Recipe for Rainbow layer cake

Posted By on Apr 6, 2011 | 60 comments


It's Wednesday again, and I've agreed with exuberance to the request from Cake Appreciation Society to bake a Rainbow layer cake.  I saw one of these cakes a few months ago and fell in love with the beautiful rainbow of colours...I knew this was a cake I was going to bake!  I finally got the nudge to try it!

 

Rainbow Layer cake recipe

Rainbow Layer cake recipe

 

I researched a variety of sites, to see what other baker's takes on this recipe for rainbow layer cakes were.  I've seen coloured packet cake, regular butter cake, and sponge cake recipes used to create this fantastic looking cake.  But I wanted to offer you something a little different.  I also knew that from experience you don't always get pure colours from buttercake mix due to the egg yolk being yellow which adds a slight yellowish tinge to the food colouring you'll add.  So I scoured through my recipes and found one for White cake...a recipe I've had written down for years but never got around to baking (I'm sure you have those! 😉 )  There is no egg yolk, just egg whites, and it's really simple to make.

So, I know you really want to know if this cake tastes as fantastic as it looks.....YES! YES! YES!  The buttercream I've used on this cake is THE MOST DELICIOUS light, fluffy frosting I've ever made!!!   I am in LOVE with this cake :)    The white meringue based buttercream in contrast to the bright rainbows colours work best for this recipe.   If you don't want to use the buttercream recipe I've provided here, you could use the marshmallow frosting from the Whoopie Pie recipeI posted last week, or just a regular buttercream or even a  cream cheese frosting.

 

Recipe for rainbow layer cake (and White cake)

250g unsalted butter

2   1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond essence (you could also use lemon)

8 egg whites

2 1/2 cups milk

4  1/2 cups plain cake flour (don't use self raising flour for this recipe)

2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1) Grease a spring form 18cm round tin and line with baking paper.  Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C.

2) In a bowl stir together milk, egg whites and flavouring.

3) In another bowl, sift together flour and baking powder and salt.

4) In an electric mixer with bowl and paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add flour, the while the mixer is running, add liquid mix, once combined, turn speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes.

5) Pour mixture evenly into 6 bowls.  Add a 1/4 teaspoon or less of the colours I use Wilton's food gel colours of red, leaf green, orange, yellow, blue and I mixed rose pink and blue to make purple; into the corresponding bowls, so that you have 6 separate colours.  You get the most pure colour with these food colourings.

6) If you have two tins lined and ready to go, it will speed up the baking time.  So you will bake each colour seperately.  Pour in the mixture of one colour into the pan, flatten it out and bake for around 15-20 mins or until set, and a skewer comes out clean.  Remove cake from oven , and pan and cool, then add next coloured batter and repeat process.  Bake at 180C.

7) Allow all layers to cool completely before frosting.

Rainbow cake Recipe

Rainbow cake Recipe

 

BEST BUTTERCREAM EVER! :)  Recipe for meringue based buttercream

I've adapted this recipe from authorSilvia Weinstock  her cakes are beautiful! (Weinstock and Manchester, Sweet Celebrations The Art of Decorating Beautiful cakes, Published by Simon and Schuster).

The original recipe makes for 12 cups of icing or frosting, but I've halved it.  Apparently you can freeze left over amounts of buttercream for up to three months...I'll let you know how this goes.

This recipe will make 5 cups of buttercream, which will be enough to fill and cover the outside of the cake.  You will also have enough to do a crumb coat if you wish.

2 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

6 egg whites

500 g butter at room temperature

3 tablespoons clear vanilla

1) In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Mix with a wooden spoon until dissolved.  Heat on medium watching that the sugar doesn't caramelise or burn.  Brush the top of the water line with a clean pastry brush dipped in water so that the edges don't burn.

2) Simmer until sugar is soft ball stage (using a candy thermometer) if you don't have one, like me! Then after 5 minutes of simmering, carefully fill a tablespoon of HOT liquid from the pan and pour it off the spoon, it should make a continuous ribbon of liquid. Be Careful or get a candy thermometer!!!  It is over cooked if your mixture turns a hint of yellow.

3) As the mixture nears temperature, in a mixter with a whisk attachemtn, whisk the egg whites until theyform soft peaks, do not over beat, about 3-5 minutes.

4) Turn the mixer on high and drizzle in a thin stream of HOT sugar syrup near to the edge of the bowl and into the beaten eggwhite.  Once all of the liquid has been added, leave beaters to beat on medium setting for 25 minutes.  The mixture will resemble a thick meringue.  The outside of the bowl will be moderately warm to touch.

5)  The butter must be at room temperature.  Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add knobs of butter one at a time to the meringue.  The mixture may look like cottage cheese, but the butter will beat in.  If it splits and curdles, your butter was too cold or too hot.  The lumpy bits will smooth out.  It could take up to 10 minutes.  You do not want the beaters on high, as the friction of the beaters will over heat the mixture.

