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!
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
Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes & Buttercream (I used a double batch)
Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue
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.
4 Cake layers (double batch of the recipe above)
Buttercream (triple batch of the recipe above)
Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue
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!