Vanilla Traybake

This is my go to sponge when there will be a get together and I want a quick crowd pleaser. It’s an all-in-one recipe, so it’s very straight forward. I made this on Friday, it fed 5 adults and 8 kids with plenty left over for sneaky seconds.

This recipe is from Mary Berry’s ‘Baking Bible’, one of my favourite cookbooks. Mary calls it a ‘Basic All-in-one Sponge Traybake’. I added in the Vanilla and shortened the name, but all credit to the Cake Queen.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 225 g softened butter (I use salted)
  • 225 g castor sugar
  • 275 g self raising flour (sifted)
  • 2 level teaspoons of baking powder (sifted)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 110 g butter at room temp (I use unsalted butter)
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp of cooled boiled water


  1. Preheat oven to 180° or 160° fan. Grease a 12 x 9 traybake or roasting tin. Line the base with baking parchment
  2. Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat until blended. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level
  3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for around 35-40 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back to touch. Leave to cool in tin and then turn onto rack.

Buttercream Method:

  1. Using a mixer beat the unsalted butter in a large bowl until it’s very soft. Add half the icing sugar and mix on low until smooth.
  2. Then add the vanilla and the first tablespoon of water. Mix again and continue adding the remaining icing sugar. Mix on a low speed. Repeat process until the water and icing sugar is all mixed in. I normally add 3 tbsp of water but if you want your buttercream stiffer, just add 2 tbsp.

Cover with buttercream when cooled and sprinkle with sweets or decorations.

Some @thecakemum observations/tips:

  • It’s worth investing in a brownie or traybake tin. I bought a Wilton one years ago and have used it so much. The one I have is called ‘Wilton Recipe Right Sheet Pan’, how’s that for a mouthful! It’s 13 x 9.5 inches.
  • I beat the mixture for 1-2 mins with my mixer
  • My oven is very hot, so I check the cake at 25 mins and normally take it out just before 30 mins. Every oven is different so get to know your oven as a few minutes can make all the difference. My oven is 30° hotter than the temp on the gauge, so it’s worth buying a cheap oven gauge to stick inside the oven.
  • Post edited in 2020, to add my buttercream recipe – it’s not a Mary Berry one but it’s damn good. The quantity above makes plenty to cover a traybake. Left over buttercream can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks or frozen.
  • If I’m bringing the cake to a gathering. I remove it from the tin, peel off the baking parchment and decorate it. I then put new parchment at the bottom of the tin and put the traybake carefully back in the tin. Cover it with clingfilm and off I go – see pic. I cut it when I get to my destination. This saves a lot of hassle, looking for a box or worrying if it it will get damaged on the way.

Happy Baking

De (aka thecakemum)

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2 thoughts on “Vanilla Traybake”

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