Drip Cake

Want to make the perfect drip cake? This recipe is super-easy, and walks you through everything you need to know about drip cakes!
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 50 min (includes cooling and chilling)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 24 servings
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Vanilla Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour (390 grams)

3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (10 grams)

1 teaspoon salt (5 grams)

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature (226 grams)

1 cup egg whites (about 7 egg whites) (244 grams)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature (360 grams)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (28 grams)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (9 grams)

Vanilla Buttercream:

4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature (434 grams)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (12 grams)

1/2 teaspoon salt (3 grams)

7 cups (one 2-pound bag) powdered sugar (907 grams)

2 tablespoons heavy cream (30 grams)

Colorful Drip:

1/3 cup heavy cream (77 grams)

1 cup white chocolate chips (175 grams)

Gel food coloring


  1. For the vanilla cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottoms of three 8-inch pans with parchment rounds. Spray the pans with nonstick baking spray.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until fully combined. On low speed, gradually mix chunks of the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue to mix until no large pieces of butter remain and the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Pour in the egg whites and continue to mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two additions. Add the oil and vanilla and continue to mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on low speed for about 15 seconds longer.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the layers comes out clean, 34 to 36 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around edge of the pans to separate the cakes from the pans. Place the cake layers in the freezer for 45 minutes to accelerate the cooling process.
  5. For the vanilla buttercream: Beat the butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer until smooth, about 30 seconds. Beat in the vanilla and salt on a low speed. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with small splashes of cream. Continue beating on low until the frosting is super smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream 1 teaspoon at a time. If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time.
  6. For the colorful drip: Place the cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the cream is just beginning to bubble, about 45 minutes. Gently pour the white chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure the chips are fully covered with cream. Allow to sit for 1 minute.
  7. Stir slowly until the cream and white chocolate are combined. Some bits of chocolate may not be fully melted yet; if so, microwave the mixture for 20 seconds, and stir. Repeat as necessary until all the chocolate bits are fully melted and incorporated.
  8. Stir in gel food coloring to reach the desired shade. Allow to cool until desired consistency is reached; the drips should be barely warm to the touch. If the mixture seems too thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate chips or heavy cream. The type of cream and chocolate used can affect the consistency, so adjust as needed.
  9. To assemble: Place a dab of buttercream on a greaseproof cake board and lay 1 layer on top, using the frosting to adhere the cake to the board. Cover the top of the cake with an even layer of buttercream with a large offset spatula. Repeat with the remaining layer. Spread a thin coat of buttercream over the sides and top of the cake layers. Smooth the sides and top with a bench scraper. Chill the cake until the frosting is firm to the touch, about 20 minutes in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer.
  10. Spread a second thicker layer of buttercream over the cake and smooth again with a bench scraper. Chill the cake again until the frosting is firm to the touch, about 20 minutes in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer.
  11. Place the colorful drip in a plastic squirt bottle. Starting from the top of the cake, squirt the drip mixture so it drips down the sides. Decorate the cake further as desired!

Cook’s Note

You can make the ganache drip recipe ahead of time or save leftovers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or cover the top of the plastic squeeze bottle and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. To use chilled ganache, heat the bottle or bowl in the microwave for 10 second intervals until it reaches the right consistency. Use leftover ganache to top cupcakes, cookies or even ice cream!

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