Stuck in a rut? Bake a cake!

I’ve ordered my book on Food Photography! I am impatiently waiting for it to arrive in the post. Yes the post – living in Germany means that I cannot just run out to my local book store and buy a book in English, I have to order it. Luckily this one is coming from the UK and not the USA, so I should have it by the end of the week. Hold thumbs!

In the meantime, there’s not much learning happening here. In fact I’m a bit stuck. Stuck in a rut. So what do I do? I rope in the girls to help me bake a cake, because us girls love cake! Normally this only happens for special occasions like birthdays, but today I need a boost and my birthday is just much too far away.

First I get the ingredients ready. The girls help and I torture them with simple baking sums like: we need one and a quarter cups – how many quarter cups do we put in? They learn something and they get to help me choose the pretty bowls and carry everything through to the dining room where…

…I’ve set up my expensive lights. Then I beg, “Please girls!!! Watch the cables, no bouncing, no dancing!” This is really hard for them, because we LOVE cake! We really really love cake! Isn’t it exciting? (bouncy bounce) Especially when it’s a sweet, soft, fluffy cake, with rich butter icing that you just don’t get here!

The tall one gets to read the instructions, littley gets to pour and they take turns to beat and stir. (This time I didn’t even have to play referee. This cake is made with a heap of love) I try to get the camera settings right and get some shots in, in record timing… and before we know it, it’s done.

The girls get to lick the bowl and our house is filled with the divine happy smell of a vanilla sponge cake baking in the oven. Cake baked. Memories made. And I have some lovely shots too! Happy Ne’!

This time I will type out the recipe for you… see below.

The Recipe


This was a Victorian Berry Sponge Cake, but the berry sugar is just too obscure around here, so I converted it to a Simple Vanilla Sponge Cake.  It doesn’t rise very high, so if you want to be fancy you can bake 2 layers and put icing between them. Or just keep it low key – bake in one shallow tin, smear icing all over and dig in.

(PS I am not a foodie, no baking expert or perfectionist. This recipe worked for me, I hope it works for you. It’s simple and yummy!)


  4 eggs 3/4 cups castor sugar 1 cup self-raising flour 1 Tablespoon cornflour (maizena) 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons melted butter 1 teaspoon Vanilla 1/3 cup warm water   Heat oven to 180 degrees Grease  2 x 20cm round tins (or one bigger one in any shape you want – we use a heart-shaped tin) and line with baking paper.   Beat the eggs until creamy and gradually add the castor sugar. Keep beating until the mixture becomes really thick. (they say this can take up to 10 minutes – oops, I was too impatient for that…)   Sift the flour and cornflour and fold it into the eggy mixture.   Next stir in the warm water, butter and vanilla.   Pour into your tins and bake for 20- 25 minutes. Allow to cool before icing.


125g butter
250g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
(and a little splash of coffee)
Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat some more, until it’s  smooth and yummy.

Ice the cake and eat it! (remember: it is good to share…)


4 thoughts on “Stuck in a rut? Bake a cake!

    1. Oh, you’re going to have to get baking then;) I used the recipe for cupcakes recently, and they turned out well, too. Thalia, I had a look at your site – it’s really beautiful with delicious looking goodies that I’m going to have to try!


  1. That cake looks divine. I’ve been looking for a simple cake recipe and this one may be perfect. I’m also working to get better on the food photography. Let us know if the book helps.


    1. I hope the cake recipe is perfect for you! Not Low-Carb, but I wonder how it would translate, with a gluten free flour? Let me know, if you try it out. The book I bought is very well-known in food photography circles – Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. (It’s available on Amazon.) It’s easy to read with wonderful tips on natural lighting and beautiful simple styling. And she has a lovely personal, chatty style of writing that you don’t often find in books about photography. 😉


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