Us Janes are busy ladies, and sometimes the pressure to ‘go homemade’ is just one more string to add to our many-feathered bows. But at times you can’t beat a homemade cake. So here we will be sharing a few easy recipes to impress your friends and family – and of course they taste delicious too!

Busy Girl Bakes: Basic Sponge

We’re kicking off with this easy vanilla sponge – perfect for an afternoon treat or as cupcakes for a picnic. This recipe either makes a two-layer sponge or 12 fairy cakes – it’s a great one to make with kids, and they can have fun decorating with a variety of sprinkles.

A simple whipped cream and berry topping is suggested here. Partly because it takes advantage of these jewel-toned seasonal fruits, but mainly because it’s easy yet impressive, and involves no faffing with buttercream or icing sugar (which invariably ends up covering the entire kitchen).


All ingredients should be at room temperature, so get any refrigerated items out a little while before you start.

4oz unsalted butter (cut into chunks)
4oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs
4oz self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1tsp vanilla extract (try and use extract, not flavouring)


500ml double cream
Raspberries, blueberries or strawberries



  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200oC
  • If making the two-layer sponge: grease two 7” cake tins and line with greaseproof paper
  • If making fairy cakes: pop 12 paper cake cases into a bun tin (or just lay them out on a baking tray)


  • Cream (mix well until combined) the butter and sugar – easiest using an electric whisk if you have one
  • Gradually beat in the eggs
  • Sieve in half the flour and fold into the mixture
  • Sieve in the rest of the flour, along with the baking power, bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt. Fold into the mixture until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract

If making the two-layer sponge: spread the mixture evenly between the two cake tins, evening the top with a knife
Alternatively, if making fairy cakes: spoon the mixture evenly into the cake cases, taking care not to overfill.

Cook and Cool
Place the tins onto the top shelf of the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 mins, when done, the sponge should be golden-brown and springy to the touch, cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Once the cake is cooled, spread half the whipped cream onto the first sponge layer, and top with berries. Then place the other layer on top and repeat with the cream and berries

Eat and enjoy!

Post us your photos when you give it a try, we’d love to see them.
Are there any other easy baking recipes you’d like to learn? Let us know below!

Tickled your fancy?


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