Recipe: Vanilla and blueberry layer cake

If you follow me on twitter, Instagram or pretty much any of my social media accounts then you will know that Izzy and I are regulars at Costa. I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed to admit that the barristers know our drink orders and start preparing them as soon as we walk in but I think I’ll take the view that our local store is good at recognising their frequent customers.

Part of our ritual is choosing a treat to share. I say choosing but it tends to be a lot of umm’ing and ahh’ing and then a request for a giant bourbon biscuit or a bag of mini shortbread. A little while ago I spotted that they had a new vanilla and blueberry cake out on display but Izzy wouldn’t be diverted from a “biscuit as big as my head please mummy” so I decided to make our own version at home. I have no idea if this is anything like the offering from Costa as I still haven’t managed to try it but we like it anyway.

The sponge is a simple one, equal weights of butter, sugar and flour with 4 eggs. I bake the layers in two 8 inch tins which give it a good height. As Izzy is a huge fan of blueberries I decided to make a very simple compote to layer between the cakes and a less sweet than normal buttercream. There’s nothing showy about this cake but it’s got a fresh, (almost) summery flavour and disappeared rather quickly.

Click through for the recipe

Vanilla and blueberry layer cake

A simple blueberry compote layered between two sponge cakes with a less sweet than normal buttercream.


    For the sponge
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the blueberry compote
  • 150g blueberries
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • For the buttercream
  • 125g butter, softened (the real stuff please)
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat the oven to 190c (fan) and line two 8 inch cake tins.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until fluffy and pale in colour. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well until combined, adding a spoonful of flour with each egg to help stop the mixture from splitting. Stir in the vanilla extract and then fold in the remaining flour.
  3. Divide the mixture between the two tins, smooth the top and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out with no crumbs clinging, the top springs back from a gentle touch and the cakes are turning golden brown. Leave to cool in their tins for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For the blueberries – add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat so that the blueberries simmer. Stir frequently so that the sugar dissolves. The blueberries will start to burst and the liquid will thicken. Simmer for around 10 minutes, until you can draw a line in the liquid on the back of a spoon. If you rub a small amount of the liquid (very carefully, it’s hot!) between your fingers, you should not be able to feel any granules of sugar. Leave to cool completely.
  5. For the buttercream – Beat the butter and icing sugar together until light, fluffy and almost doubled in volume. It is much easier in a stand mixer but a bowl, wooden spoon and a hefty dollop of elbow grease will do the job just as well.
  6. Once the cakes are completely cool, place one layer onto a cake stand, board or the upturned lid of a cake tin and spoon the blueberries onto the top. Spread the buttercream onto the bottom of the remaining cake layer and place on top of the first, sandwiching the blueberries and buttercream between the two cake layers.
  7. Sift extra icing sugar over the top if you wish. The cake is sweet enough without but it does look pretty and can also be handy to disguise any imperfections.

I have been absent from my usual blogging events for far too long so I am stepping back into the water by linking this up to Tea Time Treats, hosted by Kate and Karen, where the theme this month is layer cakes.