Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

Do you need a go-to cake that is fluffy with a lovely vanilla flavour? Then this is the recipe for you. Coupled with a rich chocolate butter cream icing which is enhanced by a hint of coffee, this cake is a real crowd-pleaser. It is perfect for birthdays or any other celebration, but it is also great as a no-nonsense sheet cake.

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Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Butter Cream Icing Recipe

Makes a 32 cm by 20 cm sheet cake. See notes below if making a sandwich cake.
Serves: 12
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 35 minutes


For the cake:

  • 280 g plain flour
  • 32 g cornflour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1.25 tsp salt
  • 355 ml whole milk
  • 5.5 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs and one large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 170 g unsalted butter
  • 350 g caster sugar

For the icing:

  • 170 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 170 g icing sugar
  • 40 ml black coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan or 200°C conventional. Grease and line a 32 cm by 20 cm baking tin with grease proof paper.
  2. In a bowl mix together the flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  3. In a jug mix together the milk and lemon juice, beat in the eggs, then stir in the vanilla essence and set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter and caster sugar. Use a food mixer on a high speed setting for 3 minutes.
  5. Slowly add the egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla essence mixture gradually using the high speed of the food mixer. Be careful not to over mix the batter.
  6. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake to 35-40 minutes.
  7. In the meantime make the icing. Start by adding the vanilla essence to the coffee and set aside.
  8. Cream together the butter and cocoa butter. Use a food mixer at high speed for around 3 minutes.
  9. Add the icing sugar and vanilla-coffee solution roughly a quarter at a time whisking them into the cocoa and butter mixture until smooth and creamy.
  10. Once the cake has cooled completely spread the icing on the top.


  • Ensure you take the butter, eggs, milk and lemon out of the fridge around an hour in advance of making the cake to bring them up to room temperature. This will prevent the cake batter from curdling.
  • You can divide the cake batter between two cake tins to make a sandwich cake. In this case treble the quantity of the icing to have enough for the sandwich layer as well as the sides of the cake.
  • When making the icing I use strong decaf coffee to make it more child friendly.
  • To decorate the cake add sprinkles, sliced strawberries or grated chocolate to the top.


“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”

– J. R. R. Tolkien

Welcome, and thank you for being here! I’m Natalie and I LOVE food! Eating, cooking and taking pictures of food are my biggest past times. My husband often laughs at me because most people give directions using landmarks, I on the other hand, I give my directions using restaurants and food shops. I always have food on the brain! So in this blog I will be sharing my favourite recipes with you.

For me a delicious meal at a restaurant could completely heal a rough day, and a yummy takeaway could make my weekend. This was especially true when I was living in London – eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was spoilt for choice! However, since becoming a mum I feel an inherent responsibility to know what’s in the food I feed my family. I try to ensure our food doesn’t contain hidden nasties such as excess fats and salt, flavourings or colourings. I also try to be financially savvy and save for rainy days. Dining out so often doesn’t fit with either of these intentions. So now I cook.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not always been the most confident of cooks. At times I’ve even found cooking intimidating as my mum and mother-in-law have set such a high bar. However, like most things, with practice I’ve found that the kitchen doesn’t have to be such a daunting place. I’ve been patient with myself, experimented loads and had plenty of disasters, but my cooking has improved. My triumphs have motivated me to keep trying new recipes – there’s nothing more gratifying than thumbs up from my toughest critic, my fussy toddler, when I present a new dish to my family at dinner time. Now being in the kitchen is second nature to me.

I would say I have an eclectic taste in food due to my upbringing. I’m half Jamaican and half Filipino and grew up in Oxford. Food is a HUGE part of both sides of my heritage. On top of that I love to travel and visit new places. Altogether this has a huge influence on what I cook. In one week my family and I visit many countries through the foods we eat. From tandoori chicken, ackee and saltfish, and adobo, to linguine, chicken and waffles, and a traditional British Sunday roast. We enjoy such a wonderful mix of cuisines. My blog of trusty recipes will show you that making authentic, flavoursome, multicultural food at home doesn’t have to be difficult, scary or time consuming. I hope you will enjoy cooking, and eating these dishes as much as I do.