An Ombre Cake, the Fall and A Few Other Things

With Labor Day weekend over summer has unofficially ended. The weather is also signaling the end of summer as well. Looking at the extended forecast there doesn’t seem to a day in the 80’s in sight. I am not complaining though. Fall is my favorite season and I very rarely complain about the cold temps the winter brings. While I am not a fan of hazy, hot & humid days of the summer I will rarely complain about them as well. Truthfully, I love being able to enjoy the 4 seasons in my neck of the wood. Although, it seems like Spring happens in the blink of an eye. It’ll start off super cold, then a few rainy days (possibly even snow) and then finally a few Spring-like days and then bam, there will be days of crazy heat before the Summer has truly began.

Labor Day was a rainy one by me. The weekend was beautiful, although, I spent half of it in the kitchen baking, decorating a cake and making floral centerpieces for a bridal shower. The alternative would have probably been yardwork so it’s all good.

I started the day by making Cheesecake Brownie Bites. I’ve been making these for years and while they are always a hit, I probably have tried them once of twice. Crazy I know. Well, I had extra brownie and cheesecake batter so I made a few extra that I ended up snacking on throughout the day and I will definitely be eating them the next time I make them.

After running a few errands I came back home and got to work on the cake. The plan was a two-tier blue ombre buttercream cake decorated with fresh sunflowers. To save myself time (and stress) I baked the cake layers a few days before, let them cool and then wrapped them in plastic wrap to store in the refrigerator. I started by making my short-cut chocolate mousse and then refrigerated it while I whipped up a batch of vanilla frosting. Once the frosting was done I then torte, filled and crumb coated the two tiers. Each tier was a three-layer cake – chocolate cake sandwiched between two yellow caked. Once 6-inch, the other a 9-inch.

I then placed the cakes in the refrigerator and whipped up two more batches of vanilla frosting. Yes, this cake took about 12 cups of frosting to complete. I’ve learned that it’s best to have left-over frosting as opposed to barely enough, especially when tinting the frosting. One time I was decorating a cake with a ruffle design in pink frosting. Well, by the time I got to the top of the cake I had run out of the pink frosting so I ended up having to frost the top of the cake with white frosting. It didn’t look bad, but, I was definitely kicking myself. Once I was done making the frosting it was time to tint it. I used three Wilton colors to create the ombre effect – Royal Blue, Cornflower Blue & Sky Blue. Once the frosting was ready I started by frosting the top of each of the cake. The smaller tier with while frosting and larger tier with the cornflower blue frosting. I filled piping bags with the remaining frosting and snipped the ends off the bag.

I began by piping the bottom of the larger tier with the royal blue frosting. I then switched to the cornflower blue frosting to finish piping the sides of the cake. Next I used a straight edge icing spatula to smooth the sides of the cake. And finally I used a small spoon to create stripes on the cake by dragging it along the frosting while spinning the turntable.

After placing the smaller tiered cake on the larger one and securing it with a wooden dowel I repeated the frosting and decorating process using the sky blue and white frosting. At this point I popped the cake in the refrigerator overnight so the frosting could set (and I could take a break).

After resting and taking a dinner break I got to work on the centerpieces.

The next morning it was back to the cake. Here’s a pic of the cake before adding the sunflowers…

And with the flowers added…

And finally on display at the bridal shower.

So, now that Fall is right around the corner it’s, dare I say, time to think about the holidays, especially if you are planning on doing any crafting for it. Earlier this year I started crocheting hexagons to make a Christmas tree skirt. I completed about 2/3 of the hexagons but I put the project on hold as I couldn’t find 4 skeins of the same dye lot of the green yarn I wanted to use. I finally got them so that project is back on. Fingers crossed I will get it done. I started working on the hexagons again and for some reason the size is not matching up to the ones I made earlier. I keep ending up with an extra side, so instead of hexagons I am making heptagons. Not sure what I am doing wrong. I made so many hexagons already that I thought making them would utilize muscle memory but something is off. Ugh! I also started looking at Christmas card designs on Pinterest during some downtime. I think I know what I am making this year. I always wait until the last minute to make my cards and I am doing by best this year to start early so I am not scrambling in mid-December. If all this talk about the holidays has you stressing out, I apologize. At least I haven’t started shopping. Back to Fall though, I started decorating with some pumpkins around the house, nothing outside though. I will wait until it’s actually Fall to do that. I was almost tempted to put up my scarecrows but I held off. And of course there is baking… I’ve got some ideas for Fall treats and I am already looking ahead to Christmas cookies. Sorry, I brought it up again. But, my fellow crafters and bakers know where I am coming from. You’ve got to be a season ahead with these things, especially when you are blogging about them. For now… Happy Fall Y’all (albeit a few weeks early!)

Candy Corn Inspired Ombre Cake

Not all Halloween treats have to be spooky ones. This ombre cake is simple to make with 2 tubs of vanilla frosting, a box of white cake mix, yellow and orange food colors, your favorite cake filling and is inspired by a candy that is synonymous with Fall… Candy Corn. There’s nothing spooky about that.

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I used my Wilton 5-layer pan set to make this cake since I wanted the inside of the cake to emulate a piece of candy corn as well. But, there’s no need to get that precise. You could simply bake a two-layer, three-layer or a one-layer cake and let the frosting on the outside speak for itself.

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Since I was planning on tinting the cake batter I opted to use a box of Betty Crocker White cake mix. Betty Crocker is my go-to cake mix when I am not in the mood or just don’t have the time to make a cake from scratch.

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After mixing the batter per the directions on the box I divided the batter to tint it. From making quite a few cakes in the past I knew that the batter yielded about 4 cups so each pan would have just shy of a cup of batter. Since the top layer of the cake was going to be white I immediately poured that batter into one of the prepared pans (I sprayed it with baking spray) and then divvied up the rest of the batter to tint – about 3 cups for the orange layers and 1 cup for the yellow layer.

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Following that I poured the yellow batter (the bottom layer) in the prepared pan and divided the orange batter (the middle layers) among the three remaining pans.

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I then placed all of the pans on a rack in my 350 F preheated oven for about 15 minutes and after letting the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they cooled, I did a little torting to make sure the layers would sit evenly on top of one another…

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It was then time to fill the layers – I opted to fill them with a quick vanilla mousse recipe that uses two ingredients: 2 cups of heavy cream and Jell-O vanilla pudding mix.

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And then I crumb coated the cake with vanilla frosting and placed it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

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Then it was time to create the candy corn ombre effect on the outside of the cake. I tinted about a cup and a half of the vanilla frosting with the yellow food color and frosted that along the bottom of the cake…

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Next I tinted about two and a half cups of the vanilla frosting with the orange food color and spread that along the middle of the cake and finally I used the vanilla frosting untinted to frost the remaining portion of the side of the cake as well as the top of the cake. To create the ombre effect, I smoothed the sides of the cake with a long icing spatula.

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And for presentation some candy corns around the base of cake…

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And here’s a peek inside…

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And there you have it, a super cute and super simple unspooky Halloween treat!