• 175 g (6 oz) lightly salted butter, softened
  • 175 g (6 oz) golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g (7 oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • finely grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 125 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 g (7 oz) icing sugar
  • a few drops of pink or blue food colouring
  • 125 g (4 oz) small sweets, such as dolly mixtures and jellies
  • sugar sprinkles (optional)
  • birthday candles and candleholders

Line 18 sections of 2 x 12-section bun trays with paper cake cases. Put all the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat with a hand-held electric whisk for about a minute until light and creamy. Divide the cake mixture between the paper cases.

Bake in a preheated oven, 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for 20 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Beat together the unsalted butter and icing sugar in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in the food colouring. Spread the buttercream over the cooled cakes using a small palette knife. Decorate the cakes with plenty of small sweets and sugar sprinkles, if using.

Arrange a layer of cakes on a serving plate and stack another 2 or 3 tiers on top. Push the required amount of birthday candles and candleholders into the cakes.

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