- 125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1 tbsp milk
- 125g self-raising flour
- 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste
- 2 tbsp milk
- 225g self-raising flour
White Chocolate Spears
- 200g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
- Freeze-Dried Strawberry Pieces
- 2 egg whites
- 125g caster sugar
- Few drops Natural Strawberry Flavour
- 175g icing sugar
- 125g ground almonds
- 3 egg whites
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 tsp Wilton® Colour Right Pink Colouring
- 10 drops Natural Strawberry Flavour
- 100g Vanilla Flavour Frosting
- 140g strawberry jam or conserve
- 5 x 350g tubs Vanilla Flavour Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Lightly grease two 15cm sandwich tins and two 20cm sandwich tins with butter.
- To make the 15cm sponges, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until the mixture is pale and light. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Add the vanilla bean paste and milk, and mix again.
- Sift the flour into the bowl and fold in until the mixture is smooth. Divide the cake mix between the 15cm sandwich tins and level with a palette knife.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes, until golden and well risen. Leave to cool in the tins for 2 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the 20cm sponges, follow steps 2 and 3 above. Divide the mixture between the 20cm sandwich tins, bake on the middle shelf for about 20-25 minutes, then cool as above.
- To make the white chocolate spears, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment. Pour on the melted chocolate and spread it around to make a rectangle approx. 28 x 20cm. Sprinkle with freeze-dried strawberries pieces and chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
- When set, take a large straight-edged knife and cut three larger shards for the top cake, and three smaller shards for the base cake. Set aside. Any left-over chocolate can be broken into pieces and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
- To make the meringue kisses, first preheat the oven to 120°C/Gas 1. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks using an electric hand or stand mixer. Gradually add the sugar, whisking all the time, until thick and glossy. Mix in the strawberry flavour.
- Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Spoon the meringue mix into a piping bag fitted with a flower nozzle. Pipe 12 rosettes of meringue – some 3cm and some 4cm – onto the baking sheets and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
- For the macarons, first preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas 3. Place two Silicone Macaron Moulds onto baking sheets. Whizz the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor until very fine, then sift into a bowl.
- Whisk the egg whites in a very clean bowl until they form soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar until thick and glossy. Gently stir in the pink colouring and strawberry flavour.
- Using a spatula, gently fold half the almond and icing sugar mixture into the egg whites. Mix well, add the remaining half and fold into the mixture until shiny and thick. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.
- Pipe small rounds of macaron mixture into the moulds. Gently tap the baking trays on the work surface a few times to help the mixture settle. Leave to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to form a skin, then bake for 16 minutes, or until the macarons feel firm and are slightly raised. Leave to cool completely before removing from the moulds, or they will break.
- Add the 100g vanilla frosting to a piping bag fitted with a flower nozzle. Pipe a swirl of frosting onto half the macaroons, then top with the rest of the macarons and give a gentle twist to bond them.
- To assemble the 20cm cake, first cut both sponges in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Fill a disposable piping bag with 700g (2 tubs) of the vanilla frosting and snip a 1cm hole from the end. Pipe a layer over one of the 20cm sponges and smooth the surface with a palette knife. Dot the frosting with 1 tbsp jam, keeping the jam 2cm away from the edges of the cake.
- Position the next sponge on top, and repeat twice more with buttercream and jam.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the layered cake with a palette knife, keeping some of the sponge visible around the sides. Chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to allow the frosting to set.
- Repeat steps 16 and 17 with the 15cm sponges. Using the remaining frosting, spread a thin layer over the top and sides of the layered cake, again leaving some of the sponge showing on the sides. Chill for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, assemble the cake frame. Connect the 3 medium rods and 1 short rod together, fix in to the centre hole of the base and blank off the other holes. Lower the 20cm cake down over the rod until it sits on the base plate.
- Add one of the white collars to the top of the rod, attach the 2 remaining short rods above it and then lower the medium platform down to rest on the collar and blank off the other holes. Lower the 15cm cake down over the rods so it sits on the medium platform.
- Using a cocktail stick, add a few dots of the pink colouring to the Renshaw fondant icing and mix well to incorporate the colour. Heat the fondant according to the instructions. Using a teaspoon, drizzle the pink fondant down the sides of both tiers of the cake, then pour a thin layer in the centre of both tiers and smooth almost to the edges.
- Decorate each tier with macaroons, chocolate shards, meringue kisses and a pink rose. Crumble a meringue and sprinkle it between the decorations with a few pieces of freeze-dried strawberry.