I made this cake last year as an entry to my college’s baking competition. I actually ended up winning (?!) so I thought I’d share the recipe with everyone because it did look cool in the end and apparently (coming from the judges) it was really tasty too. The flavour combo was something I had never tried before but I’m glad it worked. I’m not sure the deco works that well with the flavours but I wanted to go full out with the icing but also wanted it to taste good. The method for the icing could obvs be used on any cake or not with this recipe.
The cake is a classic butter sponge that everyone loves. The flavours (I hope) complement each other nicely and will be sure to leave you wanting another slice. Let me know what you think!
Ingredients for the cake:
- 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed, plus a lil extra for greasing the tin
- 175g caster sugar (or granulated)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, shelled
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 250g self-raising flour
Ingredients for the lemon simple syrup:
- 120ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 120g caster or granulated sugar
Ingredients for the American Buttercream:
- 1 1/2 tbsp rosewater to flavour (taste, as the flavour intensity
- 100g butter, at room temperature
- 200g icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (or 340 degrees F/Gas mark 3). Grease your tins and line the bases with baking paper.
- Place the butter, sugar and salt in a big bowl and use a handheld electric whisk if you have one to beat on a medium speed until the butter is smooth. Then, increase the speed to high and beat until the butter is fluffy and pale in colour,
- Lightly beat the eggs in another bowl then add to the creamed butter and sugar mix 1 tbsp at a time. Make sure you beat it well after each addition of the egg. Add the lemon zest and vanilla bean paste here and mix to combine everything.
- Sift in half the flour and mix on a low speed to combine. Then sift in the rest of the flour and continue mixing on a low speed but stop when the flour is just mixed in.
- Divide the cake batter into the tins and bake for about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- For the lemon simple syrup, heat all the ingredients together in a pan over a medium heat, stirring every now and then, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer like this for 3 minutes and then take it off the heat.
- Once the cakes are baked, leave them in their tins for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and turn them out onto racks. Peel off the baking paper. Immediately poke holes all over the cakes and use a pastry brush to soak both sides of the sponges with the lemon syrup. Then, leave them to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream by creaming together the butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the rosewater gradually to avoid the buttercream splitting then transfer it to a big piping bag.
- Put the first cake on a serving plate and spread a layer of icing over the top. Place the next cake on top. Cover the outside of the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream using a palette knife and put it in the fridge whilst you make the icing for the decoration.
- Divide the rest of the icing between however many colours you want to use and put in little bowls. Add about 1/2 tsp of gel food colouring to each one.
- To decorate, put each colour of buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle tip and pipe a dot of one colour at the bottom of the cake, Use either a teaspoon or a small palette knife to smear the dot of icing to the right. Repeat the piping process with each colour, moving the dots up one each time so that as you pipe around the cake the colour will graduate in a swirl.