The Great Gatsby Cake



Last weekend one of my best friends hosted the most beautiful 1920s themed party for her birthday. All the girls were dressed in pearls and feather headbands whilst the boys came out in gangster hats and dinner jackets. Think Downton Abbey meets Bugsy Malone. After copious glasses of champagne, canapes and a delicious sit down supper it was time to blow out the candles and cut the cake.

I am pleased to say that there wasn’t a crumb left of The Great Gatsby cake. Happy Birthday Emma!


Here’s how (serves 25):

Vanilla Sponge:

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour

Vanilla Syrup:

  • 150ml water
  • 150g caster sugar
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod

Buttercream Icing:

  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • tsp vanilla extract

Black Royal Icing:

  • black food colouring or paste
  • 300g icing sugar
  • juice of half lemon
  • 1 egg white

For the decoration:

  • 200g black sugar paste
  • ready-rolled white fondant icing
  • 200g black royal icing
  • black ribbon

Pre-heat the oven to 175C (160C fan oven). To make the sponge, mix the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla seeds together. Beat the eggs into the mixture and add the flour until well combined. Line and grease two 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins. Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and bake for 15-20 minutes until it is golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Whilst the cake is in the oven, put the water, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. Once the cake has been cooling for at least 5 minutes, use a pastry brush to brush the top of both of the cakes with the syrup mixture. The vanilla and sugar will soak into the warm sponge and make the cake beautifully moist. Leave to cool completely.

To make the buttercream icing, mix together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Once the cake is completely cool, sandwich the two cakes together with the butter cream and cover the entire cake with the icing.


Roll out the fondant icing and cover the cake with it. For the best results, place the cake on a turntable. Smooth it down using a cake smooth. Click here to see the BBC’s tutorial on how the cover a cake with fondant icing. To make the black royal icing, mixture together the eggs whites, lemon juice, icing sugar and black food colouring until the icing is black. Transfer into a piping back with a small nozzle. To decorate then pipe a series of double swags around the edge and a tear drop between each. Place a black ribbon around the base of the cake.


To make the black sugar roses divide the sugar paste into three equal sized segments. Taking each segment in turn, warm the sugar paste between your hands and then cut into 6 equal parts. Roll into 6 round balls and then using a rolling pin roll them into flat circles. For the centre of the rose, roll the circle into a cylinder. Then take another circle and wrap it around the central cylinder. Repeat this until you have a rose shape. You can shape the petals in any way you want. There will be excess sugar paste at the stem of the rose. Cut this off so that the base is flat. Place the three roses in the middle of the cake. With the excess from the steps you can make a smaller rose and place this in the middle. To make them stick to the fondant icing brush with a little bit of a cold water. For some extra glamour, I sprinkled the roses with edible glitter.




Sponge recipe adapted from Peggy Porschen’s Glorious Victoria Cake.