Make Mother's Day memorable with this showstopping multi-layered, multi-coloured cake. Mum is sure to be impressed with four tiers of light, beautifully coloured sponge, and sweet cream cheese icing. Don't be daunted by the size of this cake, it will keep for three days if covered.
Preheat the oven to gas 4,180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm (8in) Victoria sponge cake tins with nonstick baking paper. You will need to reuse the tins for the final two cake layers.
Cream half the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add in 4 eggs, 200g (7oz) flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla paste and 1 tbsp milk and beat until smooth and well mixed. Mix in 2 tsp of the food colouring and pour half of the mixture into the first cake tin. Add 3 tsp of colouring to the remaining cake mixture and mix well. Pour into the other cake tin and bake both cakes in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely, peeling off the baking paper. Wash the tins, then grease and line again as before.
Repeat with the remaining cake mixture ingredients, adding 1/2 tsp of the remaining food colouring to the cake mixture and mixing well. Pour half of the mixture into one cake tin. Add the remaining food colouring to the remaining mixture and pour into the second tin. Bake both cakes for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely, as before.
While the cakes are cooling completely, prepare the icing. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, then add in the sifted icing sugar, beat well until smooth, then whisk the double cream and vanilla extract. You want a stiff consistency, however don’t over beat the mixture at this stage.
Ice the cakes: put the cake with the deepest colour on a cake board or plate, flattest side down. Secure with a little icing on the base of the cake. Spread with a thin layer of icing and top with the next deepest coloured sponge, flattest side down again. Repeat until you have four layers. Make sure the sides of the cake are lined up and even as that will help when you’re icing.
Using a palette knife, use a small amount of the icing to cover the cake completely. This separate thin layer will help you achieve a smoother end result and stop crumbs in your icing. Leave the cake for 10-15 minutes to allow the icing to harden up a little.
Add the remaining icing to the top of the cake first and smooth over the edges, work the icing down the sides until it is evenly covered. Clean your palette knife and using long, smooth movements with the length of the knife to smooth the icing on the sides, turning the board or plate at the same time. Do the same with the top and continue until you have a smooth, even finish. Top with decorations of your choice – little flags, candles or a pile of berries would all work well.
Tip: To get the cakes in even layers, you may need to trim the tops slightly if they rise unevenly during baking.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or icing if called for. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a moderate oven.
If you wish to add icing or decoration, add them after the baked goods have fully defrosted and are at room temperature.
See more Mother's Day edible gift recipes
As part of a healthy balanced diet, we recommend this recipe for a special occasion or treat.