This season they made a colour-themed showstopper as they called it. Some of the attempts were really spectacular. However, they mostly seemed to involve artificial food colouring. Now I no longer have small children but a substantial number of the ingredients in food colouring have been implicated in adverse reactions in children including hyper-activity. Tartrazine thankfully has now been banned but there are other nasties used in it's place.
I decided to have a go at making a cake using all natural colourings. I chose chocolate (cocoa powder), coffee (coffee extract), purple (blackcurrant purée) and vanilla. I sandwiched the chocolate and coffee layers with a chocolate and coffee buttercream. I used a vanilla buttercream between the coffee and blackcurrant and a blackcurrant buttercream between the blackcurrant and vanilla layers.
For the blackcurrant purée I picked 150g of very ripe and juicy blackcurrants (the last of this years crop) and added 50g sugar. I simmered it until it was syrupy and then pushed through a sieve. Discard what will not push through a sieve and retain the rest in an airtight container in the fridge. This method could be used for any strong-coloured fruit including beetroot but you need to add sugar to taste.
Cake Recipe (Natural Rainbow Cake)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add in one egg at a time and beat well into mix. Fold in sieved flour and baking powder. This mix yields just over 1.6kg or 1600g so divide into 400g portions.
I only have two sandwich tins so I had to bake in two batches. To the first I added a tablespoon of blackcurrant purée (30g). To the next I added just a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I baked both at gas mark 4/176 deg C for about 30 minutes until the sponge sprang back to a gentle touch.
|Blackcurrant and vanilla|
For the pink icing (1 layer and topping)
150g icing sugar and 50g soft butter
I added three teaspoons of the purée and loosened with a little milk. If you want a deeper pink add more purée.
For the chocolate and coffee icing 75g icing sugar and 25g soft butter, add 2 teaspoons of cocoa and 1 teaspoon of coffee extract and mix. A little milk can be added here as well to adjust the consistency.
Cut a big slice, kick off your shoes, sit back and enjoy!