Ok, I know what you’re thinking…
“I didn’t know you could eat hydrangeas!”
Well, the truth is… you can’t.
Sorry about that. This isn’t a cool, foraged, free food recipe. It’s just a pretty cake that I made to look like my favourite flowers!
I made this cake for our #TWGBBO – the online bake-along we started to replace the gap in our Tuesday night schedules left when the Great British Bake Off finished. So far we’ve made Halloween biscuits and loaf cakes and it’s been a real blast.
So, to get on to the cake…
This is a very simple Victoria Sponge type-mixture of 8oz of sugar, butter and flour with 4 eggs, baking powder, a dash of vanilla and a pinch of salt. I made it very carefully because it was going to be a big loaf cake and I wanted it to be light. I creamed the butter and sugar til very light, whipped the eggs in and then gently folded in the flour. I used a very good quality vanilla essence for a rich flavour and a pinch of salt to bring it out.
My aim when making the cake was to make a beautiful pink ombre cake, like above but without separate layers. I wanted the colour to fade gracefully from dark pink at the top to plain sponge at the bottom. I carefully layered up cake mix, gradually adding a little more pink colouring gel to each one, only for it to all whirl around in the oven and leave me with… marble cake! I guess if it has to go wrong, this isn’t so bad… it still looks super pretty!
Still, my cake beaters were ombre, even if the cake wasn’t!
To make the icing it was a simple buttercream – I used soft buttercream with icing sugar and whipped it together to make it light. I also added a dash of milk and a pinch of salt – not something I usually do with icing, but it really helped balance the sweetness. Only do that if your butter is unsalted though!
To make the pretty two-tone effect – like my favourite hydrangea petals – I mixed two batches of icing using different food colouring gels. I added only a tiny amount as I wanted the colours to be light & pastel and a little of the gels goes a long way! Then I put a big spoon of each into a piping bag, layering them up slightly. You don’t need to do this in any special way as they start to mix when you begin piping.
So, when my cake had cooled I began to pipe little flat flowers onto the top of the cake. I have a piping nozzle which is star shaped and open at the end – a Wilton 1m, the same as the one on the left:
After a bit of practice I found the best way to create the look I wanted, to mimic the flat flowers of the hydrangea. I kept the nozzle fairly close to the cake and squeezed firmly to push the icing out and keep it fairly low. I found this was the best way to get the ruffly, frilly, floral look I was after. I then piped in rows, doing my best to keep them close together and of equal size. I didn’t do badly, but this is something I think I could improve in the future.
So, here is my pretty, frilly two-tone hydrangea cake:
I put in a lot of pictures because it’s just so pretty!
Hope you like it!