that's life (Australia)



SERVES 10 12



250g butter, softened

1½ cups caster sugar

2 tsps vanilla bean paste 4 eggs, at room temperatur­e 3 cups self-raising flour 1½ cups buttermilk

Fresh blueberrie­s, raspberrie­s

and blackberri­es, to decorate BERRY SAUCE

¼ cup caster sugar

400g frozen mixed berries

(3½ cups)

1 tblsp sweet sherry FROSTING

500g cream cheese, chopped,

at room temperatur­e

1½ cups icing sugar mixture ½ cup thickened cream,

whipped 1 cup French vanilla double

thick custard

1 Grease two x 20cm round cake pans. Line bases and sides with baking paper, extending paper 2cm above pan edges.

2 Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in sifted flour with buttermilk, in two batches, until combined. Divide between prepared pans. Smooth over. 3 Cook in a moderately slow oven (160°C) for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove. Stand in pans for 15 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool.

4 To make berry sauce, place sugar with 2 tblsps water in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add berries. Bring to a boil. Gently boil for about 7 to 8 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced to 1⅓ cups. Transfer to a heatproof jug and stir in sherry. Refrigerat­e, covered, until cold.

5 To make frosting, beat cream cheese in same clean bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, ½ cup at a time, until combined. Fold in whipped cream and custard. 6 Set aside ½ cup of the berry sauce to serve.

7 To assemble, trim tops of cakes to sit flat. Cut each cake in half horizontal­ly. Place one layer on a serving plate. Spread over ⅓ cup berry sauce, then ¾ cup frosting. Repeat layering with remaining cakes, sauce and frosting, finish with a cake layer.

8 Spread remaining frosting over top and around side. Refrigerat­e for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours, before serving.

9 When ready to serve, spoon over the ½ cup berry sauce and decorate with fresh berries.

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