How to Host an Ombré Party: Ch. 4 – How to Ice an Ombré Layered Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Welcome to CHAPTER 4 in our Prep School Party mini-series: “How to Host an Ombré First Birthday Party.” Today’s post is a continuation of last week’s post How to Bake and Assemble an Ombré Cake. It contains a delicious recipe for buttercream frosting and how to apply it to your ombré cake.

How to Ice an Ombre Cake with Buttercream Frosting |

Once the cake has been assembled (read this post on how to do this), you’re ready to ice it. In my opinion, this was even easier than baking it and I never bake and ice cakes.


(1) Straight spatula*
Stand Mixer or  Hand Mixer**

*I purchased this 9-in Wilton straight spatula at Sur La Table after watching this video tutorial by Nicola Bakes. I don’t have a spinning cake wheel but didn’t think I should buy one just for this either! It wasn’t necessary but as I was a rookie, the bigger spatula definitely helped! **Also, hand mixer works, but you will need someone to add the sugar while you hold the hand mixer and you need to make a lot of icing! I doubled the normal buttercream frosting recipe for this cake as ombré icing cakes need a ton of icing.


Food coloring (I used Wilton’s gel colors)
(4) cups confectioner’s sugar
(2) cups butter (8 sticks)
(2)-(3) teaspoons vanilla extract
(2)-(3) tablespoons whipping cream


How to Make the Icing
Allow butter to come to room temperature (overnight if possible). Cut into smaller pieces (10-12 per stick) to facilitate mixing. In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, mix butter and slowly incorporate sugar. Mix on low speed until well blended. Then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Separate icing into 3 bowls (one for each color in your ombre pattern). Add food coloring to each bowl 1 drop at a time until you’ve reached the desired shade.

Allow the frosting to reach room temperature for about an hour or two before use and quickly plump it with a whisk for a few seconds. A few extra drops of milk might help to thicken up or loosen the frosting if required.

This recipe is adapted from Gale Gand’s Easy Buttercream Frosting recipe at

How to Ice the Cake
Once the frosting has reached room temperature, spread a generous amount of the darkest color around the base of the cake.

How to Ice an Ombre Cake Step 1 |

Repeat with the second color around the middle of the cake. Repeat with the final color around and on top. It is not necessary for the layers to be right next to each other during this phase.

How to Ice an Ombre Cake Step 2 |

With a straight spatula turned so the length paralells the bottom layer (it should paralell the ground and lay flat on the icing), spread the icing evenly around the bottom. Once you’ve gone around the cake, gradually bring the spatula up to the second layer up without taking it off the icing, so it blends with the middle layer with the bottom layer. Continue this for the third layer and on top. If necessary, blend the layers more by holding the spatula up and down (vertical to the ground) and spreading the icing around the cake. If you still have questions,

This was my first time attempting such a feat and I give my cake a 7. However, from afar, it looked like a 9.5! Like all works of art, it was better viewed from far away. How to Ice an Ombre Cake |

Do you have any tips for next time? If you use this recipe, what did you think? Now that I’ve done this, I would definitely do this again!

As with my other recipes, download a PDF of the recipe at the end of this post. I wouldn’t want you to get buttery icing all over your pretty phone!

Download Recipe:  How to Ice a Buttercream Frosting Ombre Cake

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