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Easy Ombre Frosting

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make gorgeous ombre frosting that blends from light to dark gradually, instead of in distinct bands or stripes of colour around the cake. If you prefer to watch a video of this tutorial, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Start with two bowls of frosting, one with twice as much as the other bowl. I’m using my 4 Minute Buttercream but this will work with whipped cream or meringue buttercream, too.

tint buttercream two shades with gel colours with double the amount of the lighter shade Easy Ombre Frosting

Tint the big bowl of frosting with the lighter colour and the small bowl with the darker colour, using gel colours for the most vibrant shades.

tint two bowls of frosting with gel colours Ombre Frosting

Place your cake on a non-slip mat on a turntable after the crumb coat has set. Scoop up some of the lighter frosting with an offset spatula and spread it onto the top of the cake, spreading it over the edges of the cake to avoid air pockets there later on.

spread frosting over the edges of the top of the cake to avoid air pockets or gaps or indents later Easy Ombre Frosting

Smooth the frosting on the top of the cake by holding your offset spatula at a 45 degree angle and spinning the cake, swiping the spatula off to take off the excess frosting with it.

spin the cake to smooth the frosting on top Easy Ombre Frosting

Then move onto the sides of the cake, only spreading this lightest colour around the very top of the sides of the cake. Let it stick up above the top edge of the cake, which will allow you to create a very flat top of your cake instead of a domed top.

spread the lightest colour around the top of the sides fo the cake Easy Ombre Frosting

Now scoop up a bit of the darker colour and add it to the lighter colour, stirring it together to create a shade a little bit darker than the original colour that was in this bowl. Leave some of the lightest colour on the side fo the bowl to use for touchups later.

mix some of the darker colour into the lighter colour of frosting Easy Ombre Frosting

Spread the new colour just below the first colour on the cake, spreading it on as thickly as the previous colour. It’s fine if you spread it over the previous colour because it’s all going to blend together in a minute.

spread bands of different shades of frosting around the cake Easy Ombre Frosting

Add more of the darkest colour to the bowl to make a darker shade of the lighter colour. Mix the new colour together, leaving a bit of the previous colour on the side of the bowl to use later. Spread this onto the cake immediately below the previous colour.

Frosting gets darker as you go down the cake for Easy Ombre Frosting

The wider the band of colour you spread on, the fewer shades you’ll fit onto the cake so for an ombre with more shades within the gradient, spread very narrow bands of colour onto the cake. This means you’ll be able to fit in more shades.

Frosting colour gets darker as you go down the cake for Easy Ombre Frosting

After spreading each shade onto the cake, add more of the darkest colour to the bowl, mix it together leaving a bit of the previous colour saved on the side of the bowl for later, and spread the new colour onto the cake.

spread frosting an even thickness but overlapping colours is fine because they'll blend together soon Easy Ombre Frosting

When you get to the bottom of the cake, use only the darkest colour to spread on the final band of colour. Make sure you spread it all the way down to the cake board so the crumb coat is completely covered up and you won’t have any gaps at the very bottom of the cake.

spread the darkest colour of frosting at the bottom going all the way down to the cake baord Easy Ombre Frosting

Now use a frosting smoother and scrape around the cake once, resting the frosting smoother down on the cake board to line it up to create straight sides on the cake.

scrape around the cake with a frosting smoother to smooth the frosting Easy Ombre Frosting

Remember the small amounts of each shade of frosting you saved on the side of the bowl? Here’s where they come in. Scoop them up to spread onto the cake to fill in any indents in the frosting.

leave some of each shade on the side fo the bowl to use later Easy Ombre Frosting

You can use the darker shades to fill in indents lower down on the cake and the lighter shades to fill in indents at the top, or do the opposite: here I’m using darker shades at the top to make the blending more gradual. It’s fun to play around with the different shades as you do touchups,

fill in indents with leftover shades of frosting to blend colours more gradually Easy Ombre Frosting

Once the sides are as blended and as smooth as you want them to be, move onto the top of the cake. Scrape the overhanging frosting towards the middle of the cake with your offset spatula and then swipe the spatula off the cake to take the excess frosting off with it.

tidy top edge of frosting for flat top with sharp angles edges Easy Ombre Frosting

Scrape that frosting into your bowl and wipe the spatula clean and repeat around the top edge to leave sharp edges and a flat top surface of the cake.

tidy frosting at top edge of cake again Easy Ombre Frosting

When the top is finished, check the top edge for indents and if you have any, spread more frosting onto those, choosing form the shades you have in your bowl. Scrape around the cake again with your frosting smoother and tidy up the top edge of the cake again.

spread frosting over indents to fill and smooth with frosting smoother Easy Ombre Frosting

If you want to use up the leftover shades of frosting you have in your bowl, add a border on top of the cake by mixing the colours together and spooning them into a piping bag. For this cake I’m using a 1M star tip and for more ideas check out my tutorial on 5 borders you can pipe with a 1M tip.

pipe rope border on top of cake with leftover frosting Easy Ombre Frosting

This is a “rope border” with overlapping links of buttercream around the top edge of the cake. For frosting techniques, decorative details, more borders, cake toppers, and different ways to write on cakes, check out my online course on 50 Easy Cake Decorating Techniques or join my Club+ for access to ALL of my online classes and courses as well as live online classes and Q&A sessions for members only!

pipe a border on top of cake with leftover frosting Easy Ombre Frosting

Here’s the video version of this tutorial:

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