Recipe: Rainbow Cake Part 1


We thought it would be fun over the Queen’s birthday long weekend to run the 3 different recipes for rainbow cake we have collected, that result in 3 different cakes. We figure: The Queen likes rainbow cake! So here it is, the Queen’s Jubilee Rainbow Cake Spectacular!

After buying food colouring to make macarons, then failing miserably with aforementioned macarons, I decided to put them to use. So this weekend I made a Rainbow Cake. I searched the net and found a few different variations of Rainbow Cake, including the simplified version of using 2 packets of Betty Crocker White Chocolate Cake Mix for those who need to pull together a cake quickly. My favourite was the one that appears on Not Quite Nigella and I used this recipe with some variations.

Basically to make this rainbow cake you can use any dough that will come out white. Not Quite Nigella also makes an amazing Zebra Cheesecake you could easily turn into a rainbow as well. The important bit is the method of making the rainbow which, once explained, you’ll be kicking yourself you hadn’t thought of already.

I did 6 colours on mine, using 5 food colours. I used standard liquid supermarket stuff, the ones you buy individually (not the pack of 4). The important thing with the colours is to be bold and to compensate for using liquids instead of the gel Not Quite Nigella recommends, I added a touch more flour.

I had pink, red, yellow, green & blue. I made purple by mixing the blue with the pink and made orange by mixing red & yellow. If you mix up colours, make sure you put more of the lighter colour on first then add the darker one sparingly to build up the colour. The next time I do this I’d make the purple have more pink in it and make less of the red dough.

Rainbow Cake


  • 275g butter
  • 1 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 7 eggs (I used extra large)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Note: Extract is natural, essence is not. Extract costs more but it’s worth it)
  • 4 cups cake flour (Not Quite Nigella defines cake flour as 2 tablespoons cornflour placed in a 2 cup measure then fill the rest with plain flour. I added about another 1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Food colouring (I used pink, blue, green, yellow & red)


  1. Preheat oven to 160*C
  2. Line/grease (I did both) a 21cm cake tin. I greased the tin, lined with baking paper, then greased the baking paper. This made it stick nicely to the tin as well as ensuring my cake wouldn’t get stuck. That happens to me a lot.
  3. Weigh the bowl you’re going to mix it in and either set your scales as 0 with the bowl on it or write down the weight of your bowl.
  4. Beat your butter & sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time & beat.
  6. Sift flours, salt & baking powder and add in batches, mixing with the electric mixer. If you want to avoid spraying flour all over the kitchen, like I did, mix it together with a wooden spoon first.
  7. Weigh your mixture and divide into 6 (or however many different colours you have) equal portions. Not Quite Nigella recommends dividing up your mixture so your bottom colour is a bit of a larger portion and the top colour is a bit smaller. I didn’t do this. Do it ;). My scale had both kg & pounds on it & my mixture was 3 pounds so I divided by pounds.
  8. Colour each of your portions.
  9. Place your first colour in the middle of the pan in a circle/blob.
  10. Add the second colour on top of the first one, in the middle, and let the natural weight of the second colour spread the first one out.

    On the 4th colour

  11. Add each colour in this same method. I put them in this order: Purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red.
  12. To even it out a bit, squish the top with greased baking paper.
  13. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out with only a bit of cake on it. Personally, I never cook cake until the knife comes out completely clean, that’s how I keep my cakes moist

    Fresh out of the oven!

Royal Icing

White cake with a secret rainbow!


  • 2 x large egg whites
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups (330g) icing sugar


  1. Add lemon juice to your egg whites & beat until combined.
  2. Add sifted sugar & beat on low speed until combined and shiny.

Don’t leave the icing sitting around as it hardens when exposed to air, you can store the unused icing in an air tight container in the fridge but it won’t last long.



Have you tried rainbow cake? Did it work? Which kind do you like?

This post originally appeared here.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Your rainbow cake looks wonderful! I’m so glad that you liked the recipe and thank you for the lovely shoutout too :)

    • Tamsin Howse

      Couldn’t have made it without you!! You’ll have to come back on Monday to see the third cake I made, I used the same rainbow method but a different base recipe and it tasted better and looked completely different. This one is neater than the third one.

  • melinka

    That looks ah-mazing!! Great instructions too, particularly for the culinary-challenged of those amongst us 😉
    Makes me want to go and stock up on mixing bowls so I can give it a go!

    • Tamsin Howse

      I am culinary-challenged.. 😉

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