This is an ode to Escoffier’s creation for Queen Victoria - of vanilla ice cream with marinated cherries – but in cake form. The recipe is long (it’s one to make at the weekend when you have a bit of time), but the result is so worth it. Fluffy sponge layered with tangy boozy cherry compote, vanilla crème diplomat, and a vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream. Delicious.

For the very best sponge, weigh your eggs and use the exact same amount each of sugar, spread and flour. And if you want flat sponges, take a look online for Wilton cake strips. They wrap around the outside of your tins, preventing the outside of the cake from cooking too quickly and pushing the middle up into a peak.

It's a showstopper you can put front and centre in your upcoming Jubilee celebrations.

Cherries Jubilee cake

(serves 12-16)


For the sponge

6 large eggs

Approx. 350g each of sunflower spread, caster sugar and self-raising flour

2tsps vanilla extract

3tsps baking powder

Pinch salt

For the cherry filling

¾ jar cherry conserve mixed with 2tbsps kirsch and zest of 1 orange

For the crème diplomat

300ml milk

3 egg yolks (reserve the whites)

1tsp vanilla extract

60g caster sugar

15g cornflour

200ml whipped double cream

For the Swiss meringue buttercream

230g egg whites (weighed – about 4-5 large eggs)

400g caster sugar

350g butter, room temperature cut into pieces

2tsps vanilla extract

Pinch salt

To finish – fresh or glace cherries


To make the cake, grease and line four 18cm round cake tins and set the oven to 190C. Or use two and bake in two batches. Weigh the eggs. Crack them into a bowl and weigh out equal amounts of sugar, flour and spread.

Add these to the eggs with the salt, vanilla and baking powder. Beat with an electric mixer until it’s the consistency of thickened double cream.

Spoon the mix equally into your prepared tins. You should have 300g of mix per tin.

Bake for 20 minutes, then leave on racks to cool.

For the crème diplomat warm the milk in a pan. In a bowl, mix the sugar, egg yolks, cornflour and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the warm milk. Wash out the pan and pour this mix into it. Turn the heat to low and whisk continuously until thick. Leave to cool. Fold in the whipped cream and place in the fridge.

For the buttercream put the egg whites and sugar in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water – do not allow the water to touch the bowl. Whisk the mixture with a fork until all the sugar’s dissolved, it’s slightly frothy, and has reached 72C on a sugar thermometer. Take off the heat and whisk for 10 to 15 minutes until you have stiff peaks. Remove to another bowl and place in the fridge for 10 minutes. It must be cool.

Now, mix to stiff peaks again, and whisk in the butter, piece by piece until combined. Set aside in a bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

To assemble, level off the cake layers with a knife so they’re even. Place one on a cake board and spread over some of the jam, then pipe over dots of the crème diplomat. You don’t want to cover it with the cream, just a few blobs.

Repeat, finishing with a clear layer of sponge on top. Use the remaining cream to coat the entire cake in a ‘crumb coating’ and place in the fridge for about an hour to chill.

Pipe over the buttercream and finish by topping with fresh or glace cherries. I added a little food colouring to my buttercream I three different shades, and blended with a palette knife for a watercolour effect.