Ombré Cake

Ombré Cake

by Amy Flanigan on May 1, 2014 · 47 comments

I’m not really a baker. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. I just pretend to be.

Sure, I bake cookies, and sheet cakes, and bundt cakes. But those are easy. And I usually stick to a glaze where I can drizzle it on – the fancy rosette or ruffle designed frosting scares me. And I certainly don’t make 4-tiered cakes.

Ombré Cake

Until of course, Trevor turns 6, sees a picture of an Ombre cake…and begs me to make it. And then I cry silently inside because he had me at the very first, “Please Mom?” And I know I’m going to need to step outside my comfort zone. And be on my feet for a while. 

Ombré Cake

Honestly, though? It really wasn’t difficult. Just a lot of steps…and actually quite fun! I documented the process on Instagram.

Ombré Cake

The shot of the slice I took could have been cleaner, but by the time I got around to photos at the end of the day, I was tired and decided I didn’t care enough.

If I was to do it over again, I would make sure there was slightly more variation between the 2nd and 3rd layer. But I think it came out pretty and Trevor loved it. That’s really all that matters.

Haley has already put in a request for next year. Pink, of course.

Ombré Cake
Serves 16-20
Prep time: 1 hour + cooling
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
For the cake
• 4 pieces of parchment paper, cut into 9-inch rounds
• unsalted butter, for the pans
• 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 4 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
• food coloring

For the frosting
• 8 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
• pinch of salt
• 10 cups powdered sugar
• 2 tablespoons vanilla
• 6 to 8 tablespoons milk

• 7 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut, divided into thirds

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Position rack in the lower third position. Butter 4, 9-inch-round cake pans and line the bottoms with the parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the granulated sugar and vegetable oil with an electric mixer on medium-high until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla; beat on high until the batter is light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Beat until the batter is smooth, about 2 minutes.

Evenly divide the batter among four bowls. Tint in varying shades of the same color (I did 10, 6, 3, and 1, but shades may vary depending on whether you use food dye or gel, and the manufacturer.) Pour batter into the 4 greased pans. Bake 2 pans at a time until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto racks to cool completely. Gently remove parchment if it sticks to the cake. (If your cake layers are not flat, take a serrated knife and gently cut off any mound that developed during baking.)

Make the frosting: in a large bowl, beat the butter and salt with an electric mixer over medium speed until fluffily and smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth; add in the vanilla, increase speed to medium-high and beat until thick, about 2 more minutes. Beat in the milk, a little at a time, until the frosting is spreadable.

To assemble the cake: place deepest color cake layer on cake plate, stack layers from darkest to lightest, spreading about 1 1/2 cups frosting in between each one. Cover the outside of cake with remaining frosting. Place shredded coconut in 3 separate plastic bags. Add an increasing number of the same food coloring to each bag and shake until fully incorporated. Pat deepest color around base of cake, working your way up with the lighter color, and topping it off with the lightest shade.

Slice, serve, and enjoy!

NOTES: (1) I have 4 pans, so I baked mine all at the same time, however it took 30 minutes instead of 15. If you decide to do this, just check it after 15 minutes, in 5 minute increments, since oven temps can vary. (2) if you don’t feel like making your frosting from scratch, you can use 2 (14 ounce) containers Duncan Hines Whipped White frosting. (3) Yes, this would work with any other color. You don’t have to use blue. (4) Don’t like coconut? Decorate it with sprinkles or just tint the frosting!  (5) you can make this the day before you need it. Keep refrigerated, in an air tight container, until serving.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie May 28, 2014 at 11:16 am

I’m so glad Trevor put you up to this challenge…it’s beautiful! Sometimes food creations are WORTH all the work that goes into them, and I think it’s safe to say this is one of those times. Way to go, Amy! :)

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Joanne May 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I’m pretty sure I could not be more impressed with you right now. This is amazing.

Mom of the year goes to…….

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Riya May 4, 2014 at 8:07 pm

This looks so amazing. The gradient is just perfect and the pics are beautiful. Have been to your blog earlier and always love discovering new recipes here. Keep up the good work!

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Amy @Very Culinary May 4, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Thank you Riya!

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Stephie May 2, 2014 at 6:02 pm

You are my hero. Seriously, love that you tried this for your baby! Turned out gawwwgeous.

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Robbie May 2, 2014 at 11:56 am

Truly a work of art! Nice job.

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Amy @Very Culinary May 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Thank you so much, Robbie! That means a lot coming from you, being much more of a baker than I am.

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dina May 2, 2014 at 7:58 am

the color is lovely!

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Christiane ~ Taking On Magazines May 2, 2014 at 6:17 am

Wow, that’s gorgeous. I have yet to attempt one, but if it’s just time consuming, not hard, I think I could manage it. Of course, my not-so girlie girl would go for that blue one over the pink.

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Rok May 1, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Wow, colorful. Maybe you should reneame the recipe to “The sky” or “see” cake. Very beautiful color contrast in every layer.

