250g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
1 ½ cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups self-raising flour
1 ½ cups buttermilk
Fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, to decorate
¼ cup caster sugar
400g frozen mixed berries (3 ½ cups)
1 tablespoon sweet sherry
500g cream cheese, chopped, at room temperature
1 ½ cups icing sugar mixture
½ cup thickened cream, whipped
1 cup French vanilla double thick custard
Grease two x 20cm round cake pans. Line bases and sides with baking paper, extending paper 2cm above pan edges.
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in sifted flour with buttermilk, in two batches, until combined. Divide between prepared pans. Smooth over tops.
Cook in a moderately slow oven (160C) for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove. Stand in pans for 15 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool.
To make berry sauce, place sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add berries. Bring to boil. Gently boil for about 7 to 8 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced to 1 1/3 cups. Transfer to a heatproof jug. Stir in sherry. Refrigerate, covered, until cold.
To make frosting, beat cream cheese in same clean bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, ½ cup at a time, until combined. Fold in whipped cream and custard.
Set aside ½ cup of the berry sauce to serve.
To assemble, trim tops of cakes to sit flat. Cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one layer on a serving plate. Spread over 1/3 cup berry sauce, then ¾ cup frosting. Repeat layering with remaining cakes, sauce and frosting, finishing with a cake layer.
Spread remaining frosting over top and around side. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours before serving.
When ready to serve, spoon over the ½ cup berry sauce. Decorate with fresh berries.
TIP! Cakes and sauce can be made up to one day ahead. Keep cake in an airtight container at room temperature. Store sauce, covered, in the fridge. If you prefer, replace sherry with orange liqueur.