At our recent Love Bugs Valentine’s Party, the piece de resistance was definitely this Ginger Ale Vanilla Ombre Layer Cake that was prepared by my 5 year old!
If you’re looking for a slightly unexpected cake that’s light and fluffy with a delicious, creamy buttercream – this is the cake you’ve been looking for.
Ella has always been fascinated with cooking and baking so I just find it easier to develop recipes that she can help make rather than try to find time by myself to bake.
I love spending that special time with her creating and not having to worry about if it’s the cake is somehow going to get messed up by involving little hands.
It is so important to me to teach her that she is capable and indulge that creative, problem-solving nature than to worry if a cake is going to turn out as pretty as it would if I was hovering or “pretending” to let her “help.” This is a cake that we were sharing with friends at our Love Bugs Valentine’s Party so it was really special for Ella to be able to present and serve her cake.
Whenever I share a recipe here on Sugar, Spice & Glitter I always test it out twice just to ensure I’m sharing the right quantities, cooking times, etc, and also because sometimes I feel like a recipe could have used a slight tweak and I like to actually test that out before I share the recipe.
Also, whenever possible I like to ensure that if the kids help me out with a time-consuming recipe (like a layer cake) that I try out the recipe on my own first to ensure that it actually works. When I first played around with this recipe, I made it with ground ginger and ginger ale but I did not enjoy it as much as the cake that we just used ginger ale in. (Although I’d still like to experiment with using ginger beer to see how the flavour difference plays out.)
This is such a fun cake to make and serve – it has a gorgeous, colourful appearance that is almost reminiscent of abstract painting – and then you cut into it to reveal a surprisingly ombre pink layer cake inside. It tastes like a mix of cream soda and ginger ale and smells absolutely divine. The ginger ale-vanilla buttercream is delicious and like no frosting you’ve ever tasted.
This cake would make a cute reveal cake for a gender reveal party and you could really do it in whatever colour you’d like. Ella is obsessed with all things pink and purple these days, and pink, gold and black were the main colours for our party so it worked perfectly for us.
Ingredients for Vanilla-Ginger Ale Cake
- 1 cup butter softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup ginger ale
- Red food coloring
- Rainbow sprinkles
For the ombre buttercream frosting:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3-4 cups icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 2-3 tablespoons ginger ale
Tip: You can add ground ginger to this cake (1-2 teaspoons) but I really didn’t enjoy our test batch that used ginger.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- 3 round cake pans
- Large mixing bowl
- 2 small mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Hand or stand mixer
- Offset spatula
- Piping bags
- Cooling racks
How to Make a Ginger Ale Cake
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Prepare 3 8″ round cake pans by greasing and flouring. I also like to add a square of parchment to the bottom of the pan to ensure seamless removal.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla, continuing to beat well.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk together ginger ale and sour cream.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, combine well, then half of the ginger ale-sour cream mixture, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining ginger ale mixture and the final addition of flour.
Portion 1/3 of the mixture into the small bowl, and another 1/3 into the other small bowl. Dye one bowl of batter light pink and the second bowl dark pink.
Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, until set to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (I always rotate my cakes halfway through baking time because ovens can cook unevenly and this will cause issues with layering the cake layer.)
Cool the cakes in the pan for two minutes before turning out to finish cooling on a cooling rack.
Make the frosting by combining the vanilla, butter, icing sugar, salt and 2 Tablespoon of the ginger ale. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed in between each addition of ginger ale to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed in and to avoid a “too wet frosting.”
Portion 1/4 of the buttercream into a small bowl, and another 1/4 into another small bowl. Dye one bowl of buttercream light pink and the second bowl dark pink.
Give the cake a quick crumb coat (a simple “rough” coat of frosting that seals in any crumbs so that the final layer of frosting is crumb-free) and let set for at least an hour.
Scoop each colour of buttercream into their own piping bags.
Selecting a pink piping bag first, snip off the end and make squiggles and lines of frosting at random on the cake. Repeat with the other pink piping bag, and then fill in any spots with the white piping bag.
It’s going to look something like this when you are done piping on the frosting.
Take your offset spatula and smooth the frosting down into an even layer. This will create the cool ombre, watercolor effect.
Sprinkle generously with rainbow sprinkles before the frosting sets.
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For the ombre buttercream frosting: