This year's creation for my eldest brother's birthday is a caramel macchiato ombre gateau!
I made the cake at my companion's house, where he had no fudge pieces to decorate it. Luckily, there were some in my Mum's house, where the celebration was held.
My eldest brother's birthday is the first in the year, which is convenient for the first born, and he--like our dad--likes coffee cake. And after years and years of simple old coffee cakes, you start to crave something a little different. As for the icing, I've never done an ombre, or gradient, effect cake before, so I thought I'd give it a go.
I took my inspiration from an American coffee shop classic: the caramel macchiato. Espresso mixed with some caramel syrup, topped off with a dollop of steamed milk foam. Although I could have done some white icing rosettes on the top of this cake to represent the milk foam, I decided to stick with my two tone pallet.
Using the caramel and coffee flavours and colours, I faded the two colours together nicely for a first attempt! There are countless tutorials on YouTube for ombre icing, and there is no point in reinventing the wheel: I will trust that you will find a tutorial online that best describes the process, because explaining it in writing is actually very challenging. I tried writing a few drafts, but I just couldn't quite capture it.
I used some delicious Lavazza coffee to make the cakes, and I mixed the brewed coffee with a little instant to up the ante and give it a super coffee kick, as well as including some ground beans in the cake itself.
☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☒ Dairy (dairy substitutes can be found in italics)
☒ Refined sugar products
For one large 8 inch (22 centimetre) round cake
- 7 ounces (200 grammes) white spelt flour
- 2 ounces (55 grammes) cornflour
- ½ teaspoon (3 millilitres) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (3 millilitres) baking soda
- 6 ounces (170 grammes) butter, at room temperature, or margarine
- 6 ounces (170 grammes) caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) vanilla essence
- 3 ounces (85 grammes) brown sugar
- 6 fluid ounces (180 millilitres) very strong coffee, either brewed or instant
- Optional: 1 level tablespoon (15 millilitres) ground coffee
For the caramel,
- 6 fluid ounces (180 millilitres) evaporated milk, cream, lactose free cream or cream substitute
- 6 ounces (170 grammes) light brown sugar
- 3 ounces (85 grammes) butter, or margarine
- 1 ounce (30 grammes) golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla essence
- ¼ teaspoon (2 millilitres) salt
- 12 ounces (340 grammes) icing sugar, sifted
- 3 ounces (85 grammes) butter, at room temperature, or margarine
- 3 ounces (85 grammes) vegetable fat, at room temperature
- 4 ounces (115 grammes) caramel, as prepared above
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 millilitres) cream, or evaporated milk, or regular milk or milk substitute
- 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) instant coffee
- 2 tablespoons (30 millilitres) boiling water
- Fudge or caramel sweets, cut into ¼ inch (5 millimetre) cubes
First of all, make the caramel sauce.
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat together over medium-low heat, until all ingredients are melted and combined,
- Once you achieve a smooth mixture, raise the temperature to medium-high and cook vigorously until the consistency becomes thick and creamy. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your cooker.
- Pour into a pre-warmed bowl--to prevent the ceramic from cracking, just swish some hot water around in the bowl and tip it out--and allow to cool to room temperature, which should take about an hour or two.
- Once cool, chill in the fridge for about an hour until it becomes thick and spreadable.
While the caramel is cooling and thickening, make the cake.
- Preheat your oven to 170ºC (325ºF, Gas Mk. 3), and grease and flour an 8 inch (22 centimetre) deep round cake tin.
- Prepare the cake according to this recipe, using coffee instead of cocoa powder and hot water, and sifting the cornflour in with the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until fully baked and a skewer comes out clean. Cool as instructed.
For the icing,
- Dissolve the instant coffee into the hot water and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Beat the vegetable fat until creamy with an electric mixer, then add the butter. Continue to beat until fully combined.
- Beat in 4 ounces (115 grammes) of the prepared caramel until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in half the icing sugar on a low speed until combined, then the rest of the icing sugar. Adjust the consistency with the cream, or substitute, if needed.
- Split the icing into two batches, and mix the dissolved coffee into one of the batches.
- Cut the dome off the cake, then slice in half horizontally. Attach the top half of the cake to its platter with a tiny smear of the filling to make the bottom layer. Spoon the remaining caramel sauce onto the cake layer and spread out with a palette knife (or butter knife) until it's about half an inch (1 centimetre) from the edge.
- Using the caramel icing, ice the whole cake with a very thin crumb coat. Chill for a full hour.
- Once chilled, you can ice in a gradient affect: ice the top normally with the caramel icing, then the top half of the sides with a very thick layer of caramel icing; you should use all of the caramel icing in this process. Ice the lower half thickly with half of the coffee icing. Then, smooth out the edges in confident strokes to create the gradient. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube about this, and watching is better than reading when it comes to these things.
- Mix the excess icing with the remaining coffee icing, place into a piping bag with a large round tip, and pipe decorations around the bottom edge and top edge of the cake.
- Sprinkle the top with the cut caramel or fudge.
- You may have some icing left over from making this cake. If so, you can use it for another project, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
THIS TIME IN 2016: Coffee 'Cheesecake' Gâteau
THIS TIME IN 2015: Orange Mocha Gâteau (Wheat Free)