Rainbow zebra cake served on a cake stand with candles

Rainbow zebra cake

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Prep: 50 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 12

Celebrate our 30th birthday with us – or your own special occasion – with this impressive rainbow sponge. Iced with buttercream and topped with coloured sprinkles, it's a cake that has the wow factor

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving (16)

  • kcal620
  • fat36g
  • saturates22g
  • carbs87g
  • sugars49g
  • fibre1g
  • protein6g
  • salt1.1g
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  • 375g salted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 375g golden caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 375g self-raising flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 150ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • blue and pink food colouring (see tip, below)
  • sprinkles, to decorate

For the icing

  • 250g salted butter, softened



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • vanilla pod, seeds scraped out



    The sun-dried seed pod of a type of climbing orchid, vanilla has an inimitable soft, sweet…

  • 100g full-fat cream cheese


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line three 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich cake tins with baking parchment.

  2. To make the sponge, beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or using an electric whisk for 5-8 mins or until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, baking powder and milk to loosen. Divide the mixture between three mixing bowls, weighing for accuracy if you like. Colour one of the batters blue and another pink, starting with a little colouring, then adding more for a deeper finish. Leave one of the bowls of batter uncoloured.

  3. Get the three cake tins and bowls of batter ready in front of you. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of blue batter into the centre of the first tin, then pink in the second, and plain in the third. Working quickly so that it doesn’t spread too much, add another dollop of a different coloured batter on top of each one. Don’t wait for the batter to settle or spread, just keep alternating the colours until you run out. The weight of each layer will cause the batter to spread as you go, so very gently tap and shake the cake tins to even out the mixture, then bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 mins or until firm to the touch. Turn out top-side down onto wire racks straightaway, then leave to cool completely.

  4. For the icing, put the butter, icing sugar and vanilla seeds into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or put in a bowl and use an electric whisk. Beat for 5 mins or until fluffy and aerated. Add the cream cheese and beat briefly until just combined.

  5. Place one of the cakes on a cake stand or serving plate and spread 2 tbsp of the buttercream on top, then repeat with the other sponges. Spread a smooth layer of the icing over the top and sides of the cake, using a large palette knife, leaving some slightly less iced spots for a ‘naked’ finish. Top with sprinkles and candles, if you like. Will keep in an airtight tin for three days.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Fiona Graham's picture
Fiona Graham
3rd Sep, 2019
Recipes like this make me wonder if I should continue buying this magazine! This cake contains almost 800mg of sugar, but it's the colouring of the sponge that really puts me off. There is such a fad now, and this magazine is guilty of it, for making cakes that are several tiers high and coloured quite outrageously. Yuck, yuck, yuck!! I have been thinking for a while that there is a lack of more mature members of staff in the production team and maybe that is why there are so many 'fad' cakes and recipes. Sorry for the rant, but I miss the likes of Mary Cadogan and Angela Nilsen - people that I think I could actually learn from. I find myself looking through back issues more for inspiration than what I see in the magazine now.
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