There is no better way to celebrate the end of a year or the beginning of a future than with a triple layer triple color ganache-covered cake.

(That’s a fact.  Medically proven.*


Or that your family made it to Christmas dessert without a single ounce of blood being shed.  And with a less than double-digit number of attempts to pay you to eat sausage. See, they’re really trying to understand this whole vegetarian thing.

(I doubt it has anything to do with the fact that you threatened to withhold cake from them if they didn’t stop.  And has everything to do with their growing compassion and the Christmas spirit deep within their souls. Right.)


Seriously, though. They do say that the first day of the year really sets the tone for the other 364 that are to follow.

And well. Our rooms may not be clean and our clothes may not be folded.

Our experiments might never work.

And no matter how many times we put away all our cookbooks, they are still going to end up strewn all over our floors and under our pillows within 24 hours.



But at least we can be totally rockstar cake bakers.


Maybe leave our ugly sweaters at home, though?  That’s not really the tone we want to set for the new year.

(Note – Daniel wanted us to make serious faces. This was a “Joanne fail” type of situation.  Holly (the dog) was much more concerned about the wrapping paper invading her floor space.  Typical.)

But really.  Deliriously happy, cake-baking, skinny-jean wearing, rockstars.  Let’s be those people in 2012.  I know we can.


I’m going to save my sappy “ohmygodanotheryearhaspassed” post for Monday because it will also happen to be the anniversary of the only New Years resolution that I have ever truly faithfully kept.

But have a safe and happy and wonderful New Year’s everyone!

I couldn’t do this without you.  You’re my rock(star)s.

(PS – My run was awesome, by the way.  3.5 miles of heaven.  I’m still high on it.)


Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
Makes one 9″ triple layer cake, adapted from Always Order Dessert


  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 12 oz almond paste, grated
  • 1 tbsp pure almond extract
  • 3 cups AP flour, sifted
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • red, green and yellow coloring gels or liquid coloring (I used gels)
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate (I used Guittard)


  1. Grease three 9-inch cake pans and line with a round of parchment paper on the bottom.
  2. In the base of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat for 3 more minutes. Add the grated almond paste and almond extract and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then slowly add to the almond paste batter and mix until combined.
  4. Separate the mixture evenly into three bowls. Dye each bowl a different shade (one green, one yellow, one red).
  5. Pour each color of the mixture into individual pans making sure to smooth out the top. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper and let cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling, prepare the ganache by heating 1 cup of heavy cream in a small saucepan just until bubbles start to form around the edge. Turn off the heat and pour over the chocolate in a large bowl. Stir continuously until melted completely and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
  7. Start with the pink layer of the cake and spread with the raspberry jam until it nearly reaches the edges of the cake. Top with the yellow cake. Spread this with the apricot preserves. Top with the final green layer.
  8. Use a spoon to pour the ganache over the cake, using an offset spatula to even the sides and make sure the cake is completely covered. Use as much ganache as you need. Let sit at room temperature in a cool spot for 1-2 hours until completely set.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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99 Responses to Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake

  1. Candace says:

    yay! I’ve been hoping to see those fantastic “ugly sweaters”. I love it! Thanks for sharing the photo with us AND that beautiful cake. Happy New Year, darling girl!

  2. Cake looks great. Any particular reason for choosing the reggae colors?:)
    Good to see the sweater photos, the dog looks disappointed, (s)he wanted one of those masterpieces as well.
    All the best for 2012, and keep that sweater well hidden, I suspect lot of people are after it.

  3. Simply Life says:

    ha, I LOVE those sweaters! What a memorable gift! Ha, I would pay you just to try this, not even make you eat anything in return 🙂

  4. Julie says:

    Happy New Year! Love the cake and the sweaters are so fun! Can’t wait to see those New Year’s resolutions, I was just going to look at what I said I was going to do this year….and didn’t.

  5. Kristen says:

    I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face wearing a Christmas sweater either. They are meant for smiles (of joy or derision, that remains to be seen). Have a wonderful 2012 filled with successful experiments, long runs and lots of culinary creations.

  6. Congratz on your first run, babe! 🙂 Here’s to a fabulous new year!

  7. Love! That cake looks amazing and I’m afraid to show Matt because he will instantly beg for it. I adore that photo of you and your siblings in the sweaters lol.

  8. Amy says:

    Everyone should definitely start their mornings…er…new year off with a slice of that. Taste the rainbow! Here’s to sharing another 365 days with you, Joanne. 2012 never looks so yummy 😀

  9. Lyndsey says:

    Well that about sums it all up! What a lovely post…a perfect way to end the year…with an awesome “rock star” cake! I just love the sweaters…too funny! I totally enjoy spending the year with you and congrats on a good run! Wishing you the best for the New Year to come!!

  10. Joanne!
    I have made the bar – but this is a brilliant idea – love it. Am making it. Anything with almond and marzipan I adore.
    Happy New Year to you!

  11. Amy says:

    Lovely cake (and sweet sweaters)!

  12. Louanne says:

    Love the cake and the sweaters 🙂
    Happy New Year!

