilla extract
      5.5 tsp milk

      • I’ve just come across this site – great to have English meaures etc. I did find that I needed to download the calculator into Excel in order to enter new amounts as it is a protected page. Thank you for your help.

        • That’s strange. The embedded sheet is protected to stop anyone accidentally typing in any cells that make calculations leading to incorrect measurements. The cells where the tin size and number of layers should be be protected. If you try again in future and get the same error it would be great if you could screenshot it for me so I can take a look.

          I’m planning to change the calculator soon so it no longer uses an excel spreadsheet which should hopefully fix the problem.

  7. Ranjana Surplis

    Hi Charlotte,
    I am going to give your recipe a try for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. Our cake will be 12inches x 8 inches rectangular. I want to a single tall cake (about 5-6cms). Is it possible to use measurements on your calculator for 2 layers but bake it as a single layer cake ? ie not slice it from the center or bake as 2 sandwich layer cakes, but instead pour the entire batter into the baking tray and bake it in one go ?
    Also I wish to halve the quantity of sugar as buttercream is loaded with sugar. 🙂 do you think that will change the texture of the cake ?
    And lastly can you suggest how do I get a strawberry flavored cake ?
    You are brilliant with the calculator on your website. Well done your clever girl 🙂

    • Charlotte Oates

      You should be find to cook two layers in one deep tin. As it’s deeper it’ll take 45-50 minutes to cook. You should be fine to reduce the ratio of sugar to butter in the buttercream (I do this with some of my different flavours to make them a little less sweet). It should still work fine.

      I haven’t yet perfected a strawberry cake using real strawberries. The approach I’d take is to add some strawberry flavouring into the vanilla cake mixture (I’d suggest about 1 tsp).

  8. Raheemah Gondal

    Hi Charlotte, I have got a 10inchx10inch square tin which is 3inches deep and not sure the quantities of the ingredients. I am wanting to make one single cake but has two layers sandwiched between jam and cream and will be covering it with fondant. Please would you be able to help me with the quantities?

    • Charlotte Oates

      If you put 25cm x 25cm into the square/rectangular calculator it’ll tell you the ingredients you need for the cake. For as 3″ deep tin put 2 layers into the calculator and then cook all of the mixture in the one tin As the tin is deeper you’ll need to cook it for 45-50 minutes. The recipe uses medium eggs but will work with large if that’s all you have. If you use large you’ll find the sponge is a little firmer and slightly less moist that using medium.

  9. Hi Charlotte

    I am planning my daughters birthday cake which is a layer cake 9 inch with 4 layers. On your calculator you suggest 10 eggs, is that large or medium? Also 15 drops of vanilla extract, how many tsp is that and how long should I cook it for? Also the same for the icing how many tsp vanilla extract?

    I made your birthday cake recipe for a trial and it was the best cake I’ve ever made absolutely delicious so glad I found your recipe thank you!

    • Charlotte Oates

      Medium eggs. 15 drops is about 1/4 tsp. Are you cooking the 4 layers in 4 sandwich tins or in 2 deeper tins and then cutting in half? If you’re using sandwich tins then they cook for the same time as stated in the recipe. If you’re using deeper tins then they’ll take 45-50 minutes. Fir the icing you’ll need 1 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract.

      • Thank you for your reply Charlotte that’s very helpful! I brought a layer cake tin set which are four separate sandwich tins which are 9 inches by about 1 inches deep so shall I cook it for 30/35 mins as stated in your original recipe? Also with the buttercream icing as I’ve put a four layer cake in your calculator I take it that’ll be enough to sandwich the layers together and have enough to go on the outside of the cake to stick fondant the to?

        • Charlotte Oates

          Yes, put 4 layers into the calculator to get the ingredients and cook each layer for 30-35 minutes. If you’re cooking them all at the same time you may find they need a little longer as the oven is fuller (especially the ones underneath).

          The calculator is designed to calculate the buttercream to fill each layer and to cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer.

  10. Susan Callinswood

    Hi Charlotte, I wonder if you could please help me out as now im panicking!!! I have bought one square 23cm cake tine(no loose bottom) oh and the depth is 7cm(so just under 3 inches, I want to make a classic sponge cake with buttercream in the middle and then want to buttercream it all over before I use fondant icing on top. I have looked at your calculater but to be honest I am still unsure of the exact ingredients that I need? I also need to know the ingredients for the butter cream, and what tempreture I need for a fan assisted oven? I am not sure, but I think the cooking time is around 45/50 mins.I would also like to ask you the best way to cut it across once cooled, so I can apply the buttercream in between the two layers. this will be a 50th birthday cake for my husband, and as I am an ameture when it comes to baking large cakes, I really need some accurate and good advice. I will need to start this cake in around 5 days!!! Thank you.

