May 21, 2023

Ombre Layer Cake

Looking for a cake that's both beautiful and delicious? Look no further than the pink ombre cake with strawberry frosting! This stunning dessert features layers of cake that gradually shift from light pink to dark pink, creating a beautiful gradient effect that's sure to impress your guests.

With its striking appearance, this cake is the perfect choice for any special occasion, from birthdays to weddings to dinner parties. And the best part? It's easy to make! So, roll up your sleeves, preheat your oven, and get ready to create a stunning dessert that's sure to be the highlight of any celebration!

Ombre Layer Cake

Stunning dessert features layers of cake that transition in color from light to dark, creating a beautiful gradient effect.


Anne Voss


Cake Layers

  • 2 boxes of white cake mix, prepared according to the directions
  • Gel or powdered food coloring

Frosting and Cake Filling

  • 9 tablespoons of all purpose flour (70g)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cup milk (480ml)
  • 1 pound of unsalted butter (4 sticks, 453g), room temperature
  • 1 ounce bag of freeze-dried strawberries (28g), crushed or pulsed in a food processor
  • ~8 ounce jar of seedless strawberry jam, preserves, or fruit spread

Cake Layers

  1. Prepare three cake pans by lining them with parchment paper or spraying them with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Prepare white cake mix according to the package directions.
  3. Split the cake batter into three separate bowls. Add food coloring to each bowl to get the desired color. You want one bowl to have bright intense color, one bowl to have a light color, and one bowl in between.
  4. Place each color of cake batter into an 8-inch cake pan and bake until the cake no longer wiggles in the center and a toothpick comes out clean with no wet batter or crumbs.
  5. Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the cake pans and cool on a cooling rack. You can wrap and store the cake layers in the freezer if you are going to assemble the cake later.


  1. In a medium saucepan add flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk together until no clumps of flour remain.
  2. Add milk and whisk until combined.
  3. Place saucepan over low heat and whisk continually until it starts to bubble. Once bubbling, cook the mixture for 2 minutes. Whisk continually as the mixture thickens into a pudding like consistently.
  4. After 2 minutes of cooking, remove the saucepan from the heat. Continue to whisk for 2 additional minutes.
  5. Pour the pudding mixture into a bowl or storage container. Cover with plastic wrap.  Press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding so that a skin does not form. Allow to cool to room temperature or at this point you can refrigerate this frosting base to use later.
  6. In your stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and fluffy. Approximately 6 minutes.
  7. Add the cooled frosting base pudding one large tablespoon at a time. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once to incorporate all the butter.
  8. Once all the pudding base has been added the buttercream should look thick and fluffy.
  9. Remove half of the frosting into a separate bowl and set aside. This frosting will be used for the outside of the cake.
  10. To the remaining frosting, stir in the crushed up freeze-dried strawberries.


  1. Start with a cake board or large plate and add a small dab of frosting in the center. This will act as the glue to help your cake stick in place. Add your darkest colored cake layer on top of the dab of frosting.
  2. Spread 1/3 of the strawberry frosting evenly on top of the cake layer.
  3. Make a few groves with your spatula or a spoon to create a moat in the frosting.
  4. Add in the strawberry jam or fruit filling. Spread evenly.
  5. Repeat the process with the medium colored cake layer.
  6. Finish by adding the lightest colored cake layer on top. Add this layer upside down so that the top of the cake is actually the bottom of the cake layer. That will give the cake a nice flat even edge.
  7. Using the last third of the strawberry frosting, fill in any gaps between the cake layers as a crumb coat. You may not have enough frosting to completely crumb coat the entire cake, and that is okay. Focus on the area between the cake layers so that you can build up straight even sides. It might not look pretty at this point but don’t worry.
  8. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set. This will help prevent the cake from sliding, especially since the jam layer can be a little slippery.
  9. Use the half recipe of frosting that you set aside earlier (without strawberries) to frost the outside of the cake. You can frost it smooth with a bench scraper or use a knife to give the frosting more movement. For this cake, I dragged a knife up the side and top to give some concentric circles
  10. Store the cake in the refrigerator.

Makes approximately 20 servings

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Recipe Notes

Below you will find tips and tricks to help achieve the best results possible!

overhead view of pink ombre cake with a slice missing. Cake also has stawberries on the top

What is an Ombré Cake?

Ombré is a French word that means “shaded.”  An ombre style cake is a cake where the cake layers or frosting (or both) have colors or tones that shade into each other.

How to Make an Ombre Cake

Making an ombre cake may seem like a daunting task, but it's quite simple! To start, you'll need to bake several layers of cake in varying shades of the same color. You can achieve this by splitting your cake batter into three bowls and adding different amounts of the same color food coloring.

Once your cakes are baked and cooled, it's time to assemble your ombre masterpiece. Start by spreading a layer of frosting on your cake stand or plate, then place your darkest cake layer on top. Spread a layer of frosting on the cake, top with strawberry jam, then repeat with the remaining cake layers, going from darkest to lightest. Once your cake is assembled, cover the entire thing in a generous layer of frosting, smoothing it out as you go.

You now have a beautiful ombre cake that's sure to impress your guests. With a little patience and creativity, you can create a stunning layer cake that looks as good as it tastes.

step by step pictures on how to make an ombre layer cake


Food coloring – I recommend using gel food coloring that you can find at your local craft store or online. One step better is to use powdered food coloring. I love the powder food coloring as you only need a small amount and the colors are very vibrate. One popular brand that I use is from The Sugar Art. It may seem a little expensive, but it will last a long time.

Freeze dried strawberries – you can find freeze-dried strawberries in the section of your grocery store that has nuts and trail mix. You can also find it online. I have even seen freeze-dried fruit at the Dollar Store as well.

Jam or fruit spread - I used Bonne Maman Intense Strawberry Fruit Spread that was on sale at my grocery store. You can use any seedless jam, jelly, or spread.

Supplies Needed

Mixer (stand mixer or a hand-held mixer)

Cake pans

Offset spatula (optional)

Bench scraper (optional)

slice of pink ombre cake on a plate. Whole cake and carton of strawberries in the background.

Tips and Tricks

I used 2 boxes of Duncan Hines white cake mix for this recipe. I made the cake batter in my stand mixer according to the directions on the box. I then divided the batter into three bowls and added varying amounts of food coloring to get the desired shade. Each shade of cake batter was added to an 8-inch cake pan. My cake pans are 2 inches deep. Depending on your cake pan, don’t fill the pan too full or it will overflow while baking.

You can make and bake the cake layers in advance. Once the cake is cooled, wrap each cake layer individually in plastic wrap and then place freezer safe storage bag. You can assemble your cake with frozen cake layers or let them defrost for about 10 minutes before assembly.  

I made one large batch of frosting for this cake. I then divided it in half and turned one half into strawberry frosting. The strawberry frosting went on the inside of the cake and the plain white frosting was used to decorate the outside of the cake.

This frosting can get soft depending on the temperature of your kitchen. You can always store it in the refrigerator temporality to help solidify the frosting if needed.


This is the fun part! The cake layers can be customized with any color palette you desire. I think green ombre cake, purple ombre cake, and blue ombre cake would all look incredible.

You can also switch up the jam filling flavor to your liking, or omit it altogether.

This cake has the ombre effect with the cake layers on the inside. You could also choose to decorate the outside with ombre frosting.

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