Makes 1 large, 1 medium and 1 small cake A LITTLE EFFORT 2 hours 30 minutes

Recipe orginally created for Food & Home Entertaining Magazine



12 large eggs

10 egg yolks

1 tbsp vanilla extract

600g white sugar

600g ground almonds

165g white bread flour

18g ground cinnamon

10 egg whites

165g salted butter, melted



150g egg whites

225g castor sugar

500g unsalted butter, cut into blocks, softened

75ml rum

2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg


500g white chocolate, melted, for dripping

3 x white birthday candles, wax trimmed off to reveal the wick, to decorate



1 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line 4 x 15-cm cake tins, 1 x 900g tin can (10cm wide) and 1 x 450g tin can (7cm wide). See TIP.

2 Place the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and half the sugar in a glass or metal bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water.  Do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water. Stir constantly until the mixture reaches 48 degrees Celsius. Remove from the heat and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk.

3 Whip the egg mixture on high speed for 1 minute until thick, light and reaches ribbon stage. (You should be able to form an ‘8’ with the batter before the number disappears).

4 In a separate bowl, combine the ground almonds, flour and cinnamon and set aside.

5 Whip the egg whites until soft peak stage then gradually add the remaining sugar until soft peak stage.

6 Fold the reserved almond mixture into the whipped whole egg mixture, stir in the melted butter and fold in the whipped egg whites.

7 Divide between the cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until just golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

8 To make the buttercream, place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl that fits over one of your saucepans. Fill the bottom of the saucepan with water and bring it to a gentle simmer.

9 Place the bowl with the egg and sugar over the hot water and stir gently with a whisk (don’t whisk to aerate the mixture). Keep stirring until the mixture reaches 60 degrees Celsius on a thermometer or until the egg is hot to the touch.

10 Transfer the hot mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, whip the mixture on high until light and fluffy. Continue whipping for a good 10 minutes or until the meringue is cool to the touch. Slowly add the butter one block at a time. Add the rum and nutmeg.

11 To assemble the cake, start with the 4 largest sponges. Use a serrated knife, to cut a very thin slice off the top of each cake to level them off. Stack the cakes on top of one another, spreading a thick layer of buttercream between each sponge. Use a palette knife to spread some of the buttercream over the outside of the cake. Refrigerate to set. For the 2 smaller cakes, cut the sponges into 3 equal parts and cover with buttercream as mentioned in the previous step.

12 Place the white chocolate in a small piping bag and create drips down the side of the cake, wait for the drips to set then pipe more over those to create a layered effect. Transfer the cake to a candle stand.

13 Use a sharp knife to trim the wax off the birthday candles to reveal the wicks, leaving about 1cm of candle wax at the bottom. Place 1 candle on top of each cake, pressing down until the 1cm of candlewax is pushed into the sponge. Light the wicks when ready to serve.


TIP: I used recycled jam/preserved fruit tins for the smaller-sized cake moulds.

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