    • If you put 23 x 23 into the calculator with 2 layers that will give you the ingredients you need for both the cake and the buttercream. You should cook it at the same temperature as suggested in the original recipe (140C for a fan oven) and you’re right that it should take 45-50 minutes to cook. `I always make my cakes in sandwich tins so don’t have to cut them in half. However, I would recommend making the cake the day before (or at leave a few hours before) you attempt to cut it in half. The cake is soft when it comes out of the oven so leaving it for a few hours (in an airtight container) will make it easier to slice. Use a bread knife to cut the cake, alternatively you could order something like this https://www.amazon.co.uk/KitchenCraft-Sweetly-Does-Cake-Cutting/dp/B000YJD81K/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1517067055&sr=8-14&keywords=cake+knife which allows you to set the height you’re trying to carve the cake to so it doesn’t go wonky. If you don’t fancy buying the cake wire another hack I saw on Facebook (I have’t tried it but I’m sure it would work) it to measure the same distance up the side of the cake where you want to slice and stick cocktail sticks halfway in at regular intervals. These can then be used as a guide for the knife to keep things straight.

    • Susan Callinswood

      Thank you so much Charlotte, you are a life saver!! you have been so helpful and informative. I will keep you informed of the outcome 🙂

  11. Hi Charlotte I tried this recipe today for a 10inch and I divided the mixture between 2 tins was amazing!! I really need some helo/advice. I am wanting to bake a 12 inch,10inch,8inch and 6 inch cake when I put measurments in your calculated the quantities given are they for 2 layers? or can all the mixture be put in one tin and cooked? If it can then how long would it need to be in the oven for and how long for and what temp in fan assisted oven?? Thank you in advance hope u can help.x

    • The default number of layers in the calculator is 2 but you can change this to any number you want. You can put the mixture for two layers into one deep tin. If you do that then it’ll take 45-50 minutes to cook at the same oven temperature as given in the original recipe.

      • hi iv got a 11 cm 7 square tin howm much ingrdients do i nee to make a lemon sponge birthday cake with fondant icing pls .for my hubby whos birthday is thursday 21 june

        • Charlotte Oates

          Is that a 7″ square tin?

          Assuming it is, you’ll need…

          170g self-raising flour
          170g margarine/butter
          170g caster sugar
          3 eggs
          1.5 tsp baking powder
          A few drops of vanilla extract
          1.5 tsp milk

          If you’re baking the cake in one deep tin then it’ll take 45-50 minutes to cook.

          I usually coat my cake with buttercream (in the middle and around the outside) before covering with fondant. For this you’ll need…

          205g butter
          410g icing sugar
          0.5 tsp vanilla extract
          A little milk

          To cover the cake with fondant icing once you’re done you’ll need c. 930g of fondant icing. This will allow you to roll the fondant to be 4-5mm thick and a little bigger than the cake so that it’s easier to get it neat.

  12. Hi Charlotte

    This cake came out beautifully but it’s a bit sweet for my taste. Could I halve the sugar and have the same result.

    Many thanks
    Gillian

  13. After making my son in law’s B’day cake & it being a great success, i will only ever use this sponge recipe now. Last month I made 8 sponge cakes to make my Dad’s ‘huge’ number ’80’ birthday cake,the whole family absolutely loved it & demolished in 2 days, they thought it had been made by our local artisan bakery. I’m now baking sponges once again, breaking them up & leaving them overnight to go ‘stale’ so i can make my Brother’s birthday cake (a russian Tipsy cake). I’ll let you know how it works out. Thanks to your recipe Charlotte I am now the ‘go to’ for b’day cakes in the family. 🙂

    • 8 cakes, that’s impressive! I’m glad everyone enjoyed it. I’ve not tried a tipsy cake before, I’ve just been Googling it and it sounds delicious. I hope it works well for you x

  14. I’d like to make a watermelon style cake for my daughter – needs 3 x 9 inch cakes plus a dome.
    I notice you say you don’t think your basic sponge would be good for more than 2 tiers…. help!!! What recipe would, or what do I look out for?
    I’d really like to give it a go as she’s watermelon mad!

