Rainbow Cake

“Finally!”, I hear you shout.  This is the cake I made for the crystallised violets.  It was my niece’s 22nd birthday and she had asked for a cake reminiscent of childhood birthday cakes.  This, then, had to be a rainbow cake. Then I added my own childhood memories – a topping of melted Dairy Milk and chocolate rose leaves.  I hope she has similar memories to mine.  She was pleased with the cake and I think it soaked up some of the alcohol consumed that day.

However, because it was destined for my niece I couldn’t slice into it to show you how beautiful a rainbow cake is.  Also, the girls had helped me make this cake and were very excited about the rainbowness of it all, and then disappointed to see that it came out of the oven looking very  much like a normal cake.  So I made one for them the very next day and they decorated it with icing.  The second one rose a lot in the middle.  Mixing the colours into the batter can mean you overmix the cake, losing a lot of the air, and I think this is what happened.  It still tasted good though and both girls have requested rainbow cakes for their next birthday.

This is it destined for the oven, and this is it when cooked.

Every slice is different.

225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain (all purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder
50 ml milk
food colourings of your choice ( we used pink, red, purple and green)


Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180°c, gas mark 4.

Beat the butter until soft and then add the sugar and beat together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.

Sift the flour and the baking powder over the batter and gently fold in.  Add the milk and fold again.  Divide the mixture between four bowls (or however many colours you are using) and using the food colouring make each bowl of mixture a different colour.  Try not to overmix the mixture when adding the colours.

Spoon alternate colours into the tin, trying to make a level top without swirling them together too much.

Place into a preheated oven at 180°c, or the baking oven of the four-oven Aga and bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then take out of the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

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24 thoughts on “Rainbow Cake”

  1. The Birthday Rainbow cake is lovely, especially with the homemade crystallised violets, that do (unlike mine) look like violets. Gorgeous.

    Can I ask what brand of food dye you used? as ever time I have attempted a Rainbow cake, muffins etc. its ended in the bin. Maybe I will have a go again in the future and make it for a nephew or neices party.

    1. Thank you Mangocheeks. The food colours are Supercook and Dr Oetker, from the supermarket. I did have to use a fair amount of them to get the deep colours, but as a rainbow cake is a rare treat I justified it to myself. I hope you have better luck next time.

  2. You have two completely different cakes there. The first is a thing of refined elegance. Hard to believe it was really the same as the second which is fun fun fun. The batter looks rather like an erupting volcano. No wonder your rainbow cake has now become such a favourite. I do like the finish on your first though with your lovely violets and oh such elegant rose leaves. Now how did you do those rose leaves? They look like the sort of thing which would have me humphing in frustration in a very short time.

    1. Thank you Choc, well that second one did go a bit mad. Fortunately the important one behaved itself and turned out nicely level. The second one had more intervention by small hands so not so much care and attention was given to it. I must do a post about the rose leaves, but they are easy. You just brush clean, dry rose leaves with melted chocolate and leave to dry and then peel away the leaf. My mum and I used to do it a lot together when I was young and it brings back happy memories.

  3. Well, I thought you were getting fancy with the marzipan stripe. This is wild.

    Am I allowed a rainbow cake for my next birthday? (I’m significantly older than your daughters but I still want one)

  4. My goodness! You would not imagine the riot of colour under that sedate looking topping. Looks such a lovely idea for a festive occasion.
    (but might freak me out a *bit* if I had drank too much!)

  5. Yay you made rainbow cake! This makes me very happy indeed 🙂 Did you buy or make the chocolate leaves? If you bought them, can you please tell me where you got them from? Thanks!

    1. Thank you PPL. I made the chocolate leaves, they are very easy. Just wash some rose leaves that you know haven’t been sprayed. Dry well, then paint with melted chocolate. Leave to dry and then carefully peel off the leaf. I hope you try it, if I can do it (I have little patience and hate faffing) then anyone can.

  6. kitchenchicksblog

    I make a cake similar to this that has a very citrussy flavor. I can’t wait to try your version!

  7. just baked this in my two oven aga pre heated the aga cake baker put the cake tin in the trivet thing and put it inside the cake baker on the floor of the roasting oven for 47 mins, the aga is a set just over the black line came out perfect looks great can’t wait to eat it. whized it all up in a mixer i thought id over mixed after adding colours but its risen well all over im very pleased as im not used to agas have you tried this with self raising flour and one baking powder? also my children are allergic to milk so ive used pure sunflower spread and coconut milk instead

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