Autumn Leaves Cake

A wonderful autumn centrepiece that's decorative on the outside also inside with its marbled effect sponge featuring vanilla, orange and chocolate flavours.

A wonderful autumn centrepiece that's decorative on the outside but also eye-catching inside with its marbled effect sponge featuring vanilla, orange and chocolate flavours.   Preparation time: 3 hours Baking time: 25-30 mins Ingredients | Serves 12-14 For the cake:
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 280g butter, softened
  • 280g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp milk
  • Zest 1/2 an orange
  • Orange food colouring
For the buttercream:
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For decoration:
  • 750g ivory sugarpaste
  • 50g dark green sugarpaste
  • 25g each of brown, yellow, purple, red and orange sugarpastes
  • Edible glue
  • 3.8cm long rose petal cutter
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/ gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of two 20cm cake tins.
  2. For the cake, place the sugar, butter, flour, baking powder and eggs in a large bowl and beat together with an electric whisk until smooth and fully combined. Divide the mixture into three equal portions in three separate bowls. Add the cocoa powder and milk to one portion and stir to combine. Add the orange zest and a few drops of orange food colouring to another portion and mix until the colour is evenly distributed. Leave the third portion plain.
  3. Use a dessert spoon to place alternate colours of mixture in the prepared tins to form a random pattern then use a teaspoon to gently swirl the mixture in a spiral motion. Lightly level the top of each cake and bake for 25 mins or until the sponge is a pale golden colour and springy to the touch. Allow to cool in the tins for approx 5 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the buttercream by beating the butter until very soft and creamy. Add the vanilla extract then gradually add the icing sugar a little at a time, beating with each addition until smooth and soft. If the mixture is too stiff add a few teaspoons of milk and beat well.
  5. Place one of the layers of sponge cake on a serving dish with the top face up. Spread a layer of buttercream on top of the cake then add the other layer of sponge, top face down, on top of the buttercream.
  6. Use a palette knife to cover the sides of the cake with buttercream pushing the cream against the side of the cake so that any gaps between the two sponges are filled. Smooth around the outside then spread a layer of buttercream on top of the cake spreading it level and even. Place in the fridge to chill for 10 mins.
  7. While the cake is chilling prepare the decoration by kneading the ivory sugarpaste on a work surface dusted with icing sugar. Shape into a large ball then roll out into a circle measuring approx 40cm in diameter.
  8. Remove the cake from the fridge and carefully lift the sugarpaste circle onto the cake, smooth the top with your hands then work your way down the sides smoothing as you go. Trim away any excess sugarpaste at the base of the cake with a sharp knife.
  9. Roll 25g of dark green sugarpaste into a very thin sausage shape approx 65cm in length so it is long enough to wrap around the cake. Fix around the middle of the cake securing in place with edible glue and pressing gently to lightly flatten and to help adhere to the cake. Alternatively if you find this tricky to handle, make three smaller sausages that together are big enough to wrap around the cake but attach in three separate sections.
  10. Roll out each of the six remaining coloured sugarpastes to 1mm in thickness. Use a 3.8cm long rose petal cutter to cut several leaves from each of the sugarpastes to create a total of 36 leaves. Brush the leaves with a small amount of edible glue and arrange them evenly spaced in pairs above and below the dark green line of sugarpaste pressing gently to secure in place.
TIP: * If you haven’t got any edible glue then you can use a stiff paste made of icing sugar and water instead. * You can use a thin piece of green ribbon around the centre of the cake instead of sugarpaste. * To make all the sugarpaste colours a similar hue, blend some of the brown sugarpaste into each of the more vibrant colours, the softer browns are made by blending the ivory paste into the brown. Autumn Leaves Slice    

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