Vanilla olive oil cake
Serves 4-6 Preparation 20 minutes, plus frosting and decorating for the semi-naked cakes Cooking 30 to 40 minutes
• 250g plain flour • 2 tsp baking powder • ½ tsp salt • 280g caster sugar • 120ml olive oil • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 160ml whole milk • 3 large eggs • Zest of 1 lemon For the vanilla butter cream • 140g butter, unsoftened • 280g icing sugar • 1-2 tbsp milk
• Preheat oven to 180°C. • Grease and line 3 – 15cm baking tins. • In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. • In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar, olive oil, and eggs until you have a light, fluffy cream, about 3 to 5 minutes. • Pour in the milk and the eggs, stopping the mixer and scraping down the bowl as necessary. • Turn down the speed on the mixer and slowly add the flour mixture. Slowly add the flour mixture until it is evenly incorporated, stopping the mixer and scraping down the bowl as necessary. Fold in the lemon zest.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sides are set and the top of the cake still looks slightly moist. A skewer inserted into the center should come out clean or with just a few crumbs on it. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the cake pans and cool completely at room temperature. For the vanilla butter cream, in a bowl with a paddle attachment beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in the milk, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.
Cake Assembly Place a cake on a turntable or chopping board. If the top of your cake is not flat, use a serrated knife to level it so each layer will sit flush with the next. With one hand firmly on top of the cake, run a serrated knife around the centre, marking it where you intend to cut. To slice evenly, continue to hold your knife level and gently saw into the mark you have made while turning the cake in front of you, gradually cutting deeper until you reach the end of the cake. Repeat with remaining cakes to make sure they are all even.
Turn it baked side up and set it aside. Prepare the remaining layers individually before stacking to avoid the filling squeezing out at the sides as you assemble them. Spread a little butter cream on a cake board the same size as your tier and stick the bottom cake layer on top of it. Spread the top of each of two cut cake layers generously with butter cream, right to the edge. Finish with the evenly-baked base for the top tier. Add a generous amount of butter cream on top layer and all around the edges. Using a scraper, go around the cake removing the excess butter cream.
For the marble effect, use both the vanilla and chocolate butter cream around all the edges and top of the cake and scrape all around the cake to remove any excess butter cream. Top the cakes with your choice of fresh flowers or berries.