Butter and paper three 6-inch cake pans. I use cake strips on my pans for more even baking.
Sift and mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Beat the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Add wet to dry ingredients and mix until combined
Divide the mixture evenly into the cake pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes until the centers are springy to the touch.
Let cool completely.
For the Buttercream:
Whip the butter for about 5 minutes using a paddle attachment (stand-up mixer).
Beat in the confectioner’s sugar slowly
Add the cream and vanilla. Beat until you have an even, fluffy consistency.
Transfer a white batch to a piping bag. Add red food coloring to another batch and transfer to a piping bag. Snip off the tips of both and add to a larger piping bag. Pipe a spiral between each layer.
Pipe and smooth a crumb coat with excess.
For the Italian Buttercream:
Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar, slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. In a medium saucepan add the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup water then place on medium-low heat. Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.
Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately. Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid. Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.
Add the salt and vanilla if using. Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.
Create a gradient by adding different amounts of blue food coloring to remaining buttercream batches. Transfer each color to its own piping bag. Pipe the ombre color and smooth with an offset spatula.
For the Snowflakes:
Melt candy melts in the microwave.
Transfer to the piping bag and snip off the tip.
Pipe snowflakes onto a piece of parchment paper. This can be done freehand or over a snowflake stencil.
For the Assembly:
Pipe the red and white buttercream between each cake layer.
Pipe white, then blue buttercream, lightest to darkest starting from the bottom.
Smooth with an offset spatula.
If you’re not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
If you see little clumps of butter after you mix the wet ingredients don’t panic, it all works out by the time you mix in the dry ingredients. You can even use melted butter and warm the milk and sour cream up a bit if you like.
You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set online or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a wholeblog post on it so check it out if you’re interested!