Rainbow cake

Rainbow cake

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(63 ratings)

By

Magazine subscription – 3 issues for £3

Cooking time

Prep: 2 hrs Cook: 1 hr

Skill level

For the keen cook

Servings

Cuts into 18 slices

A stunning celebration cake of six or seven colourful layers and cream cheese frosting - an impressive showstopper.

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freeze un-iced sponges only
Nutrition info

Nutrition per slice

kcalories
601
protein
11g
carbs
73g
fat
29g
saturates
18g
fibre
2g
sugar
47g
salt
0.6g
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.

Ingredients

You'll need 3 x these ingredients for six sponges

  • 125g butter, softened, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 225g plain flour
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs (very important to use the correct size)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • edible food colouring - red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, plus optional pink (see below)

For the icing

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 x 250g tubs cream cheese or mascarpone
  • 350g icing sugar

Compare prices

Want to see what this recipe costs at different supermarkets? Compare in one place here:

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Tip all the sponge ingredients, apart from the food colouring, into a mixing bowl, then beat with an electric whisk until smooth.
  2. Working quickly, weigh the mixture into another bowl to work out the total weight, then weigh exactly half the mixture back into the mixing bowl. Pick 2 of your colours and stir a little into each mix. Keep going until you are happy with the colour – the colour of the batter now will be very similar to the finished cake, so be brave! Scrape the different batters into the tins, trying to spread and smooth as much as possible – but try not to waste a drop of the batter – a rubber spatula will help you. Bake on the same oven shelf for 12 mins until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.
  3. Gently turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool. Wash the tins and bowls thoroughly, and start again from step 1 – this time using another 2 colours. Unless you’re making the optional pink layer, repeat one more time to get 6 sponges, all of different colours. Leave them all to cool.
  4. To make the icing, very briefly beat the vanilla and cream cheese or mascarpone with an electric whisk until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and gently fold in with a spatula. Be careful – the more you work it, the runnier it will get, increasing the chance of splitting.
  5. Smear a little icing on your cake stand or plate – just a splodge to stick the first sponge. Start with the red, then spread with some icing right to the very edge. Repeat, sandwiching on top the orange, yellow, green, blue and finally purple sponges. Spread the remaining icing thickly all over the sides and top of the cake. For more tips and expert advice on how to create the perfect rainbow cake, check out our tips, below.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, April 2013

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.

Comments

Show comments
jc1000's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Showstopper of a cake!!!! Made this for daughters 18th birthday buffet for family & friends and it was a great success. Having read the previous comments I was a bit nervous - I'm not very good with cakes usually. Followed cake recipe exactly and although it's a bit time consuming it's very straightforward. I used Wilton colouring gels from Lakeland and the colours were fabulous with no taste to them. Made the cakes the day before, wrapped them in clingfilm & stored in tins over night before assembling just before the party. I used mascarpone for the icing - absolutely delicious but could have done with a bit more. Also used full fat as have been advised that the low fat is more likely to split & get runny. The one thing I would suggest is that you ice the cake in 2 goes - by the time I had assembled it and covered the top, the icing was very soft for doing the sides. Could have done with re-chilling but I was running out of time. However, no-one but me seemed to notice the inexpert icing! The cake is denser than a victoria sponge - but it wasn't heavy or dry & the balance with the sweet creamy icing was perfect. Would have been a 5 with more icing! Don't be put off by bad reviews - this cake is a real winner!

ljarmstrong14's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I made this cake for my daughters 1st birthday party, & was absolutely thrilled with the results. It looked so impressive, and tasted lovely too. I only did 6 layers, but it still resulted I a tall cake! I used the Sugarflair gel colours which give wonderfully vibrant colours, but without needing to use too much of it. I will definitely make this cake again

Susiebluetoo's picture

My son made this without help, when I saw the plain flour out I thought he had made a mistake but no that's what the recipient says.... Self raising would make more sense . Then the timer went off ...said to bake for 12 mins ?? Not long enough,20 mins more like !
Made a very dense cake , not light and fluffy like a sponge should be .
Would be better off coloring a Victoria sandwich recipe or ANY other recipie but this one to make a better cake .

suzannerooke's picture

I made this a couple of years ago, found it relatively easy, looked beautiful, but like many other reviews it tasted disgusting! My daughter is desperate for me to make it again, I used the Dr Oetker colouring gels last time, an am wondering if all of the bad reviews were because of this, and the Wilton colouring pastes don't cause the bad taste?!

jimbobroberts's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Cakes worked well - colouring wasn't exactly as I was hoping, use more than you expect.
Icing was an epic fail - I had two attempts, both of which failed and turned runny, despite being very careful when mixing it. Find an alternative! (Note every other cream cheese frosting recipe has butter in it).