Once the mixture is smooth, add flavouring and beat for another 5 minutes.  Chill Buttercream in clean plastic lidded container.  If the buttercream is too soft, chill then beat again to make it smooth to work with.

This buttercream is really worth the effort :)

layers of rainbow cake

Assemble cake by adding buttercream into between each layer of cake (Cut the top off the cake if it is peaked, you want even layers).  Add buttercream around the outside and leave plain or add sprinkles.

Enjoy, and let me know how this works for you, please ask me any questions here.

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60 Comments

  1. How many egg whites are in the buttercream?? Looking forward too making this on the weekend, thank you very much for sharing :o)

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Sarah! Thanks…I’ve corrected the post :) It’s 6 egg whites. I’ll be posting a recipe next week on a yummy cookie recipe that uses up left over egg yolks, if you don’t have a use for your egg yolks put them in the freezer in a zip lock plastic bag or plastic container until then. Happy Baking, let me know how you go :) If you have any more questions, please ask here or on facebook (click on the “f” heart on the right of the screen).

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  2. how many egg whites are used for the buttercream?x

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Shemika, I’ve fixed the post :) It is 6 egg whites :) Thanks, happy baking, let me know how it goes !

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  3. Thank you so much Ingrid for sharing your delicious rainbow cake with me today! I was having a bad migraine day but the lovely rainbow colour just make me feel happier by just looking at it and it’s just too pretty to eat! The cake looks as if it were design for children’s with those cute rainbow colours, but then it surprised me how delicious the almond cake is, absolutely marvellous!
    I think there’s alot of people feeling jealous of me because I get to eat the cake and am proud to be friend with the real domestic goddess!

    Post a Reply
    • Bea, you know it is always a pleasure to share my creations with someone who truly appreciates them :) Thanks for being a willing taste tester and fantastic friend and support :) xx Ingrid Can’t wait for your chocolate cheesecake (hint hint)

      Post a Reply
    • Ta Ingrid, really yummy, I’m going to use this but make the colours more pastel. Let me know how you go!

      Post a Reply
  4. I love your blog! I just subscribed and put it on my home page. Could you tell me how many tablespoons is 250 grams of unsalted butter? Everything else, I understand the measurements. Thanks for sharing!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Kathleen, 250g is approximately 2 sticks of butter. Have fun with this recipe :)

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  5. I love this cake very neat!’ I was just wondering if you could explain how the Rainbow cakes that are not layered are done? Please =)

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Stacey, thanks for your coments :) To make the rainbow arch effect you need to pour a small circle of say red coolured batter at the bottom of your pan, then ontop of that, pour your next colour so that it creates like a moat around thr red batter and then spread a little ontop of it…make sure not to mix them together or you’ll get marbelling and a dirty colour. Then repeat the layers with the other colours. Another one I have seen is dolloping tablespoonfuls of different coloured batter in say blue and yellow, like a checkerboard effect (but obviously not in squares), then layering another pair of colours ontop of that, say orange and green, then another series on top. Piping stripes and layering circles is another effect. I’ll be doing one of these for an Easter cake in the next two weeks, so pop back and check itout…Happy Baking :)

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  6. This sounds and looks great! Thank you for sharing your recipe Ingrid – I’ll be trying it out sometime soon. Any willing tasters my way??! :)

    Post a Reply
    • The meringue butter cream is to die for…I’m using this buttercream again but jazzing it up a bit for a new cake I’m designing…let you know soon when I post the recipe. I like the slight almond flavour in the cake, a lemon cake would be nice too. Let me know how you go Lorien!! Great site by the way, I’ll check out more of your recipes :)

      Post a Reply
  7. i recently made a rainbow cake for my daughters first birthday and everyone loved it! i used a buttercake recipe and found that the only colour the egg yolk effected was the purple which came out a kind of grey colour until it baked, it still came out purple but much paler than the rest of the colours, i also used a cream cheese frosting that tasted amazing and fitted in perfectly, it turned out to be a rather large cake but i had someone even steal the crumbs from me it tasted that good, anyway i wish i had found your recipe for white cake before but it is deffinatly one id love to try!!!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Viv for sharing your cake…I was thinking of doing what you’d done too, but I knew the purple colour goes bit mucky. All these same, I love cheese frostings too, they are too delicious. I wanted to try something different, so I hope you’ll give this recipe a try too, let me know how it works out for you :) If you have a picture of your rainbow cake, share it on the Fan Page wall at facebook :) Thanks for stopping by :)

