Tessa Huff


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How to Ice a Cake - The Perfect Ombre

How to Ice a Cake - The Perfect Ombre


After receiving such much awesome feedback from my Watermelon Cake, I was so jazzed to come up with another tutorial post for you all, specifically:  How to Ice a Cake: Version 2.0 (The Perfect Ombre).

Let's be honest, I am not totally up on my party trends these days.  I no longer make wedding cakes on a weekly basis and it has been nearly 4 years(!!!) since I planned my own.  Is ombre still a thing?  I made my first ombre cake years ago, but are people still into it theses day?  I know the trend hit weddings and cakes a while ago, but I've even seen it more recently with hair and nails, so perhaps ombre still lives on.

So clearly I might not be ahead of the trends, but I do know what is pretty.  And pretty is this lovely, summery ombre cake.  I still love color gradients and the dreamy transitions from pinks to corals to buttery yellow, and I hope you do to.  Reminds you of sherbet, right?  Creating this ombre effect out of buttercream is probably much easier than you think, and this version of How to Ice a Cake will leave you feeling like a pro.  Using the color palette of your choice, a piping bag, and few other basic cake tools, you will be whipping up ombre masterpieces left and right.

Step 1:  Torte and fill a round layer cake.  Make sure everything is trimmed and even before you start icing.

Step 2:  Give your cake a nice crumb coat with plain vanilla (white) buttercream.

Step 3:  Select the color you'd like to end your ombre with.  For me, I just used white.  Place a large dollop of buttercream on top of the cake.

Step 4:  Using a small off-set spatula, smooth out the buttercream on top of the cake (as you would ice a regular cake).  Don't be afraid of some of the icing hangs over the edge of the cake - it will help with the ombre blend later.

Step 5:  Select your color palette.  Tint buttercream about 4 different colors (about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of buttercream for each color).  Feel free to create a gradual color transition or a bold, contrast-y one!

Step 6:  Place your first color in a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip.  Starting at the bottom, pipe rings of icing around the cake.  Layer in the next color(s) into the piping bag and continue around until you reach the top of the cake.  You may use the same piping bag to help with some of the color transition.  However, if your colors are bold and are becoming too "streaky," then feel free to use a clean piping bag in between colors.

This step does not have to be perfect.  Since we are only using a little bit of icing in each color, it might be tricky to pipe a smooth line.  Try aiming to get an even amount of buttercream on all sides.  You do not need a ton of icing, but enough so that when we smooth it out, there will not be cake poking thru.

If you created a lot of icing in each color, remember that you do not need to use it all.  If you find yourself halfway up the cake on your first color, you might want to scale back.

Step 7:  Once all of the colors are on, begin smoothing out the buttercream.  Start by just using an off-set spatula held perpendicular to your turntable.  Remove any excess frosting, but do not worry about getting things perfect just yet.  Be sure to completely clean of your tools between use.

Step 8:  Take your icing smoother and continue to even out the icing.  Place the smoother lightly on the cake, with the bottom touching the turntable, and rotate the cake around.  Remember to clean your tools between "swipes."  If there are any holes, carefully add in a bit of icing in that color.

Step 9:  Carefully smooth out the top edge with an off-set spatula, as you would with icing a regular cake.  Voila!!

So, how'd ya do?  Not too difficult, right?   The color transition does not have to be perfect (mine wasn't), but still pretty.  There are so many color options to explore!  All pinks or all blues - or get crazy with a tie-dye of purple, red, and yellow!  What colors will you try first?

TIPS: –  I HIGHLY recommend using a Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream.  These types of buttercreams are silky, smooth, and blend beautifully. –  If you are beginner baker, check out this tutorial on How to Ice a Cake. –  Not confident about getting such a smooth finish or prefer a more rustic looks?  Try this Watercolor Cake version. –  Place cake on a cake round before icing - it will make transferring the cake from the turntable to a cake stand much easier.  Hate seeing the round itself?  Try using a cake round that is the same size as your cake instead.  It might be a little trickier to move, but better than nothing.  To move, slip a think off-set spatula underneath the cake, and spin and lift it off.

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