Winter Wonderland Ombre Cake

by Sarah

in Cakes, cholesterol free, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Egg-Free, Nut free, vegan

This winter wonderland ombre cake is a vanilla cake frosted with peppermint frosting, filled with a surprise chocolate ganache inside each layer. Ombre frosting, snowflakes, and snowmen complete the winter wonderland look.

winter wonderland ombre cake ~ www.savoringspoon.comThis week is the Spork’s father’s birthday. Since his father’s birthday, his birthday, and my birthday are all in December (within a 10 day span!) we celebrated this weekend with his family in a combined December birthday.

winter wonderland ombre cake ~ www.savoringspoon.comI’ve been hoping to make a winter wonderland ombre cake for a few years now (plan ahead right?) so this was the perfect opportunity to make some cute winter snowmen and glittery snowflakes. And ombre frosting! This was my first time frosting a cake with ombre color, and it was so much fun, I’m sure to do it again soon.

At first this cake looks hard to make, but if you follow the pictorials it’s quite fun and not all that hard! :) promise.

winter wonderland ombre cake ~

The snowflakes:

Easy Step-by-Step tutorial for making sparkly snowflake cake toppersSteps for the snowflakes are (1)  take 1 ball fondant and 1 ball (equal size) of gum paste (size of the balls depends on how many snowflakes you want to make. I used a quarter fist size of each ball to make all my white color snowflakes both large and small) and mix together by kneading in your hands till well combined and pliable. (2) roll out on a board or plastic sheet (3) cut snowflakes using a cookie cutter (4) let dry a couple hours or overnight – once it’s dry it can stand up on the cake (5) brush water* or sugar glue (pink tip size gum paste dropped in water, dissolved for 30 minutes) on the snowflake (6) drizzle shimmering sugar, let dry a few hours. (6) flip over and repeat steps 5 and 6 for double drizzled snowflakes. To make the blue snowflakes, follow the same steps but tint the fondant/gum paste mixture ball in step 1) by dipping a toothpick into sky blue gel food color and kneading the color into the ball before proceeding to the rest of the steps. I recommend making enough blue fondant/gum paste mixture to create the blue snowflakes and all the snowmen accessories (hat, scarf). This is about 1/2 fist size of total fondant/gum paste mixture.

*Note I have read that you can use water instead of making the sugar glue, but so far I use the sugar glue because after making a small amount it lasts for a long time if kept clean and airtight. Plus it takes about 2 seconds to make and the rest is just waiting for the gum paste to dissolve in the water for half an hour!

winter wonderland ombre cake ~ www.savoringspoon.comThe snowmen:

Easy Step-by-Step tutorial for making snowman cake toppers

Steps for snowmen are: (1) knead a ball of fondant with a ball of gum paste in 1:1 ratio. Sizes of balls depends on how many snowmen you want. I used about a 1/2 fist size of fondant/gumpaste mix for 2 snowmen. (2) Pinch of 2 larger balls and for snowmen bodies, 2 smaller balls for heads. (3) Roll balls into smooth spheres by rolling very fast in your two hands. (4) Put cut tooth pick into one ball, spear head onto it for stability (5) Tint some fondant/gum paste mixture blue by dipping a toothpick in sky blue gel food color and kneading color evenly. (6) Roll blue fondant/gum paste mixture out flat using a rolling pin. (7) use spatula to cut a rectangle for the scarf. (8) Mark ends of scarf by dragging spatula through to make the scarf tassels (9) Wrap scarf around snowman neck (10) Use a round cookie cutter or pipping tip to cut the hat out of the blue fondant / gum paste mixture. (11) Cut a small triangle off, and fold hat on head of snowman. (12) Cut a smaller round disk by pressing tip of a pipping tip into the blue fondant/gum paste, use spatula to cut tassels, fold tassels up with hands, and affix to cap top with sugar glue (see directions in snowflake tutorial). (13) Dot two eyes with black gel food color and a toothpick (14) Make nose out of orange tinted fondant/gum paste mixture, and affix to snowman face using sugar glue.

The ombre:

Easy Step-by-Step tutorial for frosting an ombre cakeSetup for Ombre Cake: To make this easy on yourself, pre-mix the frosting with color and keep it in disposable cups you can throw away instead of washing. Prepare 1 off-set spatula for frosting the top of the cake and top 1/3 of the cake. Prepare a long spatula for frosting the sides. Prepare a large bowl of warm water to dip the spatulas in while frosting. Dipping it in warm water will make frosting go on smoother as the heat melts the shortening and margarine as you frost. Prepare a towel to wipe your frosting on to clean it as you frost. The cleaner the spatula is, the cleaner the frosting looks (no stray marks). The colors I used were sky blue and teal, both from wilton. The teal came in the 12 color food color pack, and the sky blue I got separate from the pack. I used sky blue for the bottom layer and teal for the middle layer.

