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How to make a watercolor cake tutorial

How to make a Watercolor Cake (with natural colors!)

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  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Learn how to make a watercolor cake in the EASIEST way possible, yet still achieve that beautiful and elegant look! With step by step instructions and picture tutorials, you’re going to love making a watercolor cake!




  • Cake turntable
  • Offset spatula
  • Bench scraper
  • Piping bags and tips


  1. Prepare the cake according to instructions. You can make either cakes I suggested above into 6″ cakes or 8″ cakes. You will be able to get three layers out of both (just the 8″ layers will be not as thick).
  2. Cool the cakes entirely before beginning. This is crucial, as you don’t want your cakes to slip onto the ground. There must be absolutely no warmth coming from any of the cakes, top or bottom.
  3. Vegan Buttercream Recipe: Once the cakes are cool, place the vegan butter into the stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, and cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sift in 1 cup fo powdered sugar at a time, mixing between each cup. If the powdered sugar isn’t combining, you can add in a tablespoon or two of dairy free milk to help the mixture, always adding only a little at a time to ensure you don’t add too much.
  5. Use the stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the frosting until light and fluffy. The buttercream should be smooth and moveable, but not too soft, and not too stiff. If you’re having trouble with a very thick frosting, you can add an extra tablespoon of dairy free milk to the mixture and cream again until incorporated.
  6. Make the crumb coat. Place one layer of cake onto your cake turntable, applying a dab of frosting to the bottom of the cake to help it stay on the turntable. Apply about 1/3 cup frosting to the top of the first layer, and use your offset spatula to smooth the frosting to the edges of the cake (it can spill over a little- that will help with the crumb coat!). Place the second layer on top and repeat. Then place the third cake layer on top of the second, and apply about 1/4 cup of frosting to the top of the cake, smooth it until it reaches the edges (you will need more if it’s an 8″ cake). 
  7. Use the remaining buttercream to frost the edges. Try to use just 1 1/2-2 cups, but you’ll end up removing a lot in the bench scraping process! Once the sides of the cake are coated, use the bench scraper and begin to carefully smooth the sides of the cake, going almost to the edge of the cake. Some of the layers might show through, and that’s okay. Keep smoothing and removing frosting until the sides are smooth and crisp. Then use your offset spatula to gently smooth the edges of the top of the cake, using the spatula to pull towards you from the edge of the cake in. Place the cake into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
  8. Right before you remove the cake, you can make the water color buttercream. You should have about 1 1/2-2 cups leftover, but you won’t need that much. I used about 2/3 cup frosting for the blue, 1/2 cup for the green, and 1/3 cup for the green. I left a bit leftover for the white, as I was trying to achieve Monet’s Water Lilies (and there’s a bit of white reflected in the water in his painting!).
  9. Once the cake is chilled, apply smears of blue to the outside of the cake, but not everywhere, just in spots here and there. Repeat for the green and then for the pink (or whatever colors you’re choosing!). Then apply a bit of frosting to the top (your color of choosing). I also filled in some gaps with white buttercream. Then take your bench scraper again and gently smooth the edges, applying more buttercream in gaps as needed. Be careful not to over smooth, as you’ll mix the colors too much. Less is more.
  10. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can make decorations like I did with the offset spatula! I made little lily pads and water lilies on the sides of the cake and tops. 
  11. Serve and enjoy!


Vegan food colors:

Liquid Food Colors:

Powdered Vegan Food Colors:

  • Suncore Foods
  • Beet powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Spirulina
  • Blue spirulina
  • Powdered purple sweet potato