Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Birthday Cake

Baking and babies, I have realised lately, don’t really go together. During my pregnancy I envisaged long quiet periods of time stretching out every day whilst the little plum slept. Florence however has different ideas about how her day should pan out and prefers to be part if the action, so my friends, I have mastered the art if baking with a baby in your arms much like I’ve mastered reading whilst bouncing our baby up at down and fending off a miniature dachshund nipping at my toes… These deft skills require recipes which look epic but are actually really not complicated at all hence my choice of a birthday cake for James, it looks extremely clever but I can assure you takes barely any time and can be done whilst being prodded and head butted by a nine week old baby strapped to your front… Here’s how to make it…the recipe is from those lovely people at BBC Good Food Magazine (I would have photographed the whole of the inside of the finished cake had it not been wolfed by us all at the restaurant).

Chocolate and Caramel Ombre CakeChocolate Caramel Ombre CakeChocolate Caramel Ombre Cake

FOR VANILLA & CHOCOLATE SPONGES

  • 225g very soft butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml pot natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder

For caramel & caramel-choc sponges

  • 225g very soft butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml pot natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cocoa

To assemble

  • 397g can caramel (stocked near the condensed milk in stores)
  • 140g dark chocolate
  • 140g milk chocolate
  • 300ml double cream
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment. For the Vanilla & chocolate sponges, mix all the ingredients, apart from the cocoa, together with an electric whisk. Scrape half the mix into a second bowl and whizz in the cocoa. Scrape into the tins and bake for 20-25 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean.
  2. Repeat step 1 for the Caramel & caramel-choc sponges, again leaving cocoa out of the first mixing, then splitting the mix in half and whizzing the cocoa into one batch. Cook as above.
  3. While sponges are cooling, melt the dark and milk chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream and cool or chill until spreadable.
  4. When the sponges are cool, spread a third of the caramel over the Vanilla sponge and top with the Caramel sponge. Spread over another third of the caramel and top with the Caramel-choc sponge, then the final third of caramel and top with the Chocolate sponge (don’t panic if you mix up the layers, the cake will still look great when you cut in). Spread the chocolate icing over the whole cake to serve. It will keep in a cool place in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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