Ombre Cake: Recipe (Vanilla Cake and Vanilla Buttercream) & Tutorial


My inspiration (courtesy of sweetapolita)

I saw this pretty little thing.. and I knew it was the one.  

You know its like a girl picking out THE wedding ring.. you just know.

I was browsing pintrest when I spotted this cake, and decided I had to make it for my cousin for her birthday.  I loved the way the colors blended, it was just sooo pretty to the eyes and I knew she’d feel the same.  And being the little baker that I am I got right down to it.

For the cake I used a delicious, moist vanilla cake recipe from

Recipe: Fluffy Vanilla Cake

Yield: One 2-layer, 8-inch round cake or 9-inch round cake

*Very fluffy and light, but can be a bit more challenging if even a fraction too much liquid is added.


5 large egg whites (5 ounces/150 grams) at room temperature

3/4 cup whole milk (180 mL/6 liquid ounces), at room temperature

2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (12.5 mL) 

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (10 ounces/285 grams–weighed after sifting)

1 3/4 cups sugar (12 ounces/350 grams)

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder (19.5 grams)

3/4 teaspoon salt (5 grams)

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (6 ounces/170 grams), at room temperature and cut into cubes


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment, and flour two round 8-inch pans.

2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.

4. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 90 seconds.

5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.

6. Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.

7. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

8. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.

And I also used sweetapolita for the frosting.

Recipe: Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting


3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (375 grams/13 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

3 cups sifted (480 grams/1 lb + 1 ounce) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)

3 tablespoons (45 mL) milk

1 vanilla bean, scraped

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract 

pinch of salt


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

3. Best used right away.

4. You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.

I hate to note this, but I’d have to say that I wouldn’t recommend this frosting.. and in no ways is it because its awful.. its actually pretty good, but when you can top off this great cake with a simple, to die for vanilla buttercream that takes the same amount of time to make wouldn’t you want to do that?

I truly believe though frosting is one of those really personal matters.  It really just depends on the sweetness one can handle.. we all have our limits.  My sweet tooth most not work because it takes a lot of sugar to out sweet me, so sugary, sweet buttercream frosting is great for me!

I decided to add a simple buttercream recipe just in case you opt to use this instead:

Recipe: Vanilla Buttercream (my recipe)

1/4 butter flavored crisco (shortening)

3/4 softened unsalted butter

3-4 cups powdered sugar (depending on the consistency you are trying to achieve)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (its the best if you use a vanilla bean extract)

2-3 tablespoons of milk (OR heavy cream *this is the way to go!)

1/8 tsp salt


Beat butter and shortening on medium for a couple of minutes.  Slowly add in powdered sugar on low speed, until it is incorporated.  Increase speed to medium and add vanilla, salt, and slowly add milk until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

-You will want your frosting thicker if you are looking to pipe it. 

-You will want a thinner frosting to frost on a cake, especially the ombre cake because it’ll be much easier.  Note though don’t make it so thin that it is runny!

-Also if you are not a fan of shortening you can use all butter.  I find that the frosting sets better, and lasts longer with the shortening, so its a total personal choice.  The flavor change will be basically unnoticeable. 

Now back to the fun stuff!

To amp up this cake I chose to color the inside pink… yes thats right, pink!  You know I had to find some way to use my favorite color, which happens to also be my cousins favorite color, so it was a win-win situation.  I loved how the light blues and pink inside played off each other!

Putting together the cake:

To put this cake together, simply bake the vanilla cake in 2, 8inch round cake pans.  After allowing them to cool fully, top the one of the cakes with a layer of buttercream.  Place the 2nd cake on top and then frost the cake 2 layered cake with a crumb coat.  Allow the crumb coat to dry (about 30 minutes- I placed mine in the fridge to dry) and then it is time to frost!  The process of ombre-fying the cake is too difficult to write out, so I’ve included a video via sweetapolita on how to do this.  I watched this video and found it helpful.  I’ll be posting my own video soon on how to achieve this ombre look!

Video Tutorial (Ombre Cake method) :


The finished product!

xox & sugar from the kitchen, 

Brooke B

9 responses to “Ombre Cake: Recipe (Vanilla Cake and Vanilla Buttercream) & Tutorial

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