Ombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting

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Vanilla and Chocolate layers come together in this Ombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting inspired by Surprise Inside Cakes written by Amanda Rettke of I Am Baker!

Vanilla and Chocolate layers come together in this Hombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting inspired by Surprise Inside Cakes

I have to tell you, I am not a cake decorator. I’ve said it before, many, many times. It’s why you don’t see many decorated cakes on my site. I’ve even taken the Wilton Decorating Classes. What I discovered during those classes is that it just wasn’t fun to make a decorated cake.

Through blogging, I’ve had the opportunity to meet (online) Amanda Rettke of I Am Baker and become friends. She is such a sweet person, always generous with her knowledge and time.

Vanilla and Chocolate layers come together in this Hombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting inspired by Surprise Inside Cakes

Amazed by her beautiful creations, I’d envy her talent with every single cake she’d make.  She’s the original creator of the famous Rose Cake! Amanda’s cakes aren’t just beautiful on the outside though. She also puts surprises on the inside. A candle in a Pumpkin Cake, a Bee in a Beehive cake, A ring for an engagement cake.

It was no surprise that Amanda put all her talent into an incredibly user friendly instructional book to make her Surprise Inside Cakes!

Surprise Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke of

Every word, every instruction, every step by step photo (especially the photos) had me wanting to run to the kitchen to make one of her cakes. After reading this book, cover to cover and drooling over her cakes, I felt ready to make the Rainbow Heart Cake on the front cover of her book! As easy as she makes it all look, I knew I needed to take baby steps.

Vanilla and Chocolate layers come together in this Hombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting inspired by Surprise Inside Cakes

I decided to start out simple with her Ombre Cake.

Did I mention her cake recipes? Amanda’s cool with box mixes or with using your own recipe for the cake but she boasts that her recipes don’t dome. Not having to level a cake, yup, I was sold! I can tell you, and you can see it here in the photos, no leveling required. (I did miss the cake scraps from cutting off the dome.) Her vanilla cake recipe was so light and airy, a true vanilla cake.

Vanilla and Chocolate layers come together in this Hombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting inspired by Surprise Inside Cakes

And the chocolate cake recipe? It might just be the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. And you know I’ve had my fair share of chocolate cake.

An Ombre cake is is easy to make. A great starter cake, if you want to try out Amanda’s cake creations.

Vanilla and Chocolate layers come together in this Hombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting inspired by Surprise Inside Cakes

For the decoration. I used the 1M Tip. I considered doing the roses all over the cake but chickened out at the last minute. I used Amanda’s star technique and just got sloppy with it. I ended up with what I like to think of as a ruffled effect. It took me maybe 15 minutes to decorate the entire cake. And it didn’t matter that my frosting wasn’t perfectly piped, evenly spaced. If I noticed a spot where I could still see cake, I just piped in more frosting.

Vanilla and Chocolate layers come together in this Hombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting inspired by Surprise Inside Cakes

To create the lighter chocolate frosting (the middle layer) I combined about 1 cup of the chocolate frosting with 2 cups of the vanilla frosting.

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Vanilla and Chocolate Buttercream frostings

Vanilla and Chocolate Buttercream frostings


    Vanilla Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pound bag confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream or milk
  • Chocolate Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream or milk


    for the Vanilla Buttercream
  1. Using a mixer, beat butter and shortening until creamy and smooth. Add in vanilla and salt, mix again.
  2. Sift powdered sugar, then slowly add sugar to butter mixture until all blended in. Make sure mixer is on low or you'll have powdered sugar everywhere.
  3. Add cream a few tablespoons at a time until a spreadable consistency is reached.
  4. for the Chocolate Buttercream
  5. Using a mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add in vanilla extract, beat until well combined.
  6. Sift cocoa and powdered sugar together. Slowly add sugar mixture to butter, until all combined.
  7. Add in cream, a few tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is reached.


If frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If frosting is too thick, add in more cream or milk.

recipe source

Vanilla and Chocolate layers come together in this Hombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting inspired by Surprise Inside Cakes

My girls got a hold of this book and have already created a list of my next cakes to make, starting with the Maypole cake for my daughter’s birthday this coming weekend! I can’t wait to get started.

Amanda has generously offered to give one of my readers their own copy of Surprise Inside Cakes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find your own copy of Surprise Inside Cakes where books are sold or you can order it on Amazon!

