This gender reveal cake is a great idea for disclosing the gender of someone’s upcoming bundle of joy! It’s made of three layers of moist and delicious vanilla cake dyed with food coloring, and frosted with easy, creamy vanilla buttercream.
I recently made this gender reveal cake for a good friend of mine who’s having a baby boy. I used blue dye instead of pink, but it works just the same. My heart was racing as I watched her slice into the cake – I remember the excitement of finding out the gender of your baby and was so excited for her.
The cake was a hit and it was the perfect way to disclose the gender – she’s over the moon about her upcoming baby!
How to make a gender reveal cake
This ombre cake is my favorite gender reveal cake idea. It’s so pretty, yet simple! The cake is a moist, delicious vanilla cake and the frosting is my classic buttercream recipe.
I use a delicious, moist vanilla cake batter and divide the cake batter into three bowls. I like to dye each layer with a different amount of the same food coloring to give the final result an ombre effect. For baby girl gender reveal cakes, I use this soft pink gel food coloring, but you can also find it in blue (or whatever color you want to dye your cake).
This dye is very concentrated, so a tiny drop of it was all I needed to get the color I wanted for the first bowl of batter. Then, I add a bit more food coloring to the second bowl until I like the color, and did the same with the third bowl, creating three distinct pink colors.
To make things even simpler, you can dye the entire batter using the same color (adjust the coloring to your liking) and divide the batter into three. This will also make a gorgeous cake.
How to make a smaller gender reveal cake
This recipe makes enough cake batter for a three layer 9-inch cake. If you want to make a three layer 6-inch cake, divide the cake recipe by 2. You’ll just need to adjust the baking time. Smaller cakes mean less baking, so start checking them for doneness at around 20 minutes. For any other cake pan sizes, check out my article on converting cake pan sizes to understand exactly how much batter to make.
if using 6-inch round pans, I suggest making 3/4 of the amount of buttercream if you want thick layers of frosting like you see in the photos.
More of my favorite celebration cakes
A gorgeous, three-layer ombre cake made with layers of moist vanilla cake and classic vanilla buttercream!
- 3 cups (420g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks/227g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 3/4 cups (420 ml) whole milk
- 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks/340g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups (600g) powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
- 5 tablespoons (75 ml) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter three 9-inch cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Cake: In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the milk in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix the batter. The less you mix, the lighter the cake will be. Divide the batter as evenly as possible into three bowls. Add food coloring to each bowl until desired color is reached. Add just a tiny drop at first because food colorings can be very concentrated.
Pour each bowl of batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes, then gently remove from pans and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, beat butter and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 5 cups powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin.
Assembly: If the cakes rose too much, cut their rounded top with a knife to make them flat. Set one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Evenly spread a thick layer of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer and spread a thick layer of the frosting. Finish with the third cake layer. Spread frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Store cake in the fridge, but bring it to room temperature before serving. The cake can be made a day in advance.
Note: To use different sized cake pans, check out my article on converting cake pan sizes to learn how to adjust the recipe.
SharDecember 30, 2018 at 11:25 am
Hi do you think buttermilk would work here instead of milk in the cake batter? I know a lot of recipes use buttermilk to achieve a very moist cake
ShiranMarch 5, 2019 at 4:54 am
You can use buttermilk to make the cake more moist, but the cake is moist without it. I recommend using 1 cup of buttermilk instead of 1 cup of milk, and if you like the result you can replace it all with buttermilk next time.
Momma Of EightJanuary 24, 2019 at 11:10 pm
NataliaFebruary 12, 2019 at 11:56 am
The cake seems a little small. Should I double the ingredients to make my 9” pans a little more full and for a taller cake?
ShiranFebruary 21, 2019 at 5:40 am
Hi Natalia, the cake in the photo is a bit smaller than 9-inch, but the recipe is exactly what you need for a 9-inch cake. You can trust the recipe 🙂
Diane E MatherMarch 15, 2019 at 9:56 am
Hi – can you use box cake mix
Shwetha AcharyaJanuary 4, 2020 at 8:10 am
Planning to make this for my daughter’s birthday as she’s very fond of pink! Do the cakes rise well? Doesn’t seem to have risen much in the pics. And how to mix the food colouring in without over-beating the batter?
Nastasia JohnsonApril 9, 2020 at 8:15 pm
amazing recipe!!! mycake turned out amaing. can i use this to make cupcakes!!!
ShiranApril 13, 2020 at 7:19 am
Yes you can 🙂
KerianeApril 17, 2020 at 9:24 am
Hi..to devide the batter for a 6inch layer must the baking powder be divided as well??thank you
ShiranApril 20, 2020 at 2:47 am
Hanne VMay 9, 2021 at 4:02 pm
It was delicious ! Perfect recipe but I added 100 grams less sugar in to the cake and made it with soy milk. It was sweet enough because of the crème au beurre. Thank you: a big succes!
LorraineApril 24, 2020 at 11:41 pm
Wow followed this recipe to a tee and this has turned out to be one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. So moist and fluffy, amazing texture with a beautiful crust. Thank you so much my friend absolutely loved it!
