Spruced-up Vanilla Cake – Nigella Christmas

Spruced up Vanilla cake

The first year I got the Nordic Ware Platinum Bundt Pan – Holiday TreeI made this cake from Nigella Christmas several times and it turned out beautifully every time. This year my first attempt stuck to the tin so for the second attempt I melted butter and applied very liberally to the tin before putting the cake mix in which worked, I think I may have left it in the oven for about 5-10mins too long. I love the taste of the Vanilla version of this cake and when it turns out well it is very impressive looking for very little effort.


  • 225 gram(s) butter (soft (plus more for greasing))
  • 300 gram(s) caster sugar
  • 6 medium egg(s)
  • 350 gram(s) plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon(s) bicarbonate of soda
  • 250 gram(s) plain yoghurt (fat free)
  • 4 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon(s) icing sugar


  1. reheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and put a baking sheet in at the same time. Butter or oil your large, regular or fir-tree shaped bundt tin (2.5 litres capacity) very, very thoroughly. (I use oil-sodden kitchen paper.)
  2. Either put all the ingredients except the icing sugar into the processor and blitz together; or mix by hand or in a freestanding mixer as follows:– Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.– Add the eggs one at a time, whisking each one in with a tablespoon of flour.– Fold in the rest of the flour, and add the bicarbonate of soda, the yogurt and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour and spoon the mixture into your greased tin and spread about evenly.
  4. Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45–60 minutes until well risen and golden. After 45 minutes, push a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Let it sit out of the oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then turn out the cake, hoping for the best.
  6. Once cool, dust with the icing sugar pushed through a small sieve, to decorate: think fresh snowfall on the alps.

Yule Log – Nigella Christmas

Aidan made this as pudding for a big family party from Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities. He did really well, he’d never made a fatless swiss roll before and the sponge, rolling and icing were all done well (with a little help). He’d had to be patient whisking up the eggs as I only have an electric wand blender/mixer so it took a while. He particularly enjoyed making the butter icing look like bark with a cocktail stick.

It tasted nice, as my husband said a nicer version than a shop yule log but was not the most exciting flavour. I think I’ll try a yule log that includes chestnut puree next time.


  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tsps icing sugar to decorate

For the icing

  • 175g dark chocolate broken into pieces
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 225g soft butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4
  2. In a large clean bowl whisk the egg whites until thick and peaking, then, still whisking  sprinkle in 50g of the caster sugar and continue whisking until the whites are holding their peaks but not dry
  3. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar until the mixture is moussy, pale and thick/ Add the vanilla extract, sieve the coca powder over, then fold both in.
  4. Lighten the yolk mixture with a couple of dollops of the egg whites, folding them in robustly. Then add the remaining whites in thirds, folding them in carefully to avoid losing the air.
  5. Line a Swiss roll tin with baking parchment, leaving a generous overhang at the ends and sides and folding the parchment into the corners to help the paper stay anchored.
  6. Pour in the cake mixture and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Let the cake cool a little before turning it out onto another piece of baking parchment.
  7. To make the icing, melt the chocolate (in a heat proof bowl over hot water) and let it cool.
  8. Put the icing sugar into the processor and blitz it to remove lumps then add the butter and process until smooth. Add the cooled melted chocolate and the vanilla extract and pulse together to make a smooth icing.
  9. Sit the flat chocolate cake on a large piece of baking parchment. Trim the edges of the swiss roll. Spread some of the icing thinly over the sponge, going right out to the edges.
  10. Start rolling from the long end facing you taking care to get a tight roll from the beginning and roll up to the other side. Pressing against the parchment rather than the cake makes this easier.
  11. Cut one or both ends at a gentle angle reserving the offcuts and place the swiss roll on the long plate or board. Place the offcuts at an angle to look like a cut off branch or two.
  12. Spread the yule log with the remaining icing covering the cut off ends as well as any branches. create a bark like texture by markign along the length of the log with a cocktail stick.
  13. Dust with icing sugar.