spiced honey buttermilk layer cake
¾ cup (180ml) water 125g unsalted butter, chopped ¼ cup (90g) honey 2 cups (300g) plain (all-purpose) flour 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda 1½ cups (330g) caster (superfine) sugar 2 eggs ½ cup (125ml) buttermilk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon finely grated blood orange rind candied blood orange peel ( see recipe, left), to serve vanilla buttercream 375g unsalted butter, chopped and softened 2¼ cups (360g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the water, butter and honey in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange rind, and whisk until smooth. Divide the mixture between 2 x 18cm lightly greased cake tins lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook for 50–55 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool slightly in the tins, before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, make the vanilla buttercream. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6–8 minutes or until pale and fluffy.
Trim the tops of the cakes and, using a large serrated knife, halve horizontally to create 4 even layers. Place one cake layer on a cake stand. Top with ½ cup of the buttercream and use a palette knife to spread into an even layer. Repeat with the cake layers and buttercream, finishing with a cake layer. Using the palette knife, spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Top with candied blood orange peel to serve. SERVES 8–10.