This stunning Strawberry Pink Ombre Cake is perfect for Mother’s day, a Baby-girl Shower or a Cancer Survivor and it’s totally something anyone can do!
Hello fabulous Oh Sweet Basil readers, this is Emily coming to you from The Goldilocks Kitchen again! Mother’s day is coming up fast, and it’s kind of a bittersweet time for me. I don’t have a mom anymore because breast cancer ended her time on earth with us in 2015. If you’re mom is still around, give her all the love you can :0).
Why not honor you mum with this Strawberry Pink Ombre Cake? It makes quite the beautiful centerpiece for several occasions, and is easier to make than you might think. You don’t need any fancy decorating skills, this cake beautiful in its’ simplicity. So, if you’re ready to create this lovely cake for a baby shower, Mother’s Day, breast cancer awareness/survivor or even Valentine’s Day, read on and I’ll walk you through it!
Magic Cake Release
Every home baker’s worst nightmare is a baked treat sticking to the pan. However, what you’ll learn today will change how you bake forever. You will NEVER have anything stick again if you do the following:
- Mix equal parts melted butter and flour together in a small bowl (usually two or three tablespoons of each will do)
- Brush the paste into your baking dish covering every inside surface and corner.
- If making a chocolate cake, substitute cocoa powder instead of flour.
- Pour in your batter and bake. It will perfectly release every time. This is sooo great for bundt cakes too :0)
Magic Release for Cakes
Once you have prepared three 8 inch round cake pans with Magic Release and are preheating your oven, we can move on to mixing up a silky white cake batter. Start by mixing your liquid ingredients and your dry ingredients in separate bowls. Next you’ll do something a bit unorthodox for cake mixes- beat soft butter into the flour mixture to get something like a sandy mixture, as seen below. This method makes the cake have a light silky texture, because of science (trust me).
Then you’ll beat in all the rest of the liquid ingredients, including strawberry flavoring, to finish the cake batter. Divide it evenly as best you can into three equal amounts (I just eyeball it). It definitely helps if you have three of the same size mixing bowls, but not necessary.
Coloring your Strawberry Pink Ombre Cake
Coloring your Strawberry Pink Ombre Cake cake can be really fun, but watch out Luke, there’s no returning from the dark side if you put too much coloring in! So always start out with very small amounts of coloring and gradually work your way darker. Liquid food coloring and Wilton coloring paste or gel are very different! The gel’s are MUCH MUCH more concentrated, so be extra frugal with them when starting to add it to your batter. When you’re happy with your colors, pour the batter into your prepared baking pans.
What Rack for Baking Cake
Bake the cakes on one center rack if possible, but if not, two cakes on an upper rack and one on a lower rack will do. Just keep your eye on each, and test with toothpicks. If one cake appears to be done, remove it and let the others bake longer if necessary.
Cool cakes on wire racks for about 5 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool for at least an hour (preferably an hour and a half). If I’m in a hurry, I have no problem putting my hot cakes into a fridge or even freezer to help expedite the cooling process.
While the cakes are cooling, whip up your favorite batch of frosting. Yes, you can use any type of frosting you like! My fav is Italian Meringue Buttercream, (which I double for this cake) that’s what I’ve used in my photos here, but any will do! Even store bought white frosting that you color yourself. Just be sure to make enough. If unsure, double it. Always better to have more frosting than not enough! Divide it out into three bowls and color it the same as you did the cake batter.
Assembling a Strawberry Pink Ombre Cake
Plop a spoonful of frosting on your serving platter, cake stand, or whatever you plan to serve your cake on. Set the most deeply colored of the three cakes down over the frosting (it kinda glues and stabilizes it). Now spread the top with some of your darkest frosting to a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Spread strawberry jam over the frosting, and place the next darkest layer cake over it.
Continue with the corresponding frosting color and more strawberry jam. The last and lightest layer goes on top and is spread with just frosting. I was a little chincy here with the amount of frosting, I probably should have used more (especially because it tastes so darn good…).
Does the Type of Cake Pan Matter?
You may notice the top most layer browned quite a bit more than the others. That was an experiment in the type of cake pans I was using. The bottom two cakes were baked in brand-new Wilton pans, and the top layer was baked with a very old pan I borrowed from someone. The difference is amazing, and they were all done baking at the same time; it didn’t spend any longer in the oven than the other cakes!