Steps for frosting the ombre cake: (1) Crumb coat cake and let chill in fridge for 30 minutes to seal in crumbs (2) Mix colors of ombre. I used light blue gel food color for the darkest layer, and teal gel food color for the lighter layer. Just dip a toothpick in the color, and dip the color into a cup of white frosting. Stir well with a spoon to get the color mixed and get rid of air bubbles in frosting. (3) Apply top layer of cake frosting first , frosting the white top and smoothing down to the first 1/3 of the cake body. You want the top to be pretty flat because you won’t touch it much after this point. (4) Add darkest color to lowest 1/3 of frosting and smooth out a big using a large spatula and spinning the cake turntable. (5) Add the medium color in the middle 1/3 of the cake body and mix into the rest of the cake by frosting the side of the cake as you spin the turntable holding the large spatula angled against the side of the cake. As you frost, the colors will blend. Tip: Don’t overwork the sides of the cake or all 3 colors become one color. (6) Finish off by pulling the top edge of the cake sides sticking up above the cake top in towards the center of the cake top – this creates a smoother edge.

winter wonderland ombre cake ~ www.savoringspoon.comAfter you are done frosting the cake, place your snowflakes and snowmen on the cake in any style you like. And you’re done! 😀 Wasn’t that fun?! This is a great addition to your Christmas dessert table, ending the Christmas dinner on a sweet note and with enough sparkle to last you through to the next season. To top it off, you can tell your guests this is 100% vegan and cholesterol free, from the little snowmen, to the snowflakes, to the cake and even the chocolate inside.

The chocolate ganache inside is a surprise. Since I brought this cake to the birthday dinner, I could not cut into it for a picture of what a slice looks like, but it looks similar to my maple walnut cake with chocolate ganache, but with 4 layers :)

Maple walnut cake with chocolate ganache, cake slice

4.8 from 6 reviews
Winter Wonderland Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Winter Wonderland Ombre Cake with surprise chocolate ganache filling
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 30
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons imitation (or pure) vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 12 cups sifted confectioner's sugar*
  • 2⅔ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (not crisco!)
  • 1⅓ cup vegan margarine
  • 8 tablespoons soy milk
  • 8 tablespoons peppermint extract
Chocolate Ganache
  • ½ cup unsweetened soy milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy free)
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease four 9 inch baking pans by melting about 3 tablespoons of vegan margarine in the microwave and brushing it on the pans. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper (I use pre-cut parchment rounds).
  3. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar quickly, and set aside for 15 minutes to let it curdle. Meanwhile mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Add remainder of dry ingredients to the soy milk and vinegar mixture. Whisk to combine, and fold wet ingredients into dry. Mix till well combined. A few small lumps is good.
  5. Pour batter into the greased and lined cake pans. About 3 cups batter per pan.
  6. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Then flip cake out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
  8. Meanwhile make frosting. Cream shortening and margarine until creamy and well combined.
  9. Sift in powdered sugar. Then add peppermint extract and mix. Add 1 tablespoon of soy milk at a time till achieved desired consistency.
Decorating Tips
  1. Once cake is completely cool, level the cake, Between each layer of cake, spread a layer of chocolate ganache, and then a layer of frosting before adding the next layer of cake.
  2. Crumb coat stacked cake. Let crumb coated cake set in fridge fro 15 minutes to seal in crumbs.
  3. Remove from fridge and finish frosting the cake, following the picture directions for ombre frosting.
  4. Top with pre-made snowflakes and snowmen.
  5. Sprinkle cake top with sparkling sugar or edible silver stars to make the snow glittery.
*I had a lot of extra powdered sugar left over, but made 12 cups so I wouldn't worry about having not enough. In reality you probably only need about 9 cups.

Recipe makes a 4 layer cake. The tall cake shows the ombre effect very well, but you can do it with a 3 layer cake too!

The cake recipe is adapted from the book Chloe's Vegan Desserts. The frosting recipe and decorations are Savoring Spoon originals.

For more information on frosting and decorating the cake, you can refer to my cake and cupcake tutorials page, and the cake supplies page for information about tools used for cake decorating. The specific sprinkles I used on this cake were: Silver Stars, Sugar Pearls, and Williams and Sonoma Shimmering Sugar (couldn’t find this one online). Wilton also makes a Shimmering Sugar you can buy online.

For more winter cakes, here are some more!

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake

Peppermin t Red Velvet CakeMint Chocolate Cake (made by the Savoring Spork)

mint chocolate cake


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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nagi@RecipeTinEats December 16, 2014 at 2:46 am

* GASP! * Sarah, this is STUNNING! It is ART! I can’t believe you made this. How on earth do you come up with these ideas? Everything, the toppers, the two tone, the flavours – and vegan??? You are truly incredible.


2 Sarah December 16, 2014 at 3:26 am

Hi Nagi! I’m so happy you like it! I love making winter cakes, and this is my favorite winter cake I’ve made yet. Cute Christmas ornaments, Pinterest, foodgawker, fondant people from a gingerbread town my lab made in the past, all melded together to inspire this cake design :)


3 Mira December 16, 2014 at 7:10 am

This cake is gorgeous Sarah! I love everything about it! Great decoration and I’m sure it is delicious!


4 Sarah December 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

Thanks Mira!


