4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups milk
1 6-inch cake board
4 drinking straws
coloured chocolate disk
7 large egg whites
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla
4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray 2 8-in. round and 2 6-in. round cake pans with oil, line with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine flour with baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to blend. Reserve.
Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beat until combined after each.
Scoop about 3½ cups of batter into each 8-in. pan, and divide remaining batter between 6-in. pans. Bake in centre of oven for 50 to 60 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 15 min, then run a knife along inside edges of pan and turn cakes out on a rack to cool completely. Use a serrated knife to cut domes off of cake to make flat tops (this makes it possible to stack layers).
To make buttercream icing: Combine egg whites with sugar and salt in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over simmering water and cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 min or until sugar has just dissolved. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 4 to 5 min or until icing forms stiff peaks when beaters are raised.
Reduce speed to medium. Add vanilla. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat for 4 to 5 min or until icing looks satiny and has cooled to room temperature (icing may turn runny, but will thicken as you continue to whisk).
To assemble cake: Spread a bit of icing on a cake stand or platter. Place an 8-in. cake layer on stand. Spread 1½ cups icing on cake to edges. Top with second 8-in. cake. Spread a layer of icing on top and sides of cake, smoothing surface with a palette knife or spatula.
Cut 4 straws to the height of the 8-in. cake. Poke straws into the centre of cake, about 3 in. apart. They should just reach the top of the cake and will help hold up the second tier. Place the 6-in. cake board on the centre of larger cake.
Spread a bit of icing on cake board. Place a 6-in. cake layer on board. Spread ¾ cup icing on cake to edges. Top with second 6-in. cake. Spread remaining icing on tops and sides of cake, smoothing surface.
Decorate cake with assorted colours of chocolate disks.
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