Triple layers of fluffy sponge and a Swiss meringue butter cream filling flavoured with passion fruit and decorated with eggs and Easter bunnies
- Serves: 8
- Cooking Time: 90 mins
- Course: Dessert
- Cuisine: Irish
- 300g self raising flour
- 300g caster sugar
- 250g butter – very soft otherwise it will cause the batter to be lumpy
- 1 small lemon, finely grated rind only
- 4 large free range eggs at room temperature
- 4 tbsp buttermilk
- FOR THE PASSION FRUIT SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM FILLING
- 5 egg whites
- 250g caster sugar
- 375g butter, softened to room temperature
- 5 passion fruit
You will need three 20.5cm/8inch sandwich tins, greased and the bases lined with baking paper.
Preheat an oven to 180 degrees/gas 4. Sieve the flour into the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer. Add the sugar, lemon zest and soft butter in small pieces. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and the buttermilk, then add to the mixing bowl. Beat on a low speed until everything is combined and very smooth.
Divide the mixture evenly between the three tins and smooth with a spatula. Bake for about 25 minutes until springy and coming away from the side of the tin. Run a blade around the inside of the tin to loosen the edges, then turn out onto a wire rack.
For the filling, cut the passion fruit in half and scoop the seeds into a fine sieve placed over a bowl. Use a wooden spoon to push the juice through the sieve, leaving just the seeds behind. This should yield about three tablespoons of juice.
Combine the egg white and sugar in a bowl and place them over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk them together until all the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites start to turn opaque and fluffy, this will take about five minutes. Continue whisking until the egg whites are too hot to touch – about another five minutes or so.
Transfer the egg whites to mixing bowl and beat at a high speed for about five minutes until light and fluffy, or until the bowl is cool to touch.
Start adding softened butter, piece by piece, until all incorporated, and continue whisking till it comes together. Lastly, add the passion fruit and mix well to combine.
To assemble, spread butter cream on the first layer of cake, about 1.5cm thick and smooth with a palette knife, place the second layer on top and spread the same thickness of icing on top, then place the third layer on top. Spread the remainder of the icing generously across the sides and top of the cake as smoothly as possible. I use a palette knife dipped in hot water .
To decorate, I bought a couple of blocks of coloured ready-to-roll icing. I used green fondant icing for the border of the cake, rolled out in icing sugar. You will need a couple of strips about 25inches/64cm long in total. Then, using a sharp knife, trim it to resemble grass. Using a rabbit shaped biscuit cutter (the brand of cutters I use are Kilo) cut out little rabbits and attach white tails made with white fondant icing – a toothpick will fluff them up. Use lightly beaten egg white to attach the grass, rabbits and their tails to the cake.
Photography: Shane O’Neill,
Food styling: Leona Humphreys,