How many reasons are there to love pineapples? A million or so? Starting with: Delicious. So very pretty. Symbols of hospitality. Super on-trend. Excellent additions to summer snacks, salsas, and drinks. So when Hallmark Designer Kelsey D. made an ombré brush stroke pineapple cake and sent us a pic, the first thing we did was post it in an Instagram poll and ask if you wanted the how-to. (You totally did.) SO SHE MADE TWO MORE. That was a good day in our studio, y’all.
How to make an ombré brush stroke pineapple cake
If you’re new to cake decorating, pop over to our basic tutorial for basic supplies, instructions, and pro-tips.
OMBRÉ BRUSH STROKE PINEAPPLE CAKE SUPPLIES
TWO CAKE LAYERS (USE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE OR MIX)
BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (WE LIKE THIS RECIPE, but you could use canned frosting—just beat it in a bowl to get some air in it)
YELLOW GEL FOOD COLORING
CANDY COATING DISKS IN OFF-WHITE, YELLOW, AND ORANGE (3/4 to 1 cup of each color)
ROTATING CAKE STAND (OR LAZY SUSAN)
CAKE BOARD CIRCLE (IF YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO MOVE YOUR CAKE FROM STAND TO PLATTER)
SUPER-CLEAN 6″ PUTTY KNIFE (OR BENCH SCRAPER)
1″ WIDE PAINT BRUSH WITH THE ROUNDED CORNERS (TRIM WITH SCISSORS IF NEEDED)
PARCHMENT OR WAX PAPER
PLASTIC ZIPPER BAG
WOODEN SKEWERS OR TOOTHPICKS
Bake and frost your cake
I used three 6” x 2″ cake pans. I left the cakes whole, but sliced the tops off to make them flat so they would stack nicely.
I just used regular boxed yellow cake—one box will make three 6” cakes. To make a boxed cake mix taste homemade, replace water with milk, replace oil with melted butter and double it, and add an extra egg and a splash of vanilla.
My cakes were vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream—but you could easily add flavoring to either one. Since it’s a pineapple, something tropical like pineapple (duh) or coconut would be fitting.
The icing was a buttercream from scratch, but store-bought would work just fine. If you whip it up in a mixer, it’ll give it a little more air and cover more surface area.
To color the frosting, start with small amounts of food coloring. Gel is preferable for both frosting and cake batter if desired—it won’t alter the consistency like liquid food coloring will. Add until you get the color you want.
Be sure to set aside some frosting in the zipper baggie—you’ll use it to put the white chocolate brush strokes on your ombré pineapple cake.
Make the white chocolate brush strokes
You can color the chocolate yourself, but I prefer to use pre-colored chocolate melts in off-white, yellow and orange. The colors are more pure, and they mix better than they do if you use food coloring.
To melt the candy coating disks, microwave them in a glass bowl 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between until they’ve just melted. Use your brush to paint “petals” on wax or parchment paper spread on a baking sheet. You’ll let them set for at least 15 minutes.
Test a few to make sure they’re not too thin—you don’t want to see the paper through the chocolate—because they’ll easily break when you place them on the cake.
I make extras, because I like having the option to choose the best looking ones.
Turn your cake into a pineapple
If your frosting is still soft, you can just press the top row of off-white petals right into the side of the cake.
Otherwise, snip a corner off the bag you filled with frosting, and squeeze a dab onto the back of the brush stroke. That’s how you’ll apply the rest—overlapping the brush strokes in layers down the cake. Start with two rows of off-white, then two yellow, then finish with two orange rows.
For the last row, use a very sharp paring knife to trim the bottom off the brush strokes. The thin blade means the chocolate won’t break where you don’t want it to, and the final “petals” will be flat against the bottom of the cake.
Add the topper
Pick the topper you prefer and print it on to white card stock. Cut it out, leaving a white border around the edge if you’d like. Then tape it to a wooden skewer and stick it into the center of your cake.
Bonus pineapple treats
If your brush stroke ombré pineapple cake feels lonely, make more! Perhaps you noticed we included printable toppers for two cakes and a half-dozen cupcakes. This is no time for restraint.
For the second pineapple cake, I just frosted it like a normal cake, then used my offset spatula to make the design. Hold the tip of the spatula (you could also use a spoon) against the bottom edge of the cake and rotate your cake stand while moving the spatula up the side of the cake. Use the same process on the top, moving from the outside in.
Ice the cupcakes with an open star tip or a baggie with a corner cut off.