Pamela Clark’s Buttercake

If you want a citrus flavoured cake – lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime etc – finely grate the rind into the bowl with the butter, you’ll need somewhere between one and three teaspoons of finely grated rind, depending on the intensity of the flavour you want and the type of rind used eg, lime rind is stronger than lemon rind. If I want a syrup cake, I make a syrup of sugar, water and the appropriate citrus juice. Drizzle the hot syrup over the hot cake, don’t forget to stand the cake on a wire rack, over a tray to collect any drips. Sometimes I spread the cold cake with a warmed thin glaze, made with pure icing sugar and the chosen citrus juice – it barely sets, but tastes divine. 

Serves 10.


125g butter, slightly softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1¼ cups caster sugar

3 eggs

1 cup plain flour

½ cup self-raising flour

¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

½ cup milk

This is a good old stand-by recipe, one that is happy to be flavoured with vanilla, lemon or orange – my family’s favourites. Also, it’s a quick mix method, ideal for people who want to bake and make from scratch, but are time poor. I keep butter in the freezer and often forget to take it out to come to room temperature before baking. When this happens, I coarsely grate the frozen butter into the mixing bowl and stand the bowl in hot water to barely soften the butter; this works a treat.


Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease deep 20cm round cake pan, line base with baking paper.

Combine butter, extract, sugar, eggs, sifted dry ingredients and milk in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on a low speed until ingredients are combined. Increase speed gradually to medium and beat until mixture is smooth and changed to a paler colour. This should take about 2 minutes, scraping the side of the bowl, during the mixing. The mixture should be quite soft and runny.

Pour the mixture into the pan, spread evenly. Bake cake for about 1¼ hours.

Stand cake in pan 5 minutes, before turning top-side up onto wire rack to cool. Dust with sifted icing sugar.