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The sponge cake layers can be made the day before and stored in an airtight container, or frozen for up to 1 month. Once assembled, the cake keeps for about 2 days in a tall airtight container (minus the cone!)
Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Grease and base-line 3 x 18cm loose-based cake tins. (If you only have 2 tins of the same size, reserve the pink cake mixture and re-use one of the tins once the first cakes are cooked and turned out.)
Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl with an electric whisk) for a few minutes until really pale and fluffy. With the motor still running on a medium speed, add one egg, followed by a spoonful of flour. Repeat until all the eggs are added, then fold in the remaining flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. If making the cone decoration, see below.
Use gel or paste food colouring, as liquid colouring isn’t heat stable and will lose its colour during baking.
Scrape into the prepared tins, and bake for 18-20 minutes, until risen and a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tins, then turn out onto a rack and leave to cool to room temperature.
For the buttercream, mix the butter and icing sugar using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer (starting on a low speed so you don’t cover your kitchen in sugar dust) until light in colour and fluffy. Add the food colouring and vanilla, and mix again until you get a pink pastel colour (like strawberry ice cream).
Divide one-third of the buttercream between two of the cooled sponges (ice and assemble the cakes bottom-side up so that you get a flat surface uppermost). Spread to the edges with a palette knife. Stack the cakes in three tiers with the un-iced one on top. Thinly cover the outside and top of the cake with a bit more icing, then scrape off the excess with a palette knife, and discard as a crumb coat. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up before using the remaining icing to cover with a final coat, smoothing the sides and top again with a palette knife or icing scraper.
Finely chop the chocolate and put in a bowl. Heat the double cream until almost simmering then pour it over the chocolate. Mix well to melt the chocolate and turn it into a smooth, glossy ganache (if you have a few lumps left, put over a pan of simmering water on a low heat for a few seconds). Leave to cool for 10-20 minutes until thick but just runny enough to drizzle. Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing some to drip down the sides, then scatter with the sprinkles. Leave to set in a cool place for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
Make our cone decoration
Spoon 2 tablespoons of cake mix into a cupcake case at the end of step 2. Bake for about 12 minutes while you are colouring the layer-cake mixtures. Cool, then chill. When cold, use a serrated knife to carve it into a ball shape, keeping the base flat. Spread with some of the buttercream and chill. Sit the ball on top of the iced cake before spooning on the ganache, then add a cone at a jaunty angle. For a simpler decoration, you could add ice-cream wafers to the top of the cake instead.