Birthdays mean one thing, cake! Oh how I love thee.
This vanilla cake is incredibly versatile, it’s really a blank canvas. You can edit the flavours any way you see fit, spice it, zest it, do your thing.
The recipe halves very successfully, and you get enough height from the standard recipe to split the 2 cakes into a total of 4 layers if you’re feeling particularly fancy.
The jelly layer sets up quite firm, so you don’t have to be particularly careful when moving it onto the cake. The layer in the photo is probably closer to 2cm thick, which is a tad overdone in my opinion – so aim for 1 1/2cm or thereabouts when you add the jelly liquid.
The Grand Marnier pairs well with strawberry, but you can leave this out if you wish. You may have noticed a boozy theme with my recipes *cough*, however, the alcohol will be evaporated when you heat the jelly mixture. Feel free to swap it for any other flavouring you prefer.
I recommend serving this cake with a glass of champagne, and many happy returns.
Vanilla and Strawberry Birthday Cake
- 750ml unsweetened soy milk
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 425g cake flour
- 1 tsp bi-carb soda
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 500g caster sugar
- 250ml rice bran oil
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius (fan forced).
- Lightly spray 2 x 20cm cake tins with oil, dust with flour and line the bases with baking paper.
- Place the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir, set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a separate bowl and mix together.
- Add the oil and vanilla to the milk and apple cider vinegar and mix on low speed.
- Once the wet ingredients are mixed, slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on low until completely incorporated.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins. I prefer to weigh the batter to ensure even cake layers.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave in the cake tins for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool completely.
- 325g Nuttelex or other vegan margarine
- 375g icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the Nuttelex until light and creamy (about 5-7 minutes).
- Sift the icing sugar and add to the Nuttelex, continue beating until light, fluffy and you can no longer feel the sugar crystals.
- Add the vanilla extract, you may need to adjust the amount to taste.
- If the mixture is too stiff, add a splash of soy milk, if it’s too soft, add a little more sugar.
- 750ml water
- 240g caster sugar
- 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
- 7 g agar agar powder (not flakes)
- Approx. 1/2 punnet strawberries (set the remainder aside)
- Edible flowers (optional)
- Hull and slice the strawberries
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and Grand Marnier.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the agar agar powder and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the jelly mixture into a shallow dish that is at least 20cm x 20cm. You may not need all of the liquid (it depends on the size of your dish). Fill the dish to about 1.5cm deep.
- When the mixture is starting to set, carefully arrange your strawberry slices and edible flowers if using. Keep in mind that this layer will sit on top of the cake, but you will trim the gel to size so the edges don’t need to be perfect.
In addition to the cake, icing and strawberry jelly, you will need:
- 2-3 Tbsp strawberry jam
- Remaining strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Once the cakes are completely cooled, level the tops.
- Place a blob of frosting onto a cake board (if using) and secure the bottom cake layer.
- Spread the jam onto the bottom cake, top with a layer of the icing, and arrange the sliced strawberries on top.
- Place the other cake bottom side up onto the first cake. (The bottom of the cake will be more even than the trimmed side and will result in a flatter surface.)
- Crumb coat the entire cake and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the final frosting layer and smooth the sides and top with a bench scraper or palette knife – a cake decorating turntable makes this infinitely easier. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
- Using the base of one of the cake tins as a guide, trace a 20cm circle onto baking paper. Cut the circle out slightly smaller than the edge so that you have space to pipe a border around the jelly.
- Lay the circle of paper on top of the jelly and carefully cut around the shape. Remove the jelly circle and carefully place on top of the iced cake.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip with the remaining icing and pipe a border around the jelly and around the base of the cake.
Keep the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.