Don’t give me no fruit cake.

Hey all! Sorry it’s been a while since I posted anything, been low on funds. Well, that’s a lie. I used my baking money to go ice skating and only ended up falling and getting bruised knees. Anyway, today’s recipe is for a lovely vanilla cake. I think this cake is perfect for winter – especially as not everyone wants to dig in on traditional Christmas cake.  This cake offers a very sweet, moist alternative that will definitely please anyone who calls for tea – or dare I say, coffee.It would also make a beautiful birthday cake (for something extra special I would melt white chocolate into the icing). The recipe is easy as pie so no excuses! AY OH LETS GO. (You all can follow the blogs progress on Twitter now:

Yes, the cake is on an upside down plate. Sometimes life just has to be upside down.

Okay, you will need:
225g butter (softened)
225g caster sugar
250g self raising flour
3 large eggs (free range)
190ml butter milk
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g butter
200g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
strawberry jam
Okay, off we go! Get out two 8″ sandwich tins (20cm) and LINE THEM UP. If you don’t line cake tins, you’ll break your own heart and there’s just no excuse for that, especially at Christmas. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Cream your butter and your sugar together. Really beat them in, you want to it be light and fluffy. Add an egg, one at a time and beat well in between each. I use my electric hand mixer for this recipe. Feel free to use the wooden spoon though but just make sure the people eating the cake appreciate the extra energy!
After you’ve added your eggs, mix in your vanilla. I’ve put 2 teaspoons in my cake because I really love the smell and taste of vanilla. 1 tsp would be fine though.
Now, add your flour and your baking powder and mix in. It’ll seem a little dry and kinda clumpy but don’t worry, you now add your milk. The milk will loosen the mixture up a lot. It won’t look as smooth as a brownie mixture, or a typical sponge, but don’t worry. 
Divide the mix into your two prepared tins and place in your oven for 35 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown. 
While the cake is cooling, place a good 3/4 of a jar of jam into a small saucepan. You want to gently warm the jam over a low heat. Mix it while you’re warming it. Don’t let it burn, you’re just gently loosening it. Once you’re happy with it, take it off the heat and run the jam through a sieve. Now, you don’t really need to do this, but it does make a difference (in my opinion). 
How sweet are my new measuring spoons?

Once you’re happy that the cakes are cooked, take them out leave to cool a little in their tins and then put them on a wire tray. The cakes need to cool completely. Don’t be tempted (as I have been in the past) to hurry it along. It’ll only end up in a mess on the floor. While they cool, make your icing. Simply soften your butter, add your icing sugar gradually while beating and then add the vanilla and the milk. 

This is a 4 layered cake which means you need to cut each cake horizontally in two. Don’t be shy with them, they won’t fall apart as long as you’ve let them cool. This is how I do it: Take one cake and leave it flat on a clear surface – table or a board is fine. Find a bread knife and, with confidence, make an incision into once side of the cake. I tend to rotated the cake round, working the knife around the cake like a circle. However, if you want to, simply place your other hand on top of the cake to hold it steady, and cut straight across. Don’t worry if the layers aren’t exact. This is a homemade cake and it’s perfectly fine for it to look so. 

Now it’s time to build. Pick a stable layer for your bottom. If one has torn in half, keep it for a middle layer. You can work the jam and the icing to cover it. The bottom and the top are more unforgiving. I did jam, buttercream, jam, buttercream as I love jam, but if you’d rather something else go ahead. Put one layer on top of the other, be gentle!  Be generous with your icing and your jam, it is Christmas after all. Once you get to the top layer try to evenly distribute the rest of your icing. You don’t have to go round the sides if you don’t want it, sometimes it’s lovely to see the layers. Especially if you have jam seeping out of it. I wouldn’t worry too much about having the perfect icing either, it’ll be yum either way. 
Because it is Christmas, I have bought some tiny, silver balls as decorations for the top of my cake – you can even eat them! They were only €2 in a cook shop so maybe shop around and have a look. A good alternative would be coconut in a circle around the cake to look like snow, or even some white buttons. 
Store it in the fridge, ready for any visitor who should pop up. Hope you all like it 🙂

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