  15. Cakes look fabulous

  16. Hi Charlotte! I was searching best birthday spong cake and your website has got me hooked. I need to make a birthday cake sponge for my son and have a rectangle tin 10 inch by 8 inch and it 2 inch deep.
    What is the mixture measurement please?
    Also can i cut this sponge in half and buttercream it?
    I will be using a cake topper, will this rise quiet big?
    Thanking you
    Mrs S

    • For a tin that depth you’d need to put 25cm x 20cm with 1 layer into my calculator (it’ll have 3 eggs). A tin of that depth is only suitable to make 1 layer and it would be too thin to slice in half. If you’d like a taller cake then you’ll need to bake two separate sponges.

  17. hi Charotte the calculator wont load and i have a 18cm by 4 cm tin
    and a 23 by 6 cm tin how much mixture would i need?

    • Hi Katy, are they round or square. Your tins are different depths, do you want that large cake to be deeper than the smaller one or the same depth?

  18. My cakes are in the oven- and overflowing the tins! I measured them and they are definitely 20cm. Help please!

  19. Thanks Charlotte, that’s the 2nd year in row that your birthday cake calculator has saved my birthday cake bacon.

    I did it again, I made a recipe from the BBC website, it all went wrong and then I did your all-in-one recipe and used your calculator and ‘bingo’ perfect cake.

    Next year, I will come here first.

  20. Hi Charlotte, wow what a popular recipe! Could you please give me the quantities for a 12 inch square cake tin 4 inches deep? Would it be best to divide the quantity by 2 and cook 2 separate layers or just do the whole quantity in one cake and cut when baked? Also how long to cook for please?

    • Personally I always split the mixture into two tins and cake them separately. However, I’ve known lots of people to use one deep tin instead. If you split the mixture it’ll take the same amount if time as in the original recipe. If you want to use a deep tin leave it in the over for 45 minutes before checking it.

      The quantities you need are…
      620g flour
      620g sugar
      620g margarine
      11 eggs
      5.5 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp vanilla extract
      5.5 tsp milk

  21. Hello I have used the recipe for 8″ tins and have loved the results.

    The calculator is a great tool. Thank you.

    Would this recipe work for a giant cupcake? If so any idea of ingredients quantities? I’m really struggling to master giant cupcakes, but love the look of them.

    Also if I’m adding food colouring (gel) to the sponge, should I use less of any ingredient?

    Thanks in advance x

    • Charlotte Oates

      I’ve not tried it as a giant cupcake. It should work although as a giant cupcake is deeper it will need to be cooked for longer (it depends on the depth of the cake as to how much longer). As long as you stick to gel colours (rather than the liquid ones) you won’t need to change the other ingredients.

  22. Hello. Im baking in tins im now familiar with. They are 15cm×8cm and 23×9 so quite deep. Whats thw best recipe for these sized of cakes?

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Stacy. If you’re using deep tins you can put 2 layers of mixture into each tin. As the cakes are deeper they’ll take longer to cook so don’t check them until they’ve been in the over for 45 minutes.

  23. Hi Charlotte, a few weeks ago I asked about making a sponge cake for about 40 people I followed your advice and the cake worked out perfectly !! I had so many lovely comments on how lovely and light it the sponge was, people came back for seconds and even thirds!!, I won’t be using any other recipe from now on -so thank you very much. Don’t suppose you have a brilliant carrot cake recipe too?!!

  24. If I wanted lemon flavouring in my cake, would I substitute the milk for lemon juice and miss out the vanilla?

  25. Hi I’m planning to make my daughter a Elsa doll cake for her 3rd birthday. So need a tall cake that doll can fit into up to her hips.
    I have 1 21cm and 3 inches deep cake tin. If I made this cake in 1 tin but did it 4 times then butter creamed them together would it; 1 hold?
    2 easy to shape?
    Also as wanting hight for my cake, can I put mixture for x 2 21cm sandwich tins into my 1 tin? And how long would I bake for? And at what temperature in my fan over?

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Bina, When you say you want 4 layers, do you want 4 layers 3″ deep or if you used the deep tin would you only make 2 and split them in half?

  26. Rebecca Dedman

    Please can you tell me the quantity of ingredients needed for a round 2 tier cake made in 2 x 10 inch (25cm) round sandwich tins? Each sandwich tin is 2.5 inches deep.

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Rebecca, I’d recommend using the calculator for a 25cm round tin with 4 layers to give the quantities you need. As the tins are deeper you’ll need to bake the cakes for longer. I’d suggest waiting until they’ve been in the oven for 45 minutes before checking.

