December 13, 2015


vanilla spice cake4

Back in late October I was perusing my cookbooks in search of recipes for something to make for the Children in Need cake stall at work.  I retired more than two years ago but still enjoy contributing and the idea was to bake some cakes which would sit happily in my colleague’s freezer until needed.  She had requested a Bundt cake as they always sell well – an ordinary cake in a posh tin always looks deceptively elaborate when in fact the tin itself does all the work.

I remembered this recipe by Nigella Lawson and was also hankering after the Bundt tin she made it in.  Nick offered to buy me one as an early birthday present but in the end I decided it was too extravagant to have a tin that was really only useful at Christmas – Nordic Ware tins are far too expensive to use only once or twice a year.  In the end I settled for one that looked Christmassy enough but was probably more useful – the cathedral design.

vanilla spice cake6

I had never used the recipe before and the cake was destined to be parcelled up and given away,  so just to be sure I used a couple of spoonfuls of the mixture to make some muffins so that I could taste it myself.  They tasted lovely so I vowed that as soon as the need arose I would make the cake again for myself.

vanilla spice cake

The need arose last week when it was actually my birthday.  I have a similar design of tin which I keep in France so used that to bake another cake.

vanilla spice cake2

It’s a spectacularly easy cake to make.  You simply put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz together.  I made the spiced version instead of the vanilla cake as suggested in the recipe and it was just right for the time of year, beautifully spiced and fragrant, perfect for a winter birthday cake.  A light dusting of icing sugar once it has cooled down is all the decoration that’s needed, although a drizzle of something interesting would no doubt have looked even better.

As always, I didn’t have all the specified ingredients to hand so I had to improvise a bit.


225g spreadable butter

300g golden caster sugar

6 eggs

350g plain flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

250g low fat plain yoghurt (two small pots)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground mixed spice


Spray a large Bundt tin with cake release spray or grease really well with butter or oil  Preheat the oven to 180° / 160° fan / gas mk 4.

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until well combined.

Pour the mixture carefully into the prepared tin to make sure there are no air bubbles.

Bake for 45 minutes or a few minutes longer if necessary.  Mine was done after 45 minutes.

Leave in the tin for ten minutes then turn out carefully.  Dust with icing sugar when completely cold.

Cuts into at least 12-16 slices.