We gave a Great British Bake Off winner, a cool London baker and a food stylist one of our sliced Victoria sponges to decorate. The result? Three stunning cakes and a host of tips and tricks to help you turn a simple cake into a showstopper, says food editor Emma Sleight
by Emily Ezekiel
Our food stylist and patisserie chef stayed true to the Victoria sponge’s classic roots with a country garden style featuring sugared flowers and fruit.
How to make it: “The icing is simple to make, it’s just mascarpone, lime juice, zest and vanilla lightly whipped with a little bit of maple sugar. Crystallised flowers are super easy too: take clean, edible flowers like violas and lavender; brush some egg white on with a fine brush and dip in caster sugar.”
Expert tip: “Add some height to your cake with shards of brittle. Just caramelise maple syrup in a pan, pour onto parchment, sprinkle with sea salt and dehydrated slices of strawberry and leave to cool before breaking into pieces.”
by Frances Quinn
The Great British Bake Off champion created a whimsical woodland scene based on fun recipes from her new book, Quinntessential Baking.
How to make it: “I grew up in a bookshop so I’ve always said that food and fiction feed what I do – every bake has a narrative. The chocolate pine cones are a simple chocolate ganache with toasted flaked almonds making up the textured edge. The marzipan tea lights are easy – use a round cutter to cut them out of a block of marzipan, then add a flaked almond for the flame.”
Expert tip: “Kids could do this with their parents, or take one element – make the biscuit animals with cookie cutters and put on a cake scattered with ground pistachios to look like grass.”Shop now
by Lily Vanilli
Creative baker Lily Vanilli – who’s made cakes for the likes of Elton John and Alexander McQueen – turned her sponge into a shimmering centrepiece
How to make it: “I made a light vanilla buttercream and whipped in a few raspberries so it’s a soft pink colour. I’ve added sprays of redcurrants, some dipped in an edible bronze from Abu Dhabi, and dehydrated grapefruit slices and apple chips to create a flower effect. It’s easy to do at home – just put them in an oven at around 100 degrees for about half an hour until they’re dried out.”
Expert tip: “I try and use things that taste good as well as look good. Use fresh fruit and flowers (like the chrysanthemum petals and physalis on this cake) but also have fun with it – I use an edible gold and edible pink glitter so it’s playful but grown-up, too.”Shop now
Photographer: Katie Hammond / Stylist: Emily Ezekiel / Hair & make-up artist: Lisa Valencia