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Blue Ombre Cake Tutorial

Looking for a Frozen-themed treat? Want to learn how to make an ombre cake? Look no further than this Blue Ombre Cake Tutorial!  This is an easy ombre cake tutorial that anyone can follow, even if the results look anything but simple! Ombre Blue Cake cut on white plateWhy a blue ombre cake? Well, one of my closest friends celebrated her husband’s birthday this past weekend and asked me to make his birthday cake and cupcakes. Jody didn’t want anything special, as it turns out. He said, “Just something simple…vanilla is good!” Hmmm…I don’t do simple. Ha! But…I do make a killer vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream! And I knew an ombre cake would be even better for Jody. This cake, however, couldn’t be like my last cake, which was pink and girly. This cake had to be fit for a soldier and a man! So: blue ombre cake layers covered in blue ombre buttercream. PERFECT!Blue Ombre CakeHere’s how to make your own…

Blue Ombre Cake Tutorial

I found the process to make this cake pretty easy, so don’t feel overwhelmed! You only need a few extra steps (to add color) from my vanilla cake and buttercream recipes. Having a cake turntable and the right supplies really helps the process too! Making the Cake Layers: Ingredients & Utensils

Shades of blue cake batter in bowlsMaking the Cake Layers: Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease, flour, and line the bottom of four 8-in cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the vanilla batter as the recipe describes. Divide batter evenly into 4 bowls. Set one bowl aside, as it will not be colored.
  3. Dip a toothpick into the blue food coloring gel and transfer a very small amount of food color gel into one bowl of batter. Use a spatula to incorporate the two until you get a uniform color. Set aside.
  4. Dip another toothpick into the gel and transfer a slightly larger amount of gel into the second bowl of batter. Use a spatula to incorporate the two until you get a uniform color.  Set aside.
  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 the two until you get a uniform color.
  6. Spread the batters evenly among the 4 pans. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Frosting the Blue Ombre Cake: Ingredients & Utensils
  • Your 4 cake layers
  • Buttercream (triple batch of the recipe above)
  • Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue
  • Toothpicks
  • 4 bowls & spatulas
  • Cake turntable
  • Plastic wrap

How to Frost an Ombre CakeHow to frost an Ombre Blue CakeFrosting the Blue Ombre Cake: Instructions

  1. Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap & freeze for about 30 minutes or until ready to use.
  2. Spread a generous layer of buttercream between each layer of cake and apply a crumb coat of buttercream to the outside.
  3. Freeze for another 30 minutes.  Remove from freezer and place cake on a cake turntable.
  4. Separate the buttercream into 4 parts and place in 4 bowls. Set aside a little extra for the white part of the ombre.
  5. Using Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue, dip a toothpick into the food gel. Be sure to get only a VERY small amount of gel onto the pick!
  6. Smear the pick into one bowl of the buttercream and use a spatula to incorporate until uniform. Set aside.
  7. Repeat this process for the rest of the buttercream, but use a little bit more gel color on the toothpick each time. In the end, you should have three shades of blue buttercream and one batch of white buttercream.
  8. Begin with the darkest shade of blue. Using a small spatula (I used an offset spatula), spread an even half-inch thick layer of buttercream around the bottom third of the cake.
  9. Hold the spatula flush against this layer to smooth out any massive bumps of buttercream. Wipe the spatula clean before moving on to the next color.
  10. Repeat the last step using the next lightest shade of blue buttercream to spread on the second third of the cake. Overlap the two colors where they meet.
  11. Finally, use the lightest shade of blue buttercream to spread on the final third of the cake.  Remember to smooth the sides with the edge of the spatula. Note: Leave a 1/4th-inch border of non-frosted cake at the top. You’ll need room for the white frosting!
  12. Using the white buttercream, spread a half-inch layer of buttercream on the top of the cake, ensuring you cover it all the way to the edges. It’s okay if the buttercream goes over the edge! You want to fill in that 1/4th-inch of cake that you left unfrosted.
  13. Using the edge of the spatula, smooth side and top of the white buttercream.
  14. Create the “ribbon” effect by holding the tip of your spatula sideways against the darkest color and bottom edge of the cake. Pressing gently, slowly and smoothly spin the cake turntable while simultaneously dragging the spatula up the side of the cake.
  15. 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. Note: Imperfections are very easy to cover up with with style of decorating! Don’t be afraid to go over the “ribbons” until the colors have smoothed together.
  16. Wipe the spatula clean. To create the final ribbon effect on top of the cake, gently press the tip of the spatula into the middle of the top and spin the turntable while simultaneously dragging the spatula towards the outside of the cake.
  17. You may have some excess frosting along the edges of the cake’s top; simply press your spatula on the edge where the top and side meet and spin the turntable until it is smooth.
  18. Place cake back in freezer for about 20 minutes so that the buttercream sets up.
  19. Transfer cake to your cake stand or plate for serving.

Blue Ombre Cake on White Cake Stand

Happy baking!

I hope you enjoyed this blue ombre cake tutorial! If you have any questions about any of these steps…please, please, please do not hesitate to leave a comment down below. There’s no stupid questions, because everyone can learn from the answer. Also, I’d LOVE to see your pictures using this tutorial. Send them on over to betsy [at] javacupcake [dot] com!Blue Ombre Cake cut on white plate

59 comments

  1. Helen Flood

    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

    Reply

    1. Betsy ~ @JavaCupcake

      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?

