Chocolate Ombré Cake with Salted Caramel
This fabulous multi-tiered chocolate ombré cake with salted caramel, is perfect for any celebration
- 425g (15oz) plain flour, sifted
- 25g (1oz) baking powder
- 200g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 300g (10oz) icing sugar
- 6 large free-range egg whites, lightly beaten
- 275ml (9½fl oz) milk
- 1½tsp vanilla extract
- 4tbsp cocoa powder
- 5½tsp instant coffee granules
- ½tsp black food colouring
- sprinkles, to decorate (we used Waitrose Bronze Crunch Pieces)
- 400g (14oz) good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 400ml (14fl oz) double cream
- 150ml (¼pt) double cream
- 125g (4½oz) dulce de leche or Carnation caramel
- 1tsp sea salt
- 5 x 19cm (7½in) sandwich tins, greased and the bases and sides lined with baking parchment (see cook's note)
Cook's note: You'll need to bake the sponges in 2 batches (so you can make this with fewer cake tins). You can make the cake the day before serving – just keep it in a cool place.
- Heat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, 350F, gas 4. Sift the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl, and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar until creamy and pale. Now gradually beat in the egg whites, a little at a time, and mix well after each addition.
- Fold in the flour and baking powder, then add 150ml (¼pt) of the milk and the vanilla extract in 2 additions. Divide the mix equally between 5 bowls - the best way to do this is by weight to get an even cake.
- For the first sponge, carefully fold 25ml (1fl oz) of the milk into the cake mix in the first bowl.
- For the second sponge, mix 25ml (1fl oz) of the milk and ½tsp cocoa in a jug, and fold into the cake mix in the second bowl.
- For the third sponge, mix 25ml (1fl oz) of the milk, 1tsp of cocoa and 1tsp coffee granules in a jug until dissolved, and fold into the cake mix in the third bowl.
- For the fourth sponge, mix 25ml (1fl oz) of the milk, 1½tbsp cocoa and ½tbsp coffee granules in a jug until dissolved, and fold into the cake mix in the fourth bowl.
- For the fifth sponge, mix 25ml (1fl oz) of the milk, 2tbsp cocoa powder, 1tbsp coffee granules and the black food colouring in a jug until dissolved, and fold into the cake mix in the fifth bowl.
- Spoon into the cake tins, smooth the tops and bake in batches for 12 to 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Once cooked, allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the ganache, place the chocolate pieces in a bowl. Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until it just reaches scalding point then pour over the chocolate pieces. Leave to melt for a few minutes, then whisk to create the ganache. Cool.
- To make the salted caramel, whisk the cream to soft peaks then mix in the dulce de leche and sea salt. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- To assemble the cake, place the darkest coloured sponge on a plate or cake stand and spread with some salted caramel cream. Top with the next darkest sponge and spread with some ganache. Repeat with the remaining sponges, alternating the caramel and ganache, and going from the darkest to lightest sponge. Finally, cover the whole cake with the remaining ganache. Decorate with sprinkles.