Petal Ombré Cake

Photo thanks to Siobhan at BeaSpoke Quilts

Things to view with suspicion: people who wear sneakers and track pants more than necessary and don't get any thinner, people who write baking blogs and complain about not getting any thinner, people who have multiple subscriptions to food magazines and a) don't get time to read them b) complain about not getting any thinner, people who don't strictly work for a living but complain about not having any time, particularly for exercising, and therefore complain about not getting any thinner.

Shut up already, I know. It's just because Anthopologie keeps emailing me pictures of pretty dresses and I think, oh I can see me in that, oh, wait no, I've just had a baby and August is cake month.

The forecast for girly whining in the coming weeks is dire. If I was Mr LP, I'd invest in earmuffs and practice my eye-rolling.

Photo thanks to Siobhan at BeaSpoke Quilts

So anyway, this is me making the best of it. If you've got five birthday cakes and a couple of extras on your horizon, may as well make them good.

I noticed too that it isn't August yet. Yes well cake month started early this year with Master O's triple layered petal ombre baptism cake.

I first saw this deceptively detailed style of frosting on Pretty Prudent in a tutorial by The Hungry Housewife and filed it under "one day." If you're going to attempt this cake, I recommend having a look at the step by step pics here.

I thought it would be extreme on the difficult and fiddly scale but it was actually kind of easy. This was in part because I kept to a simple vanilla pound cake and also because I took a shortcut and used three shades of frosting instead of six.

The original recipe calls for traditional buttercream frosting but I jazzed it up a little with a silky meringue buttercream and filled the layers with whipped white chocolate ganache.

Once I found my groove with the technique, the petals were done in less than an hour. Spare time never happens to me, so I was quietly smug.

My shortcut meant that some of the ombré shading was lost, and I used longer strokes with my pallet knife because I thought I was going to be short on frosting* but I still think the finished cake was pretty - if a little rustic. People said lots of lovely things to me about it, like how professional it looked, which is always reassuring when you've swapped a newsroom for a kitchen. Now all I have to do is take my trackpant wearing butt and swap the kitchen for the pavement once in a while before September.
*I ended up with frosting left over so I will shorten my strokes slightly next time. 

Photo thanks to Matt Rogers

To create the white chocolate disc in the centre of the cake, place a large circle shaped pastry cutter with a smooth edge onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and pour in 100g of melted white chocolate. Place in the fridge for at least an hour until set hard, then slide it out and pipe your message with melted, slightly cooled, dark chocolate.

Here is another, on top of part two of cake month: a rainbow cake for a friend's twin girls. Recipe here.

Coming next week, a caramel slice cake that I will attempt to make look pretty and girly as per the brief for my niece's high tea party. Any ideas for how to make this happen are very welcome!

Petal Ombré Cake
*You will need to start this recipe a day ahead.

250g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup milk
Blue and violet gel food colouring

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line the bases of three 22cm round cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
Transfer to a large bowl and stir in half the flour and milk, followed by remaining flour and milk.
Divide the mixture evenly between cake tins, spread to the edges and smooth the tops.
Bake for 18-20 mins, or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool at least 5 minutes in tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Cakes can be stored in an airtight container overnight or frozen for up to two months.

White Chocolate Ganache
400g white chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
200ml single pouring cream

Place white chocolate pieces in a bowl.
Heat cream to nearly boiling and then pour it over the white chocolate.
Whisk by hand until combined. Leave to thicken overnight.

For the meringue buttercream frosting, I followed this recipe by Warren Brown and flavoured it with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

To assemble, prepare a cake board, position one cake in the centre and then spread with white chocolate ganache using a pallet knife. Repeat with remaining cakes. Also spread the ganache over the top of the cake, taking care to smooth the top with a pallet knife.
Spread a thin layer of meringue buttercream over the sides of the cake, then divide the remaining mixture between four bowls.
Leave one bowl vanilla, tint the next bowl with 1 teaspoon of blue food colouring and 1/2 teaspoon of violet food colouring. Combine the remaining two bowls together and tint with 1/2 teaspoon of blue food colouring.
Place the three different colours of meringue buttercream into three disposable piping bags fitted with size 12 plain nozzles.
Pipe generous dots down the side of the cake in this order from top to bottom: vanilla, light blue, light blue, dark blue. Smooth into petal shapes with a pallet knife as per tutorial. Repeat with the rest of the cake until the sides are complete. Follow the same pattern on the top of the cake. If using a white chocolate message disc, leave a 10cm round circle in the centre. When frosting on top of the cake is complete, place bite chocolate disc in the centre. 

Birthday candles would look great placed around the disc.

Photo thanks to Siobhan at BeaSpoke Quilts


  1. Both of those cakes are just amazing! Love the ombre look - and the fact you managed to do all of that with a toddler and baby in the house. Maybe a white and dark marbled effect on the caramel slice cake would look pretty?

    1. Thanks Kate! I'm constantly amazed anything gets done around here too. Good idea for the caramel slice cake. Will have a practice run this week :) Larissa

  2. Gorgeous cakes - I love the ombre one best I think.


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