200g(¾ cup + 1 heaped tbsp) unsalted butter room temperature
3large eggsroom temperature
200ml(¾ cup + 2 tbsp) whole milkroom temperature
120ml(½ cup) strong black coffeemade with 2 tsp Instant Espresso powder
100g (½ cup) granulated sugar
200g(1 cup) oz icing sugar(powdered sugar)
450g(1 pound) full fat mascarponecold
240ml(1 cup) cold double cream (heavy cream)
60ml(¼ cup) Amarula Cream Liquor
2tbspcocoa powderfor dusting
Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line three 20cm | 8in layers cake tins - or spray with cake release.
Put the flour, sugar, raising agents and salt in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Stir to combine.
Add the softened butter, eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
Start beating together at the lowest speed setting, gradually increasing the speed to maximum once all the ingredients have been incorporated.
Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the cakes are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out to a wire rack, right way up. Leave them to cool completely then level.
Put the coffee and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring so the sugar dissolves.
Brush the flat side of the cakes with the syrup so that it soaks into the sponge.
Put the mascarpone, icing sugar and half the cream in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer) on low speed initially to combine the ingredients. Increase the speed and add remaining cream and Amarula and whisk until the frosting holds peaks. Don't beat for too long – the frosting might become grainy. Put the frosting in the fridge unless you are using itstraight away.
Pipe the frosting over the cake layers and sandwich together. Add a generous layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and smooth using a offset spatula. Chill the cake in the fridge or freezer to seal the crumb coating.
Add a second layer of frosting over the cake, either to cover completely or to allow the sponge to show through for a naked cake effect.
Pipe the remaining frosting on top of the cake using a plain round tip. Dust lightly with cocoa powder.
Keep chilled until you are ready to serve.
You can bake the cake layers a day or two in advance. Keep them stored in airtight containers at room temperature. Avoid stacking the cakes as they can stick together.
The cake keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge – it is not suitable for storing at room temperature.