Now grab a spatula and start adding frosting to the sides of the cake. You don’t have to be perfect! In fact, mixing colors here and there on the outside of the cake is what makes it look so cool, so let yourself relax.
How to Make Smooth Edges on a Cake Without Fancy Equipment
Once all your frosting is applied, take an object with a long flat edge like a ruler, a bench scraper or large offset spatula, and even out the frosting around the sides of the cake. I don’t have fancy cake decorating equipment, but I do happen to have a lazy suzan and a bench scraper. So I put them to use and they worked great to spin the cake around and scrape it flat!
Refrigerating a Cake
Now, place your cake in the fridge until you’re ready to set it out for display. Refrigerating a cake will help to keep it fresh and from drying out.
Just before displaying, top with freshly cut roses, carnations and baby’s breath. I lucked out and happened to find all these amazing flowers (including the sparkly baby’s breath) at my local grocery store. It looked so pretty on the cake!
Remove flowers as needed when slicing the cake for serving, placing them on the plates as a pretty garnish (Just for looks! I personally wouldn’t eat a real rose.)
Or even better, hand them out to any little girls running around as it will totally make them feel special.
Strawberry Pink Ombre Cake
Pink Ombre Cake
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 and 1/2 cups room temperature milk
- 9 large room temperature egg whites
- 5 teaspoons strawberry extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 and 1/3 cups cake flour
- 2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 6 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 18 tablespoons (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring much less if using Wilton paste
- 1/2 cup of strawberry jam or preserves
Making the Cake
- Prepare (3) 8 inch cake pans by stirring 3 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons melted butter together make a paste. Brush paste all over inside of cake pans with a pastry brush, all the way up to the rim. Move an oven rack to the middle position and place all three pans inside to make sure they will fit on one rack. If not, move racks to upper and lower middle positions. Set the oven to heat to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together the milk, egg whites, strawberry and vanilla extracts in a mixing bowl and set aise.
- Mix together the flour, sugar baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl (or a stand mixer). Beat in the butter at low speed until no white streaks remain and the mixture looks crumbly.
- Beat in about 2 cups of the milk/egg mixture for a minute and a half. Add the remaining and beat until fully incorporated, about a minute longer, scraping the sides and bottom as necessary.
- Divide the batter as evenly as possible into three mixing bowls. Stir 2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring into one bowl, one teaspoon into another, and 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon into the third. Adjust the coloring to your liking by adding a few more drops of food coloring if necessary. Whisk well to ensure no streaks of color remain.
- Pour each bowl of batter into a prepared cake pan and tap on the counter to release bubbles and even out the surface. Place in the oven, either on a single rack or two on the upper and one on the lower. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool cakes on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then carefully invert onto cooling rack and let cool for about an hour and a half. (I put mine in the fridge if I have room so they cool much faster.)
- While cakes cool, make your desired frosting recipe and divide into three bowls, tinting it as you did the cake layers, adjusting as necessary.
- Place a spoonful of frosting in the center of a cake stand or plate you plan to serve your cake on. Place the most deeply colored layer of cake directly over the frosting. Spread the top evenly with matching color of frosting, then spread half the strawberry jam over the frosting. Place the second layer of cake on top. Repeat with spreading evenly with matching frosting color, then jam. Place the final layer on top and generously spread with lightest color frosting. You're aiming for a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick layers of frosting.
- With the darkest color frosting bowl in hand, begin to scoop and 'wipe' gobs of frosting on the outside bottom layer of cake. Try to use up all the frosting. Repeat with the second lighter color of frosting on the middle layer, then the lightest on the sides of the top layer. Using a clean ruler or bench scraper or large spatula, smooth out the sides of the cake, keeping your scraper vertical, and letting the frosting colors blend together. This is made much easier if you have a lazy suzan or rotating cake stand, but not necessary. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Place freshly cut roses/flowers on top just before presenting to your friends and family.
How totally cute are these dipped cupcakes?
Who needs can and ice cream when you can have a chocolate covered strawberry ice cream cake?!