(Three) Layer Cake

When it came to baking a birthday cake for Emma (our cake baker extraordinaire) I knew I had to try and make it look good as well as taste great! I looked for inspiration on her Pinterest boards and saw she had pinned a few graduating pink layered cakes and also a pink cake with sprinkles on top.

Having just baked a five layer cake for our Olympic Bake Off, I thought I would take it a bit easier with a three layer cake for Emma. I decided on three layers of graduating pink, finished with pink buttercream icing and sprinkles on top.

I used the good old recipe my mum taught me for sponge cakes, which uses half the number of eggs compared to the number of ounces for the rest of the ingredients (which is why this recipe is in ounces rather than grams). So the ingredients list for three sponges is as follows:

– 10oz (285g) butter or margarine, softened at room temperature
– 10oz (285g) caster sugar
– 10oz (285g) self raising flour
– 5 medium eggs
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– A bit of milk, to loosen if needed
– Food colouring (pink, obviously).

And this was how I did it:

– Start by preheating the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
– Grease and line the round cake tins with baking paper. I only have two cake tins so it was a case of quickly washing one tin up to use again for the final layer once the first cake had finished baking!
– Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy
– Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, and stir in the vanilla extract
– Fold in the flour, adding a little extra milk if necessary, to create a batter with a soft dropping consistency
– Divide the cake batter equally between three bowls. Add food colouring to achieve the right colour for each layer. If you are creating graduating layers of the same colour, start with a small amount of colour in the bowl and then add more colour in if needed. Remember, it’s easier to add more in than take the colour back out!
– Bake each cake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
– Remove from the oven and set aside for five minutes, then remove from the tin and peel off the paper. Place onto a wire rack.

Once the cake had cooled I used a bread knife to slice off the top to create a flat surface. This is important, as when you are layering more than two sponges together you need it flat so that the layers create a nice even tower.

While the cake is baking you can make the buttercream icing. I used about 220g of softened butter that I creamed until smooth. I then gradually added around 400g of icing sugar. This was more of trial and error – I won’t lie, it did involve tasting – to make sure it was right. If you want your icing to be white I find adding a bit of milk helps keep the colour brighter. However, if you want a colour, just add the food colouring of your choice until you have your desired shade.

Now the fun begins. Start by placing the first layer on a plate or cake board and adding the icing to the top. Keep repeating this process until you have icing between all of your layers. I am no cake expert and don’t have the best tools so I just used a regular knife to ice my cake with. I then iced all around the side of the layers smoothing it as I went. I finished off by icing the top of the cake making sure the top was smoothly covered to match the sides. I am sure if you have a palette knife it would be easier!

Finally, finish off by adding sprinkles of your choice!

The best bit about this cake is finally slicing into it, seeing the inside result and revealing the full glory of your work.

You can find recipes on the BBC Food pages that I referred to whilst baking with more precise instructions. Just develop them to the number of cakes and layers you want to create.



Image sources:

Ombre wedding cakes via Southbound Bride

Sprinkles cake via Sweetapolita

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