Nailing the perfect vanilla sponge is the gateway to so many delicious bakes, as it’s so versatile and everybody loves it. We teamed up with Great British Bake-Off winner (and our former baby and toddler clothing designer), Frances Quinn, to bring you her Quinntessential Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe. Tuck in!
Serves 8-10 (for different sizes see chart above)
FOR THE CAKE
200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 eggs (at room temperature)
4 tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
4 tsp water
FOR THE FILLING
100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g strawberry or raspberry jam
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Place the greased mould on a flat baking tray to make it easy to move the cake in and out of the oven.
Using a hand-held electric whisk, or in a free-standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 5–10 minutes or until very light, pale and creamy. Break the eggs into a mug or jug. Add the vanilla and beat with a fork. Gradually add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Should the mixture look like it’s curdling, add a spoonful of the flour. Sift in the flour and fold in until just combined. Gently fold in the warm water.
Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared mould and level it with a spatula. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until the cake is risen and lightly golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly on the baking tray before moving the cake, still in the mould, on to a wire rack. Once fully cooled, remove the cake from the mould.
Next, make the buttercream for the filling. If you have a free-standing mixer, put the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla extract into the bowl, cover the bowl with a tea towel to prevent a cloud of sugar from escaping and start beating slowly. Increase the speed and beat the mixture until it is fluffy and almost white, stopping a few times to scrape down the side of the bowl. I beat for up to 10 minutes at full speed to create a really light finish. If using a hand-held electric whisk, beat the butter in a bowl until soft and pale, then sift in the icing sugar in batches, working it into the butter with a spoon before adding the milk and vanilla. Beat at full speed until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
You can use this vanilla sponge mixture to make mini- and muffin-sized cupcakes too, and decorate them with all sorts of finishes and flavours.
Frances Quinn, GBBO Winner & former Joules Designer