Let me start by saying that my recent obsession with baking cakes is, well, recent. I’ve never really baked. My mum didn’t love it when I was growing up. She would say it was too much effort for just a few minutes that the cakes would last, which is quite true.
This isn’t to say that it was my mum’s fault. No, that’s not what I’m saying. I remember one day we baked a Tyrolean cake (or something like that, I’ve just translated literally from Spanish). I don’t remember what it had… Some ground almonds, and some spirits… It took us ages to bake it, and sure enough, it was gone pretty fast.
We used to cook an orange spongecake, which took like five minutes to mix, and then maybe half an hour in the oven. That was easy enough to be cooked frequently.
Anyway, for a couple of years now, I’ve tried baking bread with more or less success. I’ve also tried to bake several banana bread loaves, and even attempted to bake croissants (and failed!) but I never really tried to make an actual cake. Cakes are tough!
Not too long ago, I brought the pumpkin cake to work, and one of my friends, Jassmina, who was leaving soon, asked me to bake her a leaving cake. She has been working in my team, along with Franziska, and they were both leaving on the same day. I said sure, and asked if she had any preferences. Chocolate and walnuts. Great, I could do that. After much research, I settled for this Chocolate & Caramel Ombre Cake, from BBC Good Food (if you haven’t noticed, many of the food I post here come from that website!), but I left out the walnuts, mainly because I forgot about them, and since the cake didn’t have any…
Now, I should say something here. My kitchen is tiny. When I say this, it’s not out of some snobbish wish for it to be a massive kitchen. No. My kitchen is very small. I don’t have enough countertop space. What? You don’t believe me… It’s alright. Have a look:
That’s all the space I have to manoeuvre. Notice how I even hung the recipe from a cupboard with a hanger, because I didn’t have anywhere to put it otherwise.
This cake requires effort, and space, but hey, do I love a challenge! When I cook, I like being organised, because I tend to forget stuff, so I put everything on display and get it ready. In this case, I thought the food mixer was a good idea (especially after last time I baked!!), so there it is.
First, I needed to make two of the cakes, vanilla and chocolate. Super easy, a piece of cake (nope, that joke is never going to get old… get used to it)!
While those cakes were baking, I washed all the bowls and the processor, ready for the second batch.
I got the cakes out and left them to cool down out of the moulds, on top of a spare oven tray. Since I didn’t have much space, the hot tray on top of the cooker, the countertop full of ingredients and the food processor, I put the tray on top of the sink. Then, I realised I needed to wash the moulds… Right. Hot tray back in the oven for a moment, cooling tray on top of the cooker, wash the moulds, and get everything where intended again.
The second batch were the caramel and caramel chocolate cakes. Yummy! First time using muscovado sugar, I loved the smell.
While those cakes were baking, I started melting the chocolate. Again, probably first time doing this, so I was a bit worried about making (more of) a mess, and getting burnt or something. All in all, I guess I managed.
Once all cakes were cool and ready, it was time to assemble the cake. This part was a bit tricky because the sponges wanted to break apart, and one of them indeed did. I’m not ashamed to admit I might have let out a little scream when that happened. Just a little one though, I knew that as long as the top layer looked good, the rest wouldn’t be noticed!
See? One of the layers broke quite a bit when transferring it… Luckily, you couldn’t notice once the cake was assembled!
Seeing the caramel dripping a bit between the layers made my mouth water. Honestly, look at how gorgeous it looks already! I wasn’t sure how it was all going to end up looking, or tasting, but I was confident. I felt nervous and excited.
I grabbed the melted chocolate and started pouring it over the cake and spreading it with a spatula. My cake decorating skills aren’t the best out there, but hey, it worked, didn’t it?
Look at that shiny, gorgeous layer of chocolate! I wanted to dip my fingers on it… I wanted to dip my whole face!!
I had bought a box to carry the cake, so when I finished I put it in it, and left it for the next day.
I managed not to peek at the cake at all until I got to work. When I was opening the cake, my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. I was worried the layers might have slide off and the whole cake would be destroyed. It wasn’t. It looked great! The chocolate had hardened, which I guess helped keep everything in place.
It was finally time to cut it and see how it all looked. The pressure!
However, I wasn’t disappointed. The cake looked amazing! Not as pretty as the original cake I copied the recipe from, but good enough for it being my first ombre cake. People seemed to like it, they even thought it was bought (mainly because of the box). Everyone stopped at my desk to ask about the cake, and even ask for a piece. People knew there were different flavours, but couldn’t pinpoint which (it’s the muscovado sugar, babe!)
Best of all? My friend loved it. And another friend asked me to bake one for her (well, she said for her wedding, but that’s way too much pressure! I’ll bake her one and if she wants, she can share it with her husband!)
The cake was a success, and I can’t wait to bake another one. Unfortunately, it was expensive so unless people at work want to start donating for ingredients, I’m afraid I won’t be able to bake often.
Were you lucky enough to try this cake? Let me know what you thought about it below!
Have you ever baked an ombre cake? How did it go? What are your favourite sources for cake recipes?
My friends both have blogs around here. You can check them! One of them is 3 Millionen. Unfortunately, this is in German, so I’m not sure what it normally is about, but Franziska loves books, and her last post at the moment is about everything she plans to re-read (thank you, online translators). The other one is Jassmina Nissan, now keep an eye on this one! It’s about fashion and lifestyle. Jassmina has only started this blog today (she has posted stuff in the past, but now she’s in this for real!) and she is super trendy. If you don’t speak German, not a problem, there will be lots of pictures!