A few months ago, we had my husband’s softball team over for a year-end mixer and it just so happened to coincide with a birthday of one of our teammates. Knowing that I love to bake but don’t often do it because two people +one cake = diabetes, I was volunteered by my husband to make the birthday cake. I was reminded of a recipe in Cupcakes + Cashmere: The Book and knowing that the friend whose birthday it was was an uber-stylish girl, there was no question that this was a good opportunity to try the ombré cake trend. So I decided to make a 5-layer ombré cake.
I started by… Buying store bought cake mix for the cake.
Don’t judge! I read about ten cake recipe sites and they all said that using mix is an easy way to save you time and make sure that your cake is always good. It’s really just the flour, sugars, etc. in a pre-blended bag but it’s so easy and reliable. The secret to cakes in my opinion is all in the frosting where you can absolutely taste the difference between store bought and homemade. Spend your homemade energy there. So make the mix (I picked yellow cake, which I wouldn’t do again- white cake mix would make the blue much more vibrant. My first few layers were kinda green) and leave the first layer “virgin” with no food coloring. In the next pan worth of cake, add a few drops of food coloring. Add more coloring as the layers progress.
You’ve now completed the baking part, so it’s just making the icing and assembling. I tried the Buttercream recipe from Cupcakes + Cashmere, but it literally just tasted like butter and while I’m the last person to yell about the taste of butter in anything, it was kinda gross. I did manage to add more icing sugar and vanilla to the recipe and make it palatable, but it wasn’t good for spreading. I used the “bad” crop of icing on the layers where it didn’t really matter how it spread. Then I used Pinterest (Holla!) to find a better Buttercream recipe and came across this Butter Icing Recipe which tasted awesome, made lots of icing and was even easy to spread . Here are some pictures on the layering and how I did it.
And then I was finished! Tada!
Now for the embarrassing part? (Other than my pre-reno kitchen?) I didn’t take a picture of the completed cake. Partially because I forgot and partially because I am truly terrible at decorating. I have an entire drawer full of sprinkles that look like leaves, hearts, etc. The classy way I’ve since discovered is to “use a light dusting of a colored coarse sugar” Um… They don’t sell colored coarse sugar at my local grocery stores, I asked and I was way too lazy to stop into Michael’s to look. Luckily for you all, there was evidence of the cake from an Instagram shot:
Not bad for a first effort at ombré cake! My next time (which I’ll definitely do, was a big hit and I bought extra cake pans) I’d use white cake instead of yellow cake mix, try and make the layers more even, use my good buttercream icing recipe from the start and definitely work on my decorating.