Bake an Ombré Layer Cake

I won't even pretend to have made this gorgeous cake. Beyond chocolate chip cookies and other simple snacks, I'm not very adventurous in the kitchen. Baking just doesn't interest me the way decorating and crafting does. I'd rather wow my guests with over-the-top decorations, fun activities, a unique table scape and personalized goodie bags than with food. (Perhaps they wish I cared more about the food!)

My friend baked this beautiful cake for a Fourth of July party once, and I asked her for the recipe, promising myself I'd try it someday. (Maybe this is the year! My kids would love it, that's for sure.) Since many of you are likely more talented than I in the baking department, I thought I'd share her recipe. Show me how your cake turns out by tagging your photos with #meghanscraftkits!


INGREDIENTS

For the cake:
3 cups (340 grams) cake flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup butter (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup (237 ml) whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 large egg whites
Red gel food coloring
Blue gel food coloring

For the vanilla buttercream:
1 1/2 cup (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups (1 kg 360 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 (90 ml) tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Sprinkles, if desired

 

DIRECTIONS

To make the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 8-inch round pans and line with parchment paper. Since you'll need 5 layers total, use as many 8-inch pans as you have and bake in batches if necessary.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl combine the milk, vanilla and egg whites. Set both aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape bowl down with a spatula a few times as needed. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the wet ingredients, and ending with the dry. Mix only until incorporated.

4. Divide batter between 5 small bowls. For even layers, weigh the batter and divide evenly. Leave one bowl of batter as is and using the gel food coloring, tint the remaining bowls as such: 1) bright red, 2) light red, 3) bright blue, 4) light blue.

5. Pour batters into individual prepared cake pans and bake until centers spring back when touched, about 14-16 minutes. Bake in batches as needed to finish all 5 layers. Let cake layers cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and whipping cream on medium speed until moistened and uniform. Increase speed to high and beat until light and creamy, about 4-5 minutes.

2. To assemble the layer cake: Place the bright blue cake layer on a display plate or cake stand. Cover with 1/2 cup of the buttercream. Top with the light blue cake layer. Repeat so that the cake layers are in the following order: bright blue, light blue, white, light red, bright red.

3. Cover the layer cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving to neat and clean slicing. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.