Drip Cake Recipe

Drip cakes are a cake decorating style that has taken the baking world by storm. It doesn’t seem like they’re going away anytime soon, so I thought I’d revisit my drip cake recipe!

In this post I share the different types of drip cakes I’ve made in the past, to show how versatile of a design it is. I also wanted to share how to make a drip cake!

Photo of adding pink drips to a cake

What Are Drips Made From?

While the ways you can dress up a drip cake are limitless, the recipe is pretty much always the same. There are some recipes that use water and chocolate, or even oil and chocolate.

However, classic ganache recipes use cream and chocolate. To make the ganache drips, all you have to do it bring the heavy cream to a boil, and pour it over the chocolate.

After letting it sit for a couple minutes, the chocolate softens. Then you give the ganache a good stir until it’s smooth, and let it continue to cool.

It’s a very straight forward recipe. Making the ganache is easy. The more challenging part of drip cakes are adding the drips onto the cake.

Photo of toasting meringue on top of a lemon meringue drip cake

How Do I Add Drips To A Cake?

There are two ways to add drips to cake. You can use a spoon or a plastic squirt bottle.

Some people prefer one over the other, and I recommend using whatever method you feel most comfortable with.

The Spoon Method

The first method is the spoon method. The pros are that you don’t need any special tools. I think everyone has a spoon in their kitchen!!

You simply take about a teaspoon of ganache, and carefully pour it over the edge of a chilled buttercream cake.

image of a blue colored drip being added to a striped blue cake

One thing to keep in mind is that you need to scrape the bottom of your spoon against the bowl each time you get more ganache.

This will prevent rouge bits of ganache from flying off the bottom of your spoon all over your counter and cake.

The Squirt Bottle Method

The second method uses a plastic bottle. Once the ganache is made, pour it into a plastic squirt bottle. Not everyone has these on hand, but they’re pretty cheap! You can find them at Target or Walmart, or on Amazon (that’s where I get mine).

Squirt bottles allow you add a drip to a cake much more quickly. It also is a lot easier, and cleaner! If you have leftover ganache, you can simply pop the cap on your bottle and throw it in the fridge.

image of finished orange creamsicle drip cake

Leftover ganache can last in the fridge for up to a month. I have an entire shelf in my fridge door dedicated to ganache bottles.

To reuse it, just pop the bottle into the microwave and reheat in 15 second intervals until it’s the right consistency.

While we all love techniques that make baking easy and faster, you have to be careful when it comes to ganache drips.

If you try to add drips too quickly, you can get runaway drips that end up running right off your cake board.

How Do I Get That Perfect Drip Look?

We’ve all been there. You think you’re going to make a cake with these perfect drips, but the end result is anything but that.

There’s a spectrum of ganache drips, and different drips can help you achieve different looks for you cakes.

There is no right or wrong here. Just drips of all shapes and sizes. We don’t judge a drip for its size or length!

Sometimes I want a chunkier drip, that’s super defined. It makes cakes feel almost cartoonish to me, and I think they’re fun. I went for this look with my pink drip cake, and loved the finished look.

Other times I want thin little drips, that look just like tiny raindrops coming from the sky. That’s not me being whimsical, I really did make an April showers drip cake with thin blue drips to emulate raindrops

And then there’s drip length. Should drips run all the way to the cake board? Should they vary in length, or have a uniform look? You tell me!!

I’ve done them all. I generally like drips that vary in length a bit, but there’s nothing with drips that are all the same length.

Shorter drips can be great if you’re planning to add decoration around the base of the cake. Longer drips can be fun if you’re going for an over the top or dramatic look, like my red wine drip cake.

image of adding the wine glass to the top of a red wine chocolate cake

Tips For Adding Drips To A Cake

Whatever look you decide to make, I have two very important tips to ensure you get the look you’re after! I’ve learned the hard way on this, so please learn from my mistakes.

Tip #1: Chill Your Cake

My first tip is to only add drips to a chilled cake! I mean THOROUGHLY chilled. Your second coat of buttercream should be firm to the touch.

This can take up to 30 minutes in the fridge, or about 10 minutes in the freezer.

Chilling your cake will help your drips stay in place once they’re added, and help prevent them from running down too far.

Image of PInk Drip Cake

Tip #2: Make A Test Drip

My second tip? Make a test drip. Take your ganache, and make a single drip. Let if flow and sit for a couple minutes. See what it looks like, and how far it runs.

Are you happy with how it looks? This is your time to make changes to get it just right. Is it too thin? Did the drip run too far down the cake? Maybe you need to let your ganache cool more, or melt in a bit more chocolate.

Is your drip too thick, or short? You might need to pop it in the microwave for a couple seconds (seriously, don’t heat it for more than 5 seconds). Or maybe you want to add in a tiny bit more heavy cream.

rainbow cake recipe photo

This is point in the process where my eagerness can get the best of me, and I mess up sometimes. I think I’ve made the necessary adjustments, and dive right into adding all my drips.

But for all you know, you may have overcorrected! You may have actually heated or cooled your ganache too much.

You need to do ANOTHER test drip. I know it seems excessive, but think about it. You’ve already put all this time into making a cake from scratch!

