A multiscale model for the evolution of the velocity gradient tensor in turbulence is proposed. The model couples "restricted Euler" (RE) dynamics describing gradient self-stretching with a cascade model allowing energy exchange between scales. We show that inclusion of the cascade process is sufficient to regularize the finite-time singularity of the RE dynamics. Also, the model retains geometrical features of real turbulence such as preferential alignments of vorticity and joint statistics of gradient tensor invariants. Furthermore, gradient fluctuations are non-Gaussian, skewed in the longitudinal case, and derivative flatness coefficients are in good agreement with experimental data.