the AIM cake

AIM cake 1So as I’m on a management grad scheme, I have to do lots of personal development and I’ve just finished an Achieve, Inspire, Motivate (AIM) course at work. It was a one day a month deal, looking at how to motivate people, build a team, manage performance and much more management lingo besides.

Perhaps the most useful aspect was what we covered in our first day: the concept of personality colours. To give you a quick run down, there are four basic personality colours: red, blue, green and yellow. Everybody has elements of all 4, but you will have a preferred colour, and that determines what you’re typically like on a good day, and also what you’re like on a bad day.AIM cake 2For example, my preferred colour is green. On a good day, I am caring, helpful, relaxed and encouraging; I think about others and try to make them happy. On a bad day, I am stubborn, reliant, take a looooong time to decide anything and worry about what people think of me.

My opposite colour is red. People with a preference for red are assertive, direct, don’t mess around and just want to get things done right now. On the flipside, they can be aggressive, intolerant and controlling. As you can imagine, red and green people have a tendency to rub each up the wrong way if they’re both having bad days. 😛

Yellow-preferring people are like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh; full of energy, sociable, persuasive and enthusiastic, but conversely hasty, frantic, and often don’t follow through on those ideas. Blues are cautious, precise and deliberate, which can come across as being cold, suspicious and stuffy.AIM cake 4The whole idea of this is that if you have a better understanding of what you tend to do on a good or a bad day, you can understand why you might frustrate someone who has a different colour to you. You have a much better awareness of why people act or react in the ways that they do.

It’s been great fun trying to match friends, family and coworkers to the different colours. When it came to the last day of our AIM course, it was time to celebrate {i.e. bake}, so what else could I do than the personality colour wheel?

Side note: this was also unintentionally really appropriate for the general election, which was on the same day. 😛

As I made it on a weeknight and took it into work I’m afraid I don’t have many photos of this one. It was 4 layers of vanilla cake, sandwiched with buttercream and smooth raspberry jam, and iced with the four colours. It tasted exactly like one of those shop-bought birthday cakes, just without all the preservatives 👌

The AIM cake: vanilla layer cake with buttercream and raspberry jam

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe Notes

Cake recipe based on this one from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

It’s helpful to weigh your mixing bowl before you start. This allows you to divide the cake batter evenly among your tins.

I used 8 inch (20cm) round sandwich tins. I only had 2, so used each one twice.


Vanilla cake:
  • 330g  plain flour
  • 45g cornflour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp bicarb. soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 255g soft, unsalted butter
  • 525g granulated sugar
  • 180g sour cream {room temp.}
  • 1 ½ tbsp vanilla extract
  • 360ml milk {room temp.}
  • 280g egg whites {I used the ones leftover from my Ben & Jerry’s style cookie dough ice cream}
Vanilla buttercream:
  • 370g soft, unsalted butter
  • 840g icing sugar
  • splash of milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • gel food colouring, if desired
  • seedless raspberry jam


Vanilla cake:

Preheat your oven to 180*C, and cut out greaseproof paper circles for your tins.

Sieve together the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb and salt a couple of times until well combined and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl {weigh it first, see recipe notes}, beat the butter for a minute until pale, and then add the sugar and beat again for a couple of minutes. Scrape down the bowl.

Next, add the egg whites and beat for a further couple of minutes. Scrape down the bowl.

Add the sour cream {warm slightly in the microwave on defrost setting if you need to, it should be room temp.} and vanilla extract. Beat once more.

Gradually add the dry ingredients whilst the mixer is going on its’ slowest speed until they are properly combined. Finally, add the milk {again, microwave gently to take the chill off if you need to} and mix through very gently.

Weigh the bowl now, and subtract your empty bowl measurement from earlier. Divide that by 4. For example, I had 1980g of cake batter. Accounting for leaving some on the inside of the bowl {my scraping’s not perfect!}, I took it down to 1950g.

1950 ÷ 4 = approx. 480g mixture in each tin.

Bake each cake for 30 minutes to start with, checking with a skewer or toothpick for done-ness.

Set the cakes aside to cool completely.


Use a circular plate or bowl to trim the edges off each cake layer.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter for a couple of minutes until pale. Add the icing sugar little by little and beat until fully incorporated and the icing is pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla, and a splash of milk to loosen if if necessary. Set aside.

Put the first layer on your serving plate and top with jam. Spread a thin layer of buttercream onto one of the other layers, and stick it down onto the jam of the first layer.

Spread jam on top of this now-top layer, and buttercream on layer no.3. Continue on until all of the layers are in place, and cover the entire cake in a thin layer of buttercream.

Put the cake into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Divide the remaining buttercream into four bowls {you can save a spoonful of the plain buttercream for piping later if desired} and tint each one with the food colouring until you get your desired shade.

To create the 4 quarters effect, spoon each colour icing into a piping bag. Snip off the end. Pipe the outlines of each quarter first: on top of the cake and down the sides.

Cut off more of the piping bag tip and then pipe the rest of the colour onto the cake. You don’t need to be too neat at this stage, just stay between the lines.

Use a palette knife to smooth the icing out until there are no gaps. You may not need all of the icing, so scrape off any of the excess.

Decorate with the plain buttercream if you wish.

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