The Great Australian Bake Off

This incredible cake by The Great Australian Bake Off contestant Monica is definitely a show stopper.


  • Butter cake tier 2 and 3 (make 4 quantities for this cake then split it, one batch with vanilla bean, one batch with lemon zest)

  • 125g unsalted room temp butter

  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla bean paste

  • 1 cup caster sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 ½ cups plain flour

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda – sifted

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • Chocolate cake top tier (make 2 portions)

  • ½ cup boiling water

  • 60g dark chocolate

  • 60g unsalted butter – warm or room temp

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ cup fine caster sugar

  • ½ cup of roasted hazelnut meal

  • ¼ teaspoon of hazelnut extract flavouring

  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla bean paste

  • 1¼ cups plain soft cake flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • Pinch fine salt

  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ cup strong espresso coffee

  • Sugar syrup

  • 2 cups caster sugar

  • 2 cups water

  • Plus

  • ½ cup hazelnut liqueur

  • ½ cup Strega liquor

  • ½ cup limoncello

  • 2 fresh mandarins

  • 2 fresh lemons

  • 2 oranges

  • Meringues

  • 300g caster sugar

  • 120mls water (1/2 cup)

  • 120g egg whites

  • Pinch cream of tartar

  • Ganache for top tier

  • 400g milk chocolate

  • 150mls cream

  • 2 heaped tbs hazelnut spread

  • A few drops hazelnut essence

  • Italian meringue buttercream

  • 180g egg whites

  • 300g caster sugar

  • 90mls water

  • 600g unsalted butter

  • Whitening agent

  • Lemon zest for 1/3 portion

  • ½ for chocolate ganache layer

  • Vanilla bean for 1/3 batch for crumb coating

  • Marzipan

  • 350g icing sugar

  • 125g almond meal

  • 1 teaspoon Glycerin

  • 1 egg white

  • 1 table spoon limoncello

  • Cassata filling

  • 500g fresh drained ricotta

  • 100g mascarpone

  • 200g icing sugar

  • 50g dark grated chocolate

  • Glace fruit - Aprox 150g mixed up and chopped

  • Cherries

  • Cedro

  • Orange peels

  • Pineapple

  • Apricots

  • Crusting butter cream – outside

  • 450g room temp unsalted butter

  • 240g shortening

  • 1 kilo sifted pure icing sugar

  • Mix with a paddle until smooth and set aside for cake construction

  • Decoration

  • 500g Isomalt

  • Non toxic moulding clay

  • ½ dozen sheets gold leaf

  • Mixed colours

  • Map of Italy in paper version

  • Gold luster dust

  • Rose spirit or vodka

  • Tins

  • 3 x 5” round cake tins with high sides

  • 3 x 7” round cake tine – high sides

  • 3 x 9” round cake tins – high sides


  • 1.

    For the butter cake tier 2 and 3 (make up to 4 quantities for this cake). Cream 125g (250g – 500g – 1kg) butter and 1 cup caster sugar (2 cups, 3 cups, 4 cups) until pale and fluffy in a mixer. Add in a couple of spoons of vanilla bean paste. Add in 3 eggs at one at a time (6, 9, 12). Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients the milk ½ cup (1 cup, 1 ½ cups or 2 cups) and vanilla. Sift in dry ingredient and mix – don’t over mix!!

  • 2.

    1 ½ cups of plain flour (3 cups or 4.5 cups or 6 cups). ½ teaspoon of baking powder (1 teaspoon, 1 12/ or 2 teaspoons). ¼ teaspoon baking soda – sifted (1/2 teaspoon, ¾ or 1 full teaspoon). Bottom tier keep plain. Second tier, grate in zest of 1 to 2 lemons – add in a few drops of lemon essence. Bake on 150°C for 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

  • 3.

