The first cake I ever baked was a plain vanilla cake. I was about ten years old and had only the vaguest idea of how to make it, but I did know that my mum never – ever – used a recipe book when she made it. So I rang her at work to ask her how to to make one.

This was the first, but by no means the last, time we had this conversation under these circumstances…

Me: Hi Mum. How do you make a cake? I want to make one now…
Mum: Hello, dear. Okay, have you got a pen and some paper?
Me: Yesss…
Mum: Good. Write this down. Take 4oz of butter…
Me: How much butter is that?

And that’s how it went for a while. I always had to ask the butter question and never seemed to hang onto the recipe, until my mum eventually got me to write it down in the back of one of her recipe books. That way I could find it whenever I needed it – and I rang her less and less frequently as I became more confident.

Thanks, Mum – I still use your never-fail vanilla cake recipe whenever I make cupcakes. I’m pretty sure that DaughterDearest and Boychilde do as well, since it was the first cake they made too. We also use it as the base for a number of tasty winter desserts 🙂

My Mum’s Vanilla Cake Recipe
Oven to 350F/180C
Take 4oz softened butter – that’s about 125g; you can use margarine instead if you like – it actually works better.
Add 3/4 cup of sugar – just regular sugar, whatever you have to hand. I use raw sugar since that’s what I usually have in stock.
Cream the butter/margarine, then beat in the sugar until it’s smooth.
Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and mix well.
Add 2 cups of flour (sieved) and 2 teaspoons baking powder – mix this in gently whilst slowly adding 2/3 cup of milk.
Don’t over beat the mix
Bake in two pans for a layer cake (about 20 minutes) or in 12 cupcake cases (about 15 minutes).
Cakes should be well risen and starting to colour up by then.
Check the they’re done – use a skewer – then allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan/s before turning out onto a wire rack
Ice the cake/s however you like – or just a sprinkle of sifted icing sugar does the trick if you’re lazy (or ten years old!).

Today I chose to bake it in a rectangular pan, cut it in half, fill it with carrot cake jam and then sprinkle it with icing sugar. Hopefully the recipients will enjoy eating it 🙂

friday cake_17jun16

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