Ombré Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday, Fresh From Scratch!


Today is my first blog post so, naturally, I decided to make a birthday cake! This is a fail-safe vanilla cake and buttercream icing. I have made this recipe numerous times in the form of cupcakes and neither my taste testers nor myself have ever been displeased with the final product! The cake is light and fluffy, the icing sweet but not overwhelming. I sourced (and slightly adapted) this recipe from a great blog called the Cupcake Project (link at the end of this post).


I used red food dye to make my ombré tones in the sponge and icing. You can choose whichever colour you would like. The cake batter requires more dye to hold a colour  (for a reason that I am not sure of). The batter may appear much darker in colour but the intensity will dissipate during the baking.  

This recipe yields four 6x2inch cakes 


Cake Ingredients 

2 cups granulated sugar

2 vanilla beans

2 ½ cups cake flour (not self raising flour)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup (125mL) of unsalted butter, room temperature

4 large eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup (160mL) full-fat sour cream

½ cup (125mL) canola oil or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract

4/3 cup (320mL) whole milk


Instructions for the cake batter

1)     Preheat oven to 350 F (175C)

2)     In a bowl combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean (to remove the vanilla beans cut the vanilla bean length wise, and scape the seeds from the pod).

3)     In a small bowl mix the vanilla bean seeds with the sugar. Use the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds to help infuse vanilla flavour into the sugar.

4)     In another small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract until smooth.

5)     In a medium sized bowl mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

6)     Add the sugar and vanilla bean mixture to the flour mixture and mix until well combined.

7)     Add butter to the flour/sugar mixture and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. You will be left with a fine crumb texture (because there is so little butter).

8)     Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

9)     Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.

* the batter will be liquid – it is supposed to be this way*

10) Separate the batter into four small bowls and add food dye to batter leaving one plain (note: for your darkest tone you will need at least 25- 30 drops of dye)

10)  Fill cake pans half full

11)  Bake for 25 minutes and check to see if they are done (this will be when a toothpick comes out without any batter stuck to it). If they are not done continue baking for two minutes at a time. Continue this pattern until they are done.

12)  Once baked let the cakes sit for 2 minutes in their pans. After this time remove them from the pans and place on cooling racks.


Buttercream Icing Ingredients

1 cup of butter (I sometimes use coconut oil instead of butter) 

4 cups of icing sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

2 tablespoons of milk


Instructions for the buttercream icing

1)   Mix together sugar, butter, milk, vanilla seeds and vanilla extract until they are blended and creamy.

2)   You may need to add more icing sugar to obtain your desired consistency (more stiffer).

3)   Add a couple drops of dye to your buttercream icing at a time and stir to combine. Continue to add drops until you reach your desired shade. 



                                     A crumb coated cake 

                                     A crumb coated cake 

1)   Once the cakes have cooled shave the top of each cake to make each layer even .

2)   Use the buttercream icing and create a crumb coat over the entire cake.

3)   Place the cake in the fridge to cool for a couple hours

4)   Remove cake and complete icing the cake in desired ombre layers.


Don’t you agree ombré cakes always look so elegant?  Have you ever tried creating one? If not, give it a go. Happy Baking!