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  8. Hi, thank you for sharing this lovely recipe, I have tried it and was so pleased with the results. I actually quarted the recipe (was just experimenting – wanted to use my left over egg whites) and left out the almond (had none) and I was very impressed (made mini cakes). I mostly do decorated biscuits and my recipe always has a left over egg white so I am glad to have another use for it.
    Thank you again for your inspirational page.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Michelle, thanks so much for letting me know how your baking went, it’s wonderful to get that feedback :) I’m glad you were inspired to try this recipe. I’ll be baking it again as well, but I might have a go at mini cakes too! :)

      Post a Reply
  9. Hi Ingrid,

    This cake looks divine..I have never commented ever, but it really made me comment. You are super de duper really. If I want to switch to Meringue powder instead of Egg Whites in icing, how much Meringue powder I need to use if following the same recipe as yours. Appreciate your response..thanks so much x

    Post a Reply
    • Hi amber, thanks so much for leaving your comment :) Sorry it has taken me longer than usual to respond. I have not tried to substitute Meringue powder for the egg whites in hte frosting. It is going to be an experiment for you :) Let me know how you go!!! I use meringue powder for Royal icing, but this is a cooked meringue frosting. CHeck this link I goggled for more info http://www.ochef.com/1081.htm it might help. Good luck, please share your finished pic on our fan page :) Thanks again for reading my blog, and leaving your comments…come back again :)

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    • Hi, thanks Rebekah, I loved the way you decorated the cake!!! The kit cats and smarties are a great idea…I’ll definitely try that out with my next kid’s cake….love your site, lots of interesting things. Thanks for visiting!! :)

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  10. Hi,
    This seems like an amazing recipe. Can I make the buttercream like 2 days before its needed? I was planning on making it today to ensure everything worked but i dont need it till Wednesday. Will this be ok? Thank you

    Post a Reply
  11. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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  12. Lovely cake to make. It was so fun watching my husband and son cutting into the cake and seeing their reaction when they saw all of the different layers. I don’t think that they could believe that I had actually baked it myself!

    Post a Reply
    • Belinda, thanks so much for sharing your baking success!! Glad it worked out for you and thanks for letting us know about it! Great work! :) Ingrid

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  13. Ive seen cakes cooked in disposable foil containers like for BBQ/leftovers etc. do you know if it works or not?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Carly, thanks for your question. I have baked buttercakes and self saucing puddings in foil trays, especially the rectangular/oblong ones, once the cakes have cooled (I leave them in the foil tray), I cover them with the cardboard insert that comes with them, date and label it and freeze. I have never tried a sponge. Happy Baking! :) Ingrid

      Post a Reply
  14. Hey Ingrid,

    Thanks for the recipe. I tried doing the rainbow cake but failed miserably with the frosting…sigh :s It was too runny when I first mixed it so I chilled it but then it came out looking like scrambled eggs after…hahaha…ah well, there’s always next time :)

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Puspa…I had that happen to me also, especially for me the day was humid. I find that my quick and easy white chocolate frosting works really well for this cake try this alternative!

      My Secret White chocolate frosting Recipe

      180 g quality white cooking chocolate

      70 g butter

      1 large tablespoon honey (tones down the “white chocolate” taste)

      1/3 cup sour cream

      250g sifted icing sugar

      Melt butter and white chocolate in the microwave on medium heat for 1- 2 minutes, stir to mix together. Add honey and icing sugar, and beat well with a whisk. The mixture should have cooled enough to add the sour cream. Keep beating until thickish in texture.

      Post a Reply
  15. HI,
    You mention the candy thermometer but dont mention what temps should be?
    Any help on this one?
    Thanks
    I am dying to start making this gorgeous cake

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jennie…sorry I couldn’t get back to you earlier!!! The temperature on the thermometer is anywhere from 120C to 140C….Martha Stewart uses 140C…Check this link which has a comprehensive explanation for this http://sweetapolita.com/2011/04/swiss-meringue-buttercream-demystified/

      Personally, I use the “touch” method of rubbing the liquid between my fingers until the grains of sugar are dissolved and I can see the strands of sticky sugar. For other people’s safety, use a thermometer :)

      Happy Baking!

      Post a Reply
  16. It’s awesome..my family loves it:-)thnks Ingrid for sharing the recipes:-)

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks…it’s a family favourite here too! Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for your comments :)

      Post a Reply
  17. Hi there,
    I have my Son’s 1st Birthday coming up and like most of the Mum’s and cake makers on here I always like to surprise people with something different! I am a beginner and never really made anything like this before but I have fell in love with your rainbow sponge cake and need it for Jesse’s Birthday!

    I recently made a big batch off cupcakes for Jesse’s Christening, they went down a treat and I had lots of compliments so I am hoping I may be able to replicate your amazing, colourful masterpeice! Do you think this is possible or am I being too ambitious for a first time Birthday cake?