  27. Hi I need to make a rectangular sponge cake enough for 40 people – could you please advise what size tin would be appropriate? I love the all in one method, works perfectly every time. Many thanks

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Pam, I’ve not used this recipe to make a cake that large before but it should be OK. I’d suggest having a look at what large cake tins are available and then popping the dimensions into my calculator to see which gives you the right amount. As a guide I’d say you’d want to have at least 14 eggs in your mixture so for example 2 layers of 40-28cm should be large enough.

  28. Hi, I made the cake and it turned out great but was just a little on the dry side. would you suggest I add more milk?

    • Charlotte Oates

      I don’t think that would solve the problem. I’d suggest checking it a little earlier as dryness could be an indication it stayed in the oven a little longer than needed (this is quite possible as ovens can vary a little in temperature).

  29. Hi Charlotte,
    Can i use unsalted butter instead?

    thanks a mill xx

  30. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. I made four layers for the cake I made and it was absolutely fine, no problems at all. I’ve already passed on the recipe.

  31. Hi Charlotte,
    I am making a cake for twenty people in a 9” tin. What quantities do you suggest I use so that i have enough cake? Thank you 🙂

    • Charlotte Oates

      To feed 20 people with a 9″ cake I’d suggest making it 3 layers deep rather then two that way people get a smaller but deeper slice. If you want to do that the use twice the ingredients listed in the recipe and split it between 3 9″ tins.

  32. thank you. I will tell you how the cake turn out

  33. Hi im planning to bake a cake size is 12inch x 8inch and its 3inch deep. What do you mean by layer?? I wanted to bake one cake and cut in half and fill with jam and white chocolate buttercream so this is the right amount

    Number of layers 2

    BIRTHDAY CAKE SPONGE

    450g self-raising flour
    450g soft margarine
    450g caster sugar
    8 egg(s)
    4 tsp baking powder
    12 drops vanilla extract
    4 tsp milk

    BUTTERCREAM

    440g butter
    880g icing sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    5.5 tsp (approx.) milk

    Or this amount
    Number of layers 1

    BIRTHDAY CAKE SPONGE

    225g self-raising flour
    225g soft margarine
    225g caster sugar
    4 egg(s)
    2 tsp baking powder
    6 drops vanilla extract
    2 tsp milk

    BUTTERCREAM

    220g butter
    440g icing sugar
    0.5 tsp vanilla extract
    2.5 tsp (approx.) milk

    Can I use butter not margarine. And can you also tell the amount for white chocolate buttercream for this cake size that will cover all.

  34. my cake tin size is:
    Oblong Cake Pan 8 x 12. And it’s 3-Inch Deep
    as I want to bake one cake and want to white chocolate buttercream if you please tell me the right amount for the buttercream please.
    this is the right amount:

    Number of layers 1

    BIRTHDAY CAKE SPONGE

    225g self-raising flour
    225g soft margarine
    225g caster sugar
    4 egg(s)
    2 tsp baking powder
    6 drops vanilla extract
    2 tsp milk

    BUTTERCREAM

    220g butter
    440g icing sugar
    0.5 tsp vanilla extract
    2.5 tsp (approx.) milk

    or this is the right

    Number of layers 2

    BIRTHDAY CAKE SPONGE

    450g self-raising flour
    450g soft margerine
    450g caster sugar
    8 egg(s)
    4 tsp baking powder
    12 drops vanilla extract
    4 tsp milk

    BUTTERCREAM

    440g butter
    880g icing sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    5.5 tsp (approx.) milk

    • Charlotte Oates

      For a cake made in a 3″ deep tin you’ll need the second list (450g flour, etc.). A deeper cake takes longer to cook so don’t check it until it’s been in the over for 45 minutes. The buttercream ingredients here are for vanilla buttercream, unfortunately I don’t have a white chocolate buttercream recipe on here yet.

  35. Hi Charlotte, I’m hoping to use this recipe for a football shirt shaped tin. It’s single layer and it says use quantities for 11″ x 3″ round tin. Can you help with quantities please?

    • Hi Natalie. If you put 27.5cm and 2 layers into the round calculator that should give you the correct quantities. How deep is the tin you’re actually planning to use? If it’s 3″ deep the the cooking time will be longer that in the original recipe. I’d leave it in for 45 minutes before checking.

  36. Hi I’m making a two tier cake, 8 inch and 6 inch. What is the best recipe please?

    • If you’d like a vanilla cake then this recipe. If you’d like a chocolate cake then this recipe. They both have calculators so you can find the exact ingredients you need for the tins you want to use.

