Blue Ombre Cake Tutorial

One of my closest friends celebrated her husbands birthday this past weekend and asked me to make his birthday cake and cupcakes.  Jody didn’t want anything special, “just something simple… vanilla is good!” he told me.  Hmmm… I don’t do simple .  Ha!  But… I do make a killer vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream!  And a blue ombre cake would be even better!  This is an easy ombre cake tutorial that anyone can follow!

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So, simple cake it is… but definitely not simple decorating! I decided that I’d use this cake as another opportunity to make an Ombre style cake.  This cake, however, couldn’t be like my last cake… pink and girly.  This cake had to be fit for a soldier and a man!  Blue ombre cake layers covered in blue ombre buttercream.  PERFECT!

I found the process to make this cake pretty easy.  Only a few extra steps were needed to color the cake layers and the buttercream frosting.  Having a cake turntable and the right supplies really helped the process too!

 How to Blue Make Ombre Cake Layers

Supplies:
Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes & Buttercream (I used a double batch)
Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue
Toothpics
4 bowls & spatulas

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Use 4 8in cake pans and grease, flour and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Step 2: Prepare batter as recipe described.  Divide batter evenly into 4 bowls.  Set one bowl aside, it will not be colored.

Step 3:  Dip a toothpick into the food coloring gel and transfer a very small amount of food color gel into one bowl of batter.  Use spatula to incorporate until uniform in color.  Set aside.

Step 4: Dip another toothpick into the food color gel and transfer a slightly larger amount of gel into a second bowl of batter.  Use spatula to incorporate until uniform in color.  Set aside.

Step 5: Finally, dip one last toothpick into the food color gel and transfer a large amount of gel into the last bowl of batter.  Use a spatula to incorporate until uniform in color.

Step 6: Spread batters evenly in the 4 pans.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Step 7:  Cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


How to Frost a Blue Ombre Cake

Supplies:
4 Cake layers (double batch of the recipe above)
Buttercream (triple batch of the recipe above)
Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue
Toothpicks
4 bowls & spatulas
Small offset spatula
Cake turn table

Step 1: Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap & freeze for about 30 minutes or until ready to use.  Spread a generous layer of buttercream between each layer of cake and apply a crumb coat of buttercream to the outside.  Freeze for another 30 minutes.  Remove from freezer and place cake on a cake turntable.

Step 2:  To prepare buttercream into Ombre colors (light to dark), separate the buttercream into 4 parts (reserve a little extra for the white) and place in 4 bowls.  Set aside the white buttercream.  Using Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue, dip a toothpick into the food gel getting a VERY SMALL amount of color onto the pic.  Smear the pic into one bowl of the buttercream and use a spatula to incorporate until uniform.  Set aside.  Repeat this process for the rest of the buttercream, but use a little bit more gel color on the tooth pic each time.  In the end, you should have three shades of blue and white buttercream.

Step 3: Begin with the darkest shade of blue.  Using a small spatula (I used an offset spatula), spread an even 1/2 inch thick layer of buttercream around the bottom 1/3 of the cake.  Using the edge, hold the spatula flush against the dark layer to smooth out  any massive bumps of buttercream.  Wipe the spatula clean before moving on to the next color.

Step 4 & 5: Repeat Step 3 using first the next lightest shade of  blue buttercream to spread on second 1/3 of the cake.  Overlap just slightly the two colors where they meet.  Finally, use the lightest shade of blue buttercream to spread on final 1/3 of the cake.  Remember to smooth the sides with the edge of the spatula.

NOTE: Leave a 1/4 border of non-frosted cake at the top.  You’ll need room for the white to come down from the top in the next step.

Step 6: Using the white buttercream, spread 1/2 inch layer of bc on the top of the cake making sure to cover all the way to the edges. It’s okay if the buttercream goes over the edge, you want to fill in that 1/4 inch of cake that you left unfrosted in Step 5.  Using the edge of the spatula, smooth side and top of the white buttercream.

Step 7:  Create the ribbon effect by holding the tip your spatula sideways against the darkest color & bottom edge of the cake.  Pressing gently,  slowly & smoothly spin the cake turntable while simultaneously dragging the spatula up the side of the cake.   You may need to stop and wipe any excess frosting after each revolution if you are pressing too hard.  Continue turning the cake and dragging the spatula up until you reach the top of the cake.

Step 8:  Wipe the spatula clean.  Gently press the tip of the spatula into the middle of the top of the cake and spin the turntable while simultaneously dragging the spatula towards the outside of the cake.  You may have some excess frosting along the edges, simply press your spatula on the edge where the top and side meet and spin the turn table until it is smooth.

NOTE: Imperfections are very easy to cover up with with style of decorating.  Don’t be afraid to go over the ribbon of swirls until the colors have smoothed together how you want them.

