Rainbow Cake Recipe

filed under: Miscellaneous on October 28, 2009


  • 2 box(es) White Cake Mix
  • 4 drops Food Coloring (Use As Much As Needed To Attain Desired Color


  • 4 packages Cream Cheese (8 Oz. Package)
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 5 cups To 6 Cups Powder Sugar (confectioners Sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla

I use Ateco food coloring, which can be found at www.atecousa.net

For the cake, make one box cake mix according to the directions on
the box. Separate batter into 3 bowls with roughly about 1 cup of cake
mix per bowl. Add desired food coloring to each bowl (purple, blue,

Bake cakes in round pans according to box instructions, but make
sure you check the cake about 10 minutes before it’s supposed to be
done. With less mix in each pan, they can cook faster.

Repeat for the remaining colors (red, orange, yellow). You will now have six layers of different colors.

For the frosting, mix together softened (room temperature) butter
and softened (room temperature) cream cheese until well combined. Add
vanilla. Combine. Slowly add in powder sugar.

(After the 5th cup of powdered sugar, taste the frosting and see if
you would like it sweeter. I tend to use the full 6 cups, but some
prefer the frosting less sweet.)

Cake assembly:

I try to first level each layer of cake with a large bread knife.
For the rainbow cake especially, if all the layers are level, then they
will evenly display when you cut into it.

Start with the PURPLE layer first. Put the purple layer on your cake
stand or plate. Add enough frosting to cover the layer and some to
spill over the edges, anywhere from 1/2 to one cup of frosting. Run the
flat, straight side of a knife around the cake to smooth out the edges.

Add the BLUE layer of the cake. Put frosting in the middle, start
spreading out frosting with the flat, straight side of a knife so that
it covers the cake and falls out over the edges. Then run your knife
around the outside edge of the cake to smooth out the sides.

Put the cake into the fridge for at least 2 hours or freeze for 1 hour.

Repeat with GREEN layer, then YELLOW layer.

Put cake into fridge for at least 2 hours or freeze for 1 hour.

Repeat with ORANGE layer, then RED layer.

Cover cake with frosting and run the flat, straight edge of a knife around the edges of the cake to smooth out the frosting.

(It was important for me to freeze the cake between layers for a
couple reasons. The cake can get really heavy by the time you are
adding the 4th, 5th, and 6th layers, but if it is somewhat frozen at
this point, it will not get schmooshed or crushed. Also, it is much
easier to frost the cake when it is solid, or not wobbling all over.)

Once you have finished frosting the cake, add any decorative touches or words that fit your occasion! Good luck!

(I set the skill level as difficult, but ONLY because of the time
involved. Truly, anyone can do this, and do it well! It just takes a
little patience. The end result is SOOO worth it!

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  • Wendy says:

    Thanks for kind comments on my blog. I was just visiting your blog to get links for the Rainbow cake recipe. I will probably post about making your cake this coming Monday. I love ALL your beautiful creations.

  • ashley h says:

    Thankyou Im so happy you shared this recipe. what could be more fun for kids than a rainbow cake

  • Meg says:

    I have heard using gel food coloring produces a super bright color without any bitterness the liquid coloring might add (especially the red!) have you tried any gels? Have you noticed any taste difference?

  • Sarah in SC says:

    Oooh! I am so excited to try this pretty cake! Thanks for sharing!

  • Erica says:

    Hello, and thank you so much for this great cake! I’m hoping you can give me some direction though. I tried making this cake tonight (as a practice for when I make it for my daughter’s 1st birthday in a month). My frosting didn’t seem quite right. It was not pure white (had a yellow tinge), and seemed really sticky. Any ideas?
    Thanks again!

  • Jo says:

    I made one!!!! I needed a conversation starter dessert for our neighborhood social mixer and this did the trick!!! I used different frosting, however. It was a real hit. Thank you for the inspiration. See it here: http://thefriendshipodyssey@blogspot.com

  • Jeni says:

    I made this cake in pastel colors yesterday and it turned out great! Too Cute!!!

