“50 Shades of Pink” – Mini Valentine Ombre Cakes

Valentine Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentines #ValentineDessert #Ombre #Recipes

Ok so maybe not fifty shades.  But just enough and, in this case, that’s four shades in these Mini Valentine Ombre Cakes

Fun fact:  The word “Ombre” is a French term that originally referred to a graduation of color in the fashion world.  Life is art, apparently, so at some point the Ombre concept carried over into the pastry world.

I like art. And I like it even better if I can eat it. 😉 I will tell you up front that I started this project as a test and then it worked so well that this has now become a “semi-homemade” recipe using two boxed cake mixes along the way.  Bonus.  But this can be made using your own favorite cake recipes – I know I have both red velvet cake and white cake recipes that I love.

With the (fresh) strawberry filling, there is no lack in homemade flavor here. Not to mention, “Ombre” takes a little extra time. “Ombre” wants attention.  And “Ombre”… may be the most interesting man cake in the world.  So using the boxed mixes will save a little time but this recipe does take some extra effort!

There are 4 layers in these mini cakes.  They end up being about the size of two cupcakes stacked together – perfect for sharing with your honey while watching the sun set (or, in our case, our favorite show!).

And sorry – there are a lot of pictures here to help with the step by step on this one because it’s really not that hard and some people love the visuals, like me.

For the first three layers, I started with a box o’ white (not yellow) cake mix.  I did NOT follow the package directions, so please be sure to see the recipe at the end.  Once I had it all mixed, I separated the batter into three separate bowls:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

I then added two drops of red food coloring to the first bowl:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

  I was very happy with this first shade of the color I never get to buy because I have three boys pink so I went on to add 8 drops to the second bowl.  I think that ended up being 15 drops in the end but this is the part where you mix and play.  Just remember, you can ADD the color, but you can’t take it out!

Bowl #3 ended up being around 24 drops or so.  Sounds like a lot?  Guess how much is in Red Velvet cake?  More.  Here are the three shades I ended up with:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

  Once I had the colors I liked, I lined a 7 x 7 square baking pan with parchment paper and started with the first batter, the lightest pink:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

Baked and lifted out easily, thanks to the parchment paper, and then I followed with the two other “Shades O’ Pink” batters.  Once all three had baked I had three pretty amazing little cakes:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

  The last layer is red velvet cake.  Fun fact: Most red velvet cakes, in a nod to the traditional origin story of the cake, contain buttermilk and a very small amount of cocoa powder. These ingredients give the cake a subtle, yet distinctive and delicious flavor that is not quite chocolate and not quite plain vanilla.

I did not add buttermilk but I DID add a half cup sour cream to the boxed mix (which was also adjusted) to add extra moist yumminess as you will see in the recipe.   I divided the red velvet batter in half and used a 13 x 9 pan to bake one half of it.

The extra cake AND the extra batter are being used in another recipe so don’t you worry your pretty little {red velvet} hearts.  I actually wish I had just used the 7 x 7 pan for the red velvet since that layer ended up being slightly thinner but it worked out.  I have adjusted the recipe to reflect the learnings from this:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

So there’s the red velvet cake.  Now let’s get to assembling this Ombre bad boy!  I used  a heart cookie cutter to cut 5 heart shapes out of the first three pink colors.  I was aiming for 6 but that’s not the way it played out.

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

Then I also cut five hearts out of the red velvet (half) sheet cake.  Ended up with 5 of each color and must say I swooned a bit at this point.  My pretties:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

In love with these little cakes {and resisting the urge to eat them}.  And if you are wondering what I am going to do with the cake scraps I have a few ideas on those too!

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

I then took one of my decorative heart cutters and cut a little insert in the middle of each heart {because I am a “heart breaker” like that}.

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

After cutting out the center of each, I set aside the mini cake hearts for now – be careful with the cakes as they are even more fragile now that the center is cut out.

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

So then we come to the {even more} yummy part!  I was going to make a sweet whipped cream filling to go between the layers but remembered we had some Cool Whip (that’s right, that’s what I said) in the fridge from Christmas!  In keeping with this somewhat semi homemade theme, that’s what I used.

