Rainbow cake

Rainbow cake

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(55 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

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

Buy Ingredients

Buy the ingredients for this recipe now via:

Want to know how this works? Read all about it here.

Method

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Comments, questions and tips

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

Comments

Show comments
rachelcarter777's picture

This cake does not deserve any stars. It was very expensive to make and took a lot of time. It was supposed to be a show stopper for my daughters 1st birthday. But it was embarrassing to serve and tasted like playdoh. I should have stuck to a basic sponge.

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

It would be good to see a response from Good Food magazine to so many negative comments. We can't all be wrong and an explanation and preferably a revised recipe would be a courtesy to loyal followers.

janice05's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I so wish I had read the reviews before I made the rainbow cake for Easter. I have not been disappointed with any other recipe I have tried from Good Food, but this cake was a complete disaster. The recipe said the the cake was dense but in fact it was stodgy and we all agreed it had a pudding like texture. We only ate about a quarter of this very expensive cake and the final insult was even the birds
refused to eat any.

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

I adapted this recipe, which looked stunning in the magazine. I used a Victoria sandwich recipe, which I use a lot and only did 4 layers as I didn't want a huge cake. I made it for an Easter get together and was really pleased when I cut into it as it looked fantastic. As others have commented you do need a lot of food colouring. I followed this recipe for the icing which I enjoyed, although not everyone did. I might use ordinary buttercream next time. It was good fun to put together.

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

I was really disappointed with this recipe, I'd been looking forward to it since the magazine came out so hadn't read the other reviews. The only positive was the Wilton food colouring I used was great. The cakes couldnt be described as sponge cakes they were so dense (although amazingly coloured) and there was no flavour to them. The cream cheese icing, like others, was too runny even with minimal mixing but I think that was because the recommended cream cheese is low fat.

sarahdrew8's picture

Made this for my daughter's 11th birthday and I'm afraid I have to agree with the majority of comments. The cake looked amazing but tasted awful. The sponges were far too dense and had a very odd taste - will have to throw the whole cake away as I can't serve it to guests later. Very expensive to make too, and, as you can tell, we're all very disappointed! No stars here!

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

Hi I made this cake yesterday and it was a great success. It was v simple and straight forward. Everyone raved about it and will definitely make it again.
The recipe said you could use mascarpone cheese or light cream cheese so I used mascarpone and it was really light and delicious. My 4yr old wants me to make it for her 5th birthday this month. I'd rate this 5 out of 5.
Also I went to cake shop and got food colour pastes much better.

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

Hi I made this cake yesterday and it was a great success. It was v simple and straight forward. Everyone raved about it and will definitely make it again.
The recipe said you could use mascarpone cheese or light cream cheese so I used mascarpone and it was really light and delicious. My 4yr old wants me to make it for her 5th birthday this month. I'd rate this 5 out of 5.
Also I went to cake shop and got food colour pastes much better.

divertel's picture

No stars for this cake. Hugely disappointed. The frosting was too runny and couldn't be used. The sponges tasted of nothing and were too heavy. The whole cake was thrown away. A waste of money. This could not have been tested due to the large amount of negative comments.

susansaunders's picture

No stars from me either, looked great but as previous comments tasted of nothing much and texture very dense.

nikkismith14's picture

No stars for this cake I'm afraid, a complete disappointment and frustrating, as this was the centre piece for Easter day afternoon tea. I have never had this issue with Good Food recipes previously, but this was solid, tasted awful and as some other readers have found, expensive to make. We had to throw it away, which is massively irritating!

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

I agree with the other comments about this cake. It needs a lot of food colouring and the taste and texture of the end result just isn't worth it. Looks impressive but very heavy and quite unpleasant to eat.

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

To the people who have commented on the runny frosting, the recipe seems to be mistaken in recommending using light cream cheese. That is too watery. I use this American style frosting often, and you really need full fat cream cheese for it to be successful.

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

This is an expensive cake to make. It looks very impressive but the cake is quite dense and doesn't taste very good.
The comments above re Dr Oetker food colourings are correct - weak and washed out results.
Also as above the icing can be weak and runny. I had to re-make it using full fat cream cheese rather than low fat.
Overall an impressive looking cake but disappointing tate for the cost involved.

rachael_fletcher's picture

I unfortunately have to agree with the comments above. I used some food colourings my nan had which were AMAZING, but I was very let down by the dr oetker colourings... Used a whole tube of blue and still came out almost more green/turquoise. Made it for Easter and the whole family agreed it was quite heavy and dense. Also had a problem with the icing, left it in the fridge for about 5 hours before putting on the cake and still didn't set. On the whole very aesthetically pleasing, slightly lacking in any taste and would probably try a standard buttercream next time. Definitely a show stopper visually though! :)

supermom01's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

When I saw this recipe,I thought it would be an ideal Easter cake, but I have to say that I wish I hadn'y bothered! The Dr. Oetker food colour gels certainly didn't produce the vibrant colours shown in the Good Food Magazine, the sponges were as flat as a pancake, heavy and dense. That along with the fact that the sponge tasted odd all added upto a regrettable waste of time. Was this recipe actually tested as it is really is not up to the usually excellent standard of recipes that I've come to expect from Good Food.

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

I tried this as an Easter project, and was very disappointed with the icing. The cakes also seemed quite flat, and I don't usually have problems with sponges. The icing, despite very minimal mixing, was far too runny, and slid down the sides. Buttercream may work better. I also agree that the Dr Oketer colours are not brilliant.

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

I used Wilton concentrated colouring paste from Steamer Trading - very expensive but I only had to use a little so they will last ages. Despite a disaster with the icing (really running despite minimal mixing - possibly the cheese I bought?) the cake looked great and won me the best looking cake title in a Comic Relief bake-off. However, I didn't think it tasted amazing - dense and not masses of flavour in the cake itself. So if you want something that tastes delicious, I wouldn't recommend this bake, but for showiness, not much can beat it.

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

I made this for my daughter's birthday and the children loved it. In fact I love it too - the rainbow colours look amazing.

To reply to the previous commenter, I had no problem with the cakes rising, cooking at the temperature in the recipe.

However, can I just say that there is no point trying to make this with Dr Oetker food colouring - it's just not strong enough. I know this because I tried it, and the cakes just looked washed out and tasted odd because I'd used a whole pot of food colouring!

So after a panic and few tears I then went out and bought the expensive stuff which gives the effect you see in the picture above.

So, in conclusion, this is an expensive cake to make (about £18 on food colouring alone) but it does look beautiful, and all the local children will be talking about your amazing baking for days to come!

oo03par's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tried this from the magazine. Unfortunately the temperature of the oven was far too low - cakes didn't rise, and consequently didn't taste very nice.
I've not tried the correct temperature above, as i don't really want to waste another batch of ingredients.
Oh and you'll need a lot of colouring to get vibrant shades, as the colour cooks down lighter in the bake.

Pages

Questions

Tips