Start by preheating your oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3 and grease and line two 20cm/8” sandwich tins.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together your butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light, fluffy and pale in colour.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
Sieve the flour into the bowl and mix until just combined – be careful not to over-beat the mixture.
Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins and bake in the preheated oven for around 90 minutes until golden brown (and the mixture stops ‘singing’).
Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the buttercream icing, beat your butter in the bowl of your stand mixer, until very smooth and pale in colour. Sift in half of the icing sugar and mix on a low-to-medium speed until fully combined. Sift in the remaining icing sugar, before adding the vanilla extract and mix until completely combined and smooth.
Using a sharp, serrated knife or a cake leveller, trim the tops from your cakes.
Pipe or spread a layer of buttercream over the top of one of the cakes (you may also wish to add some jam, curd or other filling at this stage), before inverting the other cake and placing it on top.
Use a spatula to apply a thin ‘crumbcoat’ of buttercream over the entire cake, scraping off any excess before chilling it briefly in the fridge for around 30 minutes to allow the ‘crumbcoat’ to begin to set.
Spread the remaining buttercream all over the cake in an even coating, before using an icing scraper to smooth to a neat finish. Set aside and allow the buttercream to begin to crust.
When you are ready to cover your cake, use a rolling pin to roll out the ready to roll icing to around 3-5mm thick. You can use a little cornflour or icing sugar to prevent the icing from sticking to the worktop or the rolling pin.
Use the rolling pin to lift the icing over the cake, trying to place it as centrally as possible. Begin by smoothing the icing to the top of the cake to adhere it, before working your way down the sides of the cake, billowing out the icing to avoid folds or tears. Try to work quickly, but don’t rush.
Finally, trim the excess icing from around the base of the cake and set aside until you are ready to decorate.