Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease 2 20x22cm cake tins and line the
bottoms with baking paper.
Put butter into a bowl and beat for a
minute until softened, add castor sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes until
light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla essence then add the eggs, one at a
time, beating until well combined.
Sift the flour and, using a spatula or a
metal spoon, delicately fold the flour into the egg and butter mixture until you
have a smooth cake batter.
Pour equal amounts of batter into each cake
tin and bake for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the cake
tins before removing and placing on a cooling wrack. It is important for the cake to cool completely before icing.
For the icing:
Beat the butter in bowl for a minute until
softened, then add the icing sugar and beat until well combined.
Add essence and cream/milk and beat for a
further minute or 2 until you have a smooth, soft, silky icing.
Remove the baking paper from the bottoms of
the cakes and place the first cake onto a plate/cake stand.
Top with the icing
and place the second cake on top. (If you are making a 3-tiered cake: spread
half the icing on the first cake and half the icing on the second, finish with
the remaining cake)
Dust with 2 table spoons of the icing sugar, top
with fresh fruit and finish off with the remaining icing sugar.
Tip 1: The oven is slightly warmer at the
top than at the bottom so try to cook your cakes on the middle shelf.
Tip 2: To test whether the cake it fully
cooked: they should be fully risen and starting to shrink from the sides of the
cake tin, sponge cakes feel springy to the touch.
Tip 3: Using a spatula or metal spoon when
mixing the batter is important as wooden spoons are bulky and will knock a lot
of the air out of the batter resulting in a denser cake.