Pink Ombré Cake

I’m not much of a girly girl. Most days, I’m sporting jeans, a t-shirt of some description and a flyaway ponytail, if I can get away with it. But when I stumbled upon this awesome pink ombré cake video tutorial, I couldn’t help myself – I squealed and jumped around in the girliest of girly girl ways for a good minute or two. Partly because I’ve been itching to try an ombré recipe for a while now, but also because Ann from How To Cook That makes it look like an absolute cakewalk – pun very much intended. 😉


Not that I nailed it – as you can see, I totally botched some of the icing, whoops! – but overall, I’m pretty chuffed with how it turned out first time around. Besides, practise makes perfect, right? I’ve seen some crazy beautiful ombré cakes with impeccable rose petal icing and am already toying with the idea of attempting one myself.


Anyway, onto the cake! I opted for a sponge, but you can use any cake that tickles your fancy. This was my first time ever making a sponge, so not even knowing where to start, I took to good old reliable Google and stumbled upon Donna Hay’s basic sponge cake recipe. I was a little puzzled at first, since there didn’t appear to be any sort of rising agent in the recipe aside from the eggs, but it didn’t seem to be a problem when I popped four beautiful golden babies out of the oven – not a euphemism, in case you were wondering. 😉


Ann advises you have three cake layers for optimum ombré results, so you’ll have to increase the quantity of each of the following ingredients by adding half of their original quantities. I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out, so I doubled the recipe, which left me with one cake to spare in case something went wrong – better safe than sorry!

Ingredients – Sponge Cake

Makes two 20cm cakes

1 & ¼ cups plain flour

6 eggs

¾ cup caster sugar

60g butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350°F /180°C/160°C fan-forced.

Grease the sides of two 20cm round cake tins and line the base of each with baking paper.

Sift the flour three times and set aside.

Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 8-10 minutes, or until thick and pale in colour, and tripled in volume.

Sift flour into egg mixture in two additions, folding gently.

Add melted butter, again folding gently until ingredients are well incorporated.

Divide cake batter evenly between both tins and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until cakes are golden brown and spring back when pressed lightly.

Cool on wire racks.

Looking forward, I’d probably experiment with another sponge recipe. These turned out relatively well considering they were a first attempt, but they were slightly eggy and not as light and airy on the inside as I would have liked.


I used the buttercream icing recipe on the How To Cook That website, and doubled the ingredients thinking that would be enough, but silly me, I missed the note that said I needed to triple them to completely cover the three cake layers!  In any case, I’d probably recommend you make three separate portions of icing or else you’ll end up with a face full of icing sugar! I just got by with a double dose of each ingredient, but I was scraping the bottom of the bowl trying to cover the top layer in the end.


Ingredients – Buttercream Icing

Makes enough to ice one 20cm cake

120g butter, at room temperature

2-2 & ½ cups icing sugar

3 tbsp pouring cream or milk

Your choice of liquid food colouring


Loosely combine butter and icing sugar in a large bowl.

Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.

Add one tablespoon of cream or milk at a time until you have reached your desired consistency.

Once you’ve churned out enough buttercream, place about a third into another bowl and set aside.

Then, starting with a few drops of your food colouring, incorporate into the rest of the buttercream and beat until you have a pale shade of your chosen colour. Take a fifth of the buttercream out and place into a zip-lock/icing bag.

Repeat the process, gradually adding a few more drops of food colouring to the buttercream at a time, until you have five different shades.


Assembly & Icing

To assemble, take one of your sponge cakes and evenly spread a generous amount of the uncoloured buttercream over the top. Place the next cake on top and repeat the process twice more. Make sure to spread a thin layer on the outsides of each layer as well – this will help with the ombré icing later on.

Now for the fun part! Once your three-layered cake is covered in white buttercream, take the lightest shade of coloured buttercream and pipe blobs the whole way around the top of the cake. Then take a teaspoon or a small palette knife and squash the bottom half of each blob, dragging it downwards.

Sidebar: it really helps to occasionally dip your teaspoon or knife into some hot water; this way, you get a nice, smooth finish. Which I definitely will keep in mind for next time! By the time I got to the third row of buttercream, my water was lukewarm at best and the smearing got messy to say the least!


Continue doing this until you’ve made it the whole way around the cake. Then take the next shade and pipe your next set of blobs so that they cover the bottom half of the smears from the top row. Repeat the process with the remaining buttercream. With the darkest shade, simply pipe blobs along the bottom of the cake and voilà! You have an ombré cake!

Check out the full video tutorial on How To Cook That here. Definitely worth having a visual aid handy if you get stuck! I had so much fun making this, and anybody thinking of making one should go for it. Life truly is better in colour!



– Erika x

Peanut Butter Choc Chunk Cookies

Not too long ago, I was lucky enough to take up a six-week food styling and photography course at RMIT. The class is taught by Olivia Sparks, a super talented stylist who specialises in food, interiors, fashion and lifestyle. It was every bit as inspiring and insightful as I thought it would be, and, in addition to meeting some wonderful people, I also learnt heaps! Like how lighting can make or break a shot. And where to find the coolest props. And how stylists use lipstick to make strawberries look redder. And…yeah, I could go on all day! If you want to find out more about the class or are interested in taking it because, like me, you’re absolutely hopeless at anything that requires the flow of creative juice, here’s the link to the course page. I highly recommend it!

Of course, even having completed the course, I’m still a complete novice. But whenever I whip  my camera out now, I’m thinking about props and backdrops and surfaces and negative space and a bunch of other things I’d never considered before I took the class. So, I decided to put a little effort into today’s post. A little more than my usual ‘dunk it on a plate and take a photo’ method, that is. 🙂


I thought I’d stick with something simple. But truth be told, I’ve never had much luck with cookies. In all of my tragic cookie-related experiences, I’ve always taken them out of the oven and waited eagerly while they cooled, only to find they had turned rock hard. Like eat-one-and-you-will-chip-a-tooth-rock-hard. Anyway, I woke up the other day with a massive craving for something – anything – peanut butter-flavoured, and the first thing that popped into my head was a big fat peanut butter cookie, oozy melted chocolate chunks and all. Promptly followed by me sledge-hammering my likely version of the poor thing to death.


Lucky for me, Curtis Stone knows his cookies. These peanut butter choc chunk bad boys are everything a cookie should be – soft, chewy and outrageously addictive. The recipe is pretty straightforward, as well – one of those plonk everything in the mixer and watch it work its magic types.



Yields approximately 15 cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (roughly 280g) peanut butter (I opted for smooth, but you’re more than welcome to go down the chunky route)

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ tbsp honey

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

155g semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (you can use chocolate chips, as well!)



Preheat oven to 350°F /180°C/160°C fan-forced.

Line 1 large tray or 2 medium-sized trays with baking paper.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, caster sugar, butter, honey, egg and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture in 2 parts, mixing well after each addition.

Gently fold in chocolate chunks.

Spoon 1 ½ heaped tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto prepared baking tray(s), spacing them about 5cm apart. No need to flatten them, they’ll expand on their own in the oven.

Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned on top, but still very soft.

Allow cookies to cool on trays for 5 minutes (if you can wait that long, goodness knows I was chomping at the bit to eat one by this point) and then transfer to cooling rack once slightly they have firmed up a little.


I’m slightly alarmed at how many I’ve already polished off, but like all the sugary treats I’ve come across lately, I’m just going to file this one under ‘to be worked off at the gym’. Besides, it’s peanut butter! And chocolate! All counter-arguments are invalid. 😉



– Erika x