175g (6oz) margarine or softened butter.
175g (6oz) caster sugar.
3 large eggs.
175g (6oz) self-raising flour, sifted.
1tsp baking powder.
1tsp vanilla extract.
pinch of salt.
Heat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Lightly grease an 18cm (7in) round cake tin with a little extra butter or margarine and cut a piece of greaseproof paper or non-stick baking parchment to fit the base of the tin.
Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or a hand-held mixer for 1 minute, or until just combined. It's important not to beat the batter too much - just long enough to make it smooth.
Pour or spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 45-50 minutes. The cake is cooked when it looks well risen and golden; the top should spring back when lightly touched with a fingertip. Another test is to insert a skewer into the centre of the cake - it should come out clean.
Let the cake sit in the tin for 5 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge and turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve dusted with icing sugar.
If the idea of being able to bake sounds tempting but a little scary, this is the perfect cake for you. It's infinitely variable and incredibly easy to make. Simply place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat until combined. You can mix with a wooden spoon, a hand-held electric mixer or by using the pulse action of a food processor.
Using margarine, rather than butter, works really well for this cake and saves you the bother and time of having to soften the butter before you start. Don't be tempted to open the oven before 40 minutes - you'll regret it! Put the cake in an airtight container and it can be stored for up to 2 days.