Simple Ombre Cake Tutorial

Baking a fantastic layer cake is actually way easier than it seems.  Regardless of your theme, you can create a delicious and absolutely stunning cake right in your own kitchen.  This quick and tasty recipe will help set you up for making a fantastic ombre layer cake!  Let’s get baking!!

Do you love the look of layer cakes, but are afraid to try to bake one yourself?  No need to fret…this is actually a really simple cake to master that you will LOVE to serve!

Whether you are wanting an ombre cake, a rainbow cake or just a single color layer cake, we are going to help you show off your baking chops today with this simple cake tutorial!!  

Ideas for Ombre Cakes

Ombre cakes are all the rage right now in parties.  I absolutely LOVE baking a pretty ombre cake.  Here are a couple examples of recent ombre layer cakes I have baked and served for parties in MY home.

Cactus themed layer cake:  This layer cake had gorgeous greens for my little ones Cactus themed Taco TWOS-day party.  I covered the cake with a layer of smooth white frosting and some fun fondant cacti.  If you want to recreate this cake, grab the fondant cacti here.

 

Shark Themed Layer Cake: This layer cake had shades of blue, teal and white with a fun ruffled frosting.  This cake design is perfect for any ocean theme with the addition of a fun cake topper or fondant.  This cake was a hit for my son’s shark themed party!

 

Different Frosting Techniques

There are lots of ways to dress up the outside of a layer cake. These range from simple to complex (or at least LOOKING complex).

Ruffles: You can use a piping bag and petal shaped frosting tip to do very simple ruffle waves along on the outside of the cake. 

The key solid ruffles is keeping your frosting chilled.  Place frosting into pipping bags and keep refrigerated. 

As you frost, if you find the frosting starting to soften, place it back into the refrigerator to re-chill for 10-15 minutes and then resume.

Smooth Iced: Perfecting the smooth iced cake is definitely an art form.  Here is a fantastic video that will walk you through the steps you need:

 

Rough Iced:  Rough icing a cake is awesome if you aren’t confident with smooth icing.  It is much faster and much more forgiving.  You basically follow the same steps above, but you don’t worry about making it all smooth and uniform and you intentionally leave spots “rough”. 

 

Naked Cake: Naked cakes are fantastic…especially if you are coloring your layers ombre or rainbow.  It’s a great frosting option for really showing off those gorgeous colors. 

I made a fun naked cake for my daughter’s zoo themed birthday party.  Check it out and the included video for how to create your own naked cake!

 

Ombre Cake Tutorial: STEP by STEP

Alright..you’ve chosen your colors…it’s time to start baking your cake!  

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box White cake mix (I recommend using one WITHOUT  pudding in the mix. This is my favorite!)
  • 4 oz. White baker’s chocolate
  • 3 eggs (or 6 egg whites if making white or light colored layers)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sprite
  • 1 cup miracle whip
  • Buttercream Frosting (canned or homemade)
  • Butter or non-stick cooking spray

Materials:

These are my recommended materials to make baking easy and also ensure everything turns out perfectly.  You can totally make them with a hand mixer or the old fashioned way with your whisk…but it will be much faster and much easier with a stand mixer!

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 350°. Prep pans by rubbing with butter or spraying with non-stick spray.  For thicker layers, use the 8 inch pans.  For thinner layers, use the Layer Pan Set.  

Step 2:

Place eggs and miracle whip into mixer. Mix on low speed.  Melt the white chocolate in microwave (30 second intervals stirring between until melted to prevent burning of chocolate.)

Add the melted white chocolate to the mixer. Continue mixing until smooth.

Step 3:

With mixer still on low, add the cake mix, sprite and water.  I have found the best method for doing this to alternate the dry and liquids as you add them in to keep the batter even and smooth.

I start with adding a little cake mix, and using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, a little water until that cup is empty and then switch to sprite.  I then repeat until all ingredients have been added.

Step 4:

Once all ingredients are added, I increase speed for a couple minutes and ensure it is fully mixed. I then transfer the batter to smaller bowls for each layer of cake I am baking.  Make sure you put equal amount of batter into each bowl.

Add gel food coloring to the batter and mix to the desired color.  For ombre, start with the lightest layer and add more food coloring to each layer to make it darker than the previous layer.  For rainbow cakes, mix colored layer in any order.

Pour the batter into the cake pans. Thinner layers will cook faster and more evenly.

Step 5:

Bake cake for 27-30 mins (1 layer at a time) or 18-23 mins for thinner layers.

Cake is down when it is dry in the middle.

Step 6:

Allow layers to cool. You can use a knife or cake leveler to ensure layers are even once they are cool. Freeze cake layers.  I like to place them into gallon size ziplock bags in the freezer overnight. 

Step 7:

Using frozen layers, place a small amount of frosting on the top of a cake plate or stand.  place bottom layer on plate.   With frosting in a piping bag (with or without a tip) cover the top of the layer with frosting. 

