This gorgeous floral cake is the perfect way to celebrate any occasion. A classic vanilla cake base gets a vibrant makeover with swirls of colorful buttercream blooms. It’s easy to make and stunning to serve!

Don’t be intimidated by those buttercream blossoms — trust us, you’ve got this! Our recipe guides you every step of the way, from baking the perfect vanilla cake to whipping up the buttercream frosting. And the decorating? That’s the best part! No fancy techniques needed, just a bit of playful creativity.

Decorative rectangular floral cake adorned with pastel-colored piped frosting flowers and rosettes on a pink backdrop.

In the South, we love our fancy cakes. Weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and pretty much any family gathering are occasions for somebody’s favorite cake.

As a fourth-generation Southern cook, I’ve eaten and made a LOT of cakes. My favorite will always be my Granny’s chocolate sheet cake, but I’m also partial to a classic pound cake.

This cake, though, is my absolute favorite for special occasions. It’s just a simple vanilla sheet cake covered in splashes of color piped on as flowers. Think swirls, rosettes, and pops of color— the possibilities are as endless as a spring garden!

I know it looks difficult, but I promise you can do it! If you’re not sure how to make flower designs, watch a couple of YouTube tutorials, and you’ll see that it’s really not that hard. The piping tips do the work for you!

Why You’ll Love This Floral Cake Recipe:

TASTE – This floral cake is moist and delicious, with the perfect amount of subtle vanilla flavor. And the buttercream is so good!

EASINESS – Yes, you’re making a bakery-worthy cake, but you’re using piping tips for the whole thing. You do not have to make the flowers separately and transfer them. Do it right on the cake!

ARTISTRY – When you serve this stunning cake to your family and friends, they will be amazed at how beautiful it is. And when they taste it, they’ll think you’re the most amazing baker they know! 

I hope you’ll try your hand at this beautiful floral cake. I think you’ll love it, and it will set the tone for your party!

A slice of cake with colorful frosting designs on a cake server, with similarly decorated cakes blurred in the background.

What you’ll need to make the floral cake

You’ll find the full ingredient amounts and instructions below on the printable recipe card. We’ve also included detailed how-to steps with photos, common questions, and tips for success below the recipe card.

Various baking ingredients for floral cake, neatly arranged on a light pink surface, including flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, and flavor extracts.

For the cake

Eggs – we use large eggs in all of our baking recipes

Vegetable oil – this cake does better with oil rather than butter

Buttermilk – gives your cake great flavor

Whole milk – helps keep the cake moist

Vanilla extract – a subtle hint of flavor

Granulated white sugar – perfect amount of sweetness

Salt – regular table salt

All-purpose flour – you don’t need cake flour

Baking powder – for leavening

For the frosting

Powdered sugar – no need to sift

Unsalted butter – we prefer unsalted in most baking recipes

Heavy cream – to add creaminess and flavor

Vanilla extract – use good quality vanilla

Gel food coloring – we used pink, purple, yellow, green, and peach

Piping bags

Piping nozzles – we used Wilton 1M, 1A, 6B, 363 and 104

Baking pan – you’ll use this for so many things

Decoratively piped frosting in various colors on square-cut pieces of floral cake, displayed on a light pink surface.
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Floral Birthday Cake

Dessert just got a whole lot prettier! This floral cake is the perfect way to add a touch of elegance to any occasion.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Save This Recipe

Ingredients 

Ingredients

    For the cake

    • 4 eggs
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • ¾ cup full fat buttermilk
    • ½ cup whole milk
    • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2 cups granulated white sugar
    • 2 teaspoons fine salt
    • 3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
    • 3 teaspoons baking powder

    For the frosting

    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • gel food coloring (we used pink, purple, yellow, green and peach)

    Instructions 

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 320 F. Line a 13” x 9” baking pan with parchment.
    • In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, oil, buttermilk, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
    • Add the sugar and salt and whisk until fully combined.
    • Sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk gently until there are no lumps taking care not to over mix.
    • Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan then place in the middle of the preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is risen, golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan while you make the frosting.

    Frosting:

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted add the softened butter and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy
    • Add the powdered sugar and beat until it changes from a sand-like consistency to thick and smooth.
    • Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat on a medium speed for at least 5 minutes. The buttercream will be smooth, thick and fluffy.
    • Divide the buttercream between 5 bowls (or however many colors you’ll be using). Add a drop of food coloring to each and mix thoroughly adding more color until you’re happy with the shade.
    • Fit the piping nozzles to the bags then fill each one with the colored frosting.
    • When the cake is cool, remove it from the baking pan and set it in front of you. Pipe swirls, rosettes, rounds, squiggles and stars all over the top of the cake. We started with the larger rosettes and went from there. Alternate between each color of frosting to add visual interest and use the smallest piping nozzle to fill in any gaps.