Ee1's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Not as difficult to make as I expected... I don't think the amounts for the icing were sufficient and I can still see the colours if the sponges through the the icing a wee bit - I'm going to add multi-coloured sprinkles to it, though, to hide it (don't have time to go to the shops to get more cream cheese!!).

LabradorGirl's picture

I wanted to reassure anyone who is thinking of making this cake but is put off by the reviews. I made it for a 30th birthday party and I was overjoyed at the result. I am by no means an expert, in fact I only started baking six months ago, so it's not particular expertise that made this work. The sponge is denser than cupcake/Victoria sponge, but was still moist and tasted good - and all the cakes were flat when they came out of the oven. This is what I did, in case it helps anyone:

* when I made the sponges, rather than throw it all in together I creamed the butter and sugar then added eggs one at a time, followed each time by a bit of the flour and scraping down the bowl after each addition.

* I used Wilton Icing Paste colours from Lakeland. They are just as excellent in sponge as they are in icing, you need only the tiniest amount to make beautiful colours - I probably used no more than a quarter of a teaspoon of colour in each sponge, if that. Dip a knife into the colour, then into the batter. It will surprise you how vibrant the colours are.

* I baked each sponge layer for 10 mins - they were done by then, 12 mins would have been too long in my oven despite using the temp suggested and not having a fan. I think those that have ended up with rubbery sponge may have overcooked by accident.

* rather than cream cheese icing (which I love but is hard to transport and this cake had to survive a car journey!) I used the chocolate buttercream recipe from Nigella's chocolate fudge cake recipe - it's my favourite - it has real dark chocolate in rather than cocoa powder :-) it went really well with the cake and stuck the layers together nicely.

It was such a lovely feeling hearing everyone say "oooooooooh" when the cake was cut, and I got so many compliments. Don't worry - make this cake and trust the recipe!

LabradorGirl's picture

I wanted to reassure anyone who is thinking of making this cake but is put off by the reviews. I made it for a 30th birthday party and I was overjoyed at the result. I am by no means an expert, in fact I only started baking six months ago, so it's not particular expertise that made this work. The sponge is denser than cupcake/Victoria sponge, but was still moist and tasted good - and all the cakes were flat when they came out of the oven. This is what I did, in case it helps anyone:

* when I made the sponges, rather than throw it all in together I creamed the butter and sugar then added eggs one at a time, followed each time by a bit of the flour and scraping down the bowl after each addition.

* I used Wilton Icing Paste colours from Lakeland. They are just as excellent in sponge as they are in icing, you need only the tiniest amount to make beautiful colours - I probably used no more than a quarter of a teaspoon of colour in each sponge, if that. Dip a knife into the colour, then into the batter. It will surprise you how vibrant the colours are.

* I baked each sponge layer for 10 mins - they were done by then, 12 mins would have been too long in my oven despite using the temp suggested and not having a fan. I think those that have ended up with rubbery sponge may have overcooked by accident.

* rather than cream cheese icing (which I love but is hard to transport and this cake had to survive a car journey!) I used the chocolate buttercream recipe from Nigella's chocolate fudge cake recipe - it's my favourite - it has real dark chocolate in rather than cocoa powder :-) it went really well with the cake and stuck the layers together nicely.

It was such a lovely feeling hearing everyone say "oooooooooh" when the cake was cut, and I got so many compliments. Don't worry - make this cake and trust the recipe!