5 Manali @ CookWithManali December 16, 2014 at 8:27 am

Wow Wow! You make the prettiest cakes Sarah! I am so impressed! Looks incredible! Pinned.


6 Sarah December 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

Thanks Manali!


7 Arpita@ The Gastronomic Bong December 16, 2014 at 9:09 am

Sarah! This cake looks Gorgeous!!! I have no words.. It looks so beautiful and so festive… love the step by step tutorial.. Thanks for sharing it.. :)


8 Sarah December 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

Thanks Arpita! I’m glad you like the step-by-step tutorials!


9 Sonali- The Foodie Physician December 16, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Wow, this is stunning- really one of the most beautiful cakes that I’ve seen! I love the step-by-step tutorial. Thanks for connecting with me, it looks like we have a lot in common :)


10 Sarah December 16, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Hi Sonali! I’m glad you like this cake! I think we have a lot in common too – you’re the first physician I met who also writes a food blog! :)


11 GiGi Eats December 16, 2014 at 8:09 pm

You know that phrase “I can’t even” — YEAHHHHH that’s happening to me right now! LOL! SO CUTE and creative!


12 Sarah December 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Thanks GiGi!! :)


13 Connie @ Sprig and Flours December 17, 2014 at 6:56 am

Wow Sarah, this is too beautiful for words! You are an artist! The snowflakes are perfect. I can’t stop looking at it. Happy birthday to you, Spork, and Papa Spork! (:


14 Sarah December 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Thanks so much Connie! :)


15 The Squishy Monster December 17, 2014 at 8:29 am

Those snowmen are so darling—I love every element of this cake!!!


16 Sarah December 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Thank you! The snowmen were very fun to make!


17 Maryanne @ the little epicurean December 17, 2014 at 9:21 am

Such a cute and adorable cake!! I love your tutorials, you make it look so easy :)

I’ve been meaning to do an ombre cake for the longest time…I thinking Valentine’s Day! 😉

I hope you and your loved ones had a happy birthday!


18 Sarah December 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Thanks for the wishes! Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time for an ombre cake!


19 Amanda December 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

Another gorgeous cake! Those snowmen are ridiculously adorable!!!


20 Sarah December 17, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Thanks! My favorite part was the snowmen too!


21 Nora @ Savory Nothings December 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Oh my Sarah, I’m SO happy I found your blog! All your cakes are simply amazing! SO gorgeous!


22 Sarah December 17, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Awww thanks so much Nora! :) your blog is awesome too – the photos are beautiful!


23 Chineka @ Savor The Baking December 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm

This cake is iced perfectly and I love the snowflakes.


24 Sarah December 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Thanks Chineka!


25 Joanne December 18, 2014 at 5:00 am

OHMYGOSH. I can hardly handle the beautifulness.


26 Sarah December 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

Thanks Joanne! :)


27 Alessandra // the foodie teen December 18, 2014 at 7:40 am

Oh my GOODNESS, Sarah! This is stunning and looks absolutely mouthwatering! You always have such amazing ideas, and I love that first photo!


28 Sarah December 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

Thanks Alessandra! That’s my favorite photo too!


29 Holly | Beyond Kimchee December 18, 2014 at 5:47 pm

You are so artistic, Sarah! It is like a winter wonderland on a cake. What a show stopper!


30 Sarah December 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Thanks so much Holly!


31 Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom December 18, 2014 at 9:17 pm

oh my goodness!!! what a gorgeous cake!!! wow, love love love the ombre frosting!! If you stuck Elsa and Anna on this cake, my kids would go crazy! :) this is truly a winter wonderland!! love this! so beautiful!


32 Sarah December 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Thanks Alice! :) Great idea about Elsa and Anna!


33 Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl December 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I used to have hair just like that blue… so this post makes me nostalgic for fun hair again. Loving that ombre look, what a awesome beautiful cake!


34 Sarah December 21, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Hi Pamela! Your blue ombre hair was so pretty ~ I can see it on your site’s about page :) Glad you like the cake!


35 Jess @ whatjessicabakednext December 22, 2014 at 5:45 am

This ombre cake looks amazing! Love that toned icing, so cool and very pretty! 😀


36 Sarah December 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Thank you! :)


37 Annie+@+ciaochowbambina December 22, 2014 at 7:43 am

Goodness, this is beautiful!! I really have no words! Thanks for sharing, Sarah!!


38 Sarah December 23, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Thanks Annie!


39 Cailee December 22, 2014 at 9:34 am

Ahhh!! This looks amazing!! Seriously! So pretty!! …and it’s vegan?? What what!! Way to be girl!! :) #impressed!


40 Sarah December 23, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Thanks Cailee! :)


41 Maggie December 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm

This is such a beautiful cake and something from a fairy tale! :)
I never cooked with fondant before, but it looks like a lot of fun! The snow flakes are perfect for the season and the snowmen are too cute to be eaten!


42 Sarah December 25, 2014 at 11:48 pm

Thanks Maggie!


43 Jordan McArthur December 12, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Can the vegan ingredients be substituted?


44 Sarah December 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm

they can be substituted, but usually not a direct 1:1 ratio with non-vegan items.


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