    What tins would you recommend for this recipe, I am not familiar with popular tins or sizes etc, aslo what colourant is best for the sponge?

    Look forward to your advice
    Rebecca

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Rebecca, sorry I took so long to get back to you, I’m in Russia exhibiting artwork and sharing masterclasses. So I hope I can help you ASAP! This cake will take a long time to make because each layer must be baked separately. Use wilton’s gel food colours for the best results. I would use the cake tin in the recipe, it is a high cake, so it will feed a lot of people. As you are new to baking, I would use the white chocolate frosting recipe- it’s easy and really delicious…check out this link for my 3 top tips for baking rainbow layer cake http://ingridcreates.com/3-top-tips-for-baking-rainbow-cake/

      Happy baking! Hope this helps :)

      Post a Reply
  18. Hey ingrid.
    I wondered if you minded if I copied this to my cookbook?
    Tell me yes or no

    Lili

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Lili, you can use this recipe, as long as you provide full credit to me and my site :) I’d love to see a copy of the recipe used! Thanks :)

      Post a Reply
  19. I don’t have much time but I really want to make this cake!! I was thinking of using packet vanilla mixture? how many should would I need?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jen, thanks for visiting. Packet cake would work well too- it just depends on the product as to how much cake batter it will yield. I’ve never made packet cake, so I can’t help you with amounts. However the overall volume of cake will determine the size of your pan..the more layers the higher the cake, and therefore more servings! My cake recipe makes 12 cups of batter (which is about 250mL per cup). Here are some more tips about baking rainbow layer cake http://ingridcreates.com/3-top-tips-for-baking-rainbow-cake/ Honestly it is the colouring and baking of the rainbow layers which takes up the most time :) Happy Baking

      Post a Reply
  20. Hi Ingrid I am looking at making this cake tomorrow as I have the day off from work and was wondering if its possible to use foil containers like for making pies and things, just baking each layer in a different container, as this would mean I could bake more than one layer at a time, and also my only cake tin is a bit old and not working to its full potential. Also is there a simpler version of the buttercream icing? I don’t want to push my skills too far, but still want buttercream not the white chocolate icing.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Steph, sorry for getting back to you so late, my browser was sending me a black screen for days :( How did you go with the foil tins? I’ve never tried this recipe that way. But I have baked apple crumble cakes in them, and they turned out fine. This buttercream icing is not simple, that’s why I offer the white chocolate alternative :)

      Post a Reply
      • Hi Ingrid,
        I ended up not risking it turning out bad and just brought a couple of cheap non stick cake tins from the supermarket. This cake was definitely a challenge, but a very enjoyable one, and the end result looked and tasted amazing. My family was super impressed! I also ended up finding a simpler buttercream recipe and added strawberry flavoring to it and colored it slightly pink, which tasted so good! My family is begging me to make the cake again!

        Post a Reply
        • Fantastic…thanks for letting me know how it went! I love this cake too! Happy Baking

          Post a Reply
  21. Hey, I was wondering if you could suggest an alternative for the egg. I don’t eat eggs. :\

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Asher, I haven’t experimented with alternatives to egg, but if you do try it, please let me know :)

      Post a Reply
  22. Hey, Ingrid.
    Would it be fine if I substitute eggs with Gelatin or Agar Agar? Or curd maybe?

    P.S: It looks heavenly! :)

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Asher, I did get back to you…sorry! But like I said, I’ve not baked eggless recipes. And yes, it is a heavenly cake! :) sorry I can’t help you much with that.

      Post a Reply
  23. Oh, okay. Thank you anyway.
    I’ll try it and let you know. But, I’m just a beginner really. :)

    Post a Reply
  24. Just wondering, is the sugar for the cake caster sugar? Thanks :) Looks amazing

    Post a Reply
  25. hi Ingrid,
    thank you for sharing. for the secret white chocolate frosting, for how many days can it be left at room temperature. will white chocolate ganache be too heavy for this sponge.

    Post a Reply
    • I’d only leave it out for one day in room temperature, as there is sour cream in it, and the butter will separate if it gets too warm. White chocolate ganache shouldn’t be too heavy, just make sure it’s not too thick. I have used ganache on my sponge cake before with good results. Happy Baking!

      Post a Reply
  26. i’m making a rainbow cake for my daughter’s 13th birthday and i’m planning to make the cake ahead as it will be covered with rolled fondant.

    Post a Reply
    • yes, this will be fine, if it is this cake which you want to leave out, the white chocolate frosting will last in general for quite a few days refridgerated, but not at room temperature. I’d recommend that you keep it cooled in the fridge as much as you can while working on it. If you live in a warm climate, don’t add sour cream to the recipe, and just use water. I know the flavour won’t be as creamy, but if you are working in warm weather, this won’t go off.

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