A showstopping dessert that would make a fabulous birthday cake or dinner party dessert – give this macaroon tier cake a try and you’ll get so many compliment.
- 36 macaroons (we used Marks & Spencer Mini Vanilla, Raspberry and Chocolate Macaroons, available online from Food To Order, or in store)
- for the sponges
- 400g (14oz) butter, at room temperature
- 550g (1lb 4oz) caster sugar
- 1tbsp vanilla essence
- 8 medium eggs, at room temperature
- 625g (1lb 6oz) self-raising flour, sifted
- for the syrup
- 200ml (7fl oz) lemon juice
- 125g (4½oz) caster sugar
- 2tbsp orange or lemon liqueur
- for the icing
- 600g (1lb 5oz) cream cheese
- 900g (2lb) icing sugar
- 1tbsp vanilla extract
- few drops of pink food colouring
- you will need
- 3 round, deep cake tins: 25.5cm (10in), 20cm (8in) and 15cm (6in), greased and lined with baking parchment
- 4 pieces plastic dowelling
- 30.5cm (12in) round, thick cake board or plate
- 20cm (8in) and 15cm (6in) round, thin cake boards
- (you can find cake decorating equipment at squires-shop.com and wilton.com)
With the large tin, you may want to wrap a double layer of newspaper or brown paper around the outside of it, to avoid the outside cooking before the inside is properly baked. Fold the paper to fit the sides of the tin and tie with string.
Heat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, 350F, gas 4.
To make the sponges, place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl, and beat until really light and fluffy – this is easiest using an electric mixer.
Whisk the eggs with a fork; gradually beat a little at a time into the butter mix, until smooth and light. Stir half the flour into the mix, then fold in the remaining flour with 8tbsp hot water until well mixed and light. Divide the mix between the tins, making sure they’re all of even depth.
Bake the smallest cake for around 20 to 25 minutes, the medium cake for 30 to 35 minutes and the large cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until each cake feels firm in the centre and a skewer comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 15 minutes.
To make the syrup, place the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 5 minutes until you have a syrupy mixture. Stir in the liqueur. Spike the cooled cakes with a skewer and drizzle with the hot syrup. Leave to cool completely.
To make the icing, place the cream cheese in a large bowl and gradually beat in the icing sugar and vanilla extract to give a smooth icing. Beat in the food colouring to get the colour you want.
To ice the cakes, place the large cake on the thick cake board or plate. Cover it completely with a very thin layer of icing (this helps seal the crumbs). Chill for 30 minutes, then give it a second thicker coat. Place the smaller cakes on the thin boards and cover with icing in the same way. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.
How to assemble You can just place the cakes one on top of the other, but if the cake is going to be standing for more than an hour or two, it’s best to support with dowelling. Place 4 pieces of dowelling into the large cake, evenly spaced, so that they’ll fit underneath the middle cake. Mark the dowel at the height of the cake, remove and trim then reinsert. Do the same with the middle cake. Stack the cakes on top of each other and, if necessary, cover the joins with a little icing. Split the macaroons in half and arrange around each tier.
Special occasion cakes like this can cost at least £50 - ours comes in at £29 or around 76p a slice!