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Strawberry Scented Ombre Cake

February 19, 2016

 

So today we are going Ombre!   If you aren't familiar with the term ombre, well basically it is a term that became popular when women started "shading" their hair from the mid lengths down, generally from dark to light.   No the ombre trend has well and truly transitioned into cakes as well.

 

While I have admired these frosted cakes from afar,   I must admit I was a little daunted as I set out to make this cake because generally I don't do a lot of frosting and piping, mainly because I prefer simple cakes without a lot of sugary frosting but since reading "Dying To Be Me" by Anita Moorjani, I decided I was going to be "fearless" and try something new.   And I surprised myself by creating this beautiful cake that received lots of approving nods and "that's beautiful" from my family and friends, which I was grateful to receive.

 

The texture of this cake reminds me of a pound cake but it does not taste as "heavy" if that makes sense!  The crumb is also pretty firm but you need that for stability when making a 5 layer cake!  If you are tempted to try one of your own cake recipes, ensure that the cake is sturdy enough to support 5 layers, for example, your typical carrot cake recipe would probably not be stable enough for this style of cake. 

 

Baking the cakes was made a lot easier with Mondo's Ombre/Layer Cake Pan which you can pick up from Kitchen Witch Stores.  The set comes with five 17.5cm x 3cm /7" x 1.25" pans which is very convenient when you are making multiple layers and need to ensure consistency!

 

  • To make the process manageable do this cake in two parts.  Day one was preparing and baking cakes and day two was making the frosting and decoration/piping.   On day one, I ensured my cakes were fully cooled and then well sealed  overnight in my pantry so they did not dry out.  I stacked the cake pans one on top of the other with a sheet of baking paper in between to prevent them sticking, then I wrapped them in plastic wrap and then in a thick layer of aluminum foil.   

  • As for the cake batter itself,  preparing the cakes was easy once I understood how much batter to put into each pan - which worked out to be about 360-370g/ 13 ounces per pan.  I ended up weighing them because this worked out easier for me and with a cake like this, symmetry is everything!   This took a little trial and error as the first pan was too low but the second time I got it right and then I was able to put in a couple of pans at a time.    

  • An important tip worth mentioning is that I divided my cake batter and frosting recipe into half and made two batches of each as I found it easier to manage the quantities.

  • Serve this cake at ROOM TEMPERATURE.   This is important so that you get the correct texture and consistency otherwise, your cake may seem too firm/hard.  

  • Any remaining cake batter can be baked into cupcakes.

  • Any remaining frosting can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks in an airtight container and used to ice other cakes.

  • You can make this cake is whatever color you prefer.

 

Alright then, I think it's time to bake!

 

YOU WILL NEED

 

Cake batter  

BELOW IS THE FULL RECIPE - YOU CAN DIVIDE THE BELOW IN HALF AND MAKE THIS IN TWO BATCHES INSTEAD IF YOU PREFER.

1 +  1/8 cups butter at room temperature

3 cups castor sugar

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons natural strawberry extract

6 eggs

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons baking powder

6 + 1/2 cups plain flour

Red food coloring

 

Simple Syrup 

1/4 cup castor sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon strawberry extract

 

Frosting 

BELOW IS THE FULL RECIPE - YOU CAN DIVIDE THE BELOW IN HALF AND MAKE THIS IN TWO BATCHES INSTEAD IF YOU PREFER.

2 cups good quality regular salted butter at room temperature cut into large cubes

4 teaspoons vanilla extract 

8 cups icing sugar

2 teaspoons strawberry extract

6 tablespoons milk

Red food coloring

 

METHOD

 

To make the cakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.  Grease and line your 5 Mondo Ombre/Layer Cake Pans with baking paper and set aside.

  2. In an electric cake mixer add your butter and sugar and beat until pale and creamy.  Add the vanilla and strawberry extract, mix to combine.

  3. Add the eggs and milk and mix again until well combined.   

  4. Add the baking powder and add the flour gradually and mix until well combined and you have a smooth, though "thick-ish" batter, 

  5. Using an electronic scale, turn on your scale, add your first cake pan, apply the "tare" mode to take your weight count back to zero and then add 360-370g/12.7-13.5 ounces of the cake batter to your pan.   