Doesn’t Cool Whip just take you back to the DAY??  There’s probably a reason that stuff is still around.  Worked like a charm for this.  I spread a layer of the Cool Whip on the first layer:

 50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

Then proceeded to stack the next layers and do the same:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

Little tower of goodness, right there!  But it gets better.  Next I made a strawberry cream cheese filling with fresh berries and piped it into the center of each little “Heart Tower”:

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

I filled the cake all the way so that the filling was flush with the top, and then managed to NOT get a picture of the filled cake!  Then I took one of the mini heart cut-outs and trimmed off a little thin layer to make a “lid” to cover the filling:

 50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

I used a thin layer of the Cool Whip to ice the top:

 Ombre - Iced top 50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

And then gently placed my mini heart cutter on top as a “stencil” and added sprinkles (by hand) and then removed the cutter:

 50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes


50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

 And there you have it – an adorable (and delicious) little Valentine Ombre cake!

50 Shades of PINK! Ombre Cakes with ALittleClaireification.com #Valentine #ValentineDessert #OmbreCakes

 Thinking about a chocolate cream filling or shaved chocolate on top, too – YUM!  Lots of fun you can have with these. You can find the full recipe below.

I think holiday themed desserts and food can be so much fun.  If you are looking for a delicious St. Patrick’s Day idea, don’t miss my Irish Steak and Mushroom Pie recipe, inspired by our trip to Ireland.

Have you ever tried any Ombre cake recipes?  I would L-O-V-E to hear about them so please let me know in the comments!



  1. says

    WOW – these are incredible and perfect for Valentine’s Day! I have started a montly newsletter full of fun things from around the web and am going to pin this recipe to our nomination board on Pinterest!

    You can sign up for the newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/tF-qX
    January’s Edition: http://is.gd/WVQc1S

    Thanks for sharing! I know this was not a quick recipe :)


    • Claire says

      Thanks Sarah! No, it was not super quick but writing the post and the recipe took longer! LOL Thank you for pinning! I will check out the newsletter. :)

  2. says

    This is the cutest cake ever! I am going to try this. I found your blog from the GYB blog hop! I am now a follower.

    I also belong to a recipe link up party and would love it if you would link up to us. Foodie Friends Friday will be live in a few minutes! You can find it at my blog http://FeedingBig.com

    Thanks so much and I can’t wait to see what else you are cooking!


  3. says

    Oh this is so cute! I’ve never made an ombre cake before but I did make a 4 layer pastel colored cake last Easter. I think I’m going to try this for Valentine’s Day :) I found your blog from the Grow Your Blog link party.

    • Claire says

      Thanks Hilary! I would love to see your Easter cake! Email me the link or a pic if you can! claire {at) alittleclaireification {dot} com :)

  4. says

    Claire, I am in love with these cakes! My daughter is Valentine Day crazy and this is a fab inspiration for an amazing dessert. And the title….is pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing and excited to see what you tempt us with next! ~Cindy

    • Claire says

      Thanks so much, Cindy! I hope you and your daughter try this out. Send a pic if you do! Once the batter and filling are made it really goes pretty quickly. :)

    • Claire says

      Ok, so the first thing I thought when reading your post was (“Stop. Collaborate, and listen. Jen is back with a brand new edition…”). But that’s probably just because of your (awesome) dance videos.
      Thanks Mama!! And, yeah that whole “pink” thing… 😉

  5. says

    These are absolutely BRILLIANT! I love them! Such a great idea to make a stand out Valentine’s cake! Thanks so much for sharing! This is amazing!

    • Claire says

      Thank you Rebecca! Glad to connect with you and that you took the time to leave a comment. Have a great weekend, Claire :)

  6. says

    Hi Claire,
    I just love your 50 Shades of Pink! This is a great post and recipe that I will use very soon. Thank you so much for celebrating TWO YEARS with FULL PLATE THURSDAY, I appreciate your visit!
    Come Back Soon
    Miz Helen
    A New Face Book Follower

  7. Claire says

    Great project !

