Despite its showstopping appearance, this gorgeous ombré cake is actually quite easy to make and decorate. It’s perfect for a Mother’s Day tea, an anniversary celebration, baby shower or birthday party.

Method (Cake)

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two 18cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.
  • To make the cake, cream together the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes with an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  • Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the lemon juice to the milk and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add the flour to the creamed mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk. Mix gently now and only until just combined.
  • Divide the mixture into 4 bowls (about 450g of the mixture into each bowl). Add a drop of food colouring into one bowl, 2 drops to the second, 3 drops to the third and 4 drops to the fourth. Gently fold the colour through the mixtures, adding a little more if necessary until you have 4 varying shades of pink.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and tap lightly on the counter to remove any large air bubbles. Bake the cakes (2 tins at a time) for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the tins, then carefully remove and cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining cake layers.

Method (Buttercream Icing)

  • While the cakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream. Add both butters and the almond extract to a large mixing bowl and beat well with an electric or stand mixer.
  • Sift the icing sugar and cornflour together. Gradually add to the butter, mixing very well after each addition. Add the cream and mix until smooth.
  • Place about 500g of the buttercream into one bowl and colour it the lightest shade of pink. Divide the rest of the buttercream amongst 3 bowls (about 250g each). Colour the remaining 3 buttercreams in various shades of pink in line with the colours of the cake layers.
  • To decorate the cake, place the darkest cake layer onto a cake board and then onto a cake turntable. You can use a little buttercream to stick the cake to the board. Use a serrated knife to trim the top of the cake so that it's level.
  • Working with lightest pink buttercream (the largest batch), spread an even layer on top of the cake with an offset spatula. Next, place the second darkest cake layer on top and repeat the trimming and icing, still using the lightest buttercream. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  • Lastly, ice the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer (crumb coat) of the lightest buttercream and smooth the edges as best you can. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour.

Method (Buttercream Rosettes)

  • Lightly mark out 4 evenly spaced rows on the side of the cake. Use these markings as a guide for the height of the rosettes in each row.
  • Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle (1M) with the darkest pink buttercream. If you’re new to piping, practice a few rosettes on a piece of greaseproof paper first. To make your rosette, start squeezing the piping bag in the centre of where the rosette will be, then slowly move your tip in a circle around the centre point, then lift up the tip to finish off. Pipe the rosettes quite close together in a single row around the bottom of the cake.
  • Next, use the second darkest colour buttercream and repeat this, the rosettes should not be directly above the first row, but rather slightly in-between to ensure all gaps are filled.
  • Repeat this with the next colour and lastly with the lightest buttercream. Finally, cover the top of the cake with rosettes (also in the lightest coloured buttercream).
  • Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour for the buttercream to firm up. Allow the cake to come to room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

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