How to make a Negroni stripe cake

This showstopping Negroni cake is inspired by the royal wedding and is perfect for a celebration. The flavours of Meghan Markle’s favourite cocktail, the Negroni, fill this cake with gin, juniper and Campari. The colourful vertical layers are simpler than they first seem and give seriously impressive results. Don't forget to screenshot the ingredients list at the bottom before you go shopping.

  1. Make the candied oranges

    For the candied oranges and Campari syrup, heat 2cm water in a pan wide enough to fit 1 thinly sliced orange in a single layer. Bring to the boil and add the orange slices; the water should cover them completely. Cook for 5 mins over a medium heat, then drain and transfer to a plate. Return the pan to the heat, add 200g caster sugar with 200ml water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Return the orange slices to the pan and cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 1 hr or until very tender. Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack. Stir 2 tsp lemon juice and 3 tbsp Campari through the remaining syrup in the pan and set aside to cool. The Campari syrup will be used to decorate the cake once iced.

  2. Make the white sponge

    Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Put 1 tbsp finely ground juniper berries and 50ml water in a small saucepan over a low heat until just boiling. Simmer for 1 min, then remove from the heat, strain through a fine sieve, then stir through 50ml gin and leave to cool. Grease and line a 23 x 33cm Swiss roll tin or a shallow baking tray with nonstick baking paper.

    Beat 4 eggs and 85g sugar in a clean bowl with an electric whisk on a high speed for 5 mins or until pale, thick and doubled in volume. Sift in 130g flour and ¾ tsp baking powder, then pour 35g melted butter down the side of the bowl. Use a large metal spoon to fold gently until just combined, being careful not to knock the air out. Pour into the lined tin, then gently tilt to fill the corners. Bake for 10-12 mins or until springy.

  3. Turn out the cake

    Place a sheet of nonstick baking paper on a clean surface and sprinkle with 1 tbsp caster sugar. Carefully turn out the hot sponge onto the paper, then peel away the lining paper.

  4. Brush with gin and roll

    Brush over the gin and juniper mixture, then immediately roll up the sponge from a short side with the sugared paper inside. Transfer the rolled sponge to a wire rack to cool completely.

  5. Make the orange sponge and buttercream

    Repeat steps 3 and 4 to make a second sponge, adding 3 tsp orange food colour and the zest of 1 orange when beating the eggs. Once baked and turned out, brush with 50ml Campari then roll as above.

    While the second sponge cools, make the buttercream. Add 300g softened unsalted butter, 600g icing sugar and the zest of 1 orange to a large bowl. Add the juice of ½ the orange then beat for 5 mins or until light and fluffy.

    Carefully unroll the sponges and cut each in half lengthways. Spread each half with a thin layer of buttercream.

  6. Form the cake centre

    Roll up the end of a white sponge to make a cylinder about 8cm wide, with the buttercream on the inside – this will be the central column of the cake. Cut the unrolled sponge away and reserve.

  7. Wrap the first layer

    Wrap an orange sponge around the white sponge column, again with the buttercream on the inside, starting from where the first sponge ended.

  8. Trim excess sponge

    Trim away any excess orange sponge so it doesn’t overlap, and reserve.

  9. Continue wrapping the cake

    Continue tightly wrapping with alternate colours of sponge, trimming so each layer doesn’t overlap itself. Use any reserved trimmings that are long enough to wrap around.

  10. Ice the cake

    Once finished, place upright on a serving plate and, using a palette knife, spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides. 

  11. Decorate the finished cake

    Arrange the candied oranges on top of the cake and scatter with fresh thyme sprigs. Drizzle over the Campari syrup and let it drip down the sides. Store in a cool, dry place and eat within 2 days.

    RFO 636x418 Negroni cake

    Calories 543 (27%), fat 23g (32%), saturates 13g (63%), sugars 67g (74%), salt 0.3g (5%) based on 16 servings.

  12. Get ahead

    You can make the candied oranges and Campari syrup up to 8 weeks in advance. Store the oranges, separated with sheets of baking paper, in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Store the syrup in a sealed sterilised jar in the fridge. If it crystalises or sets hard, reheat gently in the microwave to loosen.

    To sterilise glass jars, wash in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Dry in the oven for 15-20 mins at gas 1, 140°C, fan 120°C, until hot and completely dry. Boil metal lids and rubber seals for 10 mins, then leave to dry. 

  13. Ingredients

    We've made a shopping list so you can get everything you need to make this showstopping cake for your own royal celebration.

    1 tbsp juniper berries, finely ground
    50ml gin
    70g salted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
    8 eggs
    170g caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
    260g plain flour
    1½ tsp baking powder
    3 tsp orange food colour
    1 orange, zested
    50ml Campari

    For the candied oranges and Campari syrup
    1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
    200g caster sugar
    2 tsp lemon juice
    3 tbsp Campari
    thyme sprigs, to decorate

    For the orange buttercream
    300g unsalted butter, softened
    600g icing sugar
    1 orange, zested, ½ juiced