Friday, April 15, 2011

Rainbow Cake

I have wanted to try a rainbow cake, even before my friend Angela did one for her son's birthday. See her awesome cake here. I learned from her the value of parchment paper. I googled Rainbow Cake and landed on Martha Stewart's rainbow cake. I remembered seeing one here, one of my favorite party sites. (I almost hate sharing that link, it's like a little secret I have.) This one was the most helpful.

My mom's birthday was a perfect excuse to give it a try. It really didn't end up being too difficult. I even had two little helpers (age two and four).

Step one: Gathered my supplies.
I already mentioned the value of parchment paper. Don't try without it!
I had purchased three boxes of cake mix and five tubs of frosting because they were on sale and I didn't know how much I would need. (I didn't make from scratch like the other sites did. Come on. Why?)
I used two cake mixes and three tubs of frosting.

Step two: Mix up the cake mix. I used the egg white version, so that the cake was really white. I didn't know if it would affect coloring the cake later if I used whole eggs. I got to use my egg separator for the first time ever. Pretty handy gadget. (Eric owned this pre-marriage.)

Step three: Separate batter of first cake mix into four separate bowls.

Step four: Dye each bowl a different color: Red, Pink, Orange, and Yellow.

Step five: Cut parchment and place in bottom of pans. Pour in batter and bake for about ten minutes (at temperature recommended on box mix).

Step six: Remove from oven, allow to cool a few minutes. Pop out and cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the freezer.

Step seven: Repeat steps two through six with second cake mix. Dye each bowl different color: Green, Light Blue, Dark Blue, and Purple.

Once they have been in the freezer a while, then you can go ahead and frost them. I took them out of the freezer one at a time. It can take a while to frost, and I didn't want to get half way through and find out they'd thawed enough that I was having difficulty frosting them.

I intentionally tried to make the frosting thin. The ones I saw online had huge layers of frosting in between and my hubby isn't a huge frosting fun. Plus, my kids were going to have a piece and I didn't want them to have more frosting than cake. Some places it looks thick, but that's really frosting that I pushed over the side to make frosting the sides easier when I got to that point.

Once I got it covered we added sprinkles to the top. I'm never very good at making the top of a cake perfectly smooth, so this covers a lot of imperfections. Plus it makes the cake more festive and gives a hint of the color inside. My kids think anything with sprinkles is simply the best.

The party wasn't for two days. (I started early because I wanted time to do-over if I messed up.) I left it out on the counter (covered) because my husband it would dry out in the refrigerator. The day of the party I noticed that the frosting was starting to "melt" or slide a bit. I popped it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

The party was a hit. When I cut into it I discovered that the weight of the cake had compressed the bottom layers more than the top ones. Perhaps stiffer frosting would have prevented that? The cake was incredibly moist, probably the best cake I can remember having.

The kids loved, loved, loved the cake. They were so proud, feeling like they had helped make it.

So worth the effort. I can see all kinds of applications for this... Little Artist Birthday Party... Shades of pink and purple for a girl party... my imagination is really going...


  1. Cami...that looks so love love the colors of it...great job Martha/Cami :)

  2. Cami this is so funny because I did a rainbow theme for the girls birthdays and googled the exact same martha stewart cake- but mine did not turn out nearly so perfect as yours!! In fact it ended up being two cakes. I LOVE yours!!

  3. How much food coloring did you use for each layer?

    1. I used quite a lot, but couldn't tell you exactly how much. You just have to eyeball it. I used the Wilton gel dyes that are super intense in their coloring ability. I think the only color I didn't do that on was the yellow, I just used the liquid stuff on that one. Using the gel makes a big difference, giving you less pastel-like colors and more vibrant ones. Have fun making your cake!