Pink Ombre Cake

April 16, 2012

First things first. The winner of the Keep It Sweet Desserts giveaway is….

Congrats, Ashley! Please e-mail me ( and I’ll get you in touch with Lauren to claim your prize!

Moving right along…

For a couple of years in college, I dabbled in the wedding cake and cupcake business. It started when I made a cake for my cousin Emily’s wedding before my sophomore year in college and continued with friends and friends of friends – making small cakes and hundreds of cupcakes over the years. I think my largest wedding required somewhere around 500 cupcakes divided among three different flavors.

Let me tell you, I had no idea how much work baking cakes and cupcakes would be. It was not nearly as glamorous as the movies make it seem, and it was hard work for the small amount of money I took home at the end of a job. It didn’t take long for me to realize that decorating cakes or making cupcakes was not in the cards for me as anything more than a hobby.

That said, I still find the process of decorating a cake to be a great creative outlet and super relaxing when you’ve got no objective in mind. No wedding to worry about, no cake delivery fiasco, no bride to please. Pure bliss.

I’ve seen pictures of bright and colorful ombre cakes popping up all around the web. Something about the slight change in color, layer by layer, drew me in. But since the fun was more about the changing color of the layers rather than the cake itself, I did something I don’t usually do… I used a boxed cake mix. And it was awesome.

Instead of taking a full afternoon, making this cake only took a matter of a couple hours. Now that I think about it, this would be a really great way to dress up a boxed cake for a birthday party or to celebrate the birth of a new baby. The cake itself isn’t going to win any awards for outstanding flavor, though I thought it tasted pretty good considering how simple it was to make. But it would stand out in a crowd for the impact it makes presentation-wise.

Pink Ombre Cake
*2 boxes white cake mix, batter prepared according to package instructions
*1 bottle red food coloring
*Double batch of Deb’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream (seriously the best cake-decorating frosting around) OR 3 containers purchased whipped-style frosting
*Edible pink decorating pearls and red sprinkles (optional)

*Preheat oven to 350Ā°F. Grease and line two 8- or 9-inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with a small round of parchment paper. Set aside.Ā 
*Divide the batter between five small bowls. In the first bowl, add 25 drops of food coloring. In the second, 17. In the third, 12. In the fourth, 8. In the fifth, 4. Stir to combine. Adjust colors as desired with additional food coloring.
*Pour two of the batter bowls into the two prepared pans. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center according to package instructions. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from baking pan and cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter/layers.
*Once all layers are baked and cooled, level of the domed part of the layers slightly with a serrated knife. (this will help with stacking the layers)
*Place the darkest layer of cake on a cake stand. Top with frosting and the next darkest layer. Repeat with remaining layers and frosting. Sprinkle the edges of the top of the cake with the edible pearls and sprinkles. Makes 12 to 14 servings

Happy Baking!


  • Reply Sarah Crosby April 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I have never seen this! So cool. Going to have to try this for sure.

  • Reply Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    This cake is so pretty! Madison – looks like I should be talking to you about catering experience. I had no idea you did cupcakes for a couple of weddings!

  • Reply UrbanWife April 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    How cool! I kept seeing these ombre cakes all over Pinterest and do have to agree, it would be more for the presentation than flavor especially with box mix. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Kristin April 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    That looks delicious and so easy!

  • Reply Liz @ Tip Top Shape April 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    This looks absolutely beautiful!!

  • Reply Rachel @ The Avid Appetite April 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    this is really lovely, i have been adoring these ombre cakes! love that you used the boxed mix…no shame in gettin’ it done!

  • Reply Amber @ Bring In-the-Pink April 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    The cake looks beautiful!

  • Reply Tanja | Postmodern Hostess April 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    So creative, as usual!

    As for boxed cake mix, after Alton Brown said that boxed was okay (in fact, he said it’s often preferable!), I figured they were good enough for me. šŸ™‚ Of course, I virtually always alter them or add something.

  • Reply Courtney @educatedderelicts April 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Stunning! Your introduction was refreshingly honest too – thanks šŸ™‚

  • Reply channing [channingosity] April 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    This is gorgeous! Baking [even from a box] is so therapeutic! There is something magical about fluffy frosting and edible glitter. Cheers! xo

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