This classic Sri Lankan Ribbon Cake is a fun, pastel colored, swirled vanilla cake, perfect for birthdays and celebratory moments in your life! It’s soft, light, buttery and tastes absolutely delicious. It’s a great base for an easy pastel Easter cake too!
With a few buttercream decorations and Easter candy, this makes the perfect pastel Easter cake!
Last time I shared my classic vanilla cake recipe with plenty of tips on how to get perfect results when making homemade vanilla cake. And I did say that vanilla cake was the base for another classic Sri Lankan cake – this Sri Lankan Ribbon Cake (Swirled Pastel Cake)! Plus, I’m also sharing a simple way to decorate this cake as a pastel Easter cake!
A Sri Lankan ribbon cake is a classic that almost never fails to make an appearance at birthdays and special occasions! It’s a vanilla cake that’s been colored with pastel colors (usually a combination of pink, yellow and/or green), and the batter is either swirled together OR layered on top of each other for a layer cake. Traditionally it’s frosted with plain vanilla frosting, but you can color the buttercream frosting as well.
PREPARING A VANILLA CAKE AS A RIBBON CAKE (SWIRLED PASTEL CAKE) – STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
While it’s routine to make this ribbon cake as a layer cake with a thin layer of vanilla frosting sandwiching the cake layers, I really love serving this pastel cake as a sheet cake instead! This creates the perfect ratio of cake to frosting too, and you can serve a larger crowd as well.
But if you prefer to serve this ribbon cake (pastel cake) as a round cake instead, you can easily adapt the recipe for an 8 inch or 9 inch layer cake too (instructions are in the recipe).
Simple decorating idea for a classic Sri Lankan Ribbon Cake
The vanilla buttercream frosting that I’ve used here is this recipe that I shared with you a guys a few weeks ago. This vanilla frosting is buttery, creamy, fluffy with the perfect amount of sweetness and great vanilla flavor. I only spread a fairly thin layer of the vanilla frosting on the cake to balance the sweetness, but you can adjust that to your preference of course.
Decorating Options for this Ribbon Cake (Pastel Cake)
This cake is so versatile when it comes to decorating. Since this cake is very frequently featured as a birthday cake or a celebratory cake, the decorating can be as simple as the one that I’ve shared here, or as colorful as you want it to be! Below are a few options for decorating this pastel colored marbled vanilla cake.
- A classic plain vanilla buttercream frosting with a simple border. This is the traditional option for decorating a Sri Lankan ribbon cake. Some buttercream flowers and leaves might be added to the cake as well.
- Trim the edges to show off the swirled edges, OR you can cover the edges with frosting as well.
- Funfetti! After a thin layer of frosting, you can cover the cake with colorful funfetti.
- Water color buttercream – after a base color of frosting, you can dot the sides with more pastel colored frosting and smooth it all out for a water color effect. You can see this effect in this vanilla chai easter cake that I made here.
- Use the pastel cake as a sheet cake and it would be a fabulous canvas to decorate on. Like this Easter themed pastel cake decorated with Easter chocolates!
It’s simple to turn this sheet cake into a beautiful swirled pastel Easter cake. All you need is food coloring, and some decorating tips, and your favorite Easter candy!
Buttercream for the pastel Easter cake – I used yellow and pink pastel colors for the buttercream, and created a gorgeous swirled pattern on the sides and on top of the cake.
HOW TO DECORATE THIS CAKE FOR A SWIRLED PASTEL EASTER CAKE (EASTER SHEET CAKE)
Decorating the pastel Easter cake – I used green buttercream to create grass patches on the cake (with Wilton tip #234, but you can use #233 as well). The flowers were piped with the pink and yellow buttercream, using Wilton tip #18.
I also used Cadbury mini eggs, and caramel eggs (for different sized eggs), as well as my MUST HAVE Easter candy – Easter Lindt bunnies! You’re welcome to use YOUR favorite Easter chocolate and candy instead.
