Celebrate a birthday by baking one of these stunning cakes…
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 25 – 30 mins
Level: More effort
Serves 20 – 25
300g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
450g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp whole milk
200g rainbow sprinkles, plus extra to decorate
For the icing
150g softened butter
450g icing sugar, sifted
180g tub full-fat cream cheese
1 tbsp vanilla paste
1.Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/ gas 4 and grease and line 4 x 20cm cake tins. If you don’t have 4, halve the sponge recipe and bake in 2 batches.
2.Put the sugar, butter and vanilla paste in a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk (or in a table top mixer) until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating between each addition until fully incorporated. Add a tbsp or 2 of flour if the mixture looks like its curdling.
3.Sift in the flour and baking powder with a tsp of salt and fold into the cake batter. Pour in the milk and beat to loosen the mixture. Scatter over the sprinkles and ripple through the cake batter before dividing between each cake tin. Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and the sponge springs back when you press it lightly. Swap the tins around in the oven after 15 mins to ensure they cook evenly. Cool on wire racks completely before icing.
4.Meanwhile, make the icing by beating the butter with half of the icing sugar until combined and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and the rest of the icing sugar, beating again until fully combined. Drizzle over the vanilla paste and beat until incorporated. Put a large round nozzle into a piping bag and spoon in the icing.
5.When the cakes have cooled put a blob of icing onto a cake board and sit 1 of the sponges on top. Pipe blobs of vanilla icing in a circle covering the whole base of the sponge, then top with the next sponge. Repeat with all 3 layers, scattering over some extra sprinkles on the top. Serve in slices.
Banoffee marshmallow cake
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 50 mins
, plus extra for greasing
165g soft light brown or light brown muscovado sugar
325g self-raising flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
4 tbsp milk
2 large ripe bananas
For the filling
300ml pot double cream
50g marshmallow, chopped, plus extra whole ones to decorate
450g jar dulce de leche
1.Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Grease and line the bottom of a round 21cm loose-bottomed cake tin. With a wooden spoon or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and a pale, creamy colour. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. One at a time, beat each egg into the butter mixture along with a tbsp of the dry mixture, then beat in the milk and fold in the rest of the dry ingredients until well combined.
2.In the bowl that contained the flour, mash the bananas until smooth and lump-free – whizz with the electric mixer if needed – then fold into the rest of the mixture until well combined. Spoon into the tin and smooth over the surface. Bake for 45-50 mins, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then remove from tin and continue cooling on a wire rack.
3.Use a serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, then chop the banana into small pieces and fold into the cream, along with the marshmallows. On the first layer, spread a generous covering of the dulche de leche, followed by half of the cream mixture. Sandwich the second layer on top and repeat. Thickly spread dulche de leche over the top of the cake, then arrange extra marshmallows around the edge.
Peanut butter & chocolate cake
Prep: 1 hr, 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Level: A challenge
200g cold unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp cocoa powder
200g dark chocolate (roughly 70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
300g light brown muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
For the peanut butter icing
250g unsalted butter
at room temperature
600g icing sugar
300g smooth peanut butter (I used Skippy – other brands I’ve tried have a tendency to split the icing)
100ml double cream
75g salted pretzels
1.Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and grease 2 x 22cm round cake tins, lining the bases with baking parchment and greasing the parchment too.
2.Put the cocoa in a small bowl with 100ml hot water. Whisk together until smooth, then set aside. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and melt gently together, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
3.In a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together using an electric whisk until thick and pale. With the blades still running, pour in the chocolate mixture, mixing until smooth and fully combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Sieve the dry ingredients over the chocolate mixture and fold together until no lumps remain. Add the cocoa mixture and mix to combine. Divide the batter between your prepared tins and bake for 30-35 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comesout clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peeling off the parchment, to cool completely.
4.For the icing, beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric whisk until light and creamy. Beat in the icing sugar a little at a time, then add the peanut butter, mixing until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and the cream, again mixing until smooth.
5.To assemble the cake, use a large serrated knife to slice each cake in half. Place the first round of cake onto a cake board or serving plate and top with a thin layer of icing. Repeat until all the cake layers have been used. To decorate, use the remaining icing to spread over the top and sides of the cake. Use a spatula or a palette knife to create a swirl pattern around the outside of the cake, and finish by pressing the pretzels onto the top and sides – there is enough to cover about half the sides, leaving the icing partially on display. Best served within 2 days of baking, but the cake will keep for up to 4 days.