If you’re not in Britain you might not have heard of The Great British Bake Off but it’s an annual competition, now in it’s third year, for passionate home bakers to show off their skills. I love it. It inspires both me and, apparently, my daughter. Teaching my children to cook is something that I adore doing and spending time in the kitchen with them is something that I hope they’ll remember and do with their children when the time comes. So far this year we’ve drooled over tempered chocolate teacakes, gasped with amazement at eight strand plaited loaves, and the layered meringues were just to die for. And one of this years challenges was a cake that, when cut open was to reveal a design. There was no chance we could recreate the winner of that challenge, a ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’ nursery rhyme inspired marvel, but we thought that one, based on the rainbow might be just about within our reach. And ‘thank you’ to Gordon Paterson, my old Physics teacher – remembering that Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain, is indeed very helpful.
We decided that 3 colours would be enough for a first time try and, although we’ll need to add more to the top and bottom layers to make them more vibrant, the red came across brilliantly.
- 230g self-raising flour
- 230g softened margarine
- 230g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 0.2tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp slightly warmed apricot jam
- 1 tsp each red, green and blue food colouring
- 200g cream cheese
- 300g icing sugar
- decorating sprinkles
Pre-heat your oven to 170c/325F/Gas3 and grease and line 2 20cm/8″ sandwich tins.
Place the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat thoroughly until it’s well amalgamated. Weigh the mixture and then split it equally into 3 separate bowls and add the food colouring the each one. Put them into the prepared sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Take from the oven and allow to cool.
Place the first colour (I think that was supposed to be the green one) on a serving plate and spread one of the tablespoons of jam on the top and then place the second one on top and spread with the second tablespoon of jam. Repeat with the third sponge. Mix the cream cheese and the icing sugar together and either pipe or spread it on the top of the layers. Top with the decorative sprinkles.