Raspberry Caramel Ombre Cake

In my book, summer = colour and fruit. You might have noticed quite a lot of fruit-related posts, recently. The thing is the sunshine and the delicate warmth on my skin reminds me of my childhood, when I used to go to the seaside. There, on the scorching beach, my grandma would give me the sweetest and juiciest apricots you will ever find. And yes, I can stipulate memories are more vivid in taste than actual reality. When basked in the light, all colours turns deeper and more intense, which is exactly why baking with fruit gives a visual pleasure as well, and not one to underestimate. After all, we eat first with our eyes and if they are happy, chances are our tummies won’t be disappointed.

This cake uses ombre icing, which I have dealt with before. If you want more background knowledge on the topic, go here. Being a caramel cake, it would be desirable to tinge your icing a light brown. If you, like me, don’t have such colouring paste and would like to avoid having to buy one just for the occasion, some yellow with a tiny bit of orange is also really good. Alternatively, you can leave it plain. The icing already contains some caramel, which lends it its toffee-like amber colour anyway. Use locally sourced raspberries, if you can. We all know the ones grown abroad don’t taste anything like the real thing because they have piled up mile after mile when being transported (which also increases their carbon footprint). As a rule of thumb, smell them. If you can smell the perfume of ripe berries, then go for them. Otherwise, use a different fruit (strawberries or blueberries would also be excellent in this). The recipe comes from the July issue of the BBC Good Food magazine (with a few amendments).

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Ingredients (for the cake)

  • 400g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g soft light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 395g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 200g raspberries, washed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients (for the icing and filling)

  • 397g can caramel (Carnation is fine)
  • 300g full-fat cream cheese
  • 140g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g raspberries, washed
  • pink, yellow and orange food colouring

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C. Grease and line two deep 20cm cake tins with baking parchment.
  2. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt over high heat with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder, vanilla bean paste and milk. Mix to combine, then use a spatula to gently fold in the raspberries.
  4. Divide the mixture between the two tins, spread it evenly and bake for 50-55 minutes. Check with a skewer the sponges are cooked through, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Remove from the tins.
  5. To make the icing, put 1 tbsp of the caramel in a large bowl with the cream cheese and butter, then mix well to combine. Slowly add the icing sugar in batches and mix that in. Be careful not to overmix the icing or it will go runny.
  6. When your cakes are cool, use a serrated knife to split each sponge in half, then set the first half on the cake board or platter. Spread about a third of the caramel on top, then dot some of the strawberries. Cover with another sponge and repeat the process until you have run out of caramel, sponges and raspberries.
  7. Using roughly a third of the icing, spread a thin layer all over the top and side of the cake. This will act as a crumb barrier and will avoid spoiling the icing later. Don’t worry too much about making it perfectly smooth. Put the iced cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Divide the remaining icing in two, putting about a third in another bowl. Add the pink food colouring to the latter and tinge the icing a deep pink. Use the other food colouring to tinge the bigger batch of icing a golden caramel colour.
  9. Once the crumb layer has hardened a little, remove the cake from the fridge and use a palette knife to spread the pink icing on the side of the cake, reaching only halfway through to the top. Clean your palette knife and use the golden icing to cover the top and the remaining space on the sides of the cake, until it meets with the pink icing. The sides will look a bit weird at this stage, with a pink stripe at the bottom and a golden one at the top.
  10. Clean your palette knife once again and gently swipe the icing upwards, through the pink into the golden caramel one, in order to blend the colours together. You can mix it as much as you like. Smooth the top as well, if you want.
  11. Before serving, chill the cake for at least 30 minutes. This will harden the icing a little.

I am sorry there isn’t a picture of the sliced cake, but I gave this to my partner to take to work! That’s why I took my picture with the recipe in the magazine in the background, just to give you an idea.

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