Liam’s take on these classic afternoon treats feature a delicately spiced sponge alongside traditional marzipan, buttercream, and fondant. To transform them into robot clowns, create faces with edible pens and fondant red noses, then embellish with candy floss hair.
Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/Gas 5.
For the fancies, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl, beat together the margarine, both sugars, flour, eggs, and spices until a smooth mix.
Pour the mixture into the lined tin and smooth gently with a palette knife.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake is lightly golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes.
Once cool, turn out the cake onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
For the buttercream, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl, beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla paste until very pale, light and fluffy.
Remove ⅔ of the buttercream and divide this equally between 2 bowls. Colour one bowl red, and one yellow.
Transfer the red buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small open star nozzle, then the yellow buttercream to another piping bag fitted with a small open star nozzle.
Transfer the remaining white buttercream to a piping bag without a nozzle.
For the marzipan, combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and knead to form a smooth ball.
Cover the marzipan tightly, then set aside.
To assemble, level the top of the cake so that it is flat, then brush the top with apricot jam.
Dust the surface with cornflour, then roll out your marzipan until big enough to cover the top of your cake, roughly 20x20cm.
Carefully transfer the marzipan to the top of the cake, pressing down gently so that the jam helps to stick them together. Trim any excess marzipan so that the sides are neat.
Trim the edges of the cake if needed, then divide into 9 equal squares.
Snip the end of the piping bag with the white buttercream and pipe a large blob in the centre of each square. Transfer the cakes to the fridge to chill so that the buttercream blob is solidified.
While the cakes are chilling, knead the white and grey fondant together so that they marble. Divide into 9 equal pieces.
On a surface dusted lightly with cornflour, roll each piece out to a 5mm thick round
Brush the sides and the top of each cake square with jam, then cover each one with a round of fondant, being careful to press down around the buttercream and smooth the sides.
Trim the excess fondant from the base of each cake so that you have 9 neat fondant fancies.
Pipe alternating yellow and red buttercream stars around the buttercream mound, to create a clown collar.
On a surface lightly dusted with cornflour, roll out the 10g white fondant and cut into 9 equal rectangles to create robot panels.
Use edible pens to draw buttons and dials onto the panels, then stick to the front of each fondant fancy using edible glue.
Divide the 10g red fondant into 9, then roll into little balls to create clown noses. Stick to the centre of the buttercream dome using edible glue.
Finish each robot clown with edible eyes, candy floss as hair and edible pens to create facial features.