This mermaid cake with vanilla buttercream frosting is so simple to make you won’t believe it and so fun to eat you won’t be able to stop at one slice! (PS, the pearls on top are a must.)
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of those links I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only link to products I love and use myself. For the full disclosure, see here.
You guys, I have a bit of news. It’s scary stuff so prepare yourselves.
It’s almost April. As in the month that follows March. Easter is almost here! (And I hope you have a wonderful holiday if you celebrate.)
I’m excited for berry season because I have some fabulous fruity desserts planned but I’m terrified at how fast time is passing.
Good thing I have cake, right? 🙂
This mermaid cake was inspired by my love of all things colorful and sprinkle-topped. I posted these unicorn sugar cookies last year and they’re the most popular recipe on my blog.
Clearly I’m not the only one who loves sprinkles! So I decided to hop on the mermaid trend. As far as I can tell, it’s the same as the unicorn trend but with a different color scheme.
And guess what? Food that has been mermaid-ed is equally as delicious as food that has been unicorn-ified.
I know what you’re thinking. This cake, with its multiple colors, must be complicated to make. But it ISN’T! It’s super easy. It starts with a white cake mix. Then you dye one third blue, one third green, and leave the rest white. Spoon the batter into your pans about 1/4 cup at a time, layering the colors over each other. A little illustration:
Shake the pans now and then to help the batter stay even and once you’ve used all the batter gently shake the pans so the batter reaches the edges. Then bake. Then frost, then devour.
Speaking of frosting, I like to use clear vanilla when I’m going to dye my frosting because that way I get a true color. You can substitute regular vanilla extract if you want.
Because I’m 99% sure all mermaids wear pearl necklaces (that just makes sense right?) the little white sugar pearls on top of the cake are a necessity. I used green and blue sprinkles too but the pearls seemed the most crucial.
OK, now that you know how crazy easy a mermaid cake can be, what the heck are you waiting for? Go bake one! It’s impossible to worry about the rapid passage of time when you have a bright purple cake staring you in the face.
- 1 15.25-ounce box white cake mix
- 1 3-ounce box vanilla or white chocolate pudding
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 4 large egg whites
- blue and green gel food coloring
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 to 5 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract can substitute regular
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Purple gel food coloring
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment, then spray the pans again and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, milk, and egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer set to medium until smooth.
Divide the batter evenly between three mixing bowls (each bowl will have about 1 2/3 cups batter). Stir blue food coloring into one and green into another. Leave one bowl white.
Drop a large spoonful (about 3 to 4 tablespoons) of blue batter into one of the pans. Top with a large spoonful of green, then a large spoonful of white. Continue going in that pattern until you’ve used about half of each color. Jiggle the pan now and then so the batter evens out. Repeat with the second pan. Once you’ve used all the batter, gently shake them so the batter goes all the way to the edge of the pans.
Bake 30 to 34 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pans comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove cakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until very smooth. Add 4 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of the milk or cream, and the vanilla and salt. Mix on low until well combined then add food coloring to achieve desired color. Turn mixer to high for 3 to 4 minutes, beating until frosting is very light and fluffy. Add additional powdered sugar if frosting is too thin and additional milk or cream if it is too thick.
If your cakes have domed, use a long serrated knife to even them out. Place one layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle and spread frosting in an even layer over the top. Top with second cake layer and cover cake with a thin layer of frosting. Refrigerate until frosting is set (this is your crumb coat and will prevent crumbs from getting into your final layer of frosting). Use remaining frosting to frost and decorate as desired. Serve and enjoy.