Step 9:  Place cake back in freezer for about 20 minutes so that the buttercream sets up.  Transfer cake to your cake stand or plate for serving.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions about any of these steps… please do not hesitate to ask me!

Also, I love seeing your pictures of ombre cakes using this tutorial!! Please, send them to betsy at javacupcake dot com!


Comments

  1. 2

    Helen Flood says

    I love everything that you do! But have to ask, how do you store the buttercream frosted cakes until you are ready to serve of if you make a day ahead? I see you note to freeze after frosted to have the icing set but then can you leave at room temp until you use? Please advise. Much thanks! Helen

    • 3

      says

      I only freeze the cake at the end for a short time just to set the frosting. I left that cake covered on the cake stand all day until served after dinner and it was perfect! If your cake layers are frozen, you’ll want to leave the cake out several hours to come to room temperature. Does this help?

  2. 7

    says

    awesome tutorial betsey! thanks for sharing, i was pretty sure this was how you did it but know i know – great step by step pics! i’m going to try this ASAP! ^__^

  3. 8

    lisa says

    I made this as my son’s smash cake for his 1st birthday pictures. it turned out great! thank you so much for posting the tutorial. I was nervous about the frosting but it was much easier than I expected and everyone was so impressed and wanted to know where I bought it.

  4. 10

    Melanie says

    Made this cake for my baby boys first birthday party. What a hit and so easy. Thanks for your easy to follow tutorial. :)

  5. 14

    Kris says

    Adorable! Do you think this would work just as well using a cream cheese frosting (for coconut cake)?

    • 15

      says

      Maybe, but I’d add some shortening to the frosting to help it stabilize. Cream cheese frosting often is very soft and may have a hard time staying on the cake! :) GOOD LUCK!

    • 20

      says

      I’ve never used it before. To be honest, I had to look it up. Does it have a consistency of buttercream frosting? If so, then you should be able to use. But, I can’t say for certain. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

    • 21

      says

      I would guess that you can do this with Pastry Pride. You just have to be VERY LIGHT HANDED when you’re doing it. I would probably also put a very light layer of buttercream crumb coat, or heavier whipped cream and let that set a bit before moving forward with the ombre outer layer.

      Here is a cake I did with pastry pride recently that i’ve done before with buttercream. I was surprised at how well it held up. [link removed]
      here is the one i did with buttercream: [link removed]

      good luck!

  6. 24

    Sandra says

    Thanks so much for your great tutorial I made this for my daughters Frozen theme birthday cake and everyone who saw it loves it it looked awesome! Thank you!

    • 25

      says

      I got your email with the picture… your cake looks AMAZING! I had no idea when I made it that it would help so many people! Do you mind if I share your photo on social media? It makes me so happy that you were able to use my tutorial to make such a beautiful Frozen cake! ~Betsy

  7. 27

    Sil says

    I must admit, it looks pretty. But that´s not a cake! That´s a chemistry project! All ready made products mixed together and then food dye?
    I wouldn´t want to feed that to my kids.

  8. 30

    Jennifer says

    Did you cut off any of the layers or just stack them all up together? Did you just stack them all together on top of each other flat side at the bottom and round side at the top? Beautiful cake. I am making for next Saturday for my daughter’s 5th birthday.

    • 32

      says

      I didn’t measure it. Start with a small drop for the lightest color and add more to each bowl from there! You can always add more, but you can’t take it away… so start small!

  9. 33

    Marissa says

    I need to make this cake the night before the party. The party will be at noon the next day and I just don’t want to be rushed working on it. How should I store it until the day of the party? freezer?

    • 34

      says

      If you live somewhere warm or humid, I’d store it covered in the fridge until the party begins. :) Otherwise, leaving it out overnight until the party, covered, should be okay! Send pictures! :) Happy Baking!

  10. 35

    Melissa says

    Love this!! I’ll be following this tutorial for my daughters second birthday in March. An “Under the Sea” theme. Thank you for sharing this!

  11. 37

    Deek says

    Hi! Loved your tutorial and gave it a go for my best friend’s birthday! It turned out great! I took some shortcuts, though. I used box mixes cause I was short on time. But my layers are marble, chocolate, and marble! But it was delicious nonetheless! I posted a photo to your Facebook page! Thank you for the post!

  12. 39

    Kelly Lucey says

    I really want to do this – am I being thick – I can see the recipe at all, just the instructions….help! x

    • 40

      says

      If you read through the post, you’ll see a link to the recipe for the cake and buttercream I used. This specific post is just for the technique used to decorate it! :) Lemme know if you need any more help.

  13. 41

    Akemi Aoki says

    I am so happy that I stumbled on your website. I made a birthday cake for my little one who just turned one and followed your tips on how to frost a cake. My LO has food allergies so I wasn’t able to try your recipes. The cake came out pretty good. Wish I could post a photo here. Anyway, thank you so much for all the tips!

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