Sweet Sticky Rainbows's picture

Talk about your voluptuous rainbows!
My wife's birthday is coming up. This would make one heck of an ambitious venture she won't soon forget. I will have to leave out the frosting since she does not care for that.

nemlahand's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I made this cake with the extra layer and it turned out great. I used mascarpone and made it very decadent. I would advise thin slices when serving. I will also invest in better colours Dr Oetker gels weren't enough.

Laurathecook's picture

I am 13 and made this cake i added the extra layer and my cake turned out brilliant! I had no help and i cant believe how well this turned out.

Comablackmm's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I made this cake for my daughters first birthday party and I was thrilled with the result, as were the guests.

Firstly, I did a trial run to see if I'd need to make any alterations to the recipe before making the real deal. I did a four layer version (two batches of batter) using Dr.O gel food colourings. These were not suitable for a vibrant cake! I used the entire tube, plus adding some liquid food colouring and it was just not sufficient. After this trial run, I purchased a set of Wilton food colourings and these turned out perfectly.

The cake is moist, and though a heavier and more dense sponge than a classic Victoria, it was delicious all the same. I was glad I used the cream cheese frosting instead of a buttercream as I think it'd have made it too sweet, but the cream cheese balanced it wonderfully.

From my personal experience with using this recipe, I would suggest allowing more time than 3 hours for baking this particular cake. It takes time to weigh everything out, achieve the correct colour, wash everything up and to allow cooling time.

Also, once I had baked each of the cakes, I leveled them out all to the same height, wrapped them in clingfilm and froze them. I found it much easier to ice them this way. The night before my daughters party, I unwrapped them all and iced them before putting the cake in the fridge. Then, I took the cake out of the fridge to finish defrosting before putting candles on it and slicing it at around 3pm.

Extremely pleased with this recipe, will use again!

owlsandantlers's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tastes okay but the colours got completely messed up. Will find gels next time as I used bottles.. purple turned grey, green turned yellow and red turned brown. Looks like a cake from a faded photograph!

delmorse's picture

Why does the recipe description state that it's a cake with buttercream when the icing is made up with cream cheese?

Mimilittlebaker's picture

Great recipe! I enjoy baking but I admit I am not the best. I was little put off by all the negative comments but I had a go. Looked and tasted great. I have three tips.
+make the icing first and put it in the fridge.
+to add flavour I added lemon zest which was really successful.
+small slices!!!it is very filling but delicious. SMALL SLICES

calderem's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Firstly - what colours did I use? I used Wilton colour pastes - about 1/4 of a jar for each layer - which made for a really vibrant colour without any bitter taste.

The cake mixture was great I thought. It is quite dense - nothing like a Victoria sponge - but if you smooth it well when you put the batter in the tin, then you will get a fairly flat cooked cake. It does not dome in the middle as it rises in the oven. The denseness of the cake also means that it lasts well and does not go stale quickly.

The place where I really came a cropper was the icing and if I did it again then I would use a butter cream. I would say that you have to put the mixed icing in the fridge for at least 3 hours before you have the remotest change of getting a 'thick' layer over the side of the cake. Also with the cream cheese icing you do need then to keep the cake cool - which as it is s big necessitated removing a shelf from my fridge to fit it in!

On the whole a great success though.

flowerycook's picture

After reading the comments I sought out Sugar Flair gels at a local craft shop as I could only find Dr Oetker colours at the supermarkets. Other than that, and using normal buttercream icing instead of the mascarpone one I followed the recipe to the letter. It took a good few hours but was not in anyway complicated, the finished cake looked and tasted amazing.

Michellersmith's picture

This was a fairly straight forward recipe although I did add more sugar than suggested and had to cook for a lot longer ( but I think this was due to not have a fan assisted oven) I used the colour pastes that were suggested on the tips page they worked a dream - I got vibrant colours with altering the taste! Thanks for the recipe and the tips!

louiseholistic's picture

I was disappointed with this, especially after the amount of time spent making it. The cakes took much longer than 15 minutes to bake, the whole thing was very heavy and dense and the colourings (I used Dr Oetker) gave it a very strange taste. Although the colours themselves were muted, the cake looked really impressive when we cut into it, it's such a shame the taste doesn't deliver.

Pages

Questions

Tips

Ads by Google