Ingredients:

For the chiffon sponge

  • 80g egg yolks
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 165g egg whites
  • ”¨a pinch of cream of tartar
  • a pinch of salt
  • ”¨2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 225g plain flour
  • 15g baking powder
  • 120g milk

For the vanilla syrup

  • 150ml water
  • 150ml caster sugar
  • ”¨1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ingredients

For the violet meringue buttercream

  • 270g caster sugar
  • 67ml water
  • ”¨135g egg whites
  • 330g butter
  • 1 handful of violet petal fragments
  • ”¨a few drops of violet extract (to taste)
  • a little violet food paste colour

For the decoration

  • icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crystallised whole violets
  • equipment
  • baking tool kit (see page 8)
  • ”¨layering tool kit (see page 8)
  • ”¨three 15cm round sandwich tins
  • Peggy’s cake stencil (included with this book)
  • piping bag
  • medium star piping nozzle
  • Makes one 15cm cake, serving 8 generous slices.

Method:

Make the sponge one day ahead.

To make the chiffon sponge

Preheat the oven to 175°C/gas mark 4.

Line three 15cm sandwich tins with oil spray and greaseproof paper.

Place the egg yolks in an electric mixer with a little of the sugar and, using the whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the oil slowly and beat until thick and pale.

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the electric mixer and, again using the whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed until the mixture forms soft peaks.

With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl and gradually add to the egg-yolk mixture, gently folding after each addition to incorporate. Add the milk and fold in the stiff egg whites.

Transfer the batter to the lined tins and gently spread it towards the edges with a step palette knife.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. The sponge is cooked when it springs back to the touch and the sides are coming away from the edges of the tin. To double-check, you could insert a clean knife into the middle of the sponge; if it is cooked, the knife will come out clean.

While the sponges are in the oven, make the sugar syrup following the instructions on page 13, then add the vanilla extract and mix well.

Once the sponges are baked, remove from the oven and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes. Brush the tops of the sponges with vanilla syrup (reserving some for the assembling stage and storing it in the fridge overnight).

Run a knife all the way round the sides of the tins and transfer the sponges to a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

Once cool, wrap the sponges in cling film and leave to rest overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that all the moisture is sealed and the sponges are a nice firm texture, ready for trimming and layering.

To make the violet meringue buttercreamӬ

Make some meringue buttercream following the instructions on page 10.

Take 200g of the meringue buttercream and fold through the violet petal fragments and violet extract (add to taste). This will be used for the filling.

To the remaining buttercream add a little violet food paste colour and violet extract (add to taste). This will be used for masking.

To assemble the cake

Trim the three sponge layers, soak the tops with vanilla syrup and sandwich together using the violet meringue buttercream with the petal fragments added. Turn to pages 150-51 for instructions on how to trim and layer your cake.

Place the cake on a turntable and mask with the violet-coloured meringue buttercream. See pages 152-53 for advice on how to mask the cake.

Chill the cake for at least 1 hour, or until the buttercream is set, before applying the final coat.

To decorate the cake

Centre the stencil on top of the chilled cake (see step 1, overleaf) and dust liberally with icing sugar, ensuring that all the cut-outs are well coated (see step 2). Carefully lift the stencil off the cake.

Attach the star nozzle to the piping bag and fill with the remaining violet-coloured meringue buttercream. Pipe rosettes around the edge of the cake, spacing them evenly over the pattern (see steps 3-4).

Top each rosette with a crystallised violet.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately, and serve at room temperature. Keep away from heat and direct sunlight. This cake is best eaten within 3 days, but will last for up to 1 week if stored in the fridge.

By Peggy Porschen