There’s something incredibly sexy about tall cakes. Phallic references aside, I think tall cakes are all about being bold and making a statement. Think multi-tiered wedding cakes and the like. And if the sides are not iced, I think they can look extremely modern and stylish.
So here’s my attempt at a towering cake. While the cakes are small (5-inches), the final iced cake manages to reach an impressive 7-inch height.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags
- 120g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 180g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and line two 5-inch round cake tins.
Step 2: Pour the milk in a mug and microwave until hot. Steep the tea bags in the hot milk for at least 15 minutes.
Step 3: Cream the butter, sugar and salt together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs one at a time, then add in the lemon zest. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Add in the lemon juice, and 6 tablespoons of the Earl Grey milk. Mix everything together until smooth.
Step 4: If you only have two tins like me, pour a quarter of the batter into each tin (use your weighing scale to help you). Bake the first two layers for 25 minutes, then allow them to cool in their tins for 5 minutes before tipping out onto a rack to cool further. If the tins are still warm, remove the baking paper (to be reused!) and rinse the tins under cool water. Re-grease the tins and replace the baking paper. Then divide the remaining batter equally between the tins and bake again for 25 minutes.
A far more time-saving method would be to bake all of the batter in the two tins at one go, but I find that much batter is a lot harder to bake evenly. So instead of flat layers, you get domed cakes which you will have to torte and slice into layers, which isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. If you do choose to go down this route, here’s some advice on how to slice your cake into even layers.
To ice the cake, I just whipped up a bog-standard vanilla buttercream icing and divided it into four equal quantities. I then dyed each one a progressively richer shade of purple. If you don’t have purple food colouring like me, just use 2 drops of red food colouring gel and 1 drop blue. That gives you the lightest shade on top, so for subsequent layers, just add more food colouring in the same ratio.
I also add halved raspberries in the icing to help keep the layers separate. This is pretty important because the darkest purple icing is inevitably the softest icing because of all that additional dye, and it needs help to support the additional layers of cake and icing above it.