I love the simplicity of this no-fuss recipe for a buttery, soft vanilla traybake topped with a silky smooth chocolate buttercream. This cake is one of the easiest on my blog, it’s made with pantry staples, has a quick baking time and is simple to decorate. If you’re looking for a classic birthday party recipe, this is it! Take a look at my gluten-free recipe below for a cake that you won’t believe is gluten-free!
Traybakes, sheet cakes or snack cakes – whatever you prefer to call them, I truly love them! Why? Well, as with all of my recipes, this traybake is no different in that it’s made using standard pantry staples, comes together easily and is simple to bake. If you’re using a gluten-free self-raising flour blend such as that from Doves Farm (not an ad), baking this will truly be a piece of cake (mind the pun!). I love a good thick slice of cake and it pains me when people associate gluten-free baking with a dry, crumbly and flat piece of sad-looking cake. As you can see, with all of my cakes, I like a decent slice and that’s what you get with my recipes. Have a look at my simple coeliac-friendly recipe below.
How do you make this cake?
So, how easy is this cake to whip up. We start off by creaming the butter and sugar together until a light and fluffy texture forms.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time, until completely incorporated into the batter. The texture should be smooth and no lumps should be seen!
The dry ingredients are whisked together in a separate bowl before being added to the wet and folded in slowly until no pockets of flour remain.
Pour the mixture into the square baking tin before baking on the middle shelf for around 40-45 minutes.
Once cooled, spread thick dollops of freshly whipped chocolate buttercream on top and decorate with sprinkles to finish!
What equipment do you need?
- 30cm x 23cm square deep baking tray
- Baking paper
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensure that they can all be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot, you don’t want to cook them!) water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature more quickly.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cakes are done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested as a rough guide. To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cake is baked through and ready to come out.
I use grams for weighing almost all of the ingredients in my recipes as it is what I am most used to when cooking and baking on a daily basis. I use measuring cups for simple ingredients such as spices or smaller amounts as it can be much easier to measure. I would recommend sticking to what the recipe suggests as there is no guarantee that converting into cup measurements or vice-versa will have the same outcome.
Vanilla Traybake with Chocolate Buttercream
- 30cm x 23cm square baking tray, deep
For the sponge cake
- 400 g unsalted butter softened
- 400 g caster sugar
- 8 medium eggs room temperature
- 400 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend
- ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate buttercream
- 200 g unsalted butter softened
- 400 g icing sugar
- 50 g Dutch-pressed cocoa powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles gluten-free
For the vanilla sponge
- Preheat the oven to 160° C Fan and line a 30x23cm deep square baking tin with baking paper, leaving some over the sides so that the cake can be taken out easily after baking.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until lighter and fluffy in texture.400 g unsalted butter, 400 g caster sugar
- Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract one at a time until completely incorporated.8 medium eggs, ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Add the flour, salt and Xanthan Gum to the wet ingredients and fold in until no pockets of flour remain.400 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend, ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum, ¼ tsp salt
- Transfer the mixture to the square baking tin and level off with an offset spatula.
- Bake on the middle shelf for around 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (See Notes).
- Allow the cake the cool completely when done, before removing from the baking tin. Once cooled, prepare the buttercream topping.
For the buttercream
- Cream the butter in a stand mixer on the highest setting until paler in colour and lighter in texture. This may take 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.200 g unsalted butter
- Add the icing sugar in batches and whisk again on the highest setting until fully incorporated.400 g icing sugar
- Add the milk, Dutch-pressed cocoa powder and the salt, and whisk again until light and fluffy.50 g Dutch-pressed cocoa powder, ⅛ tsp salt, 2 tbsp milk
- Transfer the buttercream to the cake and spread evenly along each side using an offset spatula.
- Decorate with rainbow sprinkles to finish.