Turquoise Layer Cake


I’ve always loved seeing photos of sliced layer cakes that have graduating shades of colour in the layers and I’ve always wanted to make one.  I decided Annabella could help me, and I started by making a dose of a very basic madeira cake recipe I have.  This cake wasn’t really for anything or anyone,  but I was in the mood for a little experiment.  We divided the cake batter into 5 bowls and coloured 4 of them with various amounts of turquoise food colouring, leaving one without any colouring at all.  The problem was that I only had two cake tins of the size to use, and so the remaining batter had to sit and wait while two cake tins were in the oven.  By the time we baked the last cake, I noticed it came out crumbly and definitely not an ideal consistency for cake decorating.  I’m assuming it was sitting too long outside the oven, and should have been baked earlier, so my advice to you is that if you plan on making one of these cakes, make sure you have more than two cake tins.  (obviously it also depends on how many you can fit into the oven at one time). Otherwise, halve the recipe and bake in batches.

Turquoise Layer Cake

Basic Madeira Cake

  • 440g Self Raising Flour
  • 220g Plain Flour
  • 440g Butter
  • 440g Sugar
  • 7 Eggs
  • Food Colouring (I used Americolor turquoise)

Basic Buttercream

  • 340g Butter at room temp
  • 450g Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until well combined and creamy.
  2. Add Eggs one at a time.
  3. Sift both flours together and add to cake mixture.
  4. Divide batter into 5 bowls, and using food colouring count the drops… adding more in the bowls where you want the colour to be more concentrated. To make the lightest pale greeny colour, I added a tiny teaspoon of batter from one of the other bowls with a strong turquoise colour.
  5. Add cake batter to prepared cake tins. (greased and lined on base with ovenproof paper). Bake at 180°C for about 30min for each cake.
  6. Remove cakes from tin, and allow to cool completely.
  7. When cool, level all cakes, ensuring they are all the same height.
  8. To make buttercream:
    • Beat butter with an electric mixer  until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
    • Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition, about 5 minutes.  Add vanilla, and beat until buttercream is smooth. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)

  9. Stack cakes, filling each layer with white buttercream, and then cover entire cake with buttercream. (this adds to the ‘surprise’ when the cake is sliced and the graduating coloured layers are revealed).  I then dripped some turquoise royal icing on the top for a ‘drippy cake’ effect….. but that is definitely not obligatory.
  10. For photographing foodie pic purposes… It is best to slice this cake after it has been in the fridge for a couple of hours.  This will set the buttercream and mean that when the cake is sliced, each layer is clearly divided by the white buttercream.
  • I will confess that I am not a major fan of loads of food colouring in a cake, but I really really wanted to try this look. I gave some away to Alberto’s office, they loved it apparently, and my son Joseph also had a generous portion.  He has since informed me that his poo is blue!…… which he of course thinks is fabulous!!!  (insert eye roll emoji!)