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Watercolour vanilla cake with buttercream icing

We are still loving the watercolour baking trend and we’re throwing it back with one of our favourite recipes, this decadent watercolour vanilla cake with buttercream!

MAKES 1 // COOKING TIME 2 hours 30 min

For the vanilla cake
250 g unsalted butter
400 g sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
375 g cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
250 ml milk
For the buttercream icing
1 kg icing sugar
500 g unsalted butter
2 tbsp milk
Food colouring (optional)
Berries, to decorate
Flowers, to decorate
Macaroons, to decorate

For the vanilla cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 20 cm cake tins and line with baking paper.
2. Beat butter until creamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until fully incorporated. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla essence.
3. In another bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until half-mixed. Add milk and beat until just incorporated.
5. Pour the batter into the tins and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
6. Let the cakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a rack to cool completely.
For the buttercream icing
1. Beat together icing sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
2. Add the milk and beat for another 3 minutes, to make the icing a little more spreadable. Add the food colouring, if using.
To assemble
1. Once cakes are completely cooled, cut any uneven bits off the tops to create even layers.
2. Spread some icing on to the first layer and place the second layer on top. Ice the sides and top of the cake. Reserve about ½ cup icing.
3. Add a few drops of colouring to the reserved icing. Use a palette knife to smear it on to the sides of the cake at random. Use a scraper or a butter knife to scrape down the sides so the colour looks like it was painted on to the white.
4. Decorate the cake with berries, flowers and macaroons.

Recipe & styling: Diane Heierli
Photography: Christoph Heierli

This lemon flowerfetti cake is another festive favourite!

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