Jo Wheatley's Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe for the Great Rainbow Bake

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Serves 8 – 10

This is a classic vanilla: made with love, it can never fail to impress.


  • 225g margarine or unsalted
  • butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp full-fat milk
  • Buttercream
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp full-fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam
  • sprinkles You will also need 2 x 20cm sandwich tins, greased and the bases lined with buttered baking parchment and ribbons to decorate Vanilla Birthday Cake from A Passion For Baking by Jo Wheatley, Constable 2013

What you do…

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  • In the bowl of a free-standing mixer, cream the margarine or butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour and milk and mix until light and fluffy.
  • Divide equally between the prepared sandwich tins, spread level and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 22–25 minutes until golden and a skewer comes away clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes.
  • Turn the cakes out of the tins onto a wire cooling rack and leave until cold.
  • To make the buttercream, tip all of the ingredients into the bowl of the free-standing mixer and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Lay one cake layer on a serving plate and spread with half of the buttercream. Top with strawberry jam. Spread the second cake layer with the remaining buttercream and finish with a circle of sprinkles around the outside edge, using your second hand as a guide to control the flow. Sandwich the two sponges together carefully and finish with a ribbon if you like.

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