This weekend, I spent a few hours baking and decorating a cake for my Grandmother’s 90th birthday party, and I was giddy with happiness while I was doing it. I do a ton of baking at work, and I test a lot of cake decorating tools too, but it’s been ages since I baked and decorated a full cake and loved every second of it. For a moment, it made me nostalgic for my bakery days, and the routine of building, icing, and finishing cake after cake after cake. And what better reason to fall into a frosted reverie than your Grandma’s birthday? To celebrate 90 great years? I’m lucky that I had the chance to make this cake.
Ombre cakes are all the rage right now, and my hip Grandma deserved a hip dessert. This lavender ruffled number fit the bill. My grayed out photos don’t do the colors justice, but the top of the cake was the palest shade of purple possible, and faded very slightly into 3 increasingly darker shades.
To get the color variance, I first dyed all of my frosting the palest shade. I iced the top of the cake fully and crumb coated the sides. The remaining frosting was divided into four equal parts. One part stays as it is, then the other three take additional icing color until the desired shade is reached. A lot of ombre cakes seem to have visible divisions between the colors because each shade is dramatically different from the last. To keep the dip-dyed effect super subtle, add just a bit of icing color to your frosting at a time, until each shade is just slightly darker than the last. It makes a gorgeous, undetectable gradation of color.
I used a Wilton #116L tip to achieve the ruffled effect around the top and sides of the cake. It worked great even though I’m not left-handed. The best part of this decoration? It requires zero piping skills. Actually, the shakier you are with a bag and tip, the better and more natural these ruffles will look. If you’ve never picked up a decorating bag, and this is the first cake you ever attempt, chances are good that your ruffles will look ruffly, as long as you hold the bag with the wider end of the tip down and keep it near the side of the cake.
Happy birthday Grandma, and many, many more!