January 31, 2012

How to Make Rainbow Layer Cake

Every year I make myself a cake for my birthday party, which at first glance seems sort of depressing, but is something that I actually LOVE. I enjoy baking but rarely do so without an “excuse” like a birthday or a holiday, so when my own big day rolls around I’m more than happy to supply myself with a lovely treat.

I’ve been wanting to try out a rainbow cake for a long time now, since seeing them around in various food blogs and even on Martha Stewart, and because I live for all things colorful, my birthday was the perfect time to try one out.

This cake isn’t much more difficult than a traditional layer cake, but it will take extra time, effort and ingredients. I’ll prepare you now: the unveiling of its magical insides will have your guests oohing and ahhing. The white frosting gives no clue as to what lies beneath, so cutting into this guy has a major wow factor. I even had several people line up to take photos! Whip one of these up for your next birthday or just because!

2 White Cake Mixes
Egg Whites (as instructed by your cake mix)
Oil (as instructed by your cake mix)
Water (as instructed by your cake mix)
Almond Extract
Gel (Not Liquid) Food Coloring in Blue, Yellow, Green & Red/Pink (I had pink)
White Frosting (I ended up using 2.5 cans of cream cheese frosting)
Cooking Spray
Wax Paper
Two 9” Cake Rounds
6 Bowls

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your cake batter according to the directions on the box, substituting egg whites for the eggs to keep the mix as white as possible. Most mixes should offer the egg white substitution, but I used 4 whites in place of 3 whole eggs. Add 2 tsp almond extract.

2. Once prepared, divide equal amounts of batter into 6 separate bowls. I ended up with about 1 ¼ cups in each bowl.

3. Add several drops of your gel food coloring to the bowls, one color in one bowl at a time. I had one bowl each for blue, green, yellow and pink and then mixed to make purple (pink & blue) and orange (pink & yellow). Mix the coloring into the batter and add more until desired shade is reached.
4. Generously spray your cake rounds and pour one bowl of batter in each, evening it out with a spoon. These layers are thin so it won’t look like much in the pan – that’s ok! It all works out, I promise. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. When the first two are finished transfer them to a wire rack to cool and continue this process until all layers are baked. Let all layers cool completely.

6. Place a dollop of frosting on the center of a cake stand or plate to keep the bottom layer in place. Cut four strips of wax paper and place them around the edges of the stand for easy cleanup.
7. Place the bottom layer in the center of the stand and cover its top with a thin coat of frosting. Place the next layer directly on top of it and repeat until you reach the top layer, which you should position with the flat side facing up for a straighter edge. Top this with a coat of frosting. [TIP: you can whip your frosting with a mixer to increase its volume]

8. Cover the entire layer cake in a thin coat of frosting and let it set for about 30 minutes until firm (you can also do this in the refrigerator). When firm, add a thick layer of frosting over the entire cake.

9. Remove the wax paper strips and clean up any frosting drips. You’re done!

Feel free to decorate with sprinkles or rainbow nonpareils for added cuteness. I made mine in the classic ROY G. BIV pattern (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple) but you can put layers in any order or use any colors. This would also work well for a sports themed cake (like red and blue layers for a Red Sox cake) or just to match the color theme of a party or event. You could also add things like fudge or butterscotch between layers for added flavor and color. The options are endless!



  1. wow. this made my mouth water! looks amazing

  2. that looks so good.. I must give that a go x


  3. Looks great, and delicious! I've nothing against making yourself a cake on your birthday. Any excuse I say :)


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