Flowery birthday cake
This pretty birthday cake is perfect for a birthday party but can also be adapted for other occasions such as Mothers’ Day.
To decorate the cake
- 250g/9oz royal icing
- few drops yellow food colouring
- 2 tbsp sugar syrup
- 150g/5½oz lemon curd
- 250ml/9fl oz double cream, whipped until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed
For the cake
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter
- 250g/9oz caster or brown sugar
- 50ml/2fl oz sunflower oil
- 25g/1oz arrowroot or cornflour
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 medium free-range eggs
- 80ml/2½fl oz milk
- 100ml/3½fl oz double cream
- 300g/10½oz plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
For the buttercream
A few days before make the royal icing daisies. Spoon one quarter of the royal icing into a disposable piping bag and cut off a small hole (alternatively, use a piping bag fitted with a plain 3mm/⅛in nozzle).
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper, stick the paper to the tray with a little royal icing. Pipe daisy shapes onto the paper.
Spoon one quarter of the royal icing into a bowl and stir in the yellow food colouring. Spoon this into a disposable piping bag and cut off a small hole (alternatively, use a piping bag fitted with a plain 3mm/⅛in nozzle). Pipe yellow dots into the middle of each daisy.
Set aside to dry, at room temperature, for 1-2 days.
For the cake, line the base of a deep 20cm/8in cake tin with non-stick paper and preheat the oven to180C/350F/Gas 4.
Melt the butter over a low heat in a small pan, pour it into a bowl with the sugar, oil, cornflour (or arrowroot or cocoa) and vanilla. Beat well until smooth, then whisk in the eggs followed by the milk and cream.
Sift and beat the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture in batches until smooth, then spoon into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes, or until springy to the tough and skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
For the buttercream, mix the icing sugar, glucose, condensed milk, flavouring and butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until smooth and light, then beat in the baking margarine until smooth.
In a jug, stir the icing sugar into the cream until dissolved, then add the yellow food colouring and lemon extract until light and fluffy. (This buttercream keeps very well covered at room temperature for 2-3 days and can be warmed slightly and re-beaten if the texture is too firm.)
To assemble the cake, remove the cake from the tin, trim the top of the cake to make it flat, then cut the cake in half horizontally. Put the bottom half of the cake onto a serving plate and spread with the lemon curd. Spoon dollops of the double cream around the edge of the cake and carefully smooth it into the middle. Drizzle the top half of the cake with the sugar syrup and place it on top of the bottom half. (The sugar syrup will help to keep the cake moist.)
Dollop a large spoonful of the buttercream onto the top of the cake, then smooth it over the top of the cake to create a flat surface. Using a ruler, slowly scrape the surface to make sure it is smooth and flat.
Spread the icing around the sides of the cake and use a cake scraper or palette knife to make sure it is smooth.
Chill in the fridge for two hours, then repeat with another layer of icing. Chill in the fridge for another two hours.
Spoon the remaining royal icing into a disposable piping bag and cut off a small hole (alternatively, use a piping bag fitted with a plain 3mm/⅛in nozzle).
Pipe ‘Happy Birthday’ onto the cake (or a message of your choice) and use the remaining royal icing to stick the piped flowers onto the top and sides of the cake.