Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Over the Rainbow...

We'd been invited to visit my brother and his family near London at the weekend and with my niece having just had her 13th birthday, I decided to bake her a cake: a rainbow cake.

Rainbow Layer Cake...

Now, I don't know about you but I have a bit of a soft spot for rainbows and was eager to make one of these cakes.  I've seen pictures on the internet but had never eaten or tried making one until now.  Yes, it was a little time consuming but difficult it really wasn't.  The whole cake simply consists of several layers of sponge cake, sandwiched together with icing (or butter cream or jam).  I didn't really follow one particular recipe - more a mixture of different ones but the cake came out well and was very tasty.  And my niece loved it which was the main thing!

For a special occasion, this really is a lovely surprise cake and well worth the effort! And the great thing is that you can make the layers in advance when you have time and just stick them in the freezer until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Rainbow Layer Cake
(made using 8'' round sandwich tins)

Ingredients for the cake:
350g flour
2 - 3 tsp baking powder
350g soft soft butter
350g caster or light brown caster sugar
6 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 x food colouring (I used Dr Oetker colours but I believe there are others available online that give stronger/ more vibrant results)
Optional: up to 40ml milk

Ingredients for the icing:
50g butter, soft
150g cream cheese, at room temperature
400g icing sugar, sifted

To sandwich the cake together: some jam (I used blackberry which worked well with the icing)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until combined; then add the eggs one at a time and slowly add the flour and baking powder; mix well and add the vanilla extract.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, add a little milk.
  4. Now divide the mixture into 6 bowls and in each bowl add some food colouring, stirring well to distribute the colour evenly.
  5. Prepare the individual sandwich tins by lining them, then add the batter - I have three sandwich tins, so I had to bake the six sponges in two stages.
  6. Bake for ca. 20 minutes - be careful that they don't go too brown - and remove from the oven as soon as a skewer comes out clean when stuck into the middle of the sponge.
  7. Leave to cool.  Once cooled, you can either freeze the layers for later use or finish making your cake straightaway.
  8. Make sure the layers are level - if not, use a bread knife to even out the surface (why not freeze any leftover bits and make a colourful trifle on another day?).
  9. Mix the butter, cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl.
  10. Sandwich together the different layers with a thin layer of icing and - if you like - some jam (that's what I did and it was lovely).
  11. When you have stacked up all the layers, apply a rough coat of icing and put the cake in the fridge for half an hour for the icing to set a bit.  This will help prevent lots of crumbs coming off the cake when you put on the final layer of icing.
  12. Apply the rest of the icing all over the cake and decorate the cake e.g. with colourful sprinkles or shapes cut out of coloured roll-out icing (I used a pastry cutter to cut out stars).


  1. What a wonderful cake, stunningly lovely on the outside and then when you cut into it - WOW!!

    Love it.

    Sue xx

    1. Thank you Sue! I was so nervous before we cut into it & had all my fingers crossed that it had come out ok! Kirsten x

  2. I think next time I will try using natural colours to make this cake just to see how it comes out (and to avoid a few E numbers). I reckon the good old beetroot, black- or blueberries, saffron, etc should make lovely colouring for the layers. I'll keep you all posted and also look forward to hearing from you if you have used fruit & veg colours in baking before. Thank you! Kirsten x

  3. My youngest daughter has made this before. It is very time consuming but very pretty in the end. She has also made cupcakes with the same principle except she just layers the batter right in the cupcake liner. It seems to take a lot of food coloring though to get the colors she likes. She is known among her friends and family for loving all things tie dyed and has made so many tie die items. I think that is what inspired the cupcakes actually but she likes colorful things like this. She would highly approve of your cake.I love the look of the star decorations too. Well done. I wouldn't mind havinga slice of that about now. ;)

    1. Oh, that's a lovely idea your daughter had, making the layered cupcakes - I bet they looked very pretty & tasted lovely!
      Wish I could send over a slice of cake - we left the rest for my nieces and their friends to finish off. Maybe next time :-) Kirsten x

  4. Wow what a gorgeous cake. A colourful surprise in every piece. Well done.

  5. Wow, what an amazing cake, this looks absolutely delicious. Your niece is very lucky to have such a talented baker in the family.

    1. Thank you! I was very happy with the way it turned out but was very nervous before we cut into it :-) It really wasn't hard to make which surprised me - it just took a bit of time because of having to bake the different layers and they didn't all fit into my oven at the same time (I also didn't have enough tins). Definitely worth a try though! Kirsten x