Now I’m no professional cake decorator but for an informal, rustic look I just love this ombre textured icing technique. You can tint your icing to any colour to match your theme, but for this occasion I used blue as it was for my daughter’s 8th birthday and blue is her favourite hue!

You will need:

  • Your cake. Bake one or buy one but a little word of caution, it’s easier to work with a light coloured cake rather than a chocolate.
  • A batch of buttercream icing. Around 3 cups of it in total. In my recipe I needed 1 kilo of icing sugar to get the right amount of icing.
  • A cake decorating turntable (I didn’t have one so I manually turned my chopping board but it would be much easier with one!)
  • A bulbous cone tool or something with a round end (I used a wooden spoon but I’m sure it would be easier with a proper tool).
  • Food colouring of your colour choice.

Step 1

Measure your cake to it’s maximum height all the way around and trim the top carefully to create a level top.


Step 2

Once you have leveled the top. measure your cake to half it’s height and make a mark with a wooden skewer at intervals all around the cake. Use these marks as a guide to carefully cut your cake in half.

Step 3.

Prepare your icing by keeping a little over half of it white. Divide the rest of the icing into three batches. Tint the three batches dark, medium and light intensities of your chosen colour. Carefully brush your cake down to remove as many excess crumbs as possible.

Step 4.

Use your white buttercream icing to fill and join your two layers of cake. Be generous with the filling extending it to 1 cm before the edge of the cake.

Step 5.

It’s time to crumb coat your cake. This is an essential step as it will greatly reduce any loose crumbs getting into your icing when you’re decorating the cake. It looks so dodgy when there’s crumbs in the icing! Take your spatula and cover the entire cake with a thin coat of icing. Once it’s done, refrigerate the cake for at least 1/2 an hour.

Step 6.

The fun bit! Take your cake out of the fridge and use your darker icing to ice the bottom third of your cake only. Follow with the medium and finally the light coloured icing.

Step 7.

Use your tool of choice (or in my case the bake of my wooden spoon) to carefully run around the outside of the cake, creating grooves as you go. Don’t press too hard as you’ll hit the cake and take off too much frosting. Remember, this is a rustic look so don’t get too hung up on perfection or you’ll risk ruining it. Do the top last starting from the centre and working your way out to the edges.

There you have it! This one was a hit at the birthday with everyone commenting on how clever I was. Awww schucks!

 Photos by Ms Gingham