Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
Grease and line the base of 2 x 18cm round
sandwich tins with baking parchment.
Start with the almond sponge: put all
the ingredients in a bowl and beat with
an electric whisk until the mix comes
together smoothly. Weigh the mixture and
spread exactly half into each tin. Bake for
30 mins – when you poke a skewer into
the middle, it should come out clean. Cool
in the tins for 15 mins, then carefully turn
out onto wire racks to finish cooling while
you make the second sponge.
Clean the tins, then grease and line
as above. Beat together the butter,
sugar, flour, ground almonds, eggs,
vanilla, rose water and milk as above.
When smooth, beat in a little pink
food colouring, bit by bit, until you get
a nice colour – it will fade a little during
baking, so you can go slightly stronger
than you want the finished sponge.
Weigh, divide between the tins and
bake as above. Cool in the same way.
Once the sponges are cool, cover
gently and chill for 30 mins – this will
make cutting them easier and neater.
Unwrap the sponges and, if they have
domed in the centre, trim to flatten. Cut
a 6cm diameter circle out of the centre of
each sponge (a 6cm biscuit cutter is ideal,
or make yourself a paper template) and set
aside. Then cut a 12cm diameter circle
from the centre of each sponge by tracing a
knife around a plate of the same diameter
(or use another paper template). So from
each sponge you should end up with a 6cm
circle, a 12cm ring and an 18cm ring.
Swap the middle rings of the almond
sponges with the middle rings from the
rose sponges, and fit the cut pieces back
together. Handle the sponges very gently,
to avoid cracking or crumbling up the
edges too much. You should end up
with 4 sponges that look like targets.
Heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve
and stir in the rose water. Brush some
over the top of one of the sponges and
top with an alternating sponge. Repeat
to stack up all the layers. Sit the cake on
a serving plate or cake stand.
Dust your work surface with a little
icing sugar and roll out your marzipan
until big enough to cover the cake (use
a piece of string to measure the cake; see
tip below). Brush some more jam all over the
top and sides of the cake. Use your rolling
pin to lift up the marzipan onto the cake,
then ease it down the sides, pressing to
stick. Trim the marzipan from the base,
then decorate the cake as you like. Cut
into wedges and serve with tea. Will keep
for 3 days in an airtight container.