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    Pretty Pink Ombre Surprise Cake

    Pretty Pink Ombre Surprise Cake

    Photo by Robert P.

    Adapted recipe by ambrosiabaking Original recipe by Sweetapolita

    • Prep Time


    • Cook Time


    • Servings



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    • For the White Cake Layers

    • cups cake flour

    • ¾

      cup all-purpose flour

    • 1

      tablespoon baking powder

    • 1

      teaspoon baking soda

    • ¾

      teaspoon salt

    • ½

      cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

    • ½

      cup vegetable shortening

    • cups sugar

    • 1

      tablespoon pure vanilla extract

    • 1

      large egg, at room temperature

    • cups ice water

    • 3

      large egg whites, at room temperature

    • ¼

      teaspoon cream of tartar

    • several drops of food coloring (I used Americolor in Electric Pink)

    • For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream

    • 10

      egg whites

    • cups sugar

    • 3

      cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened, and cut into cubes ***

    • 1

      tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    • pinch of salt


    Begin by preparing the cake. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Spray 3 round 8-inch baking pans (I had to work in batches to get 5 cake layers) with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottoms with wax paper, spray the wax paper with more baking spray, then flour the pans, tapping out the excess flour. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vegetable shortening until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla extract, and beat on medium speed until fluffy. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and add the egg, beating until just combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, alternating with the ice water, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form (I cheated and used a hand mixer- feel free to do the same). Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Divide the batter evenly among five bowls (I used a kitchen scale to ensure accuracy). With the food coloring, begin to tint the cake batter into different shades of pink (or the color of your choice). I left one bowl without any food coloring, and then added 1 drop to one bowl, 2 drops to another, 3 drops to another, and 4 drops to the last bowl, to make sure that there was an even progression of color. Mix the food coloring evenly into the cake batter. Add the cake batter from the first three bowls into the three prepared pans, with one color per cake pan. Smooth the tops of the cake batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack in the pans for about ten minutes, before inverting the cakes onto the racks to cool completely. Once the cakes have been inverted, clean up the baking pans and prepare them as before to bake the remaining cake layers. Bake as before. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing the wax paper circles. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the Swiss meringue buttercream. Begin by wiping the bowl of an electric mixer with a paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any traces of grease. Add the ten egg whites and sugar, and place over a pot of simmering water (the water should not be touching the bottom of the bowl, and should not be boiling). Whisk the egg whites and sugar together constantly, but gently, until the temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 160 degrees F. Remove the bowl from the stove, and return to the mixer. With the whisk attachment, begin to whip the egg whites until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 12 minutes or so. Switch to the paddle attachment, and with the mixer on low speed, begin to add the cubes of butter (do not add any butter if the bottom of the bowl is still warm), one at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. The mixture will, at some point, begin to appear curdled and broken, but keep mixing and the buttercream will smooth again. Add the vanilla and salt, and continue to beat together on low speed until combined. To assemble the cake, begin by trimming the domed tops of the cake layers with a serrated knife so that they are all level. Place the deepest pink cake layer, cut side down, on a cake stand that has been lined with waxed paper. Evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups of buttercream on top. Add the second deepest pink cake layer on top, cut side down, and evenly spread more butter cream on top. Repeat this until all the cake layers have been used, with the white cake layer at the very top of the cake. Crumb coat the cake, and place it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, so that the crumb coat has a chance to firm up. Frost the top and sides of the cake with buttercream (you will NOT be using all of the buttercream). Garnish the cake with white sprinkles and sparkling sugar, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up the finished cake. All that's left is slicing, and enjoying!


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