    For the top tier – chocolate cake. Mix boiling 1 cup hot water, 120g butter and 120g chocolate together, let it sit for a moment and then mix it. Cream in a mixer the 2 eggs, 1 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add in the wet water/choc/butter mixer and fold through. Sift in dry ingredients and fold in. 2 ½ cup of cake flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, pinch of salt, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda. Finally, pour in the elixir of life – 1 cup of strong hot Italian espresso coffee and hand mix. – Now… let’s see if it all makes it into the cake…..Into 3 pans 160°C for approx 25 to 25 minutes. Leave to cool before turning out.

  • 4.

    For the meringues, 300g caster sugar and 120mls water (1/2 cup) in a pan – 118°C. 120g egg whites into a mixer bowl – start to mix – add in pinch of cream of tartar. Drip in the hot syrup – now Monica… let’s try NOT to burn ourselves this time!!!!! Keep mixing till cooled a pipe – pipe onto a sil mat cookie tray and bake for 90 minutes on 100°C.

  • 5.

    Make ganache: and set aside to cool and set. 400g of milk chocolate, 150mls of cream, 2 huge spoon fulls of hazelnut spread and A few drops of hazelnut essence – taste it.

  • 6.

    For the sugar syrups – 2 cups of caster sugar and 2 cups of water – bring to the boil – divide into 4 bowls and add: hazelnut liqueur, limoncello, Strega and the last add in mandarin juice and zest. Set aside to cool.

  • 7.

    For the Italian meringue butter cream, 300g caster sugar and 90mls of water in a pan – bring to boil to 118°C. Start to whip 180g of egg whites – pinch of tartar and add in sugar syrup. When cooled add in cubes of 600g unsalted butter. Divide – lemon layer – mandarin layer, some to whip into the chocolate ganache. What is left – beat in organic vanilla bean and crumb coat all 3 cakes.

  • 8.

    For the marzipan, 350g icing sugar, 125g almond meal, 1 teaspoon Glycerin, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon pistachio paste, nip of limoncello – food processor until blended – if too wet, add more icing sugar until ready to go – wrap it ready for use.

  • 9.

    For the cassata filling, into a mixer with a paddle attachment, 500g fresh drained ricotta, 200g icing sugar sifted, 100g mascarpone, 50g of dark grated chocolate. Chop up Glace fruit into small pieces (grandma’s knife) to make approx 150g – taste to make sure it’s right.

  • 10.

    For the decorations, roll out moulds – sill mats, cut out shapes. Heat up isomalt in microwave – pour out 3 shapes, then divide into 4 glass Perspex and die different shades, lemon, mandarin, green, brown. Set aside to cool. Once set, remove from molds, press sides into the gold leaf to adhere – set aside. For the cake, mix gold luster dust with rose spirit and gently brush over the cake, using a map of Italy in paper, as the guide for the shape.

  • 11.

    Construction – top tier – chocolate hazelnut – slice cake into 1 cm heights. Brush generously with frangelico sugar syrup on each side of each layer – alternate layers of hazelnut ganache, then next layer, butter cream with crushed meringues, and repeat. Crumb coat with butter cream, fridge to set.

  • 12.

    Middle tier – slice, into 1 cm each layer – brush generously with limoncello on each side – same with mandarin juice. Fill with lemon butter cream between each layer, crumb coat the entire cake and chill to set.

  • 13.

    For bottom tier – slice cake into 1cm heights, sugar syrup with strega mix generously each side. Roll out marzipan super thin, but thick enough to lift it – cut it round to the shape of the cake, place 1 layer of marzipan between each layer, top with a generous amount of cassata filling, and repeat. Crumb coat entire tier and chill to set.

  • 14.

    Finish cover the entire cake with crusting butter cream mixture, smooth out – line up the map of Italy cut out and soft brush strokes of gold to get the effect – remove the paper stencil. Arrange the isomalt shapes to act like kaleidoscope effect over the map of Italy – the can be over lapped and joined together with a little heated isomalt – do not handle the isomalt without gloves as they will cloud – if this happens, a quick belt with a heat torch will clear them up again.


This recipe has not been edited or tested by the Bake Off Food Department

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