Angelina HerreraMay 7, 2020 at 6:54 pm
Do I need to use whole milk or can I use any other type of milk! ?
ShiranMay 11, 2020 at 4:33 am
I recommend using whole milk. If using lower fat milk, the cake won’t taste as good.
RachelMay 11, 2020 at 9:33 pm
This cake looks beautiful! I’m planning on making it for my daughters 3rd birthday in June. Re: the buttercream frosting, would full cream milk work instead of the heavy cream?
ShiranMay 12, 2020 at 12:41 pm
Hi Rachel! Heavy cream is my favorite option but milk would work as well, but you won’t need to use the same amount (it would be too soft). I’d start with the butter and sugar, and then add some milk until you like the texture.
RachelMay 17, 2020 at 4:25 am
Thank you so much Shiran, I am planning on making this in 6inch tins., hopefully it all works out!
lexie crokerMay 21, 2020 at 5:41 pm
Would you be able to use baking flour instead of AP?
ShiranJune 3, 2020 at 6:27 am
I’m not sure what baking flour means. Can you please explain?
DaniJune 22, 2020 at 7:18 am
I made this and it didn’t go well. I had to cook it longer than the recipe as it was still quite wet in the middle at the 30 minute mark. The cake itself was soft and fluffy (and tasty!) however found it be quite crumbly and it was a horror to assemble and ice which is where it all went wrong. I have heard that crumbly is usually due to not mixing the batter enough however didn’t want to over mix. I am very new to baking cakes so I am sure it’s all down to rookie error and not your recipe. Just wondering whether you had any tips? Definitely want to master this! Thank you
ShiranJune 29, 2020 at 2:36 am
Hi Dani, it’s hard to tell what went wrong without being there. It can be many things. The most important thing is to measure the ingredients correctly, and not overmixing is a good thing! Regarding baking time every oven is different so it can happen. Also avoid opening the oven door too often so that the temperature won’t drop.
Hawah MusaJuly 22, 2020 at 7:12 am
Hy Shiran , I love all your recipes , and i always try them out .thank u so much . But i dont know why my cakes are not moist .Can you please help me with this. Thank u so much .
ShiranJuly 23, 2020 at 4:10 am
Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy them 🙂 The best tip is to mix the batter as little as possible once you add the flour. Overmixing can make cakes dry. Another important thing is to bake the cake just until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs to insure the cake is moist. Overbaking can also dry out the cake.
Angelina HerreraSeptember 25, 2020 at 8:41 pm
Can I use cake flour instead of all purpose flour ?
MargieDecember 10, 2020 at 8:47 pm
Moist, delicious, vanilla cake. Halved the recipe to make a small layered cake for my 4yo’s birthday. Didn’t have milk, so used cream instead (oh darn !). Had to cook it for quite a bit longer than 30 min…I would say I ended up doing 40 min for the smallest layer, and longer for my largest. Made a cream cheese frosting to go with it.
I have to say Shiran, you nail it with these recipes. I always come to Pretty Simple Sweet for a base recipe and then either follow it exactly or tweak it for my needs. Your recipes NEVER disappoint! Love having a resource on the internet that I can count on.
SowmyaDecember 28, 2020 at 12:54 pm
Hi, should I double the recipe for 12inch cake ?
ShiranJanuary 5, 2021 at 3:11 am
Hi 🙂 I recommend checking out my article on how to convert cake pan sizes 🙂
Anqi TanJanuary 5, 2021 at 7:15 pm
My work colleagues loved it!
Jene AuxierFebruary 19, 2021 at 2:31 pm
I just made this cake for my daughter’s 3rd birthday because she loves the Pinkalicious books. I followed the directions for the 6 inch, with extra frosting and sprinkles. It turned out wonderful – she was just wowed by the cake. Thank you Shiran!
ElisabethApril 12, 2021 at 8:30 pm
Love this! Just tried to bake it in 6inch pans. They collapsed a bit when I took them out of the oven. So the layers came out a bit thin. Any tips to prevent collapsing? I followed each step carefully. They look super moist though! Decorating tomorrow <3
Cheryl Harris SquaresSeptember 4, 2021 at 5:33 pm
Delicious, moist cake. I’ve used it twice now for 2 different gender reveal cakes (1 pink ombré and 1 blue ombré). My only question is how do you keep your buttercream so white?!
Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.September 7, 2021 at 7:47 am
Hi Cheryl, the buttercream is naturally white, and when you beat the butter and powdered sugar together it adds air to the frosting, which also helps give it a clean white color. Try beating the butter and sugar together a bit longer if your buttercream is appearing a bit yellow from the butter 🙂
maile nortonFebruary 11, 2023 at 8:43 pm
Does this recipe need to be refrigerated? Is it the cake part or frosting part that needs to be or both? I want to make a cake that doesn’t need to go in the fridge. If I just need to switch one thing that would be nice.
Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.February 21, 2023 at 4:46 am
Hi Maile, this cake does not need to be refrigerated.