I’ve recently been fixated on the beauty of graduated layers of color, also called ombre. From ribbon, to curtains, fashion, and of course cakes I’ve been seeing gorgeous ombre colors all over the place! Several months ago I saw a beautiful cake from Call Me Cupcake, and shortly after saw a gorgeous ruffled cake by Fondant Flinger. I wanted to merge the ideas a bit, and wanted a way to include some great texture on the outside of the cake, without creating time consuming fondant ruffles. I remembered I am baker’s gorgeous rose cake, and thought a smaller version of the rose-like swirls could be the perfect finishing touch!
Here is my pretty pink, swirly cake!
How to create this Pink Ombre Swirl Cake ~
For the cake, I doubled my Perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe.
The cake above is a 6″ cake, and I reserved a little batter for a few vanilla cupcakes. You could certainly do this cake as an 8″ cake. For an 8″ cake I would suggest multiplying the recipe by 3 (if using my recipe linked above) if you want a nice tall cake. Of course you are welcome to use any other vanilla cake recipe, or a box mix.
I divided the batter as evenly as possible between 5 bowls, coloring the darkest layer first, and working from that color as a guide. I used Americolor gels in soft pink, electric pink, and a bit of electric purple (in just the darkest layer). Add the batter to prepared cake pans (greased and floured, and lined on the bottom with parchment paper). Also, you probably don’t have 5 matching cake pans (nor do I), so you’ll have to bake the layers separately (hopefully you have at least 2 matching pans). Bake and fully cool the cakes.
Prepare a batch of American Buttercream Frosting. Again, I made a 6″ cake, so for an 8″ cake, I would suggest multiplying the recipe by 1.5. I divided the frosting between four bowls, one bowl with a bit more than the others (the one that will be the lightest color, because it’s used for the top as well as one row of swirls). I colored the frosting with Americolor soft pink and a little electric pink (for just the darkest color). Also, reserve a small amount of frosting (maybe 1 cup) in the mixing bowl, to use between the layers, and to very thinly frost the outside (crumb coat).
Layer the cakes, darkest on the bottom, frost with a very thin layer of icing between each layer. Because I didn’t want too much frosting between the layers (to detract from the colors of the cake), I brushed each layer of cake with warmed cherry jam (most any flavor you like could be used). You could also use a simple syrup, orange juice, or omit this step. Frost the outside of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Smooth as well as you can (I use an offset spatula), but it doesn’t need to be perfect. Place the entire cake in the freezer about 10 minutes for the icing to set, and the whole cake will firm up (making it much easier to decorate).
Prepare a piping bag with a #21 Wilton tip (a moderate sized open star). This is the tip I used, but other open star tips could also work. Fill piping bag with the darkest color icing. Remove cake from freezer, and start along the bottom of the cake, creating rows of swirls. For each swirl, start in the center of the “rose” shape and pipe in a spiral around the center, about 1 1/2 rotations. Continue along the bottom of the cake, creating rose-like swirls. Repeat with remaining colors of icing. You may find that there will be some areas in each row that don’t get fully covered, to fill in the little empty spaces just squeeze in some icing, in a curved shape (like a “C”) to mimic the rest of the swirls a bit. For the top of the cake (shown below) I used a combination of swirls and some “C” curves for a looser, wavy effect.
Once fully frosted, store the in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with milk, or coffee to accompany the pure sweetness of this cake.
How to Make Pink Ombre Swirl Cake
Pink Ombre Cake
Vanilla Cupcake Batter
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup oil vegetable canola or extra light olive oil
- 2/3 cup milk whole or low fat, but avoid fat free
- 2/3 cup sour cream full fat or light, but avoid fat free
American Buttercream Frosting
- 1 1/2 cup butter 3 sticks, salted, or unsalted
- 1/3 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract best quality available
- 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream half and half or milk
Vanilla Cupcake Batter
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and oil, beat.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add the milk, then the rest of the flour and the sour cream. Beat until just combined. Scrap down the side of the bowl.
- The batter will be thin. Add the batter to prepared cake pans (greased and floured, and lined on the bottom with parchment paper).
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes.
- Let cool for 1 to 2 minutes
American Buttercream Frosting
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter (on medium speed) until completely smooth (30 seconds to a minute).