  13. The cake looks amazing! I love the ugly sweaters! What a fun family you have! Happy New Years to you and your family!

  14. Gorgeous cake, definitely rockstar! The sweaters? I love it, great picture. Have a very happy New year!

  15. That totally needs to be your christmas card for next year, I LOVE those sweaters! Better yet, wear them every year. I am actually surprised how many people I see wearing those sweaters around. I don’t judge though. 🙂

    My kids are demanding I make this cake. It looks so good! I don’t know what almond paste is though, clearly I’ll have to find it. 🙂

  16. Beautiful cake, Joanne! Love that you had a great first run this week 🙂 Happy almost 2012!!

  17. bellini says:

    What a rock star way to end 2011 Joanne. The new year brings so many promises!!

  18. I do believe I found the last dessert I need for our Italian-themed New Year’s Day feast.

  19. Erin says:

    Wow! I love those cookies. Fantastic idea making them into a cake!

  20. Oh hai, um, miss Joanne, will you, um, marry me? If yes,bring this cake!
    This is on my list of things to try next year! It’s stunning!

  21. Happy New Year!! I hope we get to meet in person in 2012 🙂 Awesome sweaters!!

  22. Faith says:

    LOVE the cake! I’ve wanted to make the cookie version for forever, but it always seems like so much work (worth it I know, but in the end I always convince myself not to). This cake looks just as delicious and much more manageable!

  23. So simple and so perfect! Yammy! Thanks for sharing!

  24. What a crazy looking cake! Love it. Oh and you look so cute in your Christmas sweater.

  25. Yah! We got a picture of the sweater :). This cake looks crazy delicious! What a great idea for a cake!

  26. Cara says:

    Well, this cake certainly solves your dilemma of fighting over the single Italian 7-layer cookie on the tray from the bakery! Happy New Year 🙂

  27. Debbie says:

    I’m cracking up at the sweater!!! Joanne, this cake is THE MOST GORGEOUS one ever! I am making it for my son for his birthday. It’s not for a few months yet but I am going to make it several times before then!!! My all time favorite cookie. I am going to put just plain chocolate sprinkles on top like they do on some of the rainbow cookies. Thanks so much for posting…(this is also my son’s favorite cookie!). Happy New Year to you!

  28. Megan says:

    The cookbook thing is so me… all over the floor, my bed, sprawled out on the couch. Ha.

    Have a very happy new year!

  29. You made a Queer Nation cake! Congratulations!

  30. I’m so glad we got to see the “ugly sweaters” and your siblings! I would not have been able to keep a straight face either 😉 Congrats on the run! I’d love to celebrate with a piece of that cake!

    Happy New Year, Joanne!

  31. Geni says:

    Thanks for showing us the “ugly” sweaters. 🙂 Have a very happy start to your new year as you get to run, run, run! Wish I liked to run. I think it would help with the skinny jeans and all…cake looks AWESOME!

  32. Erica says:

    Love the “ugly sweaters” an that amazing cake!Happy New Year,Joanne!

  33. AWESOME! That is such a great picture…I love it! Those “ugly sweaters” totally rock ;P And that cake…oh…YES! Happy and Safe new year, my friend!

  34. Hotly Spiced says:

    That cake looks delicious. How pretty is it! I just love the colours. Happy New Year!

  35. Lori says:

    Cake = Happy New Year, I don’t care how many layers there are. 🙂 This looks beautiful. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the sweaters. :p

  36. teresa says:

    YES! i was so hoping when i came back to your site that you’d have the sweaters up. they are awesome, i love the serious faces. you guys seem to have a lot of fun together.

    i sampled a cake similar like this at costco a while back. it was good, but i have a feeling yours is much better. the ganache coating is amazing!

  37. Reeni says:

    Yay! Love the Christmas sweater pic! They were pretty compared to some of the hideous ones I’ve seen. And the cake is pretty too! My favorite cookie in cake form. Swoon. Happy New Year! xoxo

  38. and yes this cake is awesome and yes, the family photo is a little off; you are the only one smiling.
    PLUS i’m glad you are running again, but for the love, don’t over do it. i did and i INSTANTLY re-injured myself. of course you are saying ” yeah yeah yeah, won’t happen to me’ But if I know you, you push yourself waaaaaay too hard when running. No more 500 miles runs, let’s keep it to a nice even 3 or 4 mile ok? Did you write that down?

  39. oh yeah “Happy New Year”!


  40. Carolyn Jung says:

    The snowflake design on top is just perfect. And the surprise of the colorful layers even more festive. A grand cake for a grand time ushering in a New Year. Happy 2012 to you!


  42. Very cool looking cake…..thanks for sharing! Happy New Year!!!

  43. Kerstin says:

    That cake is a show stopper – gorgeous!! And I’m loving that picture of you three, classic!

  44. MyFudo™ says:

    Hey! I used gel colors too. Much more vibrant! I will have to try this recipe. My daughter’s favorite. Thanks for sharing. Have a colorful New Year ahead!

