Everybody needs a showstopping celebration cake up their sleeve, and the beloved spring combination of strawberries and rhubarb look and taste fantastic in this decadent but light layer cake. If you can't get your hands on the rose Pashmak Persian fairy floss that I've used, pink flowers will look just as pretty.
340 grams butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340 grams standard flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons cream
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into cm pieces
2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1cm pieces
1 cup strawberries, chopped into quarters
3 tablespoons sugar
250 grams cream cheese, softened
150 grams butter, softened
320 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup cream
35 grams butter, cubed
1 packet Pashmak Rose-flavoured fairy floss or fresh edible flowers
3 x 23cm springform cake tins, greased and lined with baking paper
Cake: Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a food processor or electric mixer, beat sugars and butter until light and creamy. Add eggs one by one, mixing in between, then add the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth, while also slowly adding the cream. Gently fold through the rhubarb.
Divide cake batter between the three tins and bake for 20–25 minutes, until skewer comes out clean.
Cool cakes in tins and remove gently once completely cool. Using a serrated knife, level the cakes off so they are flat on the tops.
Fruit filling: Set oven to 170°C.
Place the rhubarb on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and add the strawberries to the tray. Bake for a further 5 minutes then remove from oven. Place fruit in a bowl and set aside to cool completely.
Icing: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat again until icing is smooth and light in colour.
Caramel Sauce: Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Place on the stovetop on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Do not stir as this will make the sugar crystallise.
At the same time, gently heat the cream in a separate saucepan.
Once the sugar has turned golden brown add the cream, stirring constantly. Be careful, as it will bubble up. Add the butter and continue to stir to combine.
Pour the sauce into a jug and refrigerate until needed.
To Assemble: Place one of the cakes on a cake stand or flat surface that you can turn easily with one hand. Using a spoon, take ⅓ of the cream cheese icing and place on the top of the cake, then smear right to edges with a spatula. Don't place the spatula back into the bowl of icing, as you'll end up with crumbs through the icing.
Take ⅓ of the fruit filling and smear on top, leaving a 2cm space around the edge of the cake.
Rinse the spatula and repeat the above steps with the two remaining cakes, but do not place the fruit filling on the top layer.
With one hand, align a clean spatula vertically with the edge of the cake, gently press against the cake and rotate the cake stand with the other hand. As you go around, the overhanging icing should smooth out around the cake.I tend to go around the cake touching up any holes and then do a final turn to smooth it all out.
Cover the cake with a cake stand lid (or glad wrap, but try not to let it touch the sides) and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the cake. Smooth with a spatula and gently push the caramel sauce over the edges to achieve the drip effect.
Take the remaining fruit filling and place on top of the caramel sauce leaving around 5cm of space around the edges.
Decorate the edges with fairy floss or fresh pink flowers, such as roses.
Note: Pashmak Persian rose fairy floss is available online at sabato.co.nz. It will start to go soggy after a few hours on the cake so put it on at the last possible minute.