Adam Liaw's birthday traycake

Adam Liaw's stress-free children's birthday cake.
Adam Liaw's stress-free children's birthday cake. Photo: William Meppem

As a father of three, I know that a kid's birthday cake can be a stressful thing.

I've used edible ink to hand-draw dozens of Stormtrooper faces on marshmallows. My wife and I made 60 unicorn cupcakes, crafting ears and horns from fondant and dusting them with gold late into the night. I've plastered cakes with Swiss meringue buttercream. I even bought a cake turntable.

This is why I'm pleased to announce that I have solved your problems forever. Next Saturday the first episode of Good Food Kitchen airs on Nine, and in it I share with you the secret to a simple, delicious and attractive cake that you can make in less than 15 minutes and place on a car seat (without a cake carrier) to take to the playground.

If that sounds too good to be true, read on and take a look at Good Food Kitchen.

Birthday traycake

This recipe uses a pre-made sponge cake, but if you want to go completely from scratch, a simple sponge or two is not hard to make. This makes enough butter icing to pipe a border around the cake with a bit left over. If you need more, or want to cover the whole cake with butter icing, make a double portion.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pre-made sponge cakes
  • 2 punnets strawberries (or other fruit), diced
  • sprinkles and cake decorations, to decorate

Whipped cream icing

  • 250g cream cheese, softened
  • 150g icing sugar mixture*
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Coloured butter icing

  • 200g icing sugar mixture*
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • gel food colouring

METHOD

  1. Whip the cream cheese and icing mixture together until smooth. Add the thickened cream and vanilla and whip to stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. For the coloured butter icing, beat the icing sugar mixture and butter together until combined, then add the hot water and vanilla and mix until smooth. Tint with your preferred food colouring and transfer to a piping bag.
  3. Slice the cake into 2cm slices. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream icing on the base of a deep round, square or rectangular serving dish roughly 2.5-3 litres in capacity. Cover with a layer of cake slices.
  4. Add another layer of whipped cream icing, a layer of fruit and then another layer of cake. Cover with whipped cream icing and smooth the top of the tray cake. Decorate the top of the cake with sprinkles and pipe your preferred pattern of butter icing around the border.

Serves 10-15

*Icing sugar mixed with a small amount of cornflour.

This recipe is from Good Food's new TV show, Good Food Kitchen, starring Adam Liaw and premiering on Nine at 1pm next Saturday, October 9, or catch up on 9Now.