I was very excited to have three good excuses to bake one of my favourite cakes today. We are celebrating the birthday of a friend, I just bought a bottle of Vanilla Man’s vanilla extract and I finally have a jar of Chaloner’s raspberry and vanilla jam. That all spells Italian vanilla cake filled with raspberry jam and soft whipped cream. Simple goodness.
The original recipe comes from an Italian recipe book of my mothers, which had raspberry jam and mascarpone cheese inside. I have made it as a plain dry cake; filled with fresh macerated berries; as cup cakes with a simple butter icing and I imagine that cream and granadilla pulp would also be great or a banana caramel cream centre... in other words, this cake is the perfect base for your favourite fillings and toppings.
Vanilla Sponge Cake
250g Butter, just melted but not oily
250g (1 ¼ cups) castor sugar
4 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
225g (1 ½ cups) cake flour
25g (2 Tbsp) corn flour
2 tsp baking powder
Squeeze of lemon juice
Heat the oven to 180 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Whisk the melted butter and sugar until light and fluffy, slowly beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon. Gradually sift in the flour, corn flour and baking powder.
For a cake - Butter a 25cm shallow round cake tin. Pour into the tin and bake until golden and springy for about 20 - 25 minutes.
Remove from the tin when cooled.
You can serve this cake plain dusted with icing sugar. I like to halve the cake and fill it with sugared mashed up berries, soft whipped cream and dusted with icing sugar.
For cupcakes – place cup cake papers into the appropriate sized muffin tin. Fill each cup cake paper 2/3 of the way allowing room for rising. Bake until golden and springy, about 10 – 15 minutes depending on the size cup cakes you have chosen. The mixture should make about 20 – 24 medium cup cakes.
Tip the cup cakes out of the tin and place on a rack to cool. The tin is then ready for reusing if you don’t have enough muffin tins for the full recipe.
Make a simple butter icing by blending together 150g of butter, 300g icing sugar and two tablespoons of milk. Divide the icing into as many bowls as colours of food colouring you have. Add a few drops of food colouring to each bowl and mix thoroughly. Keep adding drops of food colouring until you get the desired colour intensity.
Wait until cup cakes are fully cooled before icing. To speed this up, put them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.
For very young kids it’s better to do the icing yourself and let them do the decorating. Else you’re in for mess central.