Ombr é Easter Layer Cake

Essentials (South Africa) - - FOOD -

Serves 16 Ready in 1 hr 30 min

400g un­salted but­ter

400g castor sugar

2 tsp almond extract

2 tsp vanilla extract

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon 8 large eggs

100g ground al­monds

400g self-rais­ing flour

150ml milk

Yel­low, pink and pur­ple gel food colour­ing (try a spe­cial­ist bak­ing sup­ply store) To as­sem­ble

285g strawberry jam

200g white Swiss choco­late, bro­ken into squares

250g un­salted but­ter, at room tem­per­a­ture

250g ic­ing sugar, sieved

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g mini-eggs

1 Heat the oven to 160°C. Put the but­ter, sugar, almond and vanilla ex­tracts and lemon zest and juice in the bowl of a free-stand­ing mixer and cream to­gether un­til pale and fluffy. Grad­u­ally beat in the eggs and ground al­monds. Fold in the flour.

2 Di­vide the mix­ture equally be­tween 5 bowls. Get an­other 5 bowls and pour 2 tbsp milk into each one. Put 1 drop of yel­low food colour­ing into 1 bowl and 2 drops of yel­low into an­other bowl. Add 1 drop of pink colour­ing to an­other bowl, 2 drops to an­other and 3 drops to the fi­nal bowl with 1 drop of pur­ple for the deep­est shade. Stir the coloured milk into each of the bowls of cake mix­ture.

3 Spoon in­di­vid­ual mix­tures into 5 x 20cm sand­wich tins, greased and lined (it’s fine to bake in batches if you only have a cou­ple of tins) and bake each cake for 15-20 min, or un­til a cock­tail stick in­serted in the cen­tre comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

4 Sand­wich the cakes to­gether with jam – start with the dark­est and end with the light­est. Melt the white choco­late in a heat­proof bowl over a pan of sim­mer­ing water, then cool slightly. Beat the but­ter to­gether with one-third of the ic­ing sugar. Grad­u­ally beat in the re­main­ing ic­ing sugar and vanilla extract un­til smooth, then beat in the cooled, melted white choco­late un­til smooth.

5 Di­vide the ic­ing be­tween 3 bowls – put more of it in 1 of the bowls. Add 2 drops of yel­low colour­ing to the gen­er­ous bowl, 1 drop of pink colour­ing to an­other and 2 drops of pink colour­ing and 1 drop of pur­ple to the other bowl. Mix each one un­til evenly coloured.

6 Put the cake onto your serv­ing plate or stand. Spread the sur­face of the cake with half of the yel­low but­ter­cream, then smooth it over the top sides. Add a dol­lop to the top cen­tre. Use a pal­ette knife to spread pink but­ter­cream around the mid­dle sides of the cake and pur­ple around the base. Smooth the colours to­gether by run­ning a pal­ette knife around the cake. Top with mini-eggs.

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