For the presentation, I placed the cake on a larger cake tray (or serving tray) and surrounded it with edible grass, and MORE Easter eggs. This is a simple yet gorgeous way to really make this cake festive, fun, pretty and most importantly, delicious!
DECORATING IDEAS FOR A PASTEL EASTER CAKE
This classic Sri Lankan ribbon cake (swirled pastel vanilla cake) is just as incredibly delicious, soft, light and buttery as my classic vanilla cake here. It’s a simple yet colorful twist to make your vanilla cakes even more exciting! 🙂
And to make your pastel sheet cake stand out even more, you can decorate it to match any theme with simple buttercream decorating ideas. I mean, how adorable is this pastel Easter cake? 🙂
Pastel Ribbon Cake (Swirled Pastel Cake)Print
Ribbon Cake (Swirled Pastel Cake)
- 1 recipe of vanilla cake batter
- Pink food coloring
- Yellow food coloring
- Green food coloring
- 1 recipe of perfect vanilla buttercream
- Pink food coloring
- Yellow food coloring For the Easter cake
- Green food coloring For the Easter cake
- Easter eggs For the Easter cake
- Easter candy For the Easter cake
- Easter bunnies For the Easter cake
- Edible grass For the Easter cake
- Wilton tip #234 or #233
- Wilton tip #18
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper. (If you prefer making a round cake, you can butter and line 2 x 8 inch pans OR 2 x 9 inch pans).
- Divide the cake batter into 3 bowls. This is roughly about 400 g (14.1 oz) of batter per portion.
Add a drop or two of food coloring into each portion (yellow, pink and green). Mix the batter to create the pastel colored cake batters.
Dollop the batter into the prepared cake pan, while alternating colors. If you are using round cake pans, remember to divide the cake batter evenly between the pans - about 608 g (21.4 oz) batter per pan.
Swirl the colors in the pan, and make the surface smooth. Knock the pan on the counter/work surface 2 - 3 times to remove any air, and to even out the cake batter in the pan.
Bake the 9 x 13 inch pan in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes (mine takes about 32 minutes). (See Recipe Notes for bake times for 8 inch or 9 inch pans).
Once the cake is baked, remove from the oven and let it cool down slightly. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack, and let it cool down completely. The cake is now ready to be iced.
For the Classic Ribbon Cake
Evenly spread a layer of vanilla buttercream on top of the cake. Trim the edges to get clean straight lines.
Pipe a simple border with a small closed star tip. Sprinkle funfetti (optional) on the surface of the cake. The middle of the cake can be used to pipe a message OR can be kept clean.
For the Pastel Easter Cake
Divide the buttercream frosting into 3 portions. One portion should be less than the other two. Color the smaller portion with green food coloring. Color the other two with pink and yellow.
Apple a crumb coating to the top of the cake. Trim the edges of the cake, and crumb coat the sides as well.
Put each of the buttercream frosting into piping bags and cut openings. Use another piping bag to attach the piping tips (so that it'll be easier to change between the colors for each tip).
With a round tip, pipe two thin lines of the pink and yellow frostings along the side of the cake. Using an offset spatula smoothen the sides to create an ombre look.
Pipe some of the frosting on the top of the cake as well, creating random patterns. Using an offset spatula, spread the buttercream to create a swirled pattern, and to make it smooth.
- Pipe a border along the cake with the rest of the pink and yellow buttercream.
Using the green buttercream frosting and tip #234, create grass patches on the surface of the cake. Using tip #18, create drop flowers with pink and yellow buttercream (optional). Decorate with Easter eggs and Easter bunny chocolates.
Place the cake on a cake serving platter and surround it with edible grass and more Easter eggs (optional).
Note on Baking Times
2 x 8 inch pans = bake for 25 – 30 minutes (mine takes about 27 minutes).
2 x 9 inch pans = bake for 20 – 25 minutes (mine takes about 22 minutes).
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