      • Christina Alexandrou-Moonie

        Hi Charlotte
        I’m planning on using your vanilla cake recipe to make a gender reveal cake for roughly 30 people. I was planning to make 3 layers of the cake in an 8 by 2 inch round tin should this be about right for 20 guests? Also so you recommend trimming the dome part of the cake off or stacking without doing this?

        Christina

        • Christina Alexandrou-Moonie

          *Sorry it’s definitely needs to be for 20 guests not 30

        • That should be enough for 20 people. I never bother flattening the cakes as I find they don’t dome up too much. However, if you want the layer to be really even the you could trim them carefully with a bread knife.

  37. Hi Charlotte,

    i am planning on making your cake using a x2 20cm tins. I have never attempted to bake before. do i just place one cooked sponge on top the other other, with a layer of buttercream and jam in between? (what jam is best to use?) also would it be possible to add a third layer of cake or would you not recommend? Thank you!

    • Yes you just pop one sponge of top of the other. I always put a layer of buttercream in the middle and sometimes jam. I tend to use whatever jam I have in the fridge, so usually strawberry or raspberry, but any would be fine. I often add a third layer and it works really well.

  38. Hi charlotte. What would the measurements be for a 12in square tin? It’s just for one layer.
    Thanks
    Jyoti

    • 340g self-raising flour
      340g caster sugar
      34g soft margarine
      6 eggs
      1 tbsp baking powder
      1/4 tsp vanilla extract
      1 tbsp milk

  39. Hi Charlotte… Could you please give me a recipe for a 6 inch square tin. I’ve used the recipe for an8 inch round tin and the cake was amazing

    • 170g self-raising flour
      170g soft margarine
      170g caster sugar
      3 eggs
      1.5 tsp baking powder
      5 drops vanilla extract
      1.5 tsp milk

  40. Hi Charlotte, Im a complete novice and making a birthday cake for my son and have a rice paper cake topper for a round cake – is ready rolled or fondant icing best for using underneath this? I will put a thin layer of buttercream underneath. Is it best to refrigerate before applying the ready rolled or fondant? Thanks so much

    • If you’ve got time then chill the cake after adding the buttercream as this will create a nice firm base for the fondant to go on. You can use ready rolled although you may find it’s not rolled out quite large enough depending on the size of your cake so you make need to roll it a little thinner. I tend to buy the block of fondant and roll it out myself.

  41. Hi Charlotte, I’m baking a 12″ square tin and using the recipe you’ve mentioned on your site. Can you give me a guide as to oven position, temp and how long to cook?
    I’d be very grateful.

  42. Hi Charlotte, I love your site and I did your choc cake for my son’s 5th birthday (Harry Potter spell cake!). I now need to do a cake for my other son’s 7th birthday (nerf gun cake) and I’m looking forward to making your all-in-one vanilla sponge. Thanks for the calculator! It’s invaluable as both cakes use an enormous rectangular tin!
    I just have one question. How many ‘drops’ of vanilla essence would you estimate are in a teaspoon? My vanilla bottle does not have a dropper so I’ll be using a teaspoon measurer.
    Many thanks and keep up the good work!

  43. Emma Louise Dadley

    Hello I’m making a 14″ round cake with 2 layers sandwiched together what quantities would I need and how long do I bake each layer for.
    Thank you

    • 675g flour
      675g margerine
      675g sugar
      12 eggs
      2 tbsp baking powder
      1/4 tsp vanilla extract
      2 tbsp milk

      As the layers are the same depth as in the original recipe they should take about the same amount of time to cook.

  44. How much quantity of ingredients would I need for a 12 inch square tin and a 8 inch square cake tins?

    • For the 12″ square tin…

      620g flour
      620g margarine
      620g sugar
      11 eggs
      5.5 tsp baking powder
      1/4 tsp vanilla extract
      5.5 tsp milk

      For the 8″ square cake…

      280g flour
      280g margarine
      280g sugar
      5 eggs
      2.5 tsp baking powder
      1/8 tsp vanilla extract
      2.5 tsp milk

  45. Hello what quantities would do I need for a 12inch round tin I can’t get the calculation thing to work on here and it would be for 2 layers
    Thank you

  46. Hi Charlotte,

    I’m making a Santa face cake for my children. I will be using a 10″ heart shaped tin. Any tips on the recipe amount would be gratefully received. Will it be better to do one deep and cut in half or two separate ones and cooking times too.

