Colour on cakes has become very fashionable in the world of baking. People now want to learn how to perfect their piping skills. While fruitcake is traditional and still popular among some guests, many couples are now opting for less traditional sponge cakes for their special day. This ombre rose cake is simple and elegant, making it ideal for a small wedding or family occasion.
- 8 large eggs
- 225g granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 170g plain flour
- 55g cornflour
- Margarine and flour to grease the tins
- 300g raspberries
- 5 large egg whites or 200ml pasteurised egg whites, these come in a carton and are available in most supermarkets
- 300g granulated sugar
- 450g unsalted butter, very soft
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200g raspberries
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- Pink food colouring
- Piping bags
- Open star nozzle
For the Génoise sponge:
This is one of the very first cakes I ever learnt how to make. It has no fat in it, which makes it very moist. This sponge can be frozen in advance. If making fresh, it is best made the day before
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Grease three 18cm cake tins with margarine and flour. Line the base with a 18cm circle of baking paper.
- Place the eggs, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Place over a saucepan one third filled with warm water. Whisk until the mixture begins to feel hot. Remove from the water and keep whipping on a high speed until the egg mixture has cooled. It should be light, fluffy and high in volume.
- Sieve both flours together. Place them back in the sieve and shake a small amount over the whipped egg mixture. Very gently, fold the flour in. Then add in a little more flour. Repeat this
- Pour the sponge mix into the prepared cake tins and cook immediately. Bake for 10 minutes at 200ºC/gas mark 6, then reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC/gas mark 4 for 10-15 minutes more. Check the sponge is cooked by placing a cocktail stick in the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
- Allow to cool in the cake tins for 15 minutes. Then unmould and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Génoise sponge freezes perfectly and can be kept in the freezer for three months.
For the Swiss raspberry buttercream:
To fill and ice the cake you will need two batches for the Swiss raspberry buttercream. For the best results don’t double up the recipe, make each batch separately. I like to bake with frozen raspberries when not in season. They are still delicious in flavour as they are picked at their ripest, then frozen quickly to help preserve all of the juicy taste. If like me you’re not a fan of the traditional buttercream, this recipe will change your mind. It is not overly sweet or gritty, but has more of a mousse texture. This buttercream does not freeze but keeps in the fridge for five days. Just make sure you take it out a few hours before use to allow it to soften.
- If using frozen raspberries, allow to defrost first. Place the raspberries in a blender and liquidise. Then strain through a sieve to remove all of the seed to make a smooth raspberry purée.
- Place the egg whites, salt and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then put the bowl over a bowl of simmering water. Whisk the mixture together. When the sugar has completely melted, remove from the heat. The mixture should feel hot to the touch. If you have a sugar thermometer cook until it reaches 55ºC- 60ºC.
- Remove from the heat and whisk with an electrical mixer for about 6-8 minutes on a high speed until the egg whites are cool to the touch and look like meringue. Make sure the egg whites are cool to the touch before adding in the butter or else the buttercream will split.
- Cut the softened butter into small cubes. Make sure the butter is soft and at room temperature or else the buttercream could split. Lower the speed of the mixer and start adding in the butter, cube by cube, until it is all incorporated into the buttercream. Increase the speed and whisk for one minute. Lower the speed, and slowly pour in the raspberry purée and vanilla extract. Whisk on a high speed for one more minute.
- Repeat this process to make a second batch.
Assembling the cake
- Slice each of the three sponge cakes in two and assemble the layers. Place one half of the sponges on the bottom of a cake board or large plate.
- Liquidise the raspberries, then strain through a sieve to remove all of the seeds to make a smooth raspberry purée. Dab a little raspberry purée all over the sponge. Add some icing sugar to the raspberry purée if you like it sweeter.
- Put a thin layer of the Swiss buttercream over the sponge. Then place the next layer of sponge on top and repeat the first step. Finish by putting the last piece of sponge on top. See tip. Cover the entire cake in the raspberry Swiss buttercream icing. Then place in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Divide the remaining icing into five separate bowls. Add a small drop of pink food colouring into the first bowl, two drops into the second bowl, three drops into the third bowl and four drops into the fourth bowl. This will mean the fifth bowl will be the lightest in colour. Stir each bowl to create five different colour shades.
- Fill the piping bag fitted with the open star nozzle with the darkest shade of buttercream. Hold the piping bag straight in front of you and apply gentle pressure to it.
- Pipe a spiral of buttercream in a circular motion. Then repeat this until there is a row of buttercream roses all around the base of the cake. Wipe the piping bag clean, then fill it with the next darkest shade of pink buttercream. Then repeat as you did with the bottom row all around the cake. Keep building up the buttercream roses until you reach the top of the cake and the lightest shade.
- Decorate the top of the cake with any leftover buttercream. Store it in the fridge until ready to display and serve, keeping it away from strong smells as the buttercream will absorb them.
TIP: To make this taste of chocolate, omit 60g of plain flour and add 60g of cocoa instead.