Last night I headed to a PepTalk with Josie. The highlight was Lara Nobel’s talk. She’s an architect, carpenter and all round boss lady who, along with her boyfriend and carpentry trainer, designed and built a Tiny House . It was fascinating hearing her explain the design concepts behind the house and how different it is from a caravan! It is so great to see the tiny house idea burgeoning right here in Brisbane. Also, the half-time brownies provided at the event were amazing.
This month’s Cook Better theme is #CBpatisserie! Anything involving pastry, cake, any techniques you’ve been wanting to try but keep putting off. Tag it on Instagram!
Hence, today I bring layer cake.
I made this cake recently because my mum was down for a night, and lately I don’t need much more of an excuse than that to bake a cake. I used a BBC Good Food recipe with some minor adaptations, and I was really happy with how it turned out! It’s three moist layers of mandarin and poppy seed sponge, because I love to use mandarins in baking at this time of year, and a filling/coating of luscious cream cheese frosting. I actually made a mandarin curd to pour over the frosted cake, but decided against it, opting for a simple decoration of a ring of poppy seeds and some fresh mandarin slices. Looking at the final product, there’s really no mystery about what kind of cake it is or what it is going to taste like!
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup / 175g caster sugar
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temp
- 160g pot of natural/Greek yoghurt, at room temp
- 1½ cups / 225g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- zest of two mandarins
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 50g butter, softened
- ¾ cup / 125g icing (confectioner's) sugar
- 1 x packet 250g cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds and 8 fresh mandarin segments
- Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line three 15 cm cake tins.
- Add the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat until creamy and pale, around two minutes.
- Add the eggs and beat to combine.
- Add the yoghurt, and beat to combine.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, mandarin zest and poppy seeds, and then add into the bowl of the stand mixer. Beat until just combined.
- Divide the mixture between the three cake tins (around 275g of batter per tin).
- Place in the oven and bake until golden, risen and springy to touch. Begin testing for doneness at around the 18 minute mark!
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin slightly before turning out to cool on a cooling rack completely.
- Next, make the frosting: add the butter and icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl if using an electic hand beater. Beat until pale and fluffy, around two minutes. Add the cream cheese, and beat until thick and creamy, around one minute. The frosting is now ready to use!
- Once the cakes are completely cool, level them (you can place them in the fridge for a few hours, if you have the time, to make the task easier). Place one layer on a cake stand or serving board, and then spread with a thick layer of frosting using an offset spatula. Place the next layer on top of that, and spread with more frosting. Repeat with the third layer. Next, spread a thin layer of icing all around the outside of the cake and smooth it down as best as possible. This is the crumb coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow it to harden.
- Apply another thin layer of frosting to the outside and top of the cake and smooth it out.
- Sprinkle the additional poppy seeds around the circumference of the cake, and then place the fresh mandarin segments.
- The cake is best served at room temperature, but it can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.