Friday Food: DIY Ombre cake

So, since leaving the world of wedding blogging, I don’t have much occasion to delve into the wealth of pretty found on wedding blogs. I do however love my Pinterest account and find so much inspiration there. When there isn’t a wedding to plan I’m often found busy figuring out how to work something I’ve found there into my life instead.

Birthday sprinkles cake // Pink ombre cake with flags // Purple Ombre cake // Pink Ombre slice

Today’s Friday Food is an ombre cake, something I fell in love with and found via wedding pins but think works just as well as a celebration cake. I made this one to take to my work the day after my birthday to celebrate with them and thought I’d share some tips. There are a wealth of how to’s on various sites (See the list at the end of ones I read,) but really all you need is a dense-ish victoria sponge recipe and frosting. This is my own go-to Victoria sponge recipe (one of Florence’s actually!) if you need one.

For the sponge cake:8oz Self raising Flour
8oz Caster sugar
8oz butter (I usually use somewhere between this amount and half, depending how virtuous I’m feeling, it works just as well)
4 eggs
a splash of milk
and your chosen food colouring!

Buttercream Frosting:1/3 of a pack of unsalted butter
250-300g of icing sugar, according to taste.
a splash of milk

Method:There are 2 ways to mix a sponge, the easy way and the traditional way. If you have a food mixer there is nothing wrong with throwing everything into a bowl and whizzing it up. I’ve done this on many an occassion and it’s worked perfectly, save for the odd air bubble!.
If you want to do it properly, here’s how…
Add the butter and sugar together in a food mixer and ‘cream them’ until the sugar/butter mix is light pale and fluffy.
Next add in your (beaten) eggs and incorporate.
Lastly sift the flour in and mix together gently with your food mixer on a slow speed. Add a splash of milk to loosen the mixture if it’s too stiff, it should pour, but very slowly!
Now divide the mix into 4 equal portions. Keep one aside for the palest layer then add food colouring to the remaining three, to create a slightly more intense colour in each. I wanted mine pale so went easy on the colouring, but the strength of colour is up to you. Just go slowly, a little food colouring goes a long way!
Place each colour mixture into a separate 20cm cake tin and bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top. To test if they are ready, insert a skewer and ensure it comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

While your cakes are cooling, mix your frosting. Start with the butter in cubes, at room temperature and mix it (in your food mixer again) to become smooth. Add the icing sugar bit by bt and try not to make an icing cloud int he kitchen – you may want to add it by hand to avoid this then use the food mixer later on to whizz it up into a lighter frosting. Add a splash of milk to loosen it as required.

Assembly:Sandwich each layer together with a dollop of frosting, spread out to a couple of millimetres thickness. If your cakes are particularly ‘dome shaped’ on top you might want to slice them off to make them flatter and stack better.
Next use your remaining frosting to ice the sides of the cake using a palete knife to press it into the cake as you spread in one motion. Pay particular attention to filling in the gaps between each layer at the edges.
Finsh with the top! Don’t worry about having enough frosting, there is plenty here, but if you are concerned just apply a thinner layer and continue to build up evenly.
Decorate your cake as you see fit, I used simple sprinkles for a party finish!

Next step? Enjoy!

Feel free to shoot me any questions you have in the comments box, I’ll help if I can!


DIY Make up – Flick Chic

This morning we have a real treat for you. Remember the DIY make up tutorials I shared a while back? Well, this is the final look that Catherine and I put together on the day Zoe also shot Mahj doing the vampy dark lip, me wearing a Disco eye and Laura also rocking a seventies Farrah-esque look. Today’s chic homage to the sixties but with a decidedly modern take, happens to be not only trend led but infinitely classic, whether paired with sixties style fashion or just because you love it.

I happen to think Laura looks gorgeous and after all my full-on lip-love this week, I’m seriously fancying a sixties look for #PenDo this weekend now. Bring it on girls! But for now I’ll hand you over to Catherine (from Ivy Clara make up) to tell you how it’s done…

Autumn’ 11 saw the sixties vibe swinging down every catwalk, and as we enter Spring’12 it shows no signs of stopping. Mary Quant, Jane Birkin and Twiggy were amongst the women iconic for fashion and beauty during the 60’s and along with them came thick black eyeliner, fake lashes and backcombed hair. This look makes reference to the sixties but in a more wearable fashion. Less matte, more natural but still as striking.