      Reply

      1. Helen Flood

        Yes, it does!
        Much thanks!
        Love all that you do…

        Reply

      2. alecia

        Hi Betsy,

        Can I use store bought frosting?

        Reply

        1. Betsy Eves

          I can’t guaranteed how it’ll hold up on the cake because I’ve never used it before, but I guess it may be fine.

          Reply

  2. lyndsay

    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! ^__^

    Reply

  3. lisa

    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.

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      That’s awesome Lisa! 🙂 I’m so happy for you!! Please, send me pictures!!! betsy at javacupcake dot com!!

      Reply

  4. Melanie

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

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      You are welcome! Were you trying to attach an image? If so… shoot it to me in an email, betsy at javacupcake dot com THANKS!

      Reply

  5. Ana

    How long did you bake each layer? I suppose it requires less baking time for each pan.

    Reply

  6. Kris

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

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      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!

      Reply

  7. Mala Cukierenka

    thank you I will try to make it

    Reply

  8. Sylvia

    Can you do this with Pastry Pride?

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      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!

      Reply

    2. Chu

      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!

      Reply

  9. barbara boucher

    i must make one tonigh looked at the tutorial and hope i can do it
    hold thumbs

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      Good luck!! Message me on Facebook if you have any questions along the way! You can do it!!! xoxo

      Reply

  10. Sandra

    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!

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      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

      Reply

  11. candice

    Amazingly easy once I’ve seen tutorial, thanks so much!!!

    Reply

  12. Sil

    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.

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      Luckily for you… I didn’t make it for your kids!

      Reply

  13. Jennifer

    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.

    Reply

  14. Nanette

    how much gel food coloring did you use for each cake

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      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!

      Reply

  15. Marissa

    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?

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      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!

      Reply

  16. Melissa

    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!

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      Wonderful Melissa – Let me know how it turns out for you! I’d love to see pictures!

      Reply

  17. Deek

    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!

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      Ooohh!! Where’s the picture? Did you tag me in it on Instagram?!?! 🙂 I can’t wait to see it!

      Reply

  18. Kelly Lucey

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

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      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.

      Reply

  19. Akemi Aoki

    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!

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      I’d love to see a picture! Send it to betsy at javacupcake dot com!

      Reply

  20. mama4x4

    Just tried it and it came out great! Thank you so much for the tutorial! Sending you a pic 🙂

    Reply

  21. Monica

    Thank you so much for this lovely and well-written tutorial! The pictures really help, too. Like many others, I made this as a smash cake for my little one’s first birthday, and was very happy with the result. There should be some pictures in the link here to my blog, but let me know if you’d like me to email them, as well! 🙂

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      You are so very welcome, Monica!!! 🙂

      Reply

  22. Bianca

    Hi! I was wondering how I should store the cake if i were to make it 24 hrs before the actual event? thanks for all the help! cake looks amazing!!

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      The best way is to store it covered on your counter. Invest in a cake carrier with a lid! 🙂 Happy baking!

      Reply

  23. Felicia

    Hi how would you place it on a board at the end without wrecking the icing.? Also what butter rem recipe do you use.

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      You could decorate it on the board and wipe it clean. Or you can pop it in the freezer so the frosting hardens and gently use a giant cake spatula to transfer it over. Keep extra icing in case you need to fix stuff. Good luck.

      Reply

  24. Monica

    Hi there!.
    I was wondering what would you do if you stack up 3 tiers using this ruffle technique. Would you stack all 3 and then decorate of would you do them individually and then place them on each cake. What would look much nicer?

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      That’s a great question. You’ll need cake boards and dowels to support each layer. Google how to stack cakes and you’ll find lots of tutorials and videos showing you how to do it.

      Reply

  25. Gemma

    I made this cake yesterday and it was the first time I wasn’t stressed with making my daughter’s birthday cake! Thanks for the easy instructions and guide. Would love a video of you frosting the cake too!
    I even had people asking me where I bought it!

    Reply

  26. Chris

    We absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    can you offer guest writers to write content available for you?

    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write with regards to here.

    Again, awesome website!

    Reply

  27. Shannon

    Hey Betsy!! Just read ur tutorial. It is so GOOD & easy to follow. I’m def using this technique for the bottom tier of my daughters upcoming Bday. Mermaid theme! The spiraling technique will be an excellent representation of “waves”! PLUS the ombre effect will make it look exactly like water colors do the closer u get to shore. AND The top of the bottom tier (base area b/w the 2 tiers) will have a mix of brown sugar & graham cracker crumbs to rep the “shore”! So u have basically made my night & locked down the last few details of her cake!!! Thank u Thank u Thank u! XOXO

    Reply

    1. Betsy Eves

      Fantastic Shannon! Let me know how it turns out!

      Reply

  28. Debbie

    I’m making 2 tiers
    Do I frost each tier and then stack
    Or
    Stack (with dowels)
    Then frost?

    Reply

    1. Smriti

      Hi, did you figure this out? I am making 2 tiers next week, and using this recipe. I’d say frost each tier and then stack, but let me know what you did!

      Reply

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