Lemon Ombre Cake

lemon ombre cake

This cake doesn’t really look like an ombre cake that you normally see – the one that has graded hues of colour on the sides of the cake. Mine is…hmmm…a bundle of bright yellow, cream yellow and light yellow crashed together.


I didn’t do it intentionally. It was kind of a quick fix. Here is the thing about colouring paste or gel. Never go crazy with it. One drop at a time is the rule of thumb, especially when you are testing the colour. Turned out my frosting didn’t get the gradual colours that I wanted. And I just let it go.

Ingredients (one 5-inch 3-layer cake):
Lemon Cake
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
Lemon Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Yellow food colouring paste

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 5-inch cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, whisk sour cream, lemon zest, juice and vanilla.
Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.
Reduce the speed to low and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the sour cream mixture. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining sour cream mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.
Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared cake pans and spread evenly.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes before inverting on rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla, heavy cream, lemon zest and juice, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread with 1/4 cup frosting. Place another cake layer on top, and gently press down a little bit. Spread with another 1/4 cup frosting. Place the last layer of cake on top, smear a light coating of frosting on the top and sides of the cake.
Divide the remaining buttercream into 3 bowls, with one of them a little more than the other two to frost the top of the cake. Tint one of the other two bowls with 4 drops of colouring paste to create bright yellow colour. Tint the last one with one drop of colouring paste to create light yellow colour.
Starting at the bottom, carefully smear the side with the bright yellow buttercream, followed with light yellow buttercream on the middle part, and the white on the top of the cake. Use a mental spatula to smooth frosting all over the cake, to blend the colours together and create rustic stripes effect.
This step is optional. Use an offset spatula to gently smear horizontal strokes against the sides of the cake.
Cover and refrigerate the cake. Leave out in room temperature for at least an hour prior to serving.


  1. Hi…
    can i change the butter into oil?
    this cake looks really pretty, can’t wait to try this recipe

    1. Hi Sylvia, I would suggest to use butter for this recipe. The sour cream and lemon juice give the cake the perfect texture. I’m afraid that using oil instead of butter will make the cake too wet/moist.

  2. Fanny, so glad you joined the cake extravaganza. I do hope to see you again soon. Cheers

  3. Lovely work! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is all about cakes? This is the link . There are lots of great links there already. I do hope to see you there. Cheers

  4. So elegant and pretty! Lovely cake. Who cares if it’s an ombre cake or not. All it maters is this is a fabulous cake! :)

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