Vanilla Cake with Passionfruit Glaze

“Through enjoyment we endure.” 
~ Florence Ditlow

 

Looking for an easy, moist and yummy vanilla cake? My Nana Cody used to make this simple cake every school holidays when we were children. The only thing that ever varied was the flavour of icing she’d add to the top. It’s pretty much a foolproof recipe, which is one of the many reasons for loving this cake. Plus, it’s DELICIOUS!!!

When Nana married, my Gran (great grandmother!) passed her copy of Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery and a notebook full of family recipes and household hints to Nana help her manage as a new wife. By the time I came along decades later both books had been very well used. The notebook was food-stained and stuffed with cuttings from magazines and recipes jotted down onto the backs of envelopes or notepaper from thoughtful friends. This Vanilla Cake from Nana’s notebook had an extra page beside it on which Gran Heppell had written several variations and suggestions for serving:

  • Serve plain and fresh with hot tea for workers or a slice with first tea before breakfast.
  • Good plain for an upset stomach. Crumb and add to milk for fussy children.
  • Split in half. Spread jam over bottom of cake and then a generous serve of whipped cream. Replace lid and dust with icing sugar to serve.
  • Fill with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream slightly sweetened and vanilla added. Dust top of cake.
  • Fill with lemon curd and a layer of whipped cream. Dust top.
  • For a marble cake split mixture into three bowls. Add pink colouring to one, and a teaspoon or two of cocoa to the second until a good colour is obtained. Add each colour in spoonfuls to greased cake pan and swirl together slightly with a knife blade.
  • Make a buttercream and add to it the pulp of one or two passionfruit. Fill sponge with buttercream and ice with a glaze to which more passionfruit has been added.

I wrote those notes carefully into my own kitchen notebook and have made many many variations of this cake ever since. It is always a good and easy cake to make, which never fails. Yesterday we had a farm full of visitors and workers, so I whipped the cake up in the morning, ready for smoko. By dinner there were only crumbs left in the cake tin!

Here’s Nana’s Mrs Beeton’s which is now mine!

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125 grams of soft butter
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt

Cake Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
  2. Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
  3. Place the ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer in the order given above. Wet ingredients must go in last!
  4. Mix at low speed for one minute or until combined.
  5. Beat at high speed for three to four minutes until batter is pale and creamy and smooth.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
  7. Cool cake completely before filling or icing as required.

NB: Failure to adhere to ingredient order and placing flour in mixing bowl last may result in a cloud of flour covering you and/or the kitchen. You have been warned! And yes, I totally forgot and look what happened. 

To split the cake for filling use a large serrated knife and cut horizontally through the middle of the cake. Gently lift the top and place aside on a tea-towel or clean plate while adding filling to the bottom half of the cake.

Passionfruit Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 125 grams softened butter
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • Pulp and juice of one to two passionfruit

Method:

  1. Beat butter until whipped and creamy
  2. Gradually add icing sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. After the first 1/2 cup of icing sugar add a little passionfruit pulp. Beat well and then continue adding sugar, alternating with passionfruit. When the icing is very thick and creamy spoon onto the bottom layer of cake and replace top half of cake.

Passionfruit Glaze Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • the juice and pulp of one to two passionfruit

Method:

  1. To make the icing (frosting) sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the softened butter and the pulp of one passionfruit. Beat well until the mixture is stiff and glossy. If mixture is too stiff add extra passionfruit until the correct consistency is reached.
  2. Spread onto the top of the cooled cake. Dipping your knife in hot water will help give a smooth and shiny finish as you spread the icing (frosting) mixture.

Serve with a nice cup of tea, in the company of friends.

Or eat it all yourself. It’s up to you, really! 😀

Much love, Nicole xx

PS – Have you noticed how much Rufous seems to end up in all my food shots? He’s so like our old dog Bert it’s uncanny!

 

Easy Orange Butter Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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“In Britain, a cup of tea is the answer to every problem.
Fallen off your bicycle? Nice cup of tea.
Your house has been destroyed by a meteorite? Nice cup of tea and a biscuit.
Your entire family has been eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has travelled through a space/time portal? Nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. ”
~ David Walliams

 

This is a lovely cake – moist and orangey, and easy to make. It would be the perfect cake for a Mothers Day tea. I often make this when friends come over. Friends, tea and orange cake is the recipe for happiness!

Ingredients:

Cake: 250 grams butter (one cup or two sticks) at room temperature, 2 cups sugar, 4 large eggs, pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of fresh orange zest, 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of milk, 2 cups self-raising flour (self rising), 1 cup plain flour (all purpose)

Cream Cheese Frosting: 250 grams (1 cup) cream cheese, 2 cups of icing sugar (confectioners or powdered sugar), 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice

Variations: Add a teaspoon of orange blossom water or rose water to the cake batter for a flavoursome twist. If you love earl grey tea then another favourite variation is five drops of bergamot oil in the cake batter and two drops in the frosting mix.

Cake tin – one large bundt or ring pan, well greased and lightly floured or two loaf tins (23cm x 12cm – 9 inch x 5 inch) lined with baking paper.

Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Chop the butter into cubes, and add to a large mixing bowl with the sugar, orange zest and salt. Beat with electric beaters until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is creamy and pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

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Sift the flours into another bowl and stir gently so that they are well combined.

Gently add half the flour and fold through the butter mixture. Then add the orange juice, stirring gently to combine. Add the second half of the flour and fold through, then add the milk in the same way as the orange juice.

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Spoon the cake batter into your prepared tin.

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Bake the bundt or ring cake for 45 minutes and then test. A thin skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean. If batter still clings to the skewer cook a little longer and then repeat test. Bake loaf cakes for thirty five minutes and then test.

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Cool in tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

If baking the night before, wrap cooled cake in plastic wrap or place in an airtight tin so that it does not dry out.

 

To ice the cake combine cream cheese, sifted icing sugar and 1/4 cup of orange juice. Mix on low speed until combined. If mixture is still too dry add a little more orange juice. Beat on medium speed for one to two minutes until thick and creamy. Spread over top of cake.

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Cake can also be garnished with toasted coconut or almonds, little flowers etc.

Best eaten on the day it is made but will keep, refrigerated and well covered, for three days.

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