Friday 29 June 2012

Purple Ombre Cake!

 Happy Birthday, Nate!

Joan and I decided to surprise Nate Dogg with a purple ombre cake for his birthday earlier this month. He is an alumni at UW and a huge fan of the Huskies! It was only fitting to frost this cake in shades of purple...right!?

I originally found the idea for this cake from Glory of Glorious Treats. She did the cake in shades of pink and it was absolutely beautiful. I couldn't wait to try and recreate it. Joan and I split the project as it is time consuming and should be done in 2 days so you don't spend all day in the kitchen. On day one she made the cake layers and on day two she made the frosting in variations of purple. I then took over the project and assembled the cake layers and piped the frosting. 

For the cake, you will need the following:
*Recipe adapted from
3 3/4 c. cake flour
1 T. and 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt

6 eggs room temperature
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 T. and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. canola oil or other oil
1 1/2 c. buttermilk

* Preheat oven to 350*F.
* Prepare your baking pans, butter and flour, then line the bottom with a round of parchment.
* In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then, set aside.

* In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat.

* Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.  
* The batter will be thin.  
* Divide the batter evenly between 5 bowls
* Using the color of your choice, color the batter in each bowl. Start with the darkest and go from that point. The color hue should go from light to dark.

* Pour batter into  prepared pans. I have three 9" pans, I baked three then followed with the remaining two layers.
* Bake cake in pre-heated oven for 14 minutes, when inserted toothpick, comes out clean.
* Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.

* A note about Cake Flour-  Cake Flour has a lower protein content than traditional all-purpose flour, which results in a more tender, delicate crumb in the finished product.  If you can not find or access cake flour, feel free to substitute as necessary, but your results will vary from the original recipe. I have used all purpose flour, and sifted it three times, it is better than not sifting.

For the cream cheese frosting you will need the following:
*Recipe courtesy of

1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) butter (set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool)
24 oz. (3 boxes) cream cheese (directly from fridge)
1 T. vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
12 cups powdered confectioners sugar
3 to 12 T. heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds) 

*Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
*Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
*Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don’t add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cake)
* Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

* Divide the frosting between four bowls, one bowl with a bit more than the others (the one that will be the lightest color, because it’s used for the top as well as one row of swirls).  I colored the frosting with Wilton's Violet (and a little Duff's Blue for just the darkest color). Also, reserve a small amount of frosting (maybe 1 cup) in the mixing bowl, to use between the layers, and to very thinly frost the outside (crumb coat).

*Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

~ Assembly ~

Layer the cakes, darkest on the bottom, frost with a very thin layer of icing between each layer.  Frost the outside of the cake with a thin layer of frosting.  Smooth as well as you can (I use an offset spatula), but it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Place the entire cake in the freezer about 10 minutes for the icing to set, and the whole cake will firm up (making it much easier to decorate).

Prepare a piping bag with a #21 Wilton tip (a moderate sized open star).  This is the tip I used, but other open star tips could also work.  Fill piping bag with the darkest color icing.

Remove cake from freezer, and start along the bottom of the cake, creating rows of swirls.  For each swirl, start in the center of the ”rose” shape and pipe in a spiral around the center, about 1 1/2 rotations.  Continue along the bottom of the cake, creating rose-like swirls.

Repeat with remaining colors of icing.  You may find that there will be some areas in each row that don’t get fully covered, to fill in the little empty spaces just squeeze in some icing, in a curved shape (like a ”C”) to mimic the rest of the swirls a bit.  For the top of the cake I used a combination of swirls and some “C” curves for a looser, wavy effect.

I wanted to show the layers, however this isn't the best picture:-)

Once fully frosted, store the in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Serve with milk, or coffee to accompany the pure sweetness of this cake. You can make this with all sorts of different color variations like shades of turquoise or yellow, how pretty! We would love to know if any of you decide to create this cake and what colors you used!

Happy Friday to all! Have a wonderful weekend! Ciao ~Amy


  1. Amy, you are an amazing baker, a natural. I have been, enjoying listening to your knowledge about different flours and sugars. I enjoy working with you on all the projects so far, and am looking forward to our future projects! Love you!

  2. Such an awesome cake!! Go Dawgs :-)


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