On the 13th of August I will be turning 66 years.  I would be lying if I didn't say that I was happy to see the end of my 65th year. It has been one for the record books to say the least, and not a year I care to repeat!  I could never, ever, in a...

On the 13th of August I will be turning 66 years.  I would be lying if I didn't say that I was happy to see the end of my 65th year. It has been one for the record books to say the least, and not a year I care to repeat!

 I could never, ever, in a million years have predicted how very tumultuous my 65th year would be.   A year that would see me ending my third marriage and flying half way around in the world with nothing but a couple of suitcases to begin a new life.

And in the midst of a Global Pandemic no less. Life has a way of surprising us at the very best of times. 

One thing I have come to realize about myself as I have aged is that I am a very simple woman with very simple tastes.  Life is too short to spend it faffing about with a lot of nonsense.

I am far too long in the tooth now to tolerate a lot of fussing and messing about.  I crave simplicity in everything. Excitement is grossly exaggerated!  Give me the simple life anytime.

I want nothing in life to be overcomplicated.  Not my home. Not my activities and certainly not my food.  I have gotten to the point where I have decided life is far too short to put up with anything otherwise. 

When it comes to simple food and simple desserts, it just doesn't get much better, tastier or simpler than this  cake  recipe which I am sharing today.  I believe  this is the BEST vanilla cake recipe ever created!

There is absolutely nothing pretentious about it.  No jumping through hoops. No special ingredients required. Just simple ingredients, put together in a very simple way, to create an extraordinarily delicious cake.

And it is the perfect sized cake for the smaller family.  Only eight-inches square. 

If you are only one or two people (like myself) you will get to enjoy it for a bit longer than if you are more people.   

There is one thing I can absolutely guarantee for sure.  You WILL enjoy it.  Positively.

Its quick and easy to make. Uses simple ingredients and simple methods. You can make it in one bowl.  It bakes in one small 8-inch pan and its delicious!


It has a beautiful moist and buttery crumb.  Buttermilk in the batter ensures this.

It smells heavenly when it is baking.  This is due to the extravagance of using two teaspoons of vanilla in the batter.  It is also quite rich.  One full egg and two egg yolks give it its beautiful golden color.


Simple enough to be an every day cake.  Delicious enough to be a celebratory cake. All without going overboard. Perfect for occasions such as a 66th birthday, celebrated simply at home by myself.  

Oh for sure, there will be a get together with family (no friends due to the pandemic), and I am really hoping that I am treated to an ice cream cake, but for me all by myself, this is the cake I want and I crave.

What makes my Birthday extra special this year is that my brother will be visiting from Ontario with his wife.  I have not seen my brother in over 8 years now, which makes it very special. 

The last time we saw each other was when we were both home for my mother's lung cancer operation. 

I feel so blessed that we will be able to be together for this occasion. My dad, my sister, my brother and myself.  The only one not here will be my mother, which will make it slightly bittersweet, and she will certainly be missed. 

It will be the first time we will have all been together like this in over 18 years, and who knows how much longer we will be able to do things like this. Or how long the restrictions with this pandemic will be eased enough that we can do things this.

I feel a sense of urgency about this meeting together of loved ones.  Mom is already gone, dad is 87 and well . . . the rest of us are not getting any younger either.  We must grab our blessings and our pleasures while we can. Every day is a bonus.

The recipe for this cake was adapted from one I found in the recipe book, Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perleman. I can assure you this cake tastes like so much more than every day.

This cake  is super moist and indulgent. To be honest, it is just a beautiful cake.  The frosting for it is perfection in and of itself.

There were several options offered for the frosting.  A rich chocolate buttercream, a coconut buttercream and a cream cheese frosting.

I opted for plain vanilla buttercream, because I am a plain vanilla buttercream kind of a girl. With sprinkles.

The frosting was also very easy to make.  Again simple ingredients put together simply in the most delicious way.

Butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla.  She did give the option of using cream rather than milk, but I went with the milk.  Again all in one bowl and with an hand mixer. 


The hardest part about making this cake was waiting for the cake to cool down enough that I could frost it.  I had to endure that beautiful smell of it baking and then watch it sitting there for what seemed like ages and ages.

You would think that at the age of almost 66 but or a week, I would be much more patient than I am.  Alas, patience is not a skill I have developed with age.  Especially when it comes to delicious food!

I do hope you will be inspired to want to bake this cake. It is quite simply delicious.  To be honest  . . .  cake just doesn't get much better than this!  I promise you!

If you only bake one thing this weekend, let it be this. You will not regret it.  I guarantee!

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Golden Vanilla Cake
Yield: Makes one 8-inch Cake
Author: Marie Rayner

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 45 Min

This cake may be very simple and small in size, but it is HUGE in flavor. Moist, buttery and delicious with a delicate crumb and a lush vanilla buttercream frosting, this pleases on every level!


For the cake:

6 TBS butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 TBS (160g) finely granulated sugar
1 large free range egg
2 large free range egg yolks (freeze the whites for another purpose)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk
2 TBS cornstarch
1 1/4 cups plus 2 TBS (180g) plain all purpose flour

For the vanilla buttercream:

1/2 cup (120g) butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (150g) icing sugar, sifted if lumpy
1 TBS whole milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/gas mark 4.  Butter an 8-inch square baking tin and line it with baking parchment, leaving an overhang to help lift the baked cake out with at the end.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, egg yolks and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed.  
Sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, cornstarch and salt.  Beat in the dry ingredients, alternately with the buttermilk, until you have a smooth batter with no floury streaks.  Do not over beat.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly touched.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. 
Leave in the pan for five minutes, then lift out onto a baking rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, measure all of the ingredients into a bowl and beat well together with an electric mixer until it is smooth, creamy and fluffy.  Spread this over the top of the completely cooled cake.

Did you make this recipe?
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