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About Joan Hayes

Mom to 3 teens, sweets and travel are her passions. Joan really does love her chocolate. She has a secret stash she hides from the kids and she has at least one bite of something chocolatey every day. She creates easy recipes any skill level can achieve to satisfy the sweet tooth in everyone!


  1. Violeta V Gill says:

    Devils food chocolate cake is my favorite!

    • Jan Salazar says:

      A really moist chocolate cake with a chocolate fudge icing. Need a glass of milk just thinking about it.

  2. Can I say that this cake is beyond stunning and is making me want to start a bit of baking in stilettos. This book is a must this season – and her cakes don’t dome – I need to try that!!! Fabulous job Joan!

  3. I think you mean “Ombre” – the French term for graduated color (shades going from light to dark). “Hombre” is the Spanish term for “man.” Similar pronunciations, but very different meanings.

  4. Anne Herrin says:

    Chocolate cake with Hershey’s chocolate frosting!

  5. My favorite cake is cheesecake with chocolate ganache.

  6. This looks so good … I love Chocolate … I think this might be one of my cooking/backing projects for the weekend

  7. Wow, what’s a surprise cake!

    I would love to bake a surprise cake for mom’s 94th birthday coming next month. My mom will be tickle to see the heart shape inside to show her i love her.

    I tried to enter to win but it won`t let me in. :’-(. Favorite cake is Angel`s food cake.

  8. What a great looking cake! I would love her book!!!

  9. LOVE red velvet! Joan your cake is stunning,and makes me want to start decorating

  10. Kathy Cunningham says:

    Favorite cake is anything in dark, rich chocolate.

  11. I can’t pick just one!!

  12. Wowsa! You did such a beautiful job decorating that cake! Very impressive, my dear. Take a “bow”!

  13. Kathleen M says:

    I love chocolate and berry blends. gives a delightful twist on cake and cupcakes.

  14. WOW…they are works of art!!!

  15. Rachel Kolodziej says:

    What a beautiful cake! I love to bake but am not so good at the decorating either. This I have to try though!

  16. Oh, my favorite cake? That would be coconut…or maybe dark chocolate….or, well, actually any kind of cake 🙂

  17. My favorite cake is . . . any and every one that tastes delicious! I just looove cakes!

  18. Jacinta W says:

    Vanilla Cake, thanks

  19. I love chocolate cake with almost any other flavor: mint, caramel, coffee, peanut butter, etc.

  20. What’s my favorite cake? Um, let’s see.. I’d have to say anything chocolate. However, vanilla, carrot, spice and lemon are good too. Ok, I’d have to say anything with icing..or simply with the word “cake” in its name. Sorry, I have a sweet tooth..hard to decide. Good thing I love to bake! 😉

  21. love dark chocolate cake of any kind

  22. Chocolate with chocolate frosting

  23. I love and enjoy many cake flavors, but my fav is German chocolate cake!

  24. my favorite cake is coconut and chocolate; I love either a white chocolate or dark,frosted with whipped creme and coconut flakes. I make these with frozen organic coconut yogurt, or with a simple cake batter…but this ombre cake has my head spinning; and I would love to win this book!

  25. Rebecca Brewer says:

    German chocolate – chocolate, pecans, and coconuty goo! How can you not love it?

  26. Mary Rupe says:

    Can’t wait to try one these cakes! They look fantastic!

  27. I came across this in my newsfeed from someone, and was amazed at the couple cakes I saw….
    I LOVE baking cakes, for family, and this is definitely something I would love to try to make 🙂
    Way to go & keep up the awesome work!!

  28. This is cake is beautiful!! You are definitely a cake decorator. I just finished reading Amanda’s book and it’s amazing. I don’t know where to start because there are so many great ideas in there. You picked a great one to start with 🙂 Her vanilla cake recipe is one I need to try as soon as possible because vanilla is my favorite cake!

  29. Barbi Post says:

    Her cakes look so good. I’d love to have this book.

  30. Donna Begley says:

    Absolutely stunning cake!

  31. Barbi Post says:

    I love the heart inside

  32. Coconut cream. This looks like such a fun cookbook; I have seen it before; would love to win it!

  33. I’m a simple girl. I love white cake with vanilla frosting, though Italian cream cake runs a close second.

  34. Dawn Aanderud-Cosby says:

    German Chocolate cake is one of my favorites…. it reminds me of my dad

  35. I love a good old chocolate cake, but I’m going to have to try some of these others.

  36. Italian Cream Cake is the ‘bomb’

  37. Brenda Francis says:

    Chocolate with chocolate frosting so rich and thick it could be fudge

  38. Sara Kotinek says:

    Carrot cake is my favorite!

