flour and stone old fashioned vanilla cake

Whilst browsing through YouTube, I found a video of Nadine Ingram from Flour and Stone presenting a masterclass for Carriageworks markets. I watched Nadine make her old fashioned vanilla cake sandwiched with mascarpone custard cream and fresh berries.

I have a copy of Nadine's book and in the book the cake was sandwiched together with mascarpone custard cream and berry compote. Coincidentally I'd made berry compote the previous day and with some just about to expire mascarpone in the fridge I decided then and there to make a smaller version of the cake the very next day.


I found the video really helpful. I was surprised to see how soft the butter was that Nadine used and also the length of time she spent creaming the butter and sugar.


I had to do a bit of maths first then followed Nadine's instructions only altering the oven temperature and bake time to suit my oven. As I'd used some egg white in the batter, my cake once baked was only lightly golden and each layer was perfectly level so I didn't need to trim the layers.

Here's the recipe for the Flour and Stone old fashioned vanilla cake which makes a 3 layer 16cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C.

If you'd like to make a 23cm/9 inch cake double all the ingredients, using 5 or 6 whole eggs in the cake. You can watch Nadine making the cake here in which she shows you how to make the cake using two 9 inch cake tins.

Here are some of Nadine's recommendations.
'Make the pastry cream and berry compote at least 4 hours before the sponge. Ideally this cake should be baked on the day you wish to eat it; however, if you really must bake it the day before due to time restraints, you have to promise me you will not fill the cake until the day it is being eaten. 

When baking a day ahead you will get best results if you cool the cakes, remove them from the tins and wrap them snugly in plastic film. This will preserve the moisture and flavour of the cakes until the following day. Store at room temperature, not in the fridge or they'll dry out'. 
Flour and stone old fashioned vanilla cake
Pastry cream  
125 mls milk 
1 egg yolk
25g caster sugar
10g plain flour
Berry compote 
200g frozen berries 
55g caster sugar
Juice half an orange  
185 gm very soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 
185 gm caster sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 eggs and 1 white, lightly beaten
165 gm self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
25 gm cornflour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
50 ml milk
Mascarpone custard filling
100g mascarpone 
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
200 mls pure cream
To decorate
Icing sugar
Pastry cream 
Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, then add the flour and whisk until well combined.

When the milk comes to the boil, reduce the heat to low. Remove 60 ml of the milk from the pan and pour it over the egg yolk mixture. This warms it a little in preparation for being added to the scalding milk. Give the yolk mixture a quick whisk, then pour it into the boiled milk (still over low heat), ensuring you scrape all the yolk from the bowl with a spatula. Stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula for 2 minutes or until the cream starts to thicken. As soon as it does, swap your spoon for a whisk and continue to cook the pastry cream for 1 minute longer to ensure the flour is completely cooked. Remove from the heat and spread out the cream on a flat tray. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until cold.

Berry compote 
Place all the compote ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the berries don't catch on the base of the pan. The compote will thicken a little but the consistency you are looking for is not jam. You want to retain as many of the whole berries as possible so that when you cut the cake you will see the berries studded through the layers. Remove the compote from the heat and leave it to cool for a few hours. The compote can be made well in advance of when you want to assemble the cake and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease three 16 cm-diameter cake tins, line with baking paper, then grease paper and dust with flour. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy. Add egg, a little at a time and scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until incorporated.

Meanwhile, combine flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt and sift twice. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk, until just combined. Turn off mixer, scrape down sides of bowl and the paddle, then beat on high for 2 seconds to aerate batter. Divide batter between tins and smooth tops. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 140°C and bake until centre of cakes spring back when lightly pressed (5-10 minutes). Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tins.

Mascarpone custard filling
Place all the filling ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a hand whisk). Whisk for 1-2 minutes or until the creams are stiffly whipped, being careful not to over-whip them.

Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and loosen it first with a spatula then add it to the bowl of whipped cream and whisk on low speed for just 20 seconds - you don't want to whisk the pastry cream for too long after it has been added to the whipped cream as it will destroy the fluffiness of the filling. This filling can be prepared the day before you want to assemble the cake and stored in the fridge.

To assemble  
Trim off any dark crust from the top of 2 of the cakes. Lay out the cake layers in front of you so that you have two cut layers and one with the crusty top. Check that all your layers are the same thickness and make adjustments by trimming them if necessary.

Spread half the mascarpone custard filling over one of the cut layers and then spoon half the compote over the mascarpone. Place the other cut layer on top and spread with the remaining mascarpone and berry compote, as you did for the first layer. Place the crusty-top layer of cake on top and dust with icing sugar to finish. This cake needs no accompaniment - it is perfect just the way it is!

This was honestly the lightest, fluffiest butter cake I have ever made or eaten. This will be my go-to recipe from now on.

See you all again next week with the first of  the Christmas bakes for Xmas 2021.

Bye for now,



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