Running track cake

Get a gold medal in cake making by cooking your own edible running track. Tom Bonnett adds royal icing and jelly babies to an apricot sponge for this fun cake for all the family.
By Tom Bonnett
Running track cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 10-14
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the sponge

  • 350 g unsalted butter
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 350 g self-raising flour

For the running track topping

  • 250 g royal icing, orange, brown or red, bought or dyed with food colouring
  • 1 white icing pen icing
  • 1 large bag jelly babies

For the filling

  • 300 g apricot jam
  • 300 ml double cream

Tips and Suggestions

Don't be afraid to adapt the filling to your favourite flavours. If you're a fan of a classic Victoria sponge then line the middle with fresh strawberries and strawberry jam instead.

For more sports-inspired cakes and biscuits see our sports recipe gallery


1. For the sponges: Set the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Lightly butter two rectangular sandwich tins, each approximately 300 x 190mm.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and then slowly add the beaten egg.

3. Fold in the sifted flour and spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth into a thin, flat layer in each.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Check it is cooked through by poking a skewer into the sponge. If the skewer comes out clean the sponge is ready. Leave to cool and then remove from the tins.

5. For the running track topping: Pour the jam into a saucepan and heat for 2 mins until it becomes more of a liquid.

6. Lay out the sponge you want to be the top of the cake with flattest side facing upwards and pour a small amount of the jam through a sieve onto the top ensuring, there are no lumps. Spread until you have a thin layer of jam over the top and save the rest for the filling.

7. Lay out greaseproof paper and dust with a good covering of icing sugar and knead the coloured icing to soften it.

8. Taking care to only roll one side into the icing sugar, roll out the icing into a rectangle 1-2cm larger than the flat top of the sponge.

9. Take the baking tray you used to cook the sponge, make sure the bottom is clean, and lay it on the icing and cut the icing around the edge of the tin with a sharp knife.

10. Use two spatulas or long knives to support the icing and carefully lift on to the top of the cake you have spread jam onto. Line it up so it forms a straight running track.

11. Take a long knife and use the back of the blade to indent a straight line lengthways along the centre of the cake. This will create two boxes, indent lines lengthways down the centre of both of these boxes to create four running lanes then repeat to make eight lanes. Choose which end you want to be the start line and draw a horizontal line about 4cm from the edge.

12. To ice the lines, squeeze the icing pen with the lid on to soften the icing then hold the nozzle in the grooves made with the knife. In one movement, draw a line of icing along the line. Repeat for each line and then draw the numbers 1-8 in the starting blocks and leave to set.

13. For the filling: Pour the double cream into a mixing bowl and whip with a hand blender or whisk until the mixture becomes thick enough that when you make a peak it keeps its shape.

14. Place the remaining sponge on greaseproof paper with the flattest side down. Spread jam on the top all the way to the edge then use a spoon to spread the cream over the middle section of the cake but leave 2cm at each edge.

15. Put a thin nozzle in a piping bag and pipe the remaining cream until you have a neat line around the edge of the cream you have already spooned on, leaving a 0.5cm gap so when you put the top on the cake the cream will spread to the edges but not seep out.

16. Take the top section with your running track icing on and carefully lay it on top of the filling.

17. Snap four cocktail sticks in half. Choose the eight jelly babies you want to be running on your cake and skewer the bottom of them with the sharp end of the stick. Position them on the track by sticking the protruding end into the icing.

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