It’s worth taking the extra five minutes of test drips to make sure your ganache is the perfect temperature.

Chocolate Drip vs. White Chocolate Drip?

This drip cake recipe is made with white chocolate, which allows you to color it using gel food coloring!

I really recommend using gel food coloring instead of liquid food coloring. It allows you to get super vibrant colors, without changing the consistency of the white chocolate ganache.

But don’t worry, if you want to make a chocolate drip cake, I’ve got you covered. The process and tips shared in the post are exactly the same, but you don’t have to worry about coloring the ganache.

chocolate ganache drips on a semi naked frosted chocolate cake

I like to use milk chocolate chips to make my chocolate drip recipe. However, you can also use dark chocolate if you prefer!

Additional Tips For Colorful Drip Cakes

  • Use this drip recipe on any type of buttercream cake, as long as it’s chilled
  • Don’t use this colored drip recipe on fondant – it can do weird things to the fondant, and create a goopy mess
  • For the white chocolate, I love using the whole foods mini white chocolate chips, because they melt so easily!
  • You can also use regular white chocolate chips, chocolate wafers, or even a chopped up white chocolate bar for the chocolate this recipe calls for
  • The ratio of heavy cream is different if you white candy melts. Candy melts cannot be swapped for the white chocolate in this recipe! They are not interchangeable
  • Be sure you use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream! You need the high fat content to create the right consistency in this recipe. Milk cannot be used in place of the cream.

Making This Drip Cake Recipe in Advance & Storage Tips

  • Make this ganache drip recipe ahead of time or save leftovers! Once it’s made, wrap the bowl with plastic wrap or cover the top of the plastic bottle and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
  • To use chilled ganache, heat the bottle or bowl in to the microwave for 10 second intervals until it reaches the right consistency
  • Use leftover ganache to top cupcakes, cookies, or even ice cream!
image of hanukkah drip cake

Share Your Creations With Me!

Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your amazing cakes. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3

If you try this drip cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets. Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 24

Drip Cake Recipe

Photo of adding pink drips to a cake

Want to make the perfect drip cake? This drip cake recipe is super easy, and walks you through everything you need to know about drip cakes!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Cake Recipe

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (390 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (10 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (5 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) - 2 sticks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (9 grams)
  • 1 cup egg whites (or about 7 egg whites) (244 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (360 grams)
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract  or vanilla bean paste (12 grams)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (907 grams) - or a 2lb bag
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (30 grams)

Colorful Drip Recipe

Instructions

Vanilla Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three eight-inch pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  5. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on low speed for about 15 seconds. 
  6. Mix the batter on a low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl part way through to evenly color the batter.
  7. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake for 34-36 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean).
  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  10. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment or hand mixer until smooth.
  2. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  4. Mix on low for a couple extra minutes, to make the frosting super smooth.
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

White Chocolate Ganache Drips:

  1. Heat heavy cream in a heat proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds, until it's just beginning to bubble.
  2. Gently pour white chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are fully covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 1 minute.
  3. Stir slowly until the cream and white chocolate are combined. Some bits of chocolate may not be fully melted yet. Heat the mixture again for 20 seconds, and stir. Repeat as necessary until all the chocolate bits are fully melted and incorporated.
  4. Add in gel food coloring, if desired. Allow to cool until desired viscosity is reached (barely warm to the touch).
  5. If it seems too thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate chips or heavy cream! The type of cream and white chocolate that you use can affect the consistency, so feel free to adjust as needed.

To Assemble The Cake:

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Add an even layer of buttercream between each cake layer with a large offset spatula.
  3. Spread a thin coat of frosting around the the cake, to fully cover the cake layers.
  4. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  5. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper.
  6. Chill the cake again in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  7. Add the drips to the cake using a plastic squirt bottle.
  8. Then decorate as desired!

Notes

Dairy free alternative: sweetened coconut milk (canned) can be used in place of the heavy cream in this recipe to make it dairy free.

Make this ganache drip recipe ahead of time or save leftovers! Once it's made, wrap the bowl with plastic wrap or cover the top of the plastic bottle and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

To use chilled ganache, heat the bottle or bowl in to the microwave for 10 second intervals until it reaches the right consistency.

Use leftover ganache to top cupcakes, cookies, or even ice cream!

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 581Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 68mgSodium 254mgCarbohydrates 80gFiber 0gSugar 67gProtein 4g

41 thoughts on “Drip Cake Recipe

  1. Hey! I’ve always found waiting for the cakes to cool properly at room temperature painstakingly slow and I’m always impatient and frost when they are not cool enough which usually ends in disaster. I want to follow your freeze-to-chill method but was just wondering if I have to wrap the cakes in cling film beforehand and will this method have an affect on how soft/moist my cake will be? Thank you! (Love your website and recipes!)

    1. Hi Phoebe,

      I feel you!! If you plan to use the layers within a few hours of making them you definitely don’t need to. I pop my pans right into the freezer uncovered, and then take them out about 45 minutes later or until they’re cool to the touch. The texture of the layers doesn’t change much! If anything they’re a tiny bit more moist 🙂

      Hope that helps, happy baking!

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