Biscoff vanilla layer cake

A special occasion deserves a special cake, so figuring out what to make for my village's VE Day street tea party with the ingredients I had in the house was a bit of a toughy! Naturally my first thought was a good old victoria sponge but I have a very odd husband who hates jam and no fresh cream to whip so that went straight out the window. I knew I wanted to make something that looked traditional but impressive, so a fully covered layer cake seemed like the way to go. After much hunting in the pantry I came across a jar of Lotus Biscuit Crunchy Spread and a big new bottle of vanilla extract and this idea was born!

This recipe combines two of my tried and tested best ever recipes that I often come back to. The methods for both cake and frosting may seem unusual to a traditional baker, but the results are beautiful and pretty much always end up with requests for the recipes! Don't be afraid of these methods if you've not tried them - upon reading it may seem more complicated but I promise it really isn't, you just need to make sure you have enough time for things to cool so you don't end up with frosting soup!

You'll have more frosting than you need after generously filling and covering your cake, but you can keep the remainder in the fridge for up to a week. I usually end up making another smaller cake (I did a brown sugar cake this time but more on that on another occasion) that I use the rest of the frosting on and then give pieces away to friends and family, unless of course my husband eats it up before I get a chance.

Best Vanilla Cake with Whipped Biscoff Frosting
Serves 12-16

Cake Ingredients
320g plain flour
250g caster sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
225g unsalted butter, roughly chopped and softened
3 large eggs, at room temperature
240ml milk
2 tsp good vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
60ml full fat greek yoghurt

Cake Method
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and prep three 6 inch cake tins by greasing with butter and lining the bottom with baking parchment.

Place your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir lightly to combine, then add your chopped softened butter and beat on low speed until your mixture resembles damp sand, with the tiny butter pieces completely coated in flour - I use my stand mixer for this but an electric hand mixer will work just as well.

Now add your eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition, then add your milk and vanilla and beat on low speed for about a minute until its well combined. Finally add your greek yoghurt and beat again until you have a creamy, smooth cake batter.

Divide equally between your cake tins and smooth the tops, then bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool in their tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients
240ml milk
40g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g butter, roughly chopped and very soft
200g caster sugar
half a jar of Lotus Biscuit Crunchy Spread, stirred to loosen it up
big pinch of sea salt

Frosting Method
Place your milk and flour in a small saucepan and whisk together over a medium low heat until the mixture is smooth and has thickened to the texture of a thick cake batter. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract then leave to cool completely. I'm impatient so I often sit my saucepan in an ice bath and whisk gently until its cool - just be careful not to get any water into your mix.

Beat your softened butter and sugar until really light and fluffy - about 2-3 minutes, then add your cool milk and flour mix and continue to whip until the frosting is super fluffy and light. Now add your loosened Lotus biscuit spread and a generous pinch of good sea salt and whip again until thoroughly combined and your texture is like whipped cream.

Now frost your cake in the manner you like! I put a little splodge of frosting on my plate or cake stand then pop on the first cake layer, upside down. I pop on a generous dollop of frosting and smooth it out with an offset spatula, then stack and repeat with the other two cake layers. For the outside of the cake I put what seems like a huge amount of frosting on top and smooth it over the top and down the sides of the cake. This frosting is great to work with as its so light and whippy, so I don't even bother to do a crumb coat and just coat and finish the outside coating in one go. I like to finish with a swirl to the top of the cake and a sprinkling of metallic sugar flakes because well, why not?!