How To Do the Ombre Effect On Cakes Using Buttercream

(This was oringially posted on my blog at


I did this cake recently, and based it on a few designs that were found online. The ombre cakes that I'd seen before I started looking around were usually done with fondant, but the bride wanted buttercream, so she decided on this type of texture.

The top tier was 6" tall and the bottom two were 4" tall. I started with dark purple buttercream and added strokes of icing around the bottom tier using an impasto technique, which is layering the icing on with the end of the spatula so that it stands out from the surface of the cake slightly.

After a couple of rows I realized that it would be easier to ice a stripe around the cake in the color that would be the next row, then drag the spatula through the icing to make the marks. This gave a more even pattern than applying each stroke individually did.

This is what I use cupcake pans for.


Starting with the darker color, you can just add some white icing to it bit by bit to get the next lighter color. Save some of each color as you go so that you have some to do touchups if needed.

I also iced the board in the same purple as the bottom of the cake so that it would blend in, but I only did that when the cake was delivered and set up. I would have stuck my finger into the icing on the board while picking it up if I did it before delivery!


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA


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