1. The original recipe calls for 2 cups cake flour. I use a combination of plain flour and cornflour which is a substitute for cake flour because this recipe is my basic vanilla sponge cake recipe and I want to make it using pantry staples. Cake flour is not a staple in my pantry. Cake flour or cornflour + plain flour makes the crumb of cakes more tender and almost "velvety" than just using plain flour.
2. CAKE PAN SIZE: The original Cook's Illustrated recipe says to make this in 3 x 20cm/8" pans or 2 x 23cm/9" pans. If you level off the cake surface, as I do in the video, so each layer is neat and flat, then I think 2 x 20cm/8" pans is better, otherwise the layers get too thin. However, if you do not plan to cut the top of the cake to make the surface flat, then you can use 3 x 20cm/8" pans or 2 x 23cm/9" pans.
3. Recipe SOURCE: This is adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe. The original recipe is made with just cake flour (see note 1). The butter is chopped into 16 pieces and added in 1 piece at a time. I find it easier to do it in 3 batches and didn't notice a difference in outcome. Also see Note 2 regarding cake pan size.
4. Cream: I know it sounds like alot, but if you want to have cream in the middle, top and sides as well as some to pipe for decoration, you really need this much! If you don't do the piped decorations on top, you can reduce the cream by 1/2 cup / 125ml.
5. STANDMIXER: Even on the lowest speed, there will be some "flour dust" so you will either need to use a guard to stop the flour flying up everywhere or do as per the original recipe and chop the butter into 16 small pieces and add them one at a time, beating for around 1 minute on low speed, increasing to high until it looks like what you see in the video.
6. Different COUNTRIES: Measuring cups and spoons varies slightly between America and most of the rest of the world (e.g. Aus/ NZ/Europe). For most recipes, the difference is not enough to affect the recipe, but for baking recipes, it can be the difference between success and fail. This recipe has been tested using both US and "rest of world" measures so just follow the ingredient weights. Only exception is Japan - please use weights, not cups.
7. STORING: This cake keeps well in an airtight container for 3 days without the sponge going dry. If decorated with cream, store in the fridge if the temperature is > 20C / 70F. bring to room temperature before serving.
8. Nutrition is for the cake only, excluding cream for 12 servings. Including the cream, it is 403 calories per serving with 33g fat.