Saturday, August 27, 2011

How to: Bake Rainbow Cakes and Cupcakes

The first time I saw a rainbow layer cake online, I was in love.

I decided I simply had to try it out for myself, and I was thrilled with the results. They are really quite easy. You can also adapt the recipe to suit cupcakes (see additional notes at the end).

First, make a basic buttercake mixture.
My favourite is the 2-4-6-8-Buttercake that my wonderful Nanna Betty taught me.

2 eggs
4oz butter
6oz white sugar
8oz self raising flour
and a healthy dash of vanilla extract
(to convert ounces to grams, multiply by 28. I generalise and multiply by 30 - e.g 4oz = 120g, 6oz = 180g)

To make the Buttercake mixture, cream together the butter and sugar, and slowly add the eggs and flour. Beat until smooth.

(1) To make the tall layer cake, I make a double mixture, and divide into 6 small bowls. Add enough food colouring to each bowl to get a strong colour. I start with a teaspoon of colour and add a drop at a time until I reach the brightness I like {I use the affordable "Queen" food colours readily available in the supermarket}

(2) Make 6 layers by baking each colour individually in an 8" pan. Each cake will be quite thin, don't panic! Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes {check regularly with a skewer and take out as soon as cooked}.

(3) Sandwich the layers together - either with a basic buttercream, or simply by layering them while hot out of the oven so that they stick together:

(4) Frost the outside with buttercream and decorate as you wish! In the past I have surrounded it with white chocolate shards or rolled out fondant icing to cover.

To make buttercream simply beat together margarine, a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract and icing sugar until it is a lovely pale colour and tastes fantastic :)

Et Voila!


I make my Rainbow "Drop" cake for smaller crowds. Using a single batch of buttercake, mixed up with the same colours as in Step (1) above, I drop spoonfuls of batter into an 8" pan in concentric circles. Bake at 180C for 25-30mins.

Or you can make lovely little CUPCAKES like these:

Image from Baking Bites - unfortunately I don't have a photo of my own cupcakes to share.

(1) To make cupcakes, I thin down the buttercake mixture slightly by adding some milk (about half a cup, but I add it slowly and stop if the batter starts becoming too runny).

(2) Mix up the colours in the same way as for a full cake.

(3) Add one teaspoonful of the purple mixture into each cupcake case/patty pan. Tap the tray on the bench to distribute the batter evenly.
Add one teaspoonful of the blue mixture to each pan, and gently tap the tray (do not try to spread the mixture out as it will mix with the colour underneath).

(4) Continue with each colour. Depending on the size of your cupcake cases, you may need to use less colours so as to not overfill each case.

(5) Bake at 180C. Allow to cool, and frost with a generous serve of frosting :)


You could make these in any colours you like. Pastels, blue & pink for a baby shower, company colours, favourite football team colours - the sky's the limit!

I'd love to see your variations - please do email them to me at nosuzyhomemaker at gmail dot com if you give it a go!


  1. OK.. so now I have to bake one. Yum!

  2. You are so clever! Thanks a million for showing me how to do this because now I understand it I actually think I could make some! (And yes Carly is a very dear friend of mine. I was actually her teacher many years ago and then I moved overseas and we had no contact for 12 years) I emailed her by chance not actually knowing our connection and she emailed straight back and we went from there. She and her family are very precious and I am proud god mother to her daughter Ocea.

  3. I love this tutorial! Filing it away for my next fun event!

  4. Oh my God. You're such an artist!! See I had never seen anything like that before!!! It's amazing.

    Maybe you could come visit me too sometime.

    You're a rock star!

  5. oh, I almost forgot to say I LOVED you blog header!

  6. OMGosh that's awesome!!! Thanks for sharing...

    Happy ICLW from # 86 <3

  7. How fun!! I need to try this sometime!

  8. We're making the drop cake version of this for my birthday this weekend. I'm wondering if you have a "best practices" suggestion for how to make the concentric circles without mixing the colors too much?



Related Posts with Thumbnails