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slice of pink ombre cake on a plate with a fork taking a bite out of it

Pink Ombré Cake

Pink ombré cake is a fun dessert perfect for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or just a regular day! Flavor it with a little strawberry extract if you want for an extra special dessert!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling time 3 hours
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10
Author Kelsie


Cake layers

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons strawberry extract*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract clear if you have it
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Pink food coloring

Vanilla buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract clear if you have it
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Cake layers

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment, spray the parchment with cooking spray, and set pans aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with with an electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Add the sugar, strawberry extract, vanilla, and egg whites and beat on medium until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Stop the mixer a few times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.)
  5. With mixer on low, beat in half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Beat in half of the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  6. Still on low, beat in the remaining flour, then the remaining sour cream and milk. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to stir the batter a few times to ensure all of the flour is mixed in. (Don’t over-mix.) The batter will be thick.
  7. Divide batter into 4 equal portions in separate bowls. (You’ll have about 6 cups of batter so each bowl should have about 1 1/2 cups of batter in it.)
  8. Leave one bowl white and add 2 drops of food coloring to one bowl, 6 drops to another bowl, and 10 drops to the final bowl. (You can add more or less food coloring depending on your personal preferences.)
  9. Stir the food coloring into each bowl until fully combined. Scrape the white batter into one prepare cake pan and the batter with 3 drops of food coloring into the second. Smooth the tops.
  10. Bake for 20 to 26 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  11. Cool cake layers in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cakes. Carefully turn the cake layers out onto the wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Wash and dry the cake pans, then spray with cooking spray and line with parchment (as you did earlier). Repeat the baking process with the final two cake layers.
  13. Cool all the layers completely on wire racks before frosting.

Vanilla buttercream

  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until very smooth.
  2. Gradually beat in 5 cups of the powdered sugar, 6 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla and salt. Beat on low to combine.
  3. Turn mixer to medium and beat until frosting is very smooth.
  4. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar; if it’s too thick add additional milk.


  1. Use a long serrated knife to trim your cake layers if they've domed.
  2. Place the darkest pink cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle and top with a layer of frosting. Top with the next cake layer (it will be the medium pink), then more frosting, then the lightest pink, then the white.
  3. Frost the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired. Slice and serve.
  4. Store uneaten cake, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

  • *You can substitute vanilla if you prefer
  • I used liquid food coloring here but you can use gel if you prefer (I always recommend Wilton gel coloring)
  • You’ll bake the cakes layers in batches of two—even if you have four 8-inch cake pans I don’t recommend baking all four layers at once because you don’t want to overload your oven
  • Be sure to cool your cake layers completely before frosting them or your frosting will melt