Fiona Cairns' Gala Cake
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Fiona Cairns' Gala Cake

Cook Stewarding is a key specialisation in the Sea Cadets. Cadets train to acquire a range of cooking and stewarding skills. Thanks to Fiona Cairns we can practice on our own Birthday Cake!

Bake and Decorate

For the sponge
350g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
350g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
6 eggs, lightly beaten
350g golden caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream
300g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sifted
80g raspberries
80g blueberries
4 tablespoons lemon curd
Zest 1 lime, finely grated and juice of ½ lime
Green food colouring

Tube of glue
Scraps of contrasting ribbon and paper
8 cocktail sticks
180cm 5mm-wide ribbon (or enough to wrap twice round your cake stand)
2 paper windmills
1 roll double-sided sticky tape

Cake FlagsCake BuntingCake Icing

For the flags

Glue the scraps of ribbon and paper on to the cocktail sticks. To make the bunting, cut out paper triangles and glue them on to the ribbon.

To make the Victoria Sponge

Preheat the oven to 180c/ fan 170 / 350/ gas mark 4 Take 2 x 20 cm sandwich tins. Butter the tins, and then line the bases with baking parchment. Line the sides with a 7cm high collar of baking parchment as well, to allow for the rise. For this batter, I use an electric mixer and beater attachment, but use a food processor, or a bowl and an electric whisk, if you want.

Sift the flour and the baking powder into the bowl, then add the butter (in knobs), the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat together until thoroughly blended, taking care not to over-mix, so you will have a light sponge. Scrape the batter into the tins and level the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake springs back to the touch or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave for a couple of minutes, then run a knife around the rim to loosen the cake from the tin and turn out on to a wire rack. Peel off the paper and leave until completely cold.

To make the coloured buttercreams

To make the coloured buttercreams. In an electric mixer, beat the butter until really pale and fluffy, then add the icing sugar and beat for at least 5 minutes, until light and creamy.

Divide the buttercream equally between 4 bowls. Make the raspberry puree by gently warming the fruits in a small saucepan, crushing with a fork, then sieving to remove the pips. Allow to cool. Make the blueberry puree in the same way, adding 1 tbsp water to the pan. Add the raspberry puree to 1 bowl of buttercream, the blueberry puree to another and the lemon curd to the third. Finally add the lime zest and juice and a little green food colour to the last.

Take your Victoria sponges and split them horizontally. Spread a different buttercream between each of the 4layers, topping with the blueberry.

Place the cake on its stand. Arrange the flags and windmills over the top and attach the bunting to the stand with the sticky tape.


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