Rainbow Cake Deconstructed

by Cate on June 18, 2009

Naked Cake

Whoa!  My e-mail box overfloweth more than usual … all about the rainbow cake!  I love that one too.  Every time I look at it, it just puts a big smile on my face.  How could it not with those bright, vibrant happy colors?  So to answer the questions in one big swoop, here are a few notes:

* The cake recipe?  Two boxes of white cake mix.  Total cheat city.  But you know what?  That’s ok.  With this type of cake, where there are other details and things to take care of, I think it’s perfectly fine to cheat.  I happened to use Pillsbury (with pudding in the mix), but am sure any would do, as would a cake from scratch, of course.

* Follow the directions on the cake mix, mixing the two boxes and associated ingredients together in one big bowl. Divide the batter amongst six bowls so you can color the batter.

* Now for the color.  For these vibrant colors, you can’t use regular food coloring because it produces more pale colors.  You need icing color, which is much more concentrated (Wilton makes some, for example).  You need lots less and it goes far.  You can find it in cake decorating aisles of stores like Michael’s and AC Moore (usually sold in a small box of 8-10 small containers of different colors).  You really need just a speck or two of the color in each bowl.  Add more as desired to get the shade you want.

*  Put the batter into six round cake pans that have been lightly greased.  It worked out to roughly 1-1/4 cup of batter in each pan.

A Peek Inside

*  Bake at the oven temperature specified for your particular mix, but because the layers are a bit smaller, the time in the oven needs to be adjusted.  Start checking the cake at about 12 minutes.  Mine were done at around 14 minutes.

* While the cakes are cooling, make your frosting.  When the cakes are cooled, cut off a thin bit of cake from each top so your layers are very flat.  Since they tend to dome a smidge when baking, if you don’t level it a bit, the cake will topple over in no time flat since we’re building it so high.

*  For the frosting, I used buttercream, my favorite.  I spread a thin layer of frosting in between each cake layer, and then all over the tops and sides.


P.S.  You can find the original Rainbow Cake post here, along with more pictures.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire June 18, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Yay…I am totally going to make this sometime! SUPER cute!

Claires last blog post..Summer Muffins


Starnesfam June 19, 2009 at 12:45 am

I saw this on the Whatever blog. Such a cute cake! Have had a couple of friends make it and they say the food coloring makes all the difference. Need to try it!

Starnesfams last blog post..This Week


MariaV June 19, 2009 at 5:26 am

I’m going to make this as soon as I get the coloring.

I may also try a red, white, and blue cake for July 4th.


Joanne June 19, 2009 at 8:42 am

I continue to be amazed by this cake. Each picture is so pleasing to my eyes.

Joannes last blog post..Regional Recipes – Korea


Ramona June 19, 2009 at 9:49 am

Thanks for breaking it down for us.


Ramonas last blog post..The most expensive plant


Debbie June 19, 2009 at 9:56 am

That is a great looking cake! My youngest son would love that! Now if only rainbow cookies were this easy to make!

Debbies last blog post..My One Year Blogging Anniversary and Birthday!!


Sarah Caron June 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Oooooh! You told me it was easy … but that REALLY is easy. I think I might have to make that. Perhaps for Will’s birthday this year … I think he would be delighted.

Sarah Carons last blog post..Fertile Fridays: Gardening is So Fulfilling


patsyk June 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I really want to make this… just need a good excuse now!


Janet June 21, 2009 at 2:00 am

This just totally makes me smile- I LOVE it!!


pamela June 21, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Love this cake!! It’s adorable. I am definitely searching for a reason to make it now, since I know the kids would absolutely LOVE it!


Cate June 22, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Pamela – someone suggested on the first post that it would make a great fourth of july cake, and I’m thinking that’s the perfect reason!

Janet – me too!

Patsy – 4th of July! :)

Sarah – no excuses now!

Ramona – no problem. :)

Debbie – totally! I have seen a few other versions where they did it all in one layer, adding one color after the other, and it comes out looking like a tie-dyed cake, another fun version.

Starnesfam – yes, I’ve seen it in a bunch of places – there, another version that is WW-friendly and made with soda, a few tie-dyed versions… seems to be popping up all over the place lately.

Claire – hope you make it!


Heather July 6, 2009 at 12:31 am

OMG…that is the coolest cake EVER! This may just be the inspiration I need to make my kids a birthday cake. Love it! What a great idea!


arre July 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm

i love this cake! i saw it elsewhere a few months back (maybe on isuwannee?) but am sure it orginated with you since all of your post are drool-worthy! xx


Meg July 28, 2009 at 9:24 am

I’m completely in love with this cake, too! I’m not entirely sure if my own baking skills could be up to snuff to make it, but for the moment I’ll keep admiring your lovely photos :)


Maria October 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Oh my! Now I want to have a baby girl to make her a Rainbow Brite cake! It looks absolutely yummy!!!


Jujichan November 2, 2009 at 2:27 am

this is a cute idea xD I will be doing this for my upcoming 20th birthday party since the theme is all about colors, techno music and cute things!


Jessi September 22, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Love this idea! I made this for my nieces 6th birthday last weekend and it was a hit. I love everything rainbows and colorful so I did light blue frosting and a rainbow on the top. I wanted to say thank you for sharing because this idea really “takes the cake” Thank you!


Christa aka the BabbyMama February 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Trying this today for my daughter’s second birthday party – it’s rainbow themed! The layers are cooling, and the whole thing will be assembled tomorrow :)


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