Sunday, September 25, 2011

Easy Pink Ombre Butter Cream Frosting Cake tutorial for Real people


I made a pink ombre cake for my daughter's 5th birthday party (you know that's just fancy talk for saying pink graduated rainbow cake).

I'm so sorry, there are no endless ruffles, and inside there are not 8 different graduated layers.It's just a simple cake you can decorate with a spatula or if you needed to a knife. So simple pretty much anyone could do it.

The key here is to start off with a purposely messy design. Cause lets be real for a change. Most home cooks don't have all the tools you need to make one of those super spectacular graduated ruffle cakes, and even if you do go out and buy everything, your first or even second attempt probably won't look like the ones you see in all the pictures online.

So if you want to see a graduated pink cake that real people can make here's how I did it...... 

Easy Pink Ombre Frosted Cake

Ingredients and Equipment
1 cake baked in 2 layers 
1 large batch frosting (I used Kaye's butter cream from The Whimsical Bakehouse: Fun-to-Make Cakes That Taste as Good as They Look)
1 cake board same size as cake
Light Pink, medium pink and dark pink/burgundy gel food color, maybe also purple and black (mine were mostly Wilton which you can pick up from cake decorating or hobby stores)
Disposable piping bags or ziplock bags
Offset spatuala or large flat knife

Step 1. Cut the rounded tops from your cakes to make them flat and even. If you like you can also cut all the brownish crusts off the edge of the cake so it looks even prettier when sliced but that's totally up to you. If you not taking photo's of the slices I wouldn't bother.

Step 2. Make up your frosting, what ever type you like as long as it is firm enough to hold it's shape. For the cake in the pictures I used a Meringue Buttercream which is lovely and smooth and holds up ok as long as it's not the middle of a humid summer here in the sub-tropics. Color the frosting very light pink.

Step 3. Place a dollop of frosting into the middle of a cakeboard and press the bottom layer of the cake onto the frosting dollop so the cake does not move around.Spread a layer of frosting over the top of the cake and then press the second layer onto the top making sure the cake looks level.. Cover the top and sides of cake with frosting, make it kinda even and smooth but your going  to pop another layer on so don't go crazy.

Stick the cake into the fridge and let it set up while you color the remaining frosting.

Step 4. I started with the lighter color and just keep adding gel food color until I had all the colors I wanted. Remove about 2/6ths of the light pink frosting and place into your piping bag/ziplock bag and set aside.

Add a little more color until you have the next shade you want and remove 1/6th of that color into a piping bag/ ziplock bag and set aside.

Continue on until you have 5 different shades of pink. For the darker color I needed to add a touch of black and purple to the burgandy to get the color I wanted. Just a touch remember you can add more if it's not quite right but you can't take it out :)

Step 5. Once you have your 5 different colors remove the cake from the fridge. Use a ruler to measure the height of the cake and divide into 5 - mark around the cake at regular intervals with a knife. So for example if your cake was 12.5cm (5") high you would mark at 2.5cm (1") then 5cm (2"), then 7.5cm (3")and a final mark at 10cm (4"). # Note these measurement conversions are rounded

Step 6. Take the darkest color and cut the end of the disposable bag. Using the marks on the cake as a guide pipe a thick layer of frosting all the way around the cake. Repeat with all the graduated colors finishing with the lightest pink around the top, pipe a bit of extra frosting over the top of the cake. You might need to go back and fill in any big gaps at the end. Don't worry the finish does not need to look really neat.

Step 7 smooth the frosting

Step 7. Take your spatula and smooth around the edge of the cake. If you have a cake turntable you can spin it with one hand. Don't move the spatula up and down or you will smudge the colors into each other, if needed use paper towels to wipe excess frosting off the spatula to reduce smudging. Clean off the spatula and roughly smooth down the top of the cake.

OK so once again it doesn't need to be perfectly smooth - I know this is TOTALLY my type of cake decorating as well - check out the picture above to see how mine looked.

 Step 8 decorate the sides with short strokes using your spatula

Step 8. Next take a smaller knife or spatula and using short strokes around 5cm (2") and lifting the spatula completely off the cake at the end, make a rough pattern. Work around the cake on each color of frosting separately making sure the spatula/ knife is clean in between each layer. If you need to practice the technique do a few on the top of the cake. Frosting is pretty forgiving so you can go back and rework it as needed.

Step 9. Once you have finished all the layers on the sides use the same short stroke and lift technique on the top of the cake. I made these ones a bit smaller about 2.5 cm (1").

Step 9 decorate the top of the cake

For more easy to make recipes check out my book which is due for release in December, there are a stack of delicious small treat type recipes to make with your kids, ranging from super easy to more advanced.


  1. It looks amazing, and you make it look quite simple to do but i am sure mine would be not so pretty :)
    thanks for all the inspiration for doing my daughters party, next year i'll have to make sure i take more photos.

  2. That is great! Thanks so much for sharing this with us, I want to bake a cake right now so i can try this icing out.

  3. Oh this is gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!
    Greetings from Rome!

  4. I love the looks of Ombre cakes. Pink is especially pretty! Your cake is so darling!

  5. Hi Linda, great tutorial. I love that the cake actually looks quite rustic and very homemade but the ombre affect also makes the cake look very elegant and chic. Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to decorate my next cake this way.

  6. I love this tutorial - its so fab and the cake looks so gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing xo

  7. The last picture you displayed in this post reminds me of fish scales. This would be really cute for a mermaid themed birthday party! You could do it in blue, green, purple... any color you want. :) Super cute!

  8. What a gorgeous cake and so simple to do. Thankyou for sharing Linda x

  9. It's beautiful! Love the technique you used, Linda!

  10. It's a beautiful cake and great tutorial! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Wow! Awesome! You did such a beautiful job and make it sound so easy.

  12. That's neat! I love it!

  13. That's a divine finish and I like the fact that you can do it with just a spatula! :)

  14. Wow, this is sooo pretty! Thank you for the tutorial! Now, I just need to find the time to do it. ;o)

  15. I love your recipe! BEAUTIFUL!!! Would you come over to CAST PARTY WEDNESDAY tomorrow and share it with us?
    I hope to see you there!

  16. What a great tutorial and I love those shades of pink.

  17. I really cannot bake lol - but I am going to try this method on a couple double layer 6" round cakes for a cake smash photoshoot I'm doing this weekend - I am just going to use store bought cake mix and icing, but I was hoping you could suggest approximately how much icing I will need?

  18. hi Linda
    i would love to try this technique,but i live in a hot and humid weather(not so far from australia).what kind of BC could i use to hold its shape in this weather,please?
    i m not sure choc ganache is adapted(dark or white)?what do you think?
    thanks for your help.
    vahiné island

    1. Hi I actually used Italian Meringue buttercream (the link to the Whimsical Bakehouse book is at the top of the instructions). However in really super humid weather a shortening based 'buttercream' without butter to melt would hold up better. I personally do not think they taste as nice but the color is good and they hold up way better in the heat. Here is a link to a post that includes recipe:

  19. This looks amazing! I've been dying to do an ombre cake myself but thought it'd be best for me to wait until the summer months were over in fear of it all melting.

    x x