Ombre Layer Cake
- Prepare a double batch of cake batter. Divide the batter evenly among five or six bowls. Using gel food coloring, tint each bowl of batter, shading the colors from light to dark (this type of shading is called ombre). Bake and cool cakes as directed, using an 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pan for each color.
- Fill cake layers with Creamy White Frosting. (To ensure that the frosting is even between layers and to avoid breaking the thin cake layers, use a decorating bag fitted with a closed star tip to pipe the frosting onto the top of one cake layer. Carefully spread and smooth frosting evenly; top with another cake layer. Repeat with the remaining cake layers and additional frosting.) Frost cake top and sides, spreading frosting as smoothly as possible over the top and sides of cake.
- Using gel food coloring, tint several balls of white fondant,** shading the colors from light to dark. Roll the darkest color of fondant according to package directions until about 1/8 inch thick. Using a mini cookie cutter (or a large round decorating tip), cut shapes from fondant. Quickly press fondant shapes onto cake sides, aligning shapes evenly around bottom edge of cake.
- Once you finish the first row, roll out the next shade of fondant and repeat cutting and placing fondant shapes onto cake sides, evenly aligning shapes above previous row of shapes. Repeat until cake sides are covered with fondant shapes. (If the frosting starts to crust, carefully spritz the back of each fondant shape with water before placing the shape on cake.)
From the Test Kitchen
Large closed star decorating tip and decorating bag (optional) Mini cookie cutter, any shape (or large round decorating tip)
Be sure to use gel food coloring. Liquid food coloring will thin the batter and won't get the color as dark.
Before you begin to tint fondant, measure the height of your cake and the diameter of the cookie cutter you plan to use, then determine how many rows of fondant cutouts will fit onto the sides of your cake. (There are four rows of fondant cutouts on the cake shown.) Tint one ball of fondant for each row.
Creamy White Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add about half of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the milk. Gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar and enough of the remaining milk to reach spreading consistency.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Allow butter and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour two 9x1-1/2-inch or 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pans; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add granulated sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat for 2 minutes more. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans, spreading evenly.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for 9-inch pans, 30 to 35 minutes for 8-inch pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans; cool completely on wire racks.