Sometimes… I get a little crazy. I feel flustered, and unmotivated, and sometimes my day’s not going that great. Those are the days I need to bake. Putting positive energy into making something that’s pure fun is my cure for crazy. It’s meditative. Ommmmmmm.
I had this idea (stolen) for a cake in my head for a few days, so I decided to bake it up. I decided I didn’t need an occasion.
Ombre everything is really big now (hair, nails, desserts, etc.) and I find that strange because I didn’t know about the word “ombre” until very recently (I guess it means “shadow” in French). I know French words are fancy and all, but a better word might be “gradient” or “multi-hue” or something like that.
I’ll go ahead and be hip, though, because I like the combination of the meditative “om” as it is for me when I bake and the “ombre” color change.
This is one of the first cakes I’ve made in which I didn’t use a box mix. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve made cake without a box. (Brownies are a different story, but that’s another post.)
The recipe was amazing. The cake came out fluffy, moist and tasty. And the frosting was awesome, too, but how could it not be with that much butter?! (More than three sticks!)
I’m a big fan of Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste (it’s really more of a liquid) which has those satisfying little black vanilla flecks in it. I highly recommend this vanilla. It’s so delicious I could almost drink it.
(A tangent: you can make fabulous coffee creamer by combining some of the vanilla bean paste with a can of sweetened condensed milk. Cheaper and totally awesome. I put mine in a honey bear squeeze bottle.)
I threw in a little extra vanilla bean paste in both the frosting and the cake, replacing the extract in the frosting. I didn’t sift anything in either recipe, the cake or frosting. I don’t have a sifter or the patience, if I’m being honest.
If you look close, the top layer isn’t white– I made my own Funfetti layer of cake. I’ve been wanting to experiment with this for a long time, and my theory was correct: it’s just cake mix with sprinkles. I threw some nonpareils and colored sugar into one layer of the cake and mixed them in (but not too much or they bleed) and I was pretty pleased with the result.
Ombre is easy- you just add progressively more food color to each layer, and bake. The layers will be thinner, so check them early, but not too early- I’m pretty sure the cake will fall if you open the oven too soon. I checked after 15 minutes.
I assembled the cake like a normal cake, with less frosting in between layers. You’ve got to conserve a little, as the frosting recipe is for a two-layer cake, not four.
My friends all loved the cake, and said it was one of the best they’ve eaten. Maybe they were being extra nice (each stuck their finger in the cake before it was cut and had to make it up to me somehow) but have to agree. The cake was light, flavorful and moist. The frosting was buttery (obviously) but didn’t have that weird roof-of-your-mouth feeling you get from some buttercreams. It wasn’t horribly overwhelming. The vanilla bean flecks offer a nice textured look to the frosting, and I put some simple rainbow sprinkles around to make it festive (for no holiday in particular).