I like to start at the outer edge to ensure that the frosting covers the entire layer.  Keep in mind, the thicker you make the frosting, the more spread apart the cake layers will be.

Repeat the process with each layer until you have stacked all layers.  Frost as desired.

Easy peasy!

Additional tips for baking Layer Cakes

  • Baking layer cakes is honestly made sooooo easy with this Wilton Easy Layer Pan Set. It keeps the layers thin and even.  It’s a great and inexpensive tool.  
  • I also highly recommend Gel Food Coloring instead or liquid food coloring.  It mixes easier and more consistently.
  • Don’t forget to Freeze your Cake Layers in between baking and frosting.  This helps retain moisture and allows you to work with the layers without fear of breaking them!
  • Frosting Bags and Tips are inexpensive and super helpful tools that will make decorating your cake so much faster!

Yield: 1 cake

Ombre Layer Cake

Ombre Layer Cake

Ombre Cake Tutorial: STEP by STEP

Alright..you've chosen your colors...it's time to start baking your cake!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Box White cake mix (I recommend using one WITHOUT  pudding in the mix. This is my favorite!)
  • 4 oz. White baker’s chocolate
  • 3 eggs (or 6 egg whites if making white or light colored layers)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sprite
  • 1 cup miracle whip
  • Buttercream Frosting (canned or homemade)
  • Butter or non-stick cooking spray
  • Materials:
  • Stand mixer (optional, but highly recommended)
  • measuring cups
  • Wilton Easy Layer Pan Set or 8 inch cake pans

Instructions

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 350°. Prep pans by rubbing with butter or spraying with non-stick spray.  For thicker layers, use the 8 inch pans.  For thinner layers, use the Layer Pan Set.  

Step 2:

Place eggs and miracle whip into mixer. Mix on low speed.  Melt the white chocolate in microwave (30 second intervals stirring between until melted to prevent burning of chocolate.)

Add the melted white chocolate to the mixer. Continue mixing until smooth.

Step 3:

With mixer still on low, add the cake mix, sprite and water.  I have found the best method for doing this to alternate the dry and liquids as you add them in to keep the batter even and smooth.

I start with adding a little cake mix, and using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, a little water until that cup is empty and then switch to sprite.  I then repeat until all ingredients have been added.

Step 4:

Once all ingredients are added, I increase speed for a couple minutes and ensure it is fully mixed. I then transfer the batter to smaller bowls for each layer of cake I am baking.  Make sure you put equal amount of batter into each bowl.

Add gel food coloring to the batter and mix to the desired color.  For ombre, start with the lightest layer and add more food coloring to each layer to make it darker than the previous layer.  For rainbow cakes, mix colored layer in any order.

Pour the batter into the cake pans. Thinner layers will cook faster and more evenly.

Step 5:

Bake cake for 27-30 mins (1 layer at a time) or 18-23 mins for thinner layers.

Cake is down when it is dry in the middle.

Step 6:

Allow layers to cool. You can use a knife or cake leveler to ensure layers are even once they are cool. Freeze cake layers.  I like to place them into gallon size ziplock bags in the freezer overnight. 

Step 7:

Using frozen layers, place a small amount of frosting on the top of a cake plate or stand.  place bottom layer on plate.   With frosting in a piping bag (with or without a tip) cover the top of the layer with frosting. 

I like to start at the outer edge to ensure that the frosting covers the entire layer.  Keep in mind, the thicker you make the frosting, the more spread apart the cake layers will be.

Repeat the process with each layer until you have stacked all layers.  Frost as desired.

Easy peasy!

Notes

These are my recommended materials to make baking easy and also ensure everything turns out perfectly.  You can totally make them with a hand mixer or the old fashioned way with your whisk…but it will be much faster and much easier with a stand mixer!

Additional tips for baking Layer Cakes:
Baking layer cakes is honestly made sooooo easy with this Wilton Easy Layer Pan Set. It keeps the layers thin and even.  It's a great and inexpensive tool.  
I also highly recommend Gel Food Coloring instead or liquid food coloring.  It mixes easier and more consistently.
Don't forget to Freeze your Cake Layers in between baking and frosting.  This helps retain moisture and allows you to work with the layers without fear of breaking them!
Frosting Bags and Tips are inexpensive and super helpful tools that will make decorating your cake so much faster!

Here are some helpful links for baking an ombre layer cake:


 

Coordinating Party Supplies and Ideas for the Cakes Featured in this Post:

If you love the cakes featured in this post, check out these parties for more details on the parties, decor and food:

Conclusion for Ombre Layer Cake Recipe:

If you love the look of ombre and rainbow layer cakes, but think you can’t bake one…this is the tutorial for you.  These cakes are simple to make and stunning for a birthday, baby shower or party!  It’s time to give baking a layer cake a try!

 

If you love this recipe, please pin this image to your baking Pinterest board:

Related posts for Ombre Cake Recipe:

Thank you for reading my Ombre Layer Cake Ideas!