Recipes: Pink Ombre Cake

If there's one thing I like more than wearing copious amounts of make-up is baking. And if there's one thing I like more than baking cakes is eating cakes. On Saturday I found myself on Instagram searching through the tag 'ombrecake' and thought "I want to do that" so I gave it a little go.

To begin with I googled 'ombre cake recipe' but all the results I found were with American ingredients and with American measurings. I saw one recipe that I liked the sound of from Glorious Treats.

Glory from Glorious Treats used her Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes recipe for her sponge where she doubled the ingredients to get 5 thick sponge layers. I didn't necessarily want 5 layers, I only wanted 4 so instead of doubling the cupcake recipe, I used the original measurings then added an extra half of the ingredients. (So rather than 2 measurings I used 1.5)

In order to do this I had to work out what all of the ingredients were in grams and ml's rather than cups. In this instance Google was my friend and these were the ingredients I used:

(Please note: the original recipe requires cake flour which you can buy in the UK but I couldn't find any so I used self-raising but if you are lucky enough to find some cake flour, I'd use that instead.)

(For a thin, 4 layer cake)
Either: 175g of CAKE FLOUR
Or: 210g of PLAIN FLOUR
: 2 teaspoons of BAKING POWDER
: 1 teaspoon of SALT
: 3 EGGS
: 255g of CASTER SUGAR
: 2 teaspoons of VANILLA EXTRACT
: 185ml of OIL (original recipe asks for vegetable but I used sunflower)
: 125ml of BUTTERMILK (if you can't find any buttermilk -usually found near the cream in the supermarket- then pour 120ml of milk, add a big dashing of lemon juice into a jug, stir then leave on the side for 5 mins and wa-la! you have made buttermilk)
: a pot of GEL FOOD COLOURING 

(For a 5 layer cake like Glory's)
Either: 230g of CAKE FLOUR
Or: 280g of PLAIN FLOUR
: 3 teaspoons of BAKING POWDER
: 2 teaspoons of SALT
: 4 EGGS
: 340g of CASTER SUGAR
: 4 teaspoons of VANILLA EXTRACT
: 250ml of OIL
: 250ml of BUTTERMILK
: a pot of GEL FOOD COLOURING 

I have to admit and say that I didn't have any plain flour so I used self-raising. I think this may be why my layers are a little flat as I think the self-raising flour and the baking powder counteracted each other. Either that or I didn't have enough mixture! When I make this again I will definitely try it with plain flour to see how much of a difference there is.

FOOD COLOURING:
When it comes to the colouring of the cakes, please try and resist the urge to buy normal food colouring. I've found that when using liquid colouring you need to use a lot of it to get a vibrant colour and the more of it you use, the more of an odd taste it gives off.

Instead try and buy gel food colouring. You can buy this in most supermarkets now and it's fairly cheap too. The one I used for this recipe is one that I bought from ASDA for £1.98 and it was from the brand HOME2BAKE. (I bought the red one) If you're struggling to find some in the shops then these Sugarflair Gel Food Colourings from eBay are even better and come in a large variety of colours.

METHOD:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees or if you have a fan assisted oven like I do, 160. (Gas mark 4)
2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, the salt, and the baking powder. Stir with a fork and leave to one side.
3. In either a free-standing mixer or a handheld mixer, beat the eggs for 20 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on a medium speed for 30 seconds, then add the vanilla extract and the oil and beat until incorporated.
4. On a slow speed, slowly add the flour mixture, a little at a time. Then pour in a little of the milk mixture, then repeat with the flour until everything is in one bowl. Mix everything together until combined, not forgetting to scrape the sides of the bowl down. (PLEASE NOTE: Your mixture will be very runny, it's supposed to be like that so don't panic!)

You now have your cake mixture! Now onto the ombre.

1. Find 4/5 bowls of the same size and equally pour the same amount of mixture into the bowls. (I found it easier using a big spoon and spooning it in)
2. Decide how you want your ombre to be. I knew I wanted one layer to remain plain so I only had to colour three layers, therefore the effect isn't too gradual as I wanted one layer to be a vibrant pink. (It's easier to put too little colouring in rather than too much. If you put too much in then you can't rectify it whereas if you put little in at a time you can build the colour up)
3. Using a cocktail stick or the end of a spoon, scoop a little gel colouring out and colour the batter. Make sure you mix it in really well otherwise when you tip the batter into the tins you find you'll have swirls of colouring on the top of the cakes once they're baked.
4. Once you've coloured your cakes, you're ready to prepare your cake tins. I don't know anyone who has 4 of the same sized round cake tins, I know I don't! So you'll have to do it in stages. If you have two tins then that's great, if you only have one tin then that's okay, it will just take you a little longer.
5. Grease your tins then place the tin on top of greaseproof/baking paper and draw around it with a pen. Cut out then place into the bottom of the tin. Repeat if you can.
6. Pour the batter into the tin, level it out then put it in the oven (which should be pre-heated) for 12 minutes. Stick a skewer in, if nothing sticks to the skewer when you pull it out then it is ready. Repeat this until all of your layers are baked.
7. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Your cakes are baked! Now for the icing.

Again, I used a recipe from Glorious Treats, this time the recipe I used was for American Buttercream Frosting. Like before I converted the measurings from cups to grams but halfway through the piping I found I ran out so I've changed the measurings slightly so hopefully you won't run out either.

(For a thin, 4 layer cake)
: 300g of BUTTER (softened)
: 2 teaspoons of VANILLA EXTRACT
: 5 tablespoons of MILK
: 500g of ICING SUGAR
: a pot of GEL FOOD COLOURING

(For a 5 layer cake like Glory's)
: 400g of BUTTER (softened)
: 4 teaspoons of VANILLA EXTRACT
: 8 tablespoons of MILK
: 800g of ICING SUGAR
: a pot of GEL FOOD COLOURING

METHOD:
1. In a free-standing mixer or using a handheld mixer, beat the butter into soft and smooth for 30 seconds on a slow speed.
2. Slowly add the icing sugar a little at a time. When it gets a little thick, add a few drops of milk to make it easier to mix. Add the vanilla extract and once you've added all of the icing sugar, beat for another minute or so until there are no lumps.
3. Place the darkest sponge on the bottom before putting a spoonful of icing on top. Using a palette knife or a knife, spread it all over the top of the cake. Repeat for each layer.
4. Once every layer is covered with icing, cover the rest of the cake with it, paying attention to the sides. Once you've finished this you should have one big, white cake.
5. Add a few drops of gel food colouring to the remaining icing and mix well with your mixer.

EITHER: 6. Place your cake in the fridge for a little while to harden. This will make it easier for you if you want to just spread your coloured icing on.
7. Once it's set, spread on your icing using a palette knife, starting with the sides, working your way up.
OR: 6. Place your icing in a piping bag with a open holed star nozzle. Pipe swirls all over the cake and where you have gaps, pipe little swirls. Repeat until you've covered your cake entirely.

ADDITIONALLY: If you want your icing two tones like mine, once you've piped halfway with one colour, add a little more colouring to make a darker colour then repeat with the piping.
ENJOY!!
This cake took me about 4 hours to make from start to finish but I think it was time well spent. It also tasted pretty good too.

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