    I would love you to come and share it at my Craft, Create & Inspire Linky party

    Hope to see you there:)

    Claire@ Polkadot pretties x

  8. says

    What a great idea! You could make this cake for many occasions~ Stopping by from Sunday Social link up! New follower~ Enjoy Your Week~ Lynn H ~Turnips 2 Tangerines~

  9. Tanya says

    This is a wonderful tutorial! This is s beautiful little cake. So sweet. I love that you filled the inside of the heart! Thank you for sharing at One Creative Weekend!

  10. says

    Okay I think this is my favorite cake ever! How clever and cute and the tutorial is great. Thank you, I would love for you to share this at my link party going on now over at memoriesbythemile.com
    Have an awesome day.
    Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

    • Claire says

      Thanks!!! And, girl that button is already displayed proudly on my “Featured” page! lol See you at the next one! :)

  11. says

    This recipe looks amazing! You took something that looked great and then added strawberry cream cheese! Wow! I’ll be featuring this fantastic idea tonight on OneCreativeMommy.com. Please stop by and grab a featured button if you’d like. I can’t wait to see what you link up this week! The new party opens at 8:00 MST.

  12. says

    Oh my, that is adorable! I LOVE it! Thanks so much for sharing on Super Sweet Saturday, I am so glad I got to meet you. I am going to go poke around your blog now. Great cake!

  13. Carol B says

    This cake is adorable! Monday evening (yep, we are cutting it close) I’m getting together with my two adult sons and my sister (a much better cake baker than I am) and we are going to help my boys each make one of these cakes for their lovely girlfriends. My boys love to cook, but they aren’t well versed on baking. However, I have no doubt we’ll have a blast in this endeavor. Crazy question… what size are your heart cookie cutters that you use for this adorable cake?

    • Claire says

      Thanks Carol! So sweet of you to stop by! The cutter I used is 3.5 inches across at the widest part of the heart, and then I obviously used a smaller one for the inserts. You can maybe find a little set of three at the craft store? Good luck! PLEASE send me a picture of the boys and their cakes (or at least the cakes!) so I can post it, with your permission of course! Happy Baking!

  14. says

    Wow! These are the cutest cakes ever. Almost too cute to eat! Thanks so much for sharing them with all of us at our Strut Your Stuff Saturday link party! We are so thrilled that you took the time to stop by! Thanks!! -The Six Sisters

  15. says

    I am featuring your awesome cake tomorrow at Saturday Dishes! Grab a badge if you’d like, thanks for linking with us. Tomorrow will be Lemon recipes.

  16. Lindsey says

    This is amazing!! I cannot wait to try this! Any thoughts on how you could package one of these cakes? They would make such awesome gifts for my son’s daycare teachers for Valentine’s Day…or, for anybody really!

    • Claire says

      Hi Lindsey! That is a great question. I would say, if you make them the day before, that you should chill them overnight and use a “non slip” lining on whatever little plate you are using {new rubberized drawer or shelf lining material is great for that}. Use a few toothpicks inserted into the top before covering with plastic wrap to make sure your icing doesn’t get “mushed” while transporting – you can remove teh toothpicks before delivering. :) Good luck and let me know if you end up making them!

  17. says

    Oh my gosh, Claire, this looks mouth wateringly delicious!

    The ombre makes it extra special and pretty. And I bet that filling is sooooo good.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  18. Robin says

    I just saw this on my CraftGossip news letter and it looks amazing…..I do have a question tho and please forgive me if I missed someone else asking or suggesting this because I looked but did not see it! I can’t have all the sweet (Gosh it looks delish!) filling so do you think after cutting the centers out it would look ok to swap the colors like the red velvet wee little heart center and slip it into the lightest pink big heart? And do the same all the way down thru?

    • Claire says

      Robin I think that is just such a fantastic idea!! I love it as a less sugary alternative. Please let me know if you make them. Thanks for the suggestion! xoxo


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