Baking | Making a Pretty Purple Ombré Birthday Cake

Close up of the swirled icing of the ombre cake

Hey everyone! It was my wonderful Mum's birthday last week so of course I wanted to make her a special cake. I've seen the ombré and rainbow cake trend all over Pinterest for such a long time now that I decided it was time that I had a go for myself! I used a really easy recipe from BakingMad, which is such a great website by the way, I highly recommend it for all sorts of recipes and they gave an amazing feature that allows you to view each step of the recipe on your tablet/iPad as you go. It's a basic sponge recipe just divided into four and tinted with food colouring. I used the Dr. Oetker Ultra Violet Gel Colouring which I have mixed feelings about. It was really easy to use, but to get a good colour you have to use a lot. I used one whole tube for the cake, and another for the buttercream and to be honest it still wasn't close to purple (my Mum's favourite colour!)

Montage of photos showing the method for making an ombre cake

The cake was very very simple to make I just whizzed up some Stork baking butter, self-raising flour, eggs and caster sugar to make the batter. I then divided it into separate bowls and added the food colouring drop by drop. I baked the cakes two at a time in the oven for about 20 minutes each, they didn't take long as the layers are so thin. You could bake all for at the same time if you have enough cake pans and a big enough oven! I then sandwiched the layers together using blackcurrant jam (less sweet than strawberry which is important when using so much buttercream and in keeping with the purple theme!) and buttercream. Most of the cakes on Pinterst sandwiched the layers with buttercream only which does help the colours of the layers to stand out more but would also make the cake very sweet and sickly! I then crumb-coated the cake with a thin layer of buttercream and left it to set for a little while.

Cross-section slice of ombre cake

To decorate the cake I used three different tones of icing. I would've used four to match the cake layers but as I wanted to pipe rose swirls the cake really wasn't tall enough to accommodate four rows of icing. I was happiest with the centre roses made from untainted buttercream as these turned out the best although the buttercream was very thick. For the rest of the buttercream I made it a bit softer so that the quantity would go a little further I was in danger of running out, but these made the roses a little more sloppy. It is also harder to pipe the roses on the sides of the cake, particular.ly close to the bottom but I don't think I did a bad job as it was the first time I'd tried this technique out

Once we cut the cake you could see the different colours coming through. I would've like the colours to be a bit more obvious but I would've need a lot more food colouring. The colours did come through though and you can just about see the difference between them, particularly the top and bottom layer, in these photos. It did look really pretty, though in future I'd probably choose to do a pink cake, as the sponge layers seemed to look more pink than purple anyway and the buttercream had a grey tinge to it!

Cross-section slice of ombre cake

Overall I was really happy with the way the cake turned out although I did find icing it a bit stressful (I got seriously covered in buttercream!). It tasted really nice which was great as I didn't know how well the blackcurrant jam would work and actually it complimented the cake and the buttercream really well. I definitely wouldn't make this cake everyday as it is a bit of a faff, perhaps in future I'd do an ombré cake but just normal icing if I was feeling lazy! It is great for special occasions and if you wanted to be really fancy you could add even more layers too as baking the cake itself is very simple. I'd love to try to make a rainbow cake, but I'm just not sure I have the patience or the budget for all those different colourings!


Title Image for Making an Ombre Cake


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