How To Ice An Ombre Cake - For Beginners

Ombre cakes are perfect for baby showers, birthdays and pretty much all trendy occasions. They can look challenging but, in fact, can be easy and this step by step photo tutorial is perfect for beginners. To get started, you will need a three layer 6" or 8" cake layers and a large batch of buttercream. You can use either an American style buttercream or a meringue based buttercream. We recommend Brenda's Bakery Buttercream or Mary's Meringue Buttercream  which are our go to icing recipes

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Start by baking a three layer cake. We think 6" or 8" rounds work best in this case. Ombre tends to look best on a narrow tall cake. 

You can use American style buttercream or Meringue style buttercream to create this effect, but you will need a batch with extra buttercream because you're tinting multiple colors.

Start by tinting the icing 3 different colors, making sure that each color looks distinct from the others. In this case, we left one color white for contrast. Place each color in a piping bag. Trim the bag so that the opening is about 1/2" wide. You can also fit the bag with large open piping tips.

Tint three different buttercream colors

Next, layer you cake with buttercream in between.

Layer your cake with buttercream in between

Crumbcoat your cake in a very thin layer of buttercream. This will trap in any crumbs.

Crumbcoat your cake layers

Use your icing bags to pipe rings around the cake starting with the darkest color on the bottom. Because your cake is three layers, you can fill in each layer with a different color. Then fill the top of your cake in with the lightest color (in this case, white).

The piped rings don't have to be perfect. The point is to coat your cake in buttercream.

Pipe three different colors on the side of your cake

Use a spatula to swipe around the cake, making the sides flat as you go. You will be removing excess buttercream which is the purpose of this step, along with making the sides smooth. Be sure to wipe off any excess that your spatula is picking after every swipe so that your spatula stays clean. This will keep the colors from running together.

If there are any air pockets or gaps in the icing, you can add a touch of buttercream and smooth out the side again.

Smooth out the sides of your Ombre cake

Once your cake is sufficiently smooth and in a reasonable "drum" shape, you can smooth it a bit further. Heat your metal spatula under very, very hot water and then dry it completely. Lightly smooth the sides of your cake, like you did previously, but this time try not remove any excess buttercream. This step is just to smooth the cake a little more. Keep your spatula clean in between swipes and keep reheating/drying it off as necessary. Smooth the top using the same technique.

Smooth your Ombre cake with a heated spatula

Voila! Remember, this doesn't have to be perfect. You can make it more dramatic with more contrasting colors or more romantic with lighter colors. You can even add a few extra colors for more variation.

Add X's and O's to your Ombre cake.

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