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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ombre cake! Ava's birthday cake test run

When I first saw an ombre cake on Pinterest, I knew immediately that I wanted a cake like that for Ava's first birthday. I've baked lots of cakes before but I didn't just want any boxed cake with pre-made buttercream. Since it was her first, I wanted something light and less sugary so she can have a bite at her party. I decided to do a trial run to make sure I knew the amount I needed, timing, and insanity to put it all together on top of everything else.

I've always preferred asian cakes because its more airy and light and they usually cover the cake with a whipped frosting instead of buttercream. We just like everything with less sugar in general. I found a chiffon cake recipe from Martha Stewart's website. I think we really sets this cake apart is the use of cake flour and safflower oil. I used three 9 inch cake pans with a bake time of 25 minutes in this recipe.

For the cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup safflower oil
7 large egg yolks plus 9 large egg whites
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Wilton gel food coloring (I used the ROSE one)

For the whipped cream:

 2 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling


1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk together oil, egg yolks, and milk in a large bowl. Whisk flour mixture into egg-yolk mixture.

2. Beat egg whites with a mixer on high speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and vanilla seeds or extract, and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Whisk one-third of the egg-white mixture into batter. Gently but thoroughly fold in remaining egg-white mixture with a rubber spatula.

3. Grease the cake pans, dust with cake flour and line the bottom with parchment paper before pouring in the batter.

4. Transfer batter evenly to three, 9 inch cake pans. I used one half toothpick dipped of the gel food coloring for the first pan, then two half toothpicks for the second, and lastly three half toothpicks for the third. Move in a clockwise motion with a fork until completely colored. My first attempt was short in one pan. Bake until top of cake springs back when touched, about 25 minutes. Let cool on racks until.....cool.

5. Whisk heavy cream and confectioners' sugar in the mixer to a sharp peak. Depending how you style the outside, you can even go for soft peaks for the whipped cream. Once the cakes are cooled, use a cake leveler to slice excess off. Add a think layer of whipped cream between each layer (1/8" to 1/4" would work). Continue to cover the cake and style however you like it. I decided to go with a rustic spackling kind of look.

It is good to always do a test run, you can see in the final I did not mix the coloring in completely. Since this chiffon cake calls for folding in the whipped egg whites, I did not feel comfortable going crazy with it. On top of that I did not want to risk ripping the parchment paper I had in the bottom of the pan. I also did double the whipped cream portion to make sure I had enough to fill in between the layers and the outside since the "spackling" needed a whole lot more whipped cream.

But actually the end result came out pretty nice! The cake was very light and definitely does not feel heavy at all. I might add some strawberries or a mixed fruit to serve with it. I know for the final run, I will definitely add more whipped cream in between each layer, portion the batter in each pan evenly, and mix the gel food coloring together better.

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Unknown said...

Just found you on foodgawker. Beautiful blog, cake and photos!

Jenny said...

Thank you! I'm happy you like my blog!!

Unknown said...


benilhalk said...

This is gorgeous! I would definitely love to try this for my friend’s birthday who’s celebrating in one of the San Francisco event venues. I was just looking to find a birthday present for her, but this is much better. Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe!

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