  6. With the remaining cake batter, add a few drops of the red food coloring until you get a slight shade of pink and then pour another 360-370g/12.7-13.5 ounces of batter into your next cake pan.   Gently tap your pans to bring any air bubbles to the surface and smooth the cake batter before placing in the oven.  (Repeat the tapping and smoothing process for each cake.)

  7. Place the two pans on the same shelf of your oven (I used the middle rack) and cook for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean - do not allow to darken.  

  8. Continue this process, darkening the batter with a few more drops of red food coloring each layer (so you are starting with no color and adding food coloring to the existing batter to create the ombre effect). For each layer you want to deepen the color by adding a couple of drops at a time and stirring  until thoroughly combined and continue the process until all your pans are filled.  It is up to you, how much or how little color you want to add but a handy tip is to ensure you can "see" a visible difference between each batter color before it goes in the oven.    (You will have some batter left over, that is fine.)

  9. Bake all the remaining pans - two at a time is fine.  One will bake by itself, (as you have 5 layers).  

  10. Allow all the layers to cool thoroughly before proceeding.  Wrap in plastic wrap or an airitight container once cooled if not icing the same the day.  Keep in a cool pantry overnight.

 

To make the syrup 

  1. Simply place the castor sugar and water into a small non-stick saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.  

  2. Stir in the vanilla and strawberry extract and set aside to cool completely.

 

To make the frosting

Add the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and strawberry extract and the milk and ensure that you have a cover on your mixer.  

Using your paddle attachment, whip until the frosting is light and fluffy.  This took me a couple of minutes at medium-high speed. 

The frosting is now ready to use.

 

To assemble the cake

  1. Take the DARKEST layer of your cake and place it on your cake board or plate.  If you have a rotating frosting stand place the board and cake on the stand.   

  2. Lightly brush your cake with the sugar syrup - repeat this process for ALL the layers.

  3. Using a spatula or palate knife, add a thin but even layer of frosting to the top of the cake. Ensure you get a smooth and straight surface as this is the building block of your cake.

  4. Take the next layer of cake, remember you are going from darkest to lightest shade), brush with the syrup and again, add a thin, even and smooth layer of buttercream before adding the next layer continue this process until all 5 layers are covered.  

  5. Continue to crumb-coat the sides of the cake (crumb-coat simply means to cover the entire cake with buttercream) so that the entire cake now has a thin layer of buttercream covering it completely.  Check it looks straight from top to bottom along the sides and horizontally across the  top as well.   Gently push to even out if needed and smooth any buttercream you may have distorted.

  6. In a small mixing bowl take 1.5 cups of your frosting and add enough food coloring to make the DARKEST shade of pink for your cake - ensure it is dark enough so won't have any trouble making another 3 layers of lighter pink shades.

  7. Cut a small hole in the tip of your disposable piping bag and place your closed star icing nozzle in the end.

  8.  Fill your piping bag to about half and then get rid of any air by twisting the top shut and squeeze a little frosting back into the bowl to ensure a smooth application.

  9. In a "circular" or "e-shaped motion", gently pipe the "rosettes" all along the bottom of your cake.   Use a firm but controlled pressure to ensure an even flow of frosting.

  10. Squeeze the remaining frosting back into the bowl and add add another cup of the plain color frosting to dilute the color and continue with your next layer.    Repeat again and dilute the color with more plain frosting to get a slightly lighter shade and continue with your next layer.  

  11. With a clean piping bag and nozzle take a cup of the plain frosting and fill it to complete your top layer around the side of the cake.

  12. To ice the top of your cake, Start from the outer edge and go in a circular motion, adding your rosettes until the the top of your cake is fully covered with the cream rosettes, refilling the bag as needed.

  13. Serve at room temperature (or at a temperature where the frosting is not too cold and firm).

 

MAKES 12-15 GENEROUS SERVES

 

 

 

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