Liam’s illusion masterpiece was a real highlight of Series 8 and would make a fantastic celebration showstopper for someone whose love of blueberry breakfast pancakes is equalled only by a love of delicious cake.
To make the granola crumble, tip the 150g pecans into a food processor and blitz to a large crumb. Tip the flour into a separate bowl, add the blitzed pecans along with the porridge oats, wheat germ, salt, butter and both sugars. Rub the butter in with your fingertips, until you have large chunks of crumble. Tip out onto the lined baking tray and set aside.
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. To make the sponge, tip the buttermilk, vanilla and banana into a food processor and blitz until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt together.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with the beater, on high speed for 4–5 minutes, until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, little by little, beating well between each addition. If the mixture begins to split, add a tablespoon of the flour mixture and beat again.
With the mixer on a low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture, one third at a time, beating well between each addition, until combined. Divide equally between the three prepared tins and smooth with a palette knife.
Bake the sponges and crumble mixture for 25–30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of each sponge comes out clean and the crumble is deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave the sponges to cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Leave the crumble to cool, then tip it into a food processor and pulse to large crumb. Stir in the raisins and the extra 50g of pecans and set aside.
To make the Swiss meringue buttercream, using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, until the sugar has dissolved. The egg whites should feel smooth, not gritty.
Transfer the hot mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk and whisk on medium–high speed to a stiff meringue, then continue whisking until the bowl is completely cool to the touch. Add the butter, little by little, beating continuously to a smooth, fluffy icing. Whisk in the vanilla and honey, then set aside.
To make the blueberry compote, tip the blueberries into a pan with the honey and 4 tablespoons of water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Mix the cornflour with 3 tablespoons of water, add it to the blueberries, and bring back to the boil, stirring gently, so as not to break up the fruit, for 3–4 minutes, until thick and glossy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
To make the fondant for the pancakes, melt the marshmallows with 2½ tablespoons of water and a small amount of cream food colouring in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring continuously.
Remove from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the icing sugar, one quarter at a time, mixing well between each addition, until firm. On a surface greased with vegetable fat, knead the fondant into a ball, then wrap it in cling film and set aside.
To assemble the cake, level the sponges then, using a small amount of buttercream, stick one of the sponges onto a serving plate. Spread one third of the buttercream over the sponge and top with a good sprinkling of the crumble and one third of the compote. Top with another sponge.
Spread the second sponge with a further one third of the buttercream, another sprinkling of the crumble and one third of the compote, then top with the final sponge.
Use the remaining third of the buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake. Smooth off the excess buttercream with a palette knife to create a crumb coat. Chill for 1 hour, until firm.
Divide the fondant into 12 pieces. On a surface lightly dusted with cornflour, roll ten of the pieces into thin sausages, long enough to wrap around the cake. (Use a piece of string to measure the circumference of the cake and use it as guide when rolling the fondant lengths, if you like.)
Wrap one of the fondant lengths around the base of the cake, sticking it together at the ends with edible glue and pinching the join together. Repeat with the remaining nine lengths of fondant until you have ten rolls of fondant around the cake, stacked one on top of the other, resembling a stack of pancakes.
Knead the remaining two pieces of fondant together and roll them out to a circle large enough to cover the top of the cake – this is going to be the ‘pancake’ that tops the stack. Place the circle on top the cake.
Combine equal quantities of cream and egg-yellow food colouring and dilute them with 5 tablespoons of vodka (start with small amounts, then add until you get your desired shade – you want it quite a light, cooked-pancake colour at this point). Paint the pancake ‘stack’ with the colouring.
Combine equal quantities of cream, egg-yellow and brown food colouring and dilute the mixture with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vodka, then paint the edges of pancakes to add darker detail, as desired.
Spoon the whipped cream over the top of the cake to represent the pancake topping, then sprinkle over another good helping of the crumble and one third of the compote. Dust with icing sugar before serving. (Any leftover granola crumble will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week and is delicious sprinkled over yoghurt or ice cream.)