    Video

    Notes

    The key to the most perfect texture is to bake the cake in a low oven, this ensures a slow and steady rise and stops the cake from collapsing or developing any cracks, which in turn makes it much easier to decorate.
    When coloring buttercream, it’s best to use gel food coloring as it is very strong and you won’t need much; therefore, the vanilla flavor of the cake is not affected. We opted for 5 pastel colors for a spring feel, but you can use any combination of colors you have on hand. This works with 1 or 2 colors or more than 5.
    As we had 5 colors, we used 5 different piping nozzles, but if you don’t have many, you can use a couple and vary the pressure when you decorate, which will result in a different pattern.
    Think of the cake as your canvas, and you are the artist! We started with the 1M to make bigger rosettes and then moved onto the 6B to pipe swirls. Next, we added squiggly lines with the 104 and used the 1A and 363 nozzles to fill the gaps. Decorating a cake like this is so much fun; you can go to town and create your own masterpiece!
    Storage: This Floral Cake will keep for at least 5 days in a container in the fridge. It
    freezes really well for up to 1 month.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1slice, Calories: 466kcal, Carbohydrates: 79g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 415mg, Potassium: 159mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 56g, Vitamin A: 500IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 72mg, Iron: 2mg
    Course: Cakes
    Cuisine: American
    Calories: 466
    Keyword: floral birthday cake, floral cake, floral cake recipe
    Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!

    How to make the floral cake

    Mix the batter and bake

    Preheat the oven to 320 F. Line a 13” x 9” baking pan with parchment. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, oil, buttermilk, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.

    Add the sugar and salt and whisk until fully combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk gently until there are no lumps, taking care not to over-mix.

    Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan, then place in the middle of the preheated oven to bake for 40 minutes.

    Unbaked cake batter in a rectangular metal baking pan on a pink surface.

    The cake is ready when it has risen, is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the pan while you make the frosting.

    A freshly baked sheet cake in a square metal pan, lined with parchment paper, on a light pink surface.

    Floral cake buttercream frosting

    In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, add the soft butter and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy.

    A metal bowl of creamed butter.

    Add the powdered sugar and beat until it changes from a sand-like consistency to thick and
    smooth. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat on a medium speed for at least 5 minutes. The
    buttercream will be smooth, thick, and fluffy.

    Divide the buttercream between 5 bowls (or however many colors you’ll be using). Add a drop
    of food coloring to each and mix thoroughly, adding more color until you’re happy with the
    shade.

    Overhead view of three bowls of pastel-colored frosting with piping bags on a pink surface.

    Fit the piping tips to the bags, and then fill each one with the colored frosting.

    Five piping bags with different colored icings (pink, peach, lavender, yellow, and mint) positioned on a light pink background.

    When the cake is cool, remove it from the baking pan and set it in front of you. Pipe swirls,
    rosettes, rounds, squiggles, and stars all over the top of the cake. We started with the larger
    rosettes and went from there.

    A freshly baked sheet cake with five pink rose-shaped frosting decorations arranged in a diagonal line.

    Alternate between each frosting color to add visual interest, and use the smallest piping tip to fill in any gaps.

    A rectangular cake with colorful buttercream floral designs on a pink background.

    Questions about the floral cake recipe

    What real flowers can I put on a cake?

    While this floral cake doesn’t showcase edible flowers, some of our other recipes do, like our lemon icebox pie. Our favorites are edible violas and pansies. If you want to use real flowers, make sure they are organic and EDIBLE.

    What type of frosting is best for making flowers?

    You can use regular buttercream frosting, just like we have in this recipe.

    How do I store the floral cake?

    Cover the cake and store it on the counter for 1-2 days, then in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The longer you keep it in the refrigerator, the more texture and moisture it will lose.

    Can I freeze the cake?

    Yes, you can freeze this cake! Cover it well and keep it in the freezer for a month. Because you can’t tightly cover it (due to the floral frosting), we don’t recommend keeping it longer than that.

    Tips for success

    Baking

    You’ll notice the directions say to bake this cake at 320 F — this is not a typo! We found that the key to the perfect texture for this cake is to bake it at a low temperature. This ensures a slow and steady rise and stops the cake from collapsing or developing any cracks, making it much easier to decorate.

    Frosting

    Coloring the frosting: When coloring buttercream, it’s best to use gel food coloring as it is very strong, and you won’t need much; therefore, the vanilla flavor of the cake is not affected. We opted for 5 pastel colors for a spring feel, but you can use any combination of colors you have on hand. This works with 1 or 2 colors or more than 5.

    Piping: As we had 5 colors, we used 5 different piping tips, but if you don’t have many, you can use just a couple and vary the pressure when you decorate, resulting in a different pattern.

    Decorating: Think of the cake as your canvas, and you are the artist! We started with the 1M to make bigger rosettes and then moved on to the 6B to pipe swirls.

    Next, we added squiggly lines with the 104 and used the 1A and 363 nozzles to fill the gaps. Decorating a cake like this is so much fun; you can go to town and create your own masterpiece!

    A hand holding a fork takes a piece of a colorful frosted cake on a white plate.

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    About the author

    Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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