I actually squealed with delight when I sliced into this cake and caught my first glimpse of the vivid rainbow colours inside. Until that moment, I couldn’t quite believe it was going to work. While it’s not technically difficult at all, this cake is not for the faint-hearted – I was so nervous and tense while I was assembling it and waiting for it to set, it was a level of tension I had not experienced since the bunker scene at the end of the first series of Homeland.
This challenge was set by my friend Jen (as these challenges continue it will become clear how many friends I have who share my name, not to mention how fond we all are of baked goods), a woman who knows about good food and has finally landed the dream for all nomadic English teachers: a real oven! Armed with a Nigella book, I’m sure she will be putting me to shame in no time.
Jen and I used to share a flat in Italy – a flat at the top of a hill which seemed to rival Everest as we dragged ourselves home at 9:30pm every night. Monday night would be an ‘early’ 8pm finish, when we’d have a bit more of a spring in our step as we marched home to spend the rest of the evening dissecting the day over our tea and watching episodes of Jersey Shore in open-mouthed horror. This cake could bring cheer to any situation, but I’m sure it would be best served alongside a good gossip with an amazing friend (and optional trashy TV).
2 batches of the Victoria sponge batter
6 different gel food colourings
2.5 batches vanilla buttercream
1. Preheat the oven to 190C, and butter and base line 3 20cm cake tins.
2. Make up one batch of Victoria sponge batter as the recipe states.
3. Divide it between three separate bowls (I weighed mine for accuracy).
4. Use a gel colouring to dye your batter the colours of the rainbow.
5. Pour the batter into the separate cake tins, level the tops as best you can and bake for 15-20 minutes.
6. Cool on wire racks, turn out to cool completely.
7. Whip up another batch, dye it the other three colours and bake as above.
8. When the sponges have cooled, make the vanilla buttercream following the recipe.
9. To assemble the cake, place the purple sponge on a plate or cake board. Spread a thinnish layer of buttercream on top.
10. Fix the blue sponge on top, repeat as above until you’ve placed all the sponges on – mine had a bit of a leaning tower look to it!
11. Slap a thin layer of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake – I’ve seen this referred to on some websites as the “crumb layer” because it gathers up a few rainbow coloured crumbs. Don’t worry about how (un)attractive this looks – it’s just to hold it in place and help the cake set. Stick the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
12. Now use the rest of the buttercream to generously coat the cake. You could add some Smarties or glitter or anything else you fancy to decorate it.