225g salted butter
475g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 tsp of vinegar added and allowed to stand for 5 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
450g plain flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
To decorate and fill:
115g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
drop of milk (to get the icing to a spreadable consistency)
300g of sweets of choice to fill interior
900g ready made fondant, coloured as desired (I used 4 x 180g for the sides, then 1 x 280g for the top)
Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins.
Make the cake: cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Pour the vanilla extract into the buttermilk or milk/vinegar mixture.
Mix the flour and baking powder together in another bowl.
Add half the flour to the butter and sugar mix, mix well, then add half the milk mixture, mix well, then add the rest of the flour, mix well, and then the rest of the milk, beating all well together.
Divide the batter into the two prepared pans.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in their pans for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, place the butter in a bowl and beat until soft. Gradually beat in the icing sugar (a tip for less mess when using an electric beater, is to place a clean tea towel over the whole bowl and mixer while operating, like a tent!), then add just enough milk to make the icing fluffy and spreadable.
Once the cakes are cool, level the tops if required, and split each into two equal halves. Using a 3 inch (8cm) round cookie cutter, cut the centre out of 3 of the cakes. Lay the first ring cake on the serving board or plate, and spread some of the icing over the top, stopping slightly short of the centre (you don't want a lot of icing to squeeze into the middle where the sweets will go!).
Lay a second ring cake on top of the first, and spread some icing over the top of this cake as you did before. Repeat for the 3rd ring cake and ice the top of this one too. Fill the centre with sweets, then ice the top of the 3rd cake and top with the uncut final cake layer. If you need to trim the edges of your cake to make a smooth edge, do so now. Apply a thin layer of icing to the entire cake.
Roll out the coloured fondant to around 2-3mm. Cut strips about an inch wide and cut halfway through the width of the strip to make the crepe paper banner effect. Small sections a few inches long are easier to work with rather than trying to make one long strip to go around the entire circumference of the cake! Continue up the cake, overlapping the layers. For the final layer, roll out the fondant and cut a circle an inch or two bigger than the cake (a dinner plate makes a good template) and make little cuts pointing to the centre all around the circle. Lay the fondant onto the cake (gently rolling around a rolling pin helps) and smooth.
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