For me, Spring means ‘fresh’ so begin by using a base that provides good coverage but lets your skin be seen. A particular favourite of mine is Invisible Radiance Foundation by Daniel Sandler. Inside the lid is a concealer which can be mixed with the foundation to provide extra coverage only where needed. Blend using a foundation brush starting at the centre of your face and working outwards. Go back in with the concealer under the eye, gently patting with your finger. This will brighten up the whole eye area. Next tidy up the eyebrows by using a brow gel for a natural effect. I used Anastasia brow gel in Brunette which comes in 5 shades.

  • To ensure the eye makeup stays put, use your fingers to apply a base coat of cream eyeshadow in a light colour. The mac paint pots are ideal for this and a particular favourite of mine is the shade ‘Painterly’. Use a finger to blend it all over your lid up to the crease.
  • Next, take a light shade of powder eyeshadow and use a brush to press the powder into the cream base. In the sixties, the finish of the eyeshadow was very matte but for a modern take I have used a satin eye shadow with some subtle sheen. Here I used ‘Naked Lunch’ by Mac.

  • To create the ‘Twiggy’ vibe just build up colour through the socket keeping the eye lid bare. Use a small brush to do this for precision and flick the colour out slightly at the outer corner of the socket.
  • To soften the line, take a small fluffy brush and gently blend upwards to soften the line. Be careful not to over buff as this look relies on the line remaining quite strong but with a diffused finish
  • To create the trade mark top line, take a gel eyeliner and a slanted brush. Use your non dominant hand to pull the skin on your eyelid taut and then your dominant hand to hold the brush. It is best to draw the line in segments instead of attempting one continuous line. Begin where your eyebrow arch starts and sweep along the lash line until you reach the outer corner of the eye. Then take the brush further towards the corner of the eye and again sweep along the lash line until you reach the beginning of the previous segment. You can then go over the line and taper it out so it is thicker towards the outer corner and add the all important flick to the outer corner. A fantastic eyeliner is Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner.

  • Curl the lashes and add a couple of generous coats of mascara. I decided to keep the lower lashes bare to keep the focus on the lid and top line. After applying mascara add some fluttery eyelashes to complete the eyes. For the sixties feel I used Eyelure Naturalites Volume Plus Lashes ( 101 ).
  • To add a gorgeous natural sheen of colour to the apples of the cheeks I used a cream blusher to provide a healthy flush without adding powder to the skin keeping the look sheer. Here I used Daniel Sandler’s Watercolour Creme Rouge blusher in ‘Soft Peach’. This is best applied to the apples of the cheeks while smiling! Pat onto the skin, in a circular pattern building up the colour gradually.
  • Lastly finish the makeup look by adding a lightly coloured gloss to the lips. The look for the lips is bare to ensure the eyes take centre stage. I used Lancome Colour Fever Gloss in Tangerine Petal.

  • To complete the overall look, a high messy bun is perfect. Spray the hair with dry shampoo to thicken and backcomb your hair at the roots. Use a natural bristled brush to smooth into a high pony tail and secure with a hair band.
  • Backcomb the pony tail further until extremely ‘full’ then smooth out the top section with a natural bristled brush. Next wrap the hair around the base of the pony tail to create a ‘messy’ bun and secure with hair pins.

Foundation: Daniel Sandler Invisible radiance foundation and concealer
Brow gel: Anastasia
Mac paint pot: Painterly
Light powder eyeshadow: MAC Naked Lunch
Gel eyeliner: Bobbi Brown Gel Liner
False Lashes: Eylure
Blusher: Daniel Sandler Watercolour Creme Rouge

With thanks to:
Laura for being a willing real-girl model 🙂
Catherine of Ivy Clara make up for her immense make-up talent (check her out planning brides!)
and Zoe Hodson for spending the day taking pictures of us all.

So then guys, lets hear you, what do you think. Is this a look you love and will you be trying it?

Big Fluttering Retro love,

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