ombre cake

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when a girlfriend came over for a visit, we got the idea to make an ombre-coloured cake, which is what you’re looking at in the photos here. the colours actually came out rather pretty, but the same intensity of colour that makes it attractive also incidentally puts me off eating it, and in fact I did not have much.

I do not have an exact recipe for you, but I will lay out the steps I took to making the cake, as well as what I thought were my mistakes. reading countless recipes on the internet tell me that you can get away with colouring any sort of homemade/box-mix white/yellow cake so I would suggest using your favourite. I used the same one as in my birthday cake, recipe from smitten kitchen.

in any case, as follows!

  1. don’t overmix your cakes while you’re mixing in the colours: I suggest using a chopstick to stir in the colour as overmixing results in dense, unappetizing cakes
  2. the taste of the colouring is meant to be unobtrusive, and I think you could make it even less so by using an intensely buttery or tasty cake
  3. if you divide your layers by weight into the desired number, you can get even layers of the same thickness.
  4. a fantastically large amount of liquid food colouring was needed for us to create our fantastically unnatural-looking cakes, and I’ve read that powder food colouring will probably give you better results without that much colouring, which changes consistency as well as the taste of the cake. it can get very artificial-tasting, so be careful
  5. it is useful to make your darkest colours first. it’s easier to gauge the layers by first making the most saturated layer, and then adding colouring to the other batches in order to create an effect you want. we found dipping a chopstick into the food colouring and getting drops from that method was the easiest way to count the number of drops
  6. overmixing can result in a dryer, denser cake, so use a nice, strong-tasting frosting outside and in between layers as essentially all the layers taste the same. we used a swiss meringue frosting on the outside and jam between the layers

have fun! and if you choose not to eat too much at the end (as in my case), at least you have something that looks incredibly pretty!

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