  39. Chocolate Cake

  40. My favorite cake is #1 Black Forest #2 Chocolate Mousse

  41. I love a classic chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. But I’ve recently become obsessed with pineapple upside-down cake!

  42. Jordan S says:

    I am so going to try this cake – looks amazing!

  43. Love a black forest!

  44. This is stunning and cannot wait to try it. I tried to access those recipe links and I get a potato Advertisement. Bummer as I like to try new recipes.

    • I just checked all the links and they go to the correct recipes, which cake were you trying to check out?

      • Hi, it was the chocolate and vanilla ones from the Ombre cake. I do have an amazing boiled chocolate cake recipe already but it is a different consistency/texture to my other cakes so far.

  45. My favorite cake is chocolate with chocolate buttercream but I have a rule to never turn down any cake…as long as its fresh!

  46. I love yellow cake with mocha buttercream frosting, chopped walnuts and chocolate sprinkles! Yum!

  47. Amanda Rettke makes beautiful cakes! I would never, ever turn down a piece of any cake!! 🙂

  48. Red velvet cake… chocolate, cherry, Cream cheese butter icing… what more could u possibly want? Lol…

  49. Honestly, my favorite cake is ice cream cake, but I am dying to make one of Amanda’s cakes for my son. Yours is stunning, Joan!

  50. OH MY GOD!! What a gorgeous cake Joan! My favorite cake is carrot cake, daughters is everything chocolate. Have to try your cake, I will be calling you in the middle of the night!! LOL Nettie

  51. Joanne T says:

    I like chocolate cakes.

  52. Denise V. Moses says:

    Will definitely be making this cake. Would also love to win this book. Crossing my fingers.

  53. Yum! This just makes me want to turn the oven on!

  54. Barbara Seidler says:

    I am fascinated with these creative cakes!! I’d love to try those recipes which I am sure are creative and inspiring!!!

  55. Your cake is beautiful!

  56. Chocolate cake

  57. Really, almost any flavor of cake. I love them all!

  58. Pam Sego says:

    Like most all cakes but would really like to make your rainbow heart cake!

  59. Kelly Westerman says:

    Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  60. I love the combination of chocolate and vanilla! And this cake looks delicious!

  61. Bonnie Jones says:

    Red Velvet is my favorite.

  62. My favorite cake is sponge cake. I use it when making a Boston Cream Pie.

  63. Such a yummy looking cake and a great giveaway!

  64. My favorite cake has to be chocolate cake with chocolate frosting or nutella cloud frosting, yum!

  65. Yummy!

  66. My favorite has always been white cake!

  67. My favorite is Chocolate Cake with white buttercream frosting

  68. oh my goodness, this is so much fun! pinned!

  69. robin nickles says:

    this cake looks so good, I am going to try this one, I to need baby steps, and I do love chocolate cake, with buttercream frosting, my favorite

  70. Deb Young says:

    A good devil’s food with a light vanilla buttercream

  71. I love any chocolate cake……or carrot cake…..well, cake in general basically.

  72. I love chocolate and vanilla together I would love to try this cake. Where can I get the cake recipe?

  73. Nicole B. says:

    I love chocolate cake the best, but this pattern of ombré is fantastic! I opted to do ombré roses last month, but, this looks just as fun…and it’s all chocolate! Mmmm!

  74. A triple dark chocolate cake…

  75. Tammy Glover says:

    My favorite cake is coconut cake with Buttercream icing sprinkled with lots of coconut. Your chocolate ombre cake looks amazing.

  76. Lindsay Lee says:

    Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Frosting

  77. Oh my, this is so pretty.

  78. Gabrielle says:

    This cake looks so good. If you bring that to a party they will think you paid someone to make that for you.
    I’m going to make this one soon

  79. I love any lemon cake.

  80. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

  81. OMG that cake is absolutely fantastic! Fantastic!!!!!!

  82. Yellow Cake w/Chocolate Frosting (all time favorite)

  83. Donna DeSanto says:

    My favorite is a peanut butter Italian meringue buttercream filled sour cream chocolate cake that I usually frost with dark chocolae ganache. I decorate it with chocolate buttercream rosettes that hold peanut butter chip piped filigree pieces or salted peanuts. The sides are covered with crushed peanuts. Delish!

