For the cake:
550g plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
600g caster sugar
350g butter, at room temperature
6 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream:
7 large egg whites
400g caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla extract
900g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
Gold gauze ribbon
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas mark 4. Lightly spray two 20cm and two 15cm round cake tins with cooking spray, line with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Beat the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
- Beat in the vanilla, then alternate beating in the flour mixture and the milk until incorporated.
- Scoop about 850ml of batter into each 20cm tin, then divide the remaining batter between the 15cm tins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Use a serrated knife to carefully trim off any domes from the tops of the cakes to make them flat.
- For the buttercream, whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt in heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook, whisking frequently, for 5-7 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and beat the mixture for about five minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Whisk in the vanilla.
- Gradually beat in the butter a little at a time for about five minutes or until the icing looks satiny and has cooled to room temperature. It may seem runny, but will thicken as you continue to whisk.
- Place a 20cm cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread a layer of the icing on the top of the cake, then top with the other 20cm cake. Spread a layer of icing on the top and sides of the cake, smoothing as you go.
- Place a 15cm cake layer on top and spread over some of the icing. Top with the second 15cm cake and spread the remaining icing over the tops and sides of cake. To smooth the icing, dip a palette knife or spatula in warm water, then run it along the sides and top of the cake.
- Tie golden gauze ribbon around the bottom of the cakes, then decorate the layers with pine sprigs, holly berries, pine cones and baubles.
Per Serving 716kcals, 48.3g fat (30g saturated), 67.1g carbs, 47.3g sugars, 6.9g protein, 0.7g fibre, 0.45g sodium