Mum’s “Isabella’s Rectangle Cake”

Following a request, this is the go-to layer cake recipe mum uses for all our creative birthday cakes, from Rocket Ships to Lego blocks to a Sinking Titanic.

Although originally from an old recipe book (you know the kind mum’s have, where the pages are discoloured, falling apart and covered in the evidence of many happy baking adventures over the years),  in our house it is named for my niece, who Loves this cake, and is always sure to get a few slices when mum makes the cake in its standard form with white butter icing. Also used for Lamington Squares, this layer cake is always light, fluffy and yum.


125g margarine

1 level cup white sugar

2 eggs (we always use jumbo eggs for baking, but extra large should be fine too)

1 ½ cups cake flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) dissolved in ½ cup of milk


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (350F), with the shelf in the middle.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar well.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  4. Add the milk and bicarb mixture and stir in.
  5. Sift in the flour and cream of tartar and fold in to the mixture.
  6. Line a 20cm x 30 cm or 22cm x 33cm (9 x 13 inch) baking tin with baking paper OR spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Test the cake with a tester in the middle to check if done. If the tester does not come out clean, bake for 1 minute more.
  9. Cool completely before cutting (if using for creative cakes) and icing.

Mum’s Butter Icing:

This is how mum makes hers, an alternative if you don’t follow the recipe from Jenny Colgan’s cupcakes.

250g icing sugar (also called powdered sugar, or confectioner’s sugar)

125g margarine

Very little milk – added drop by drop if the icing is too stiff

Note: Remember to reduce the milk added if you add liquid food colouring to the icing for decorating. Even a few drops of added liquid will thin the icing surprisingly quickly.

Beat very well for a smooth result.


2 responses to “Mum’s “Isabella’s Rectangle Cake”

  1. Pingback: How to Make a Sinking Ship Birthday Cake – A Pretty Titanic Task | Sweeti Pi·

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