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    Mini Vanilla Cakes

    Surprise your Mum with an afternoon tea-style get together featuring these cute mini vanilla cakes for Mother's Day!

    "Treat your mum to a luxurious afternoon tea in the comfort of your home! Lay the table with your prettiest tablecloth, use the fanciest china and lay out your treats on mini cake stands. A selection of small sandwiches, scones and mini cakes are sure to wow, especially served with some sparkling wine or her favourite tea."

    These mini cakes can be tweaked to suit your taste – add lemon zest or coconut essence instead of vanilla, or add both flavour and colour using freeze-dried berry powders. Decorate your cakes with a swirl of whipped cream and sprinkles, berries or edible flowers.

    The cake batter is baked in a rectangular tray and then cut into circles using a pastry cutter. You could also bake these in muffin tins to turn into cupcakes.

    Here's what you'll need and how it's done...

    For the cakes

    • 350g plain flour
    • 350g caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 200g unsalted butter cut into cubes
    • 3 large eggs
    • 200ml whole milk
    • 1tsp vanilla extract

    Vanilla syrup

    • 100g caster sugar
    • 100ml water
    • 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract

    You'll also need...

    For the frosting

    • 350g mascarpone
    • 150g icing sugar
    • 50ml double cream, more if needed
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste

    For the whipped cream

    • 200ml cold double cream
    • 60g icing sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
    • Food colouring (optional)

    To decorate

    • Fresh berries, sprinkles, meringue kisses, edible flowers

    Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan (160°C Fan). Spray a 14x10in baking tin with cake release (or grease with butter) and line with baking paper.

    Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix together using a balloon whisk to combine. Add the cubed butter and mix for a couple of minutes on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

    Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bowl of your mixer to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

    Step 2

    Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat together. Stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Continue mixing for a couple of minutes until batter is completely smooth. Transfer the batter into the prepared tin and level.

    Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

    Step 3

    To make the frosting, put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat together using a stand or hand mixer until it forms peaks. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.

    To make the vanilla syrup, combine the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring so that sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla paste and stir to combine. Turn heat off and allow to cool. This syrup can be used to brush on cakes for extra flavour and to seal in moisture. Keep any leftover syrup in the fridge in a sealed jar for up to a month.

    Remove cake from the pan using the baking paper to lift it out. Brush with the vanilla syrup.

    Step 4

    Use a pastry or cookie cutter to cut 12 circles – any scraps are a baker’s perk! Pipe small blobs of the frosting onto the mini cake layers and sandwich together.

    Whisk all the ingredients for the whipped cream together until it forms peaks – best done with a hand mixer. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a generous swirl of frosting over each cake.

    Decorate with fresh berries, sprinkles, meringue kisses or whatever takes your fancy!

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