  • Jeni says:

    I used gel food coloring and a little goes a LONG way. I added the color with a toothpick. Remember you can add more but you can’t take it back out. 🙂
    I also didn’t use a box mix or this frosting. I used a basic buttercream.
    Thanks for the idea and the tips to make it though, I would have NEVER thought of it on my own.
    I used four (maybe six?) inch rounds for a smash cake (first birthday) and nine inch rounds for a normal cake. Turned out great!

  • Lindsay says:

    How could I make this cake ahead a couple days? Is that possible??

  • Kristin Morris says:

    So in Ode to your vivacious rainbow cake, I give you….. (drum roll please!!!) Rainbow cupcakes!!! TA-DA! Yes you can now start drooling! Saw your most awesome rainbow cake and figured that I would do it to some kuppies. To my surprise, they actually rocked!
    Please see here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuppykakesbykristin/4641304208/
    And here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuppykakesbykristin/4640695775/in/photostream/
    HAHAHAHA, OH JUST ONE MORE! HERE: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuppykakesbykristin/4641302908/in/photostream/
    P.S. I LOVE YOUR SITE!!! And so far, I think you rock as well!!!

  • Anne says:

    Thanks. I think this is colorful recipe. But where is the picture of Rainbow Cake in your blog. I am not sure but I will make it as soon.

  • Eva says:

    I”m going to do your “Mother’s Day Garden Party” cake. So is it okay to try to make a basic sponge cake with the fruits and food coloring?

  • Megan Berry says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this uber-helpful tutorial! The cake was the highlight of my daughter’s rainbow party. You should have heard the ooohs and ahhhhhs (and even a gasp or two) as I cut into the cake! Thanks for sharing!!

  • liquid health supplement says:

    It is awesome idea of making rainbow cake.It looks so different and colourful.I likes this ideas of cake.

  • Alicia says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I finally made this and it was a huge hit! I put Elmo on the outside, but told everyone the cute part was on the inside. It evoked a true WOW moment with the guests. Here’s a pic http://tinyurl.com/42g9erf

  • Christy says:

    I’m going to make this cake again for the second time! I made it 2 years ago for Emma’s birthday and my friends daughter who turns 12 tomorrow requested that I make it for her birthday party! The first cake I’ve ever made for someone outside of my immediate family! I’m pretty excited. I’ll be a baking fool tomorrow morning! Make the cakes and then freeze them and stack and ice by 5:00 tomorrow! I was going to make them tonight and freeze them over night, but figure I have time tomorrow so I’m going to relax tonight! I’ll make sure to take pictures when we cut into it tomorrow!

  • Lesmarie says:

    Made this today and thanks for the hints and tips – used four layers of pink with cream cheese icing as a a christening/birthday cake! Hope it tastes as good as it looks!

  • Lura Elijah-Wagner says:

    Where did you get the cake candles with the little stars, etc. So Cute!!!

  • Chantal says:

    Could you please, let me know which tools did you use to do your rosettes? Wilton? what’s the number of your tip?

    Thank you, and your rainbow cake is wonderful !!!!!!!

    • Amanda says:

      I used an open star tip from Ateco. (My favorite brand) Any open star tip or closed star tip that is larger will work.

      • Chantal says:

        Thank you Amanda!!! 🙂

  • a.k says:

    I was wondering if the frosting with this food coloring makes your tongue a color when u eat it? I made a blue icing for a border using wilton gel color and i tasted a tiny drop of it and my tongue turned so blue! Does this food colring do that?? Thank you! Love your blog!

    • Amanda says:

      It depends on how much you use, the quality of product you use, and the color used. Yes, food coloring can tint your fingers and tongue… 🙂

  • Jane says:

    Hi! That cake looks amazing…Did you use a star tip to create those rossettes or something else? Thanks!

    • Amanda says:

      I used an Ateco closed star tip! 🙂