Saturday, 4 June 2011

Vanilla sponge cake

I'm still catching up on blogging about the baking that I've done over the past couple of weeks, but I'm getting round to it! This is going to be a short post as there's not really a huge amount to say about it. I made a vanilla sponge cake for my other half's cricket match, using the Hummingbird bakery's Cake Days vanilla cupcake recipe. A note on the recipe advised doubling it to make a three tier cake, but thinking that three tiers would be a bit much, I decided to stick to the quantities given for cupcakes. It turned out that this was a very good decision as the cake was the perfect height (this was using two 20cm cake tins).

I adapted the recipe slightly as I used vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract - having procured some recently, I wanted to see how much difference it would make.

The answer is that it makes quite a lot of difference. The sponge had a much fuller vanilla flavour. Added to that was vanilla buttercream icing, again made using the vanilla bean paste. That was all topped off with strawberry jam and the result was a lovely, moist, light sponge with lots of flavour. I have to admit that vanilla sponge is not really my thing, nor is buttercream, and I wouldn't have chosen it for myself, but the combination of flavours did work very well.

If you want a simple but impressive cake, this one certainly fits the bill. It is a little sweet, but for those who like their cake that way this is sure to go down a treat! It looks a little plain on top, but I'm always stuck for what to do with vanilla sponge cakes. Any suggestions welcome!


  1. Hi.

    Your obviously a fan of your Hummingbird Bakery cook book given how many recipes you've made from it! Though they all look fab. Did you put the top of your cake upside down on a cooling rack thing? It's got lots of parallel lines on the top. I would suggest you choose the half that rises the best for the top half, after cooling it the right way up, as that will look better then a sunken/flat top. Then if you're trying to avoid using too much sugar just dust it with some icing sugar. That way you've at least done something to the top rather then it looking a bit like you couldn't be bothered or ran out of time.

    By the way, what exactly is Vanilla bean paste? Is it just a paste made out of the seeds(beans) you get in a vanilla pod? Where did you "procure" it? Can you get from a supermarket? I've never seen it or heard of it, and is it any better then using the seeds out a vanilla pod?


  2. Yep, I did put it on a cooling rack - unfortunately it comes out that way up when I turn it out of the tin - maybe I should investigate turning it onto a plate first and then back onto the rack so the top stays neat.

    I got the vanilla bean paste from Lakeland. It's more expensive than vanilla extract, but then the bottle is also much bigger so although it works out costing a bit more, it's not extortionate. I think it's just a paste made from the seeds - no idea how it would compare to using the seeds from a pod, but I guess at least it's already paste so it's a good consistency for mixing in to cake batter.