Makes: 1 18cm cake
175g soft salted butter plus a little more to grease the tin
175g golden caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
2oz ground almonds
2 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
For the almond sponge add ½ tsp almond extract
For the rose sponge add 1 tsp rose water and 3ml pink liquid food colour*
For the lavender sponge add 3ml lilac liquid food colour*
Apricot jam, no bits
1 tsp rose water
Pre-rolled royal icing
Vanilla butter icing
18cm sandwich tin
Plastic template of 10cm x 56cm
3 paper templates of 18cm, 12cm and 6cm circles
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/R4. Grease and line cake tin with baking parchment.
2 To make the almond sponge, place the butter in a bowl and beat until soft. Sift in all the remaining ingredients and add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat until all the ingredients come together. Transfer to prepared baking tin and level. Place in centre of the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until top is golden and firm to the touch – a skewer pushed in the centre should come out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes then remove from the tin, remove the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.
3 While cooling make the rose sponge as above, remembering to clean, grease and line the baking tin. Add the food colouring drop by drop, taking care to mix well into sponge between drops so you can keep an eye on the colour. Baking will fade this slightly so aim for a stronger than desired shade.
4 While this sponge is cooling make the lavender sponge using the same method as for the other two.
5 Once all the sponges are cool, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.
1 Level all three sponges off to a depth of 3cm. Be as accurate as you can if you want perfect looking squares later. Place the 18cm template on each cake and mark the exact centre with a toothpick. Leaving the toothpick in the cake, slide the 18cm template off and replace it with the 12cm template. Using a sharp knife cut a circle out of the sponge and set aside the ring left behind. Take off the 12cm template and replace with the 6cm one and repeat the procedure. Do this for the remaining two sponges.
2 Assemble each layer with alternating colours – base layer: outer ring lilac, middle ring rose, centre ring almond; second layer: outer ring almond, middle ring lilac, centre ring rose; top layer: outer ring rose, middle ring almond, centre ring lilac.
3 Once all three layers are reassembled melt the apricot jam and stir in the rose water. Brush some over the top of the base sponge then place the middle sponge on top. Brush the top of this sponge and add the final layer. Place the cake on a serving plate or cake stand.
4 Brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam. Using the 18cm template cut a circle of the pre-rolled royal icing and carefully place on the top of the cake.
5 To make the basket collar for the cake cut 2cm deep strips of royal icing that are 56cm long (you can piece sections together) and 7 thin strips that will be used to create posts for the basket. Lay the 10cm x 56cm template on a smooth work surface and place the 5 strips of 2cm icing on top. Weave the posts under and over the 2cm strips. Repeat along the length of the collar, alternating the strips and placing the posts at equal intervals.
6 Once complete, brush the sides of the cake with the remaining apricot jam. Carefully lift the completed collar on the plastic template – you may need a helping hand – and press the basket weave icing around the cake. Trim off any excess at the join and at the top of the cake.
7 Using a small flower nozzle pipe buttercream flowers around the top of the cake, hiding the join of the basket weave and top of the cake. Use a larger nozzle to pipe flowers around the base of the cake and decorate with mini Easter eggs.
*Liquid food colour available from squires-shop.com