  84. Anything three layered! (and I really love how you decorated your cake. it’s beautiful. I can bake well, but the frosting techniques always get me. I’m going to try it your way!) 🙂

  85. I LOVE a densely chocolate cake with simply home-canned wild black raspberry jam for the filling and lightly chocolate swiss meringue buttercream for the frosting.

  86. Gorgeous cake, Joan!!
    My favorite cake would have to be German Chocolate 🙂

  87. Diane Smith says:

    My favorite cake is Spice cake with Peanut butter frosting. My Mom even made it for my wedding

  88. I made a Chocolate pumpkin marble cake with brown sugar glaze that was divine!!!! Best cake (that I’ve baked and tasted) in a while!
    Hope I win!!

  89. Anything chocolate!!

  90. Pauline Gudas says:

    My favorite cake is chocolate cake with vanilla frosting

  91. This is amazing 🙂

  92. Chocolate cake

  93. Joy Stamp says:

    Wow ~ this cake is BEAUTIFUL and looks delicious ! I would love to serve this to my husband. My favorite cake is first moist and second vanilla of some kind 😀

  94. My favorite cake is devil’s food with buttercream frosting!

  95. I love love love love devil’s food cake with peanut butter frosting and filling. agh, i’m drooling thinking about it right now.

  96. Christine LaValle says:

    White almond cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting YUM! I really like the look of the ombre frosting ! It would be so nice to win this cookbook 😀

  97. Sandy Crowe says:

    I love the look of the Ombre cake, simply beautiful!!!!!! Chocolate is my favorite anyway. 🙂

  98. Donna Nelson says:

    ANYTHING chocolate !!!!!!

  99. SUCH a gorgeous cake!!! Great job Joan!

  100. Audra Bell says:

    I’ve found my next birthday cake, yummy!

  101. Joan – this turned out perfectly! Great job!

  102. Marcia S. says:

    Hummingbird cake and carrot cake are my favorites!

  103. Chocolate Mud cake, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! Superb cake by the way

  104. Jennifer says:

    My fave cake is yellow cake with chocolate frosting!!!!!!!yum!!!!!!!!!!!

  105. Favorite? Chocolate! Your cake is gorgeous 🙂

  106. Lora Anne M says:

    I like a triple chocolate guiness cake with guiness cream cheese frosting.

  107. my favorite is black forest cake

  108. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my favorite. I love that frosting technique!

  109. Gina Guthrie says:

    carrot cake.

  110. Donna Bassett says:

    A carrot cake has always been a favorite of mine.

  111. I love a yellow cake with chocolate frosting!

  112. katrina kissinger says:

    i can’t wait to make the ombre cake with buttercream frosting

  113. My favorite cake is all cake. I mean what’s not to love about cake?

  114. Chocolate Linzer torte my amateur baker cousin made – so good!

  115. Sherril T. says:

    I love my Mom’s Cheesecake!

  116. Linda Rielly says:

    I love a triple chocolate cake with a chocolate butter frosting, looks like marshmellow and does not taste overly sweet.
    5Tbsp. flour -cook flour and water till translusent, set aside to cool, blend butter and sugar till smooth,
    1 cup of water add flour mixture to sugar and butter mixture and vanilla and mix for 10 minutes till of 1 cup of sugar marshmellow consistancy. Enjoy!
    1 lb. of butter *Melt 1 cup chocolate chips for a chocolate frosting.*
    1 Tsp vanilla

  117. Stefanie says:

    Chocolate for sure!!

  118. Absolutely gorgeous cake!! I love that it is half chocolate. Now I want cake 🙂

  119. Wow! Stunning cake—I pinned it because I must try it soon….found this at cheerios and latte saturday party. Have a great weekend!

  120. My favorite cake is a dirt cake !!!

    Thank u for the awesome recipes !!

  121. I am really loving any kind of chocolate cake frosted with Hershey’s especially dark chocolate frosting recipe. The frosting really takes it over the top and you don’t even need a mixer. You can use a whisk.

  122. Deep chocolate cake with rich chocolate icing and a strawberry/chocolate filling.

  123. Maggie Wallace says:

    My favorite cake is french vanilla with chocolate cream cheese frosting!

  124. Strawberry cake!

  125. Tracy Belardo says:

    Devils’ Food Cake!!!

  126. Wow, your cake is gorgeous Joan! My hand hurts just thinking about decorating it. 😉 Having vanilla and chocolate will keep everyone happy!!

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