White Cake with Ombre Vanilla Frosting

This is a special time. The Fudgelet is turning 2, K is celebrating a birthday larger than 2, and it’s the middle of summer. I actually did not make this cake this week, although maybe I should. Either way, it is a great cake for celebrating special times…or just to celebrate cake. That’s the reason I made this one. I was watching a bunch of YouTube videos of cake decorating, particularly this channel and was inspired to make a cake. In particular, I loved their unicorn cake with rainbow sides. I had tried an ombre finish before, but the more I worked the frosting, the finish just turned…pink. It was a yummy cake, anyway, so I figured I didn’t have much to lose.

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I planned on making this cake the one night, and decorating it the next day.

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But time was going to be short the next day with lots of other cooking, so I decided to try making the frosting and decorating it while the Fudgelet slept. And I had great luck!

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M&Ms inside make it even more festive.

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The ones on top? Well…I started with what you see below.

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Very pretty and I was proud of how sharp (for me) the edges were. My best cake yet. And then I decided to have some fun with candy.

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And then I had extra frosting that I attempted to pipe in a swirl on top. K thought it looked like “unicorn poop” so I smoothed it out and got the purple circle. Oops. I tried to make it look intentional with the vanilla swirl and “cherry on top” M&M. Not so much…

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But the sides still look good.

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And the inside is tasty! Fluffy white cake with light frosting. Not super sweet, but still enough to be dessert.

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I baked this cake in a quarter sheet pan because I halved the original recipe (3 pans that were 8×2 inches) and wanted to assembled my cake with a cake ring. I also like that I don’t have to divide the layers for baking, but just pour it all into one pan. It helps me get more even layers.

Directions for White Cake with Ombre Vanilla Frosting

Adapted from Sweetapolita Bakebook

Directions for Cake

  • 188 g cake flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 225 g superfine sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into Tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature

Spray and line a quarter sheet baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With the paddle attachment on your mixer, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then stir in the sugar.

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On low speed, add the butter one piece at a time. Beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is well-combined and crumbly, like sand.

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Pour half of the milk into a bowl with the vanilla and lemon juice, stirring it together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites and remaining milk.

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With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the milk/vanilla/lemon juice, then beat for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

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Reduce the speed to low and add the milk/egg whites. Beat for 2 minutes, until everything is well-combined.

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Check by folding and stirring lightly to make sure of this.

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Then, pour into the baking pan and bake for about 22-25 minutes. You want the cake to be firm, and have a few crumbs on a cake tester/toothpick. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

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Then, place parchment paper on top, and a wire rack on top of that, to flip it upside down. Pull off the bottom parchment paper (now on top) and allow the cake to cool completely.

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Use a cake ring (6 inch) to cut two full discs out of the cake. Make a third disc by cutting the largest pieces remaining, and filling in with the other pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to use.

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Directions for Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3.25 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional–it will make the frosting almondy-tasting, so you can leave it out if that’s not your thing)
  • Food coloring (optional)

With the paddle attachment for your mixer, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until pale, creamy, and extra fluffy (about 5-6 minutes),

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then gradually add the remaining ingredients for another 2-3 minutes.

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If needed, reduce the speed while adding the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides as necessary, for about 6 minutes.

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Pipe out a spiral of frosting onto the first layer of cake, then smooth it with an offset spatula. Do the same with the next layer, then place the final layer on top.

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Do a thin crumb coat of frosting on the cake, then chill for 30 minutes-1 hour (minimum).

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When ready, divide the remaining frosting into fourths. Dye three of the bowls any colors you like, leaving the final one plain.

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Take an offset spatula and do one row of each, up the sides. Then use a bench scraper along the sides to smooth it out. Do the plain frosting on top.

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Add any other additional decorations.

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Directions for White Cake with Ombre Vanilla Frosting (without pictures)

Adapted from Sweetapolita Bakebook

Directions for Cake

  • 188 g cake flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 225 g superfine sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into Tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature

Spray and line a quarter sheet baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With the paddle attachment on your mixer, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then stir in the sugar. On low speed, add the butter one piece at a time. Beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is well-combined and crumbly, like sand.

Pour half of the milk into a bowl with the vanilla and lemon juice, stirring it together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites and remaining milk.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the milk/vanilla/lemon juice, then beat for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the milk/egg whites. Beat for 2 minutes, until everything is well-combined. Check by folding and stirring lightly to make sure of this. Then, pour into the baking pan and bake for about 22-25 minutes. You want the cake to be firm, and have a few crumbs on a cake tester/toothpick. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, place parchment paper on top, and a wire rack on top of that, to flip it upside down. Pull off the bottom parchment paper (now on top) and allow the cake to cool completely.

Use a cake ring (6 inch) to cut two full discs out of the cake. Make a third disc by cutting the largest pieces remaining, and filling in with the other pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to use.

Directions for Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3.25 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional–it will make the frosting almondy-tasting, so you can leave it out if that’s not your thing)
  • Food coloring (optional)

With the paddle attachment for your mixer, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until pale, creamy, and extra fluffy (about 5-6 minutes), then gradually add the remaining ingredients for another 2-3 minutes. If needed, reduce the speed while adding the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides as necessary, for about 6 minutes.

Pipe out a spiral of frosting onto the first layer of cake, then smooth it with an offset spatula. Do the same with the next layer, then place the final layer on top. Do a thin crumb coat of frosting on the cake, then chill for 30 minutes-1 hour (minimum). When ready, divide the remaining frosting into fourths. Dye three of the bowls any colors you like, leaving the final one plain. Take an offset spatula and do one row of each, up the sides. Then use a bench scraper along the sides to smooth it out. Do the plain frosting on top. Add any other additional decorations.

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