I have seen these cakes on Pinterest and knew that I wanted to make one for a special occasion.
That special occasion presented itself recently. My mom loves the color purple, so I decided I would make an Ombre cake for Mother’s Day. I made a vanilla bean cake with vanilla bean frosting. It turned out beautiful…and delicious!
Note: The directions below will make 2- 9 inch cakes. I wanted a four-layer cake, so I doubled both the cake and frosting recipes. If you are making a 4-layer cake, as I did, please make sure to double your prep and bake time (p.s. and the ingredients- but you already knew that!).
Purple Ombre’ Cake
Cake recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 egg whites* (3/4 cup), at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 3/4 cup vanilla bean sugar (regular sugar will also work)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, softened
Gel food coloring
1/2 cup crisco
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 pound powdered sugar (aka confectioners sugar)
1/3 cup whole milk
Gel food coloring
To make the cakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2- 9 inch cake pans. Note: you can either grease and flour the cake pans, or grease them and line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper that has been cut to fit (I like this method!). Set the prepared pans aside.
In a small bowl, combine the milk, egg whites* (I used Egg Beaters 100% Egg Whites), and vanilla bean paste. Mix well and set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and mix on low speed. With the mixer still running, add in the butter and let this mix until it resembles small peas. Add in all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Beat this on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on and add in the remaining milk mixture. Let this mix for an additional 20 seconds.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Note: my top layer did not have any color added to it. Each pan received 1 pound 4 oz. of batter. So I poured the plain batter into the 1st pan, then added coloring to the remaining batter and whisked to combine, then poured that into my 2nd pan. Note: I only used 1 drop of color, as I wanted to work my way from light to dark layers (when I made the 2nd batch of cakes, layer #3 received 2 drops of the gel coloring, layer #4 received 4 drops of coloring- I really wanted the last layer to be dark).
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the sides pull away from the pan and the toothpick test comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove cakes from the pans and place on cooling racks. Let cool completely before applying the frosting.
If you are only making a 2-layer cake, make the frosting while the cakes are cooling:
In a stand mixer using a whisk attachment, combine the shortening and butter. Whisk on high speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer on high for 1 additional minute. Turn the speed to low and add in the vanilla bean paste. Add in the powdered sugar, alternating with the milk. Once those have been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer on high and let it run for 5 minutes. This will allow the frosting to get light and fluffy.
When you are ready to assemble the cake, place the darkest layer of the cake (bottom side up) on a cake board or cake plate. Spread on a layer of frosting (between 1/3 to 1/2 cup), then top with the next lightest layer (note: don’t forget to level your cakes, if needed), working your way to the top. Do a light covering of the entire cake with frosting (crumb coat), and refrigerate for one hour.
When you are ready to decorate, divide your frosting if you wish to have different colors. Note: I made 3 piping bags: #1, I left the frosting as is, #2, I added 1 drop of gel coloring to achieve a light purple, #3, I added 3 drops of coloring for a darker color. To make the rose design, please see this link. Once you are done frosting the cake, refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Made with love, not calories!