This Eaton mess celebration cake is amazing! Layers of sponge, meringue, strawberries and cream all topped off with strawberries decorated with edible gold leaf.

Queen's-Cake-4

Food editor’s top tip: Don’t be fazed by this cake, it’s quite straightforward really. You can make the meringue several days in advance and the cake layers can be frozen so all you have to do is assemble it on the day.

SERVES 16 PREP 1 HR 30 MINS plus cooling

COOK 1 HR 50 MINS

What you need:
For the meringue:
4 egg whites
225g caster sugar
1tsp vinegar
1tsp cornflour
Red and pink food colouring paste

For the cake:
6 eggs
350g Stork baking margarine, at room temperature
350g golden caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp milk
1tsp baking powder
350g self-raising flour

For the decoration:
600ml double cream
1tbsp icing sugar
6 tbsp strawberry jam
225g strawberries, sliced, plus 6 whole strawberries
7g tube freeze-dried strawberry pieces
Edible gold leaf
Diamante crown decoration

What you need to do:

  • Heat the oven to 120C, Gas ½. Line the bases of five 18cm sandwich tins with baking paper. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a clean grease-free bowl until thick enough to form stiff peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, 1tbsp at a time, whisking well between each addition until stiff and glossy.
  • Divide two-thirds of the meringue between two of the lined tins and spread level. Turn a large disposable piping bag inside out and brush vertical lines red and pink food colouring halfway up the bag. Turn the bag back so the colouring is inside and add a plain round nozzle and the remaining meringue.
  • Pipe at least eight meringue kisses on the lined baking tray. Bake the meringue cakes and kisses for 1hr 20 mins until crisp.
  • Increase the oven to 180C, Gas 4. To make the cake, place the eggs, margarine, golden caster sugar, baking powder, vanilla, milk and flour in a large bowl. Whisk with an electric mixer until soft and creamy.
  • Divide equally between the remaining three cake tins and spread level. Bake for 25-30mins until golden and firm to the touch. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • To decorate, whip the cream with the icing sugar until just thick enough to form soft peaks. Place one of the cake layers on a cake stand or serving plate and spread half the jam over the top.
  • Arrange one-third of the sliced strawberries over the top and cover with one of the meringue layers. Spread the top of the meringue with a little cream, place the next cake layer on the top and repeat the layers.
  • Cover the top and side of the cake with the remaining cream. Decorate the side with freeze-dried strawberries and arrange the meringue kisses around the top.
  • Place the remaining sliced strawberries in the centre and top with whole strawberries gilded with gold leaf. Add a diamante crown decoration on the top.

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