    Thanks so much, Cheryl

    • Hi Cheryl. Do you know the volume of the tin? (you can check by filling it from measuring jugs). If you let me know that then I can help you with the quantities. Personally I always make two separates rather than one deep cake but this recipe does work for deep cakes too. If you go for the deep cake make sure you don’t check it until it’s been in the oven for 45 minutes.

      • Hi Charlotte I am doing 15 cm bananna sponge and a 20 cm strawberry one could you please give me some idea of quantities of essence in each please and do I still put the vanilla extract in thanks tina

        • Hi Tina, I’ve not tried adding those particular flavours to the cake. However, I’d probably add 1 tsp to the 15cm cake and 1 1/3 tsp to the 20cm cake (I’m basing this on the amount of orange extract I added to get the right flavour into my chocolate orange cupcakes).

  47. Hi Charlotte, I will be baking a cake for my sons 1st birthday. I have an 8 inch cake tin which is 4 inches in height. Using your recipe, will I cook two separate layers or cook one big one and half it?
    Thanks!

    • You can do either but if you cook it in one big tin it’ll take longer in the oven so don’t check it until it’s been in for around 45 minutes.

  48. Hi Charlotte,

    I’m using two 10 nick sandwich tins, how long do I bake for?

    Thanks in advance.

  49. Hello Charlotte,
    What does 2 layers mean? Does it means that I have to divide the ingredients in two tins before I bake it, or does it mean that I can cut the sponge cake in two layers after baking it.

    Noor

    • Personally I cook the cake in two tins. You can cook it in one deeper tin but it will take longer to cook so check it after 45 minutes rather than the 30 suggested in the original recipe.

  50. Can’t afford a pre trial and can’t afford a mistake as I am a pensioner so a bit stressed about forth coming great granddaughters My Little pony cake 10″ and 8″ would you be an absolute Star and give me ingredients????!!! Jokatrina

    • Hi Kokatrina, is that 2 tiers, one 10″ and one 8″ or a 10″x8″ rectangular cake? If it’s tiers, are they round or square? How many layers of sponge do you want in the cake?

  51. My Grandaughter has asked for a no. 4 cake for her birthday, frozen theme x help. Gonna make it in a rectangular tin then cut to shape. Do you recommend buttercream or ready to roll icing. I would also like to make really easy chards for ice. Please help!

    • Buttercream v ready-rolled icing is really up to what you prefer using. I like using ready-made fondant as it’s what I feel most confident using (although I have a layer of buttercream underneath as it helps to get the icing smooth and I actually prefer the flavour to fondant). If you’re making a frozen cake then you’d probably be better off with fondant as it’s a pure white colour whereas buttercream tends to be more yellow. I’ve not tried making ice shards before so I’m not too sure of the best way, there seems to be quite a few tutorials on You Tube (although many are american and therefore use some ingredients that we don’t have in the UK) so I’d suggest watching a few of those and seeing if you can spot one which looks straightforward.

  52. Hi there, can I decorate the cakes with the buttercream and leave outside the fridge? Or does it need to be refrigerated? Thanks, Aline

    • Not totally sure if you’re supposed to, but I do (as they’re too big to fit in once decorated) and they’ve always been just fine.

  53. Hi. How long would i cook the 12inch square cake & what temperature?
    Thanks

    • How deep is your tin, is it a sandwich tin or a deeper tin?

      • hi how long for 12 inch cake square deep 3 inches depth?

      • hi charlotte… actually I have a question . what i have a heart shape tin with diameter of about 22 cm and I want 1 layer so how much ingredients should I take should it be same as round tin or rectangular tin? can u pls answer quick because I need to make the cake tom. plsssss

        • Charlotte Oates

          Without knowing the exact shape of your tin it’s impossible to know. Do you know the volume of the tin you have?

      • Hi Charlotte, I’m looking for a recipe for a piglet cake for my daughter’s 4th birthday. Your recipe looks delicious. What quantities would I need for a 25cm round cake? My cake tin is 25cm in diameter and about 8.5cm tall ( I don’t have two 25cm diameter sandwich tins). I obviously don’t want a cake that is necessarily 8.5cm tall, I only have one large tin and I’m getting confused about quantities with the calculator!

        • Charlotte Oates

          Hi Emma. Use the calculator for a 25cm tin and 2 layers. You can cook the two layers in one deep tin but leave it in the oven for 45 minutes before checking it as it’ll take longer to cook.

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