- Add salt (if needed).
- One cup at time, add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating after each addition.
- Add vanilla, or other flavorings and beat to combine.
- Add about 1 tablespoon of cream, and continue beating.
- Add the remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, one at a time.
- Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons cream until desired consistency is reached. If you want to pipe the frosting on cupcakes, the frosting should be nice and thick. Continue to beat another minute or so. The frosting should now be smooth and fluffy.
- Layer the cakes, darkest on the bottom, frost with a very thin layer of icing between each layer.
- Frost the outside of the cake with a thin layer of frosting.
- Smooth as well as you can (I use an offset spatula), but it doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Place the entire cake in the freezer about 10 minutes for the icing to set, and the whole cake will firm up (making it much easier to decorate)
- Prepare a piping bag with a #21 Wilton tip (a moderate sized open star). This is the tip I used, but other open star tips could also work.
- Fill piping bag with the darkest color icing.
- Remove cake from freezer, and start along the bottom of the cake, creating rows of swirls.
- For each swirl, start in the center of the “rose” shape and pipe in a spiral around the center, about 1 1/2 rotations.
- Continue along the bottom of the cake, creating rose-like swirls. Repeat with remaining colors of icing. You may find that there will be some areas in each row that don’t get fully covered, to fill in the little empty spaces just squeeze in some icing, in a curved shape (like a “C”) to mimic the rest of the swirls a bit.
- For the top of the cake (shown below) I used a combination of swirls and some “C” curves for a looser, wavy effect.
- Once fully frosted, store the in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with milk, or coffee to accompany the pure sweetness of this cake.
I would love to see some of you try this in other colors… yellows to orange, shades of lavender, or light turquoise to teal… oh I made need to make another one soon! What colors will you try?
Hi Glory, could you please let me know how many people this cake would serve? I’m planning of doing this for 50 people. What size of cake pans should I use? How would I cut it to get 50 slices?
I would highly appreciate if you could let me know at your earliest convenience since I have to do it for next week.
Also, may I ask you how I can transport it in my car without falling? Would Wilton 1M tip or 2D tip be the best to do the roses? What about white chocolate buttercream for the roses? What’s the best to hold the shape? I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks – Elfie
Ana Paula Espinoza says
Hi Gloria! Loved your cake. Its funny that for muchas daughters 2 birthday,3 years agosto i got the idea of an ombre cake from call me cupcake, bit i also made It with your vanilla cupcake recipie. It didnt came out as beautiful as yours bit It was deliciosos! Love your blog. Thanks
Just for anyone who is interested, Pampered Chef (starting in September) will have a set of cake pans that are PERFECT for this cake. Totally made it tonight and it turned out adorable. http://www.pamperedchef.biz/jessicajillwheeler
And this recipe is to DIE for. I fell in love!! Thank you for it!
Thanks for suggesting how much frosting I would need for an 8″ cake.
que posibilidad hay que me envíen las ricas recetas en español. Estaría tan agradecida
Thais M. says
This is such a beautiful cake! I made one for my son’s 1st birthday, except I only used two 9″ round layers and went from blue on the bottom to green on the top and it turned out to be so cute! I will be making the pink one for my sister-in-law’s baby shower and I’m so looking forward to it!
This cake is gorgeous. How many people will this size cake (pictured) serve? Thank you
I made the vanilla cake is amazing! I recreated the ombre cake for my daughter’s 7th birthday. I did modify it slightly by using half oil, half butter and I added slightly more vanilla extract and the cake came out moist and a very yummy vanilla taste.
I will note that I am an American living in Italy and I have to note that the flours here are quite different from the flours in the US. Cake flour is difficult to find here but the regular flour is finer and has a lower protein content than regular all purpose flour in the States. I used tipo 0 (or you can use tipo 00) flour and used the cake four measurements you used and the cake came out beautifully.
Thank you all the work you did on making such a yummy cake!
This cake is so pretty! It’ll be a show stopper at my tea party! Thank you so much for sharing!
I LOVE this cake and I am trying to make it for my daughter’s first birthday but I cannot get the swirls to come out of the piping bag easily. Could the icing be too thick? I can hardly squeeze it out of the bag. I should also say I have never frosted a cake before 🙂