Additional smaller springform if you want a layered cake
Note: You'll need about 1.5 times as much of the ingredients and an additional smaller cake tin for a layered cake.
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C (fan oven). It is important that the oven is pre-heated or your cake may go wrong.
Prepare the springform by lining the base and sides with greaseproof paper, using it to raise the height of a smaller tin if necessary.
Place the eggs in a large bowl of hot water (not boiling) and leave them to warm up for about 5 minutes (so that they are just above room temperature).
Break the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar and beat for about 10 minutes until the mixture has a creamy consistency (no less than 10 minutes, as that is what makes for a good sponge).
Fold in the self-raising flour. To prevent lumps forming, you can sieve the flour first. Sieve a little at a time and let it fall into the bowl of mixture then fold it in using a spatula or spoon. Do not beat the mixture, as that will remove all the air. Continue until all the flour has been incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the springform and bake the sponge for about 30 minutes.
Do not open the oven door until the time is up (or the sponge will collapse).
Leave the sponge to cool on a rack before removing it from the tin (or the sponge may collapse / break). To check whether the sponge is cooked press the top lightly; it should give a little when pressed. You can also check it by inserting a cocktail stick / knitting needle; if it comes out clean, the sponge is cooked.
Turn the sponge upside down to cool it further (the base then becomes the top, giving you a smooth surface). If the top has risen too much, you can slice a piece off before turning it over.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter until it is soft and pale in colour. Add the icing sugar and vanilla sugar and stir well. Put the buttercream into the fridge for a little while to make it easier to work with.
Cut the cake into three layers using a cake knife (available from various shops including those specialising in baking supplies). Spread some of the buttercream onto the bottom layer. Keep some buttercream back for finishing off. Place the middle layer on top and spread its top with jam. Place the upper layer on top.
Use the remaining buttercream to spread evenly over the sides. Spread some on the top of the cake too, to help the marzipan or fondant icing to stick better.
Cover the cake with the marzipan or fondant icing. Both are easy to work with and which one you use is just a matter of taste. You can colour the covering using food colouring from shops specialising in baking supplies or buy ready to use products.
Knead the fondant icing or marzipan well and form into a ball. Roll it out on a board or a clean worktop. Sprinkle the board or worktop with icing sugar first so that it doesn’t stick. Roll it out into a big circle about 3mm thick, so that it amply covers the whole cake. Drape the marzipan/icing over the cake and smooth it flat, so that there are no folds in the fondant icing or marzipan. There are lots of videos on internet with tips on how to cover a cake. Cut off the excess icing/marzipan at the base of the cake.
If you spread a tiny piece of icing from the tube onto a mini stroopwafels, that will help it stick to the cake. Place a few stroopwafels around the cake first without sticking them on to work out where to place them.
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