• Tacy Schuler

Totally Tye Dye Cakes

So you have this friend or this customer that is unique in every way. They love a great surprise and you are asked to do something unexpected for their birthday cake. You could scour the web looking for unique cakes and honestly, every #trendingcake you find is just not quite right. This person is special inside and out and you want to do something that will wow them thats not too difficult to reproduce.


Enter from stage left-- the Tye Dye Surprise cake


You can go all out with your rainbow-riffic friend and add all the color, or you can blend a combination of camo or their favorite colors on the INSIDE of their cake to really leave a standout impression.


I've done this cake for many of my friends and even my daughter's first birthday and I have to say, the reactions never get old.


There are a few things you need to make a cake like this:


1. Gel Colors

You will need some high quality gel colors. I prefer to use #Chefmaster colors which are widely available online and in cake decorating stores everywhere. Remember with Gel colors, you will absolutely need to take it easy on how dark you color your batter as it will brighten and darken when baking. If you want a cake that stains everyones teeth and has a dramatic "mess" effect than go crazy and add lots of it. You can do this cake with the basic food coloring found in the baking isle of your grocery store but it will not be as bright and as bold and you will probably need half the bottles of color per color.


2. The Perfect Cake Recipe

Ideally, you want a cake that's closer to a pound cake than a sponge cake. If you have too many air pockets in the batter, the color will swirl or be just a little "off." Lucky for you, I have the perfect cake recipe right here:




3. The Perfect Swirl

Before you bake your cake, you need to color the batter appropriately. Have 4-6 bowls ready and your color scheme in hand and divide your batter evenly between the bowls. In the cake shown, I have made: purple, teal, pink, and blue. I have done traditional rainbow colors as well, its entirely up to you how you want to make it.


You will need to have a little skill with pastry bags to do the rest. To begin this swirl, fill 16" or 20" pastry bags with each color batter (do not cut a tip in the bags until you are ready to pipe, they WILL dribble everywhere). Begin with your first color, cut a hole about 1" from the tip of the bag and pipe a swirl as shown.


Continue adding your colors by piping in the spaces around your anchor color and following a line. You may need to pipe a second layer on top of your original layer to use up batter. It should look something like this:


Tap the pans on top of your counter a few times. This will knock out any weird air pockets from piping and will even out your batter. The next step is to create a spider web of sorts by taking a knife, offset spatula, or any stick and pulling the batter from the center out to the edges.



After creating your "spider web," the next step is to swirl the pattern again. I usually take a toothpick or very sharp knife and actually work with the current swirl to pull the spiderweb in the same direction.


Once your batter looks like an incredible tye dye t-shirt, its time to bake. Do not overthing the swirl and make sure to pull all the way to the bottom of your pan.


4. Exact Baking

It is incredibly important that you keep an eye on this cake to not over or under bake it in any way. If it is under-baked, the inside will be gummy and obviously so. If you over-bake it the colors will caramelize and your cake will look dry, drab, and poor.


5. Cutting and Stacking

Yeah, you aren't done yet. After the cake has cooled and you are ready to decorate, you will have some inconsistencies from the top to the bottom of the layers. To make my cake, I cut the layers in half and flip them around to the most colorful parts are both facing upward.



Now you are ready to ice and decorate! If you need a little inspiration on a total tye dye cake, here is what this cake turned out to look like:




This cake was iced in Italian Buttercream, airbrushed, and had a royal icing glaze applied to the sides. There was no inedible or fondant decorations on this cake. The sprinkles are a bunch of different #Wilton sprinkles I picked up at a craft store or had on hand.


So there it is, the easiest surprise I can think of to add to any of your sweet creations. If you make one of your own, snap a photo and leave a comment below, I would love to see it!

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