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Dani H May 1, 2014 at 9:43 pm

It’s gorgeous, Amy! Inside and out!

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Jenn @ Deliciously Sprinkled May 1, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Amy, I love this cake, it’s so pretty!!

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Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking May 1, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Oh Amy, this was such a gorgeous cake!! I was logging onto Instagram multiple times an hour over the weekend to check out how it was going. No joke! Despite loving baking, I don’t have the guts to make a 4-layer cake — and an ombré one at that! It turned out incredible, from the colors inside to the coconut outside. Definitely a labor of love from one of the sweetest moms in the world!

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Amy, you are too sweet!

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Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust May 1, 2014 at 6:26 pm

I so love that he asked for an Ombre cake. This is gorgeous Amy!!!

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Kim Beaulieu May 1, 2014 at 6:14 pm

This is just the prettiest ombre cake in the entire world. Plus it has coconut so I totally love you right now.

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Pat May 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Oh, that is so beautiful! What gorgeous colors, I know Trevor loved it. You are a good mom!

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Heather @ French Press May 1, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Amy, you make me want to bake a cake! What a lucky little boy

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Lisa May 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Amy that cake is gorgeous!

I’m requesting a purple one for my birthday. You have 11 months before you have to make it and ship it, lol!!

You did a fantastic job!

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Hahaha. I’ll put it on the calendar. Thank you, Lisa! *mwah*

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Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos May 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I am in awe – I love how you did the tonal colors. Major kudos!

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Marly May 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

This cake looks so colorfully good!

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Jen May 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I will have a bite of Jay’s cake when we get it. It did look too pretty to cut into when I saw it, though. So proud of you!

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Thanks, Jen! <3

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Susan May 1, 2014 at 11:33 am

Call me impressed! Layer cakes are my nemesis! They always turn out lopsided. So next time I need one I’ll give you a call. Sound good?

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Stephanie @ Back For Seconds May 1, 2014 at 11:18 am

You look like a pro to me! What a gorgeous cake!!

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meredith In Sock Monkey Slippers May 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

So pretty! love it!

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Paula - bell'alimento May 1, 2014 at 11:06 am

So pretty! ALMOST too pretty to eat.

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Ray May 1, 2014 at 10:19 am

*applauds*

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 10:27 am

Thank you, Ray!

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Liz Ross May 1, 2014 at 9:15 am

I am quite proud of you, a challenging cake is a real challenge. And yes, you had me at “Please Mom?”. Heads up, that Please Mom never dissipates, no matter the age. <3

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

I believe it. They’re our babies forever, right? Even when they have their own..

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Jay May 1, 2014 at 9:14 am

Here’s hoping you saved your coconut loving BIL a slice, and that said slice is tucked away in some dark recess of your freezer were Paul won’t find it first.

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

I did wrap one up for you! Although I’m sure Paul will find it. Maybe I should put your name on it…and threaten to take away his PlayStation

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Paul May 1, 2014 at 11:27 am

Found. No cake for you!

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Brenda@SugarFreeMom May 1, 2014 at 8:22 am

I love the colors!! SO pretty and the outside frosting with coconut is perfect!

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Jude May 1, 2014 at 8:06 am

Beautiful! This would be lovely to serve to guests at a spring brunch or coffee. PS – Happy birthday to Trevor.

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 8:15 am

Thank you, Jude! It would. I think it would be so cute with alternating layers of yellow and orange for spring, too. <3 <3

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Liz Ross May 1, 2014 at 9:16 am

Oh heck yeah!

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Nutmeg Nanny May 1, 2014 at 7:32 am

This cake is so pretty! Love all that color :)

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Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough May 1, 2014 at 7:09 am

This cake is gorgeous and I think you did a fabulous job! Can you come make my birthday cake next week? ;)

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Betsy | JavaCupcake.com May 1, 2014 at 6:43 am

It’s those “Please Mom”s that get me EVERY time! :) The cake looks fab and you did an amazing job!!! xoxo

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 8:13 am

They certainly have us wrapped around their hearts, no? Thanks you. Betsy!

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Julie May 1, 2014 at 5:52 am

So, like a million years ago, my little brother asked for a purple cake one year (he got it…it was grape-like). The next year, he asked for a green cake (that was more of a lime cake, which became a good enough hit that Ma-Ma served it at multiple bridge clubs). I, on the other hand, only wanted pink things. So, one year I had pink mashed potatoes for my birthday party, and another year I had pink cottage cheese. And always, always and polka-dotted angel food cake with pink icing. I love this cake (but glad that Stephie always asks for a pie. Easier to do, you know).

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 8:12 am

Pie is infinitely easier than this…unless you’re making a perfect crust from scratch!

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Marjory @ Dinner-Mom May 1, 2014 at 5:26 am

Lovely! I could totally see this at a shower for a baby boy too!!!

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Amy @Very Culinary May 1, 2014 at 8:12 am

Yes! That would be adorable <3

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