Paul and Mary surprised me in this year’s Great British Bake Off by not knowing what Ugne was referring to when she said she was going to make an ‘ombré cake’. Now I’m no GBBO judge, but even I have heard of ombré, and not just referring to a way of dying your hair, which was how she explained it to them. Since making my rainbow cake I have been wanting to make an ombré cake and my friend’s hen party seemed like the perfect opportunity. For those who have been following neither the Great British Bake Off nor celebrity hair trends, ombré describes the gradual blending of one colour hue to another.
I decided, as it was a hen do, to make a heart shaped cake and to make the inside colour pink. I borrowed another friend’s heart shaped cake tin and this is what I did:
350g self raising flour
350g soft butter
350g caster sugar
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– Cream the butter and sugar together
– Add one egg at a time, followed by a small amount of flour, stirring after each one.
– Add the remainder of the flour and the vanilla extract and stir it all together.
– Weigh the batter and calculate how much you will need for each layer (you want to have an equal amount in each layer, so just divide the total by the number of layers you want! Make sure you take the weight of the bowl into account. Mine came to 1.3kg. I was going for a 6 layer cake so that would mean that each layer needed 220g of the batter (leaving a few grams for error!) )
– Line the cake tin and put in 220g of the cake batter (it will be a very thin layer if using a ‘regular’ sized cake tin, but that’s fine.) Pop it in the oven at 170 degrees C for about 15 minutes – it’s done once a skewer comes out clean.
– While layer one is in the oven, add a few drops of food colouring to the remaining batter. I did this by eye, but you basically want it to be just a touch more coloured than the first layer.
Note: if you have more than one cake tin (RECOMMENDED!!) you can really speed things up here: Still keep all the batter together in one bowl. Weigh out the first layer into the cake tin. Then add food colouring to the main bowl of batter and weigh out the second layer into the second cake tin. Then add more food colouring into the main bowl of batter and weigh out the third layer into the third cake tin etc. The basic idea is that before taking the out the batter into the next cake tin you add some more food colouring to the main batter, to make it a darker/more vibrant version of the colour. The result should be 6 (or however many layers you opt for – these quantities work well for a 6 layer cake) thin cakes, getting progressively darker/ more colourful.
– As you take the cakes out of the oven, remove them from the cake tin and leave to cool on a cooling rack. Once cool, wrap them INDIVIDUALLY in cling film and store in the fridge. It is important to wrap them individually or they will stick together and you will end up with different coloured sponges stuck on to each other.
I recommend leaving the cakes in the fridge over night, along with the icing (see below) and assembling the next day.
100g soft butter
250g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
600g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp lemon juice
Melt the butter, allow it to cool slightly and then whisk in the cream cheese until it is all smooth.
Add the icing sugar, about 100g at a time, stirring gently.
Add the lemon juice at the end.
Leave in the fridge over night.
Ideally do this the day after you have made the cakes and the icing – it will make it much easier.
– Put a small amount of icing on the serving plate and place the bottom layer of the cake on top of it (make sure you get your layers in the correct order!)
– Put a thin layer of icing on top of the first layer of cake and carefully put the next layer on. Add another thin layer of icing and then put the third layer of cake on.
– Chill in the fridge for around half an hour.
– Repeat the process, putting a thin layer of icing followed by the next layer of cake, until all 6 layers of the cake are assembled.
– Fill in any gaps round the side of the cake with icing, and apply a crumb layer (a very thin layer of icing) all over the cake.
– Chill in the fridge for another hour or so.
– Remove from the fridge and ice the cake all over, so you can’t see any of the colour.
– Add any other decorations. For this cake I covered the icing with small pieces of raspberry fudge, which both looked fun with the heart shape and tasted good with the icing.
– Best chilled for at least another hour before serving.
I like not telling people what’s inside and then seeing their surprise as the cake is cut into.
As a first attempt I was very pleased with this – the inside looked a lot neater than I was expecting (which is more than can be said for the outside!). Next time though I think I’ll add more colour earlier on – it didn’t get pink enough soon enough for my liking! And it tasted great too – very sweet though so you only need a thin slice each – ideal!