It was a friend's birthday this past weekend and we thought to make a surprise cake. I made ombre layers in graduated shades of pink, she's a very pink girl. I was debating between making a rosette cake or an ombre buttercream cake.
How gorgeous are these fluffy thin sponge layers? I love it. I saved them to make a pink strawberry trifle but guess what- they had only been in my fridge a couple days when they were all pillaged for supper, with ice cream, by a hungry large mouse. Somehow, trimmed cake layers never last long in my kitchen!
I love photographing rounds of cake, there is something so soothing, unerring and symmetrical, in their circular shapes. I made a 6 layer, 6 inch diameter cake, then iced it in between the layers and did a crumb coat of pale pink buttercream icing. I also sliced the layers just using a serrated knife this time because I didn't want to get out the cake leveller. Big mistake. I guess I'm not at Buddy Valextro level yet, where I can just eyeball the cake and slice in a straight line with the cake knives. Although they were still fine, my layers were a little chipped in the side and some hollower in the middle, which doesn't produce the even, perfect layers within the cake. This is particularly important, if you are planning to leave the edges of the cake unpiped, you really need a clean and even finish.
There is a good technique to make ombre cakes, which I was learning as I went along. It is important to know that when you ice these cakes, there is actually a lot of spare icing and the icing layer is fairly thick. What is required are three shaded bowls of buttercream, I chose a coral orange shade of pink on the bottom, a sweet pink for the middle and a very light pink tint for the top surface.
What I discovered is that your three shades can't be too close together in the colour family. If you look at the cake above, it's clear that my medium pink and light pink colours were too similar. After I frosted the top of the cake, then infilled the medium pink, the colours just swirled together and weren't that distinct. I was also really worried about the colour gradation being messy between the darkest layers- turns out that isn't really an issue, nor is it difficult to swirl it together into an even finish.
Lastly, along the top, I wish that I had some coloured crystal sugar, wish takes some colour planning, as it makes a nice counterpart to the sugar dragees. Overall, I was pretty happy with the ombre cake, although the next time I make one, it will definitely be with more distinct colours.