A simple and elegant vanilla layer cake with a patriotic surprise inside— red, white and blue ombré cake layers! Perfect for America’s 4th of July holiday.
While cutesy holiday baking isn’t exactly my thing, I just couldn’t resist this idea. Once the seed had been planted (and once my cake craving kicked in), it had to happen.
And I’m not even sorry!
This is actually the first ombré dessert I’ve ever made. The color transition isn’t perfect, but I really like how it turned out.
When I first told my husband I was going to bake an ombré cake, he was like “… an hombre cake?” and I realized what a silly little pinterest-obsessed world I live in. For those like my husband who have no what idea what “ombré” means, it is a graduated change in color. It can be applied to all sorts of things, like cake and even hair.
Ombré cakes are perfect for holidays where colors are king— like America’s red, white and blue. Frosting the cake in a simple white vanilla buttercream hides the layers, making it a fun surprise when it comes time to slice it up.
But this cake isn’t only about the looks. This is my new favorite go-to white cake recipe, adapted from I Am Baker’s book Surprise-Inside Cakes. It’s light, flavorful and just a delight. And the frosting is my standard (and scrumptious) vanilla buttercream recipe, developed over years and years of cake baking. Overall, it’s a cake you can’t go wrong with!
A few notes about the recipe:
>> This cake is made of 5 cake layers and I only have 2 8-inch rounds. Your cake pan situation is probably similar. Since they are all different colors, baking thicker layers and cutting them in half is not an option. Bake layers in batches, letting the cake pans cool and then re-buttering and flouring before baking another layer.
>> Gel food coloring is preferred to liquid food coloring as the latter adds extra liquid to the recipe, especially in recipes like this where a lot of food coloring is required to achieve the bright colors.
>> For the whitest-white in the white cake layer and frosting, use clear vanilla.
>> For even cake layers, use a digital kitchen scale to weigh and divide batter evenly.
>> To serve clean slices, chill the cake thoroughly before serving, at least one hour. Heat your serving knife in a bowl of steaming water, wipe dry with a towel, and then slice the cake. Reheat the knife in between each cut.
>> For more help on how to build a layer cake— on everything from preparing cake pans to frosting the cake— see my tutorial here.