  45. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Wonderful family photo.
    I just love Italian Rainbow cake!, but I bet you already knew that!
    Wishing you the very best for the New Year my dear friend. Blessings, Catherine xo

  46. sophia says:

    Tee hee hee hee! Love the sweaters. Joanne! You look very serious in such a…ahem, colorful ornamental sweater. 😉

    Happy 2012, Joanne. And eff this. I want the whole damn rainbow cake!

  47. Lora says:

    Love the rainbow cake. I’ve made the cookies version before but the cake is fab. The sweater pix = too funny. Happy New Year!

  48. I’m so in love with this cake!!!!

  49. Michele says:

    That is one gorgeous cake! LOVE those sweaters too. Haa Haa. Your comment about the cookbooks under the pillow is so true with me always. Happy New Year!!! So glad I found you and your lovely blog.

  50. my foot is currently a few inches away from one cookbook and I have at least 2 on my coffee table right now. There may also be one on my couch, but I can neither confirm nor deny that.

  51. Julie says:

    GASP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! my dreams came true. the best and ONLY way to serve rainbow cookie cake or cookies are they they MUST be cold so the chocolate layer on the outside is hard. OMG you’re making my wedding cake because it’s going to be a GIANT ASS rainbow cookie hahaha

  52. Karen says:

    So pretty! Happy New Year!

  53. RecipeGirl says:

    How freakin’ pretty is this cake?? Enjoyed meeting you this year- hope to see you around in 2012. Happy New Year!

  54. Tessa says:

    Yay for cake. This one looks awesome. Hope you have a great New Year!

  55. Kalyn says:

    The cake is gorgeous. Wishing you all the best in 2012.

  56. Shannon says:

    That looks so amazing!! and i loved your cookies, so i know this would be fabulous. i can never keep a straight face when told to, either 😉 hope you had a wonderful holiday hun! horray for the run, and sounds like you’ve got a good plan for easing back into it!

  57. Claudia says:

    Is it possible? Is the blogger most responsible for my geriatric return to running (at a turtle pace) now presenting me with a cake that must be eaten – no holds barred???? That’s beauty and the best way to ring in a New Year. Happy 2012 – may it bring you delicious days and joys and runs and calories!

  58. Donna says:

    Wear skinny jeans AND eat cake ~ Thanks for keepin the dream alive, Joanne, and may you live and blog forever!

  59. Deborah says:

    Yeah, I would love to start my year off right with one of these cakes. There’s still time, right? 🙂 Happy New Year!

  60. sofia says:

    oh man, love the ugly sweater shot. and this cake. happy new year, joanne! 🙂

  61. Katerina says:

    This is such an optimistic cake to start the New Year! I wish to you a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year my friend! May 2012 bring to your arms your prince charm and live your fairytail! You sure deserve it! Lots of sneezing hugs!

  62. Chris says:

    Thank you for posting the sweater picture, I was dying to see it when you wrote about it. Ya’ll should totally use that for your family’s Christmas cards next year.

    Glad the run rocked. I’ve been a slacker and have to get back in exercise mode.

    The cake looks absolutely gorgeous, so colorful! If I did it all the colors would be wrong, like colored shades of brown.

  63. Chris says:

    PS: Happy New Year! May it be stress (fracture) free!

  64. Did I see cookie and cake in the same title? WOW! Delish and what a rockstar way of ending a great year!

  65. What not to love this elegant bake of yours! Happy New Year dear…

  66. Sitting at computer, mouth open and staying that way…….Where is my piece, Joanne? I want it now.

    You make miracles in the kitchen.

  67. I am normal. Cookbooks on the pillows and floor means normal. Thank you.

  68. What a lovely and colorful dessert to end the year. Thanks for providing this great space for us to hang out and enjoy your recipes and food photos. Happy New Year. Have a Blast!

  69. Katy ~ says:

    I LOVE this! Beautiful!!

  70. Very pretty cake! My family was pushing sausage too, onto the baby. He ate it happily 🙂

  71. marla says:

    Happy new year girl! The rainbow cake is nothing short of fabulous!

  72. grace says:

    as expected, you’ve ended your awesome blog-year with a bang–this is a tremendous creation!

  73. kate says:

    This cake reminds me of something I’ve had with my family many times, but in a large scale version. I think it’s probably the same as those little tri-color square bites? I love those!
    My family would be blown away if I pulled this out for dessert…and I think I just might sometime soon!
    Love the Christmas sweaters! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  74. So pretty! You are a kitchen witch!
    Happy New Year!

  75. Indie.Tea says:

    You are a rockstar baker! That cake is so gorgeously, glamorously rockstar appropriate.
    Happy New Year!

  76. Happy New Year Joanne! I love the bright layers and colors in this cake. So festive! 😉

  77. Nico says:

    Oh I cannot resist Italian Rainbow Cookies, but this could be even better! Love the family photo 🙂

  78. peachkins says:

    That’s a beautiful cake! Happy New Year to you!

  79. Johanna GGG says:

    happy new year joanne – amazing cake and hilarious sweaters – so glad you shared the pic – I think that should be your christmas card pic for next year

  80. That Girl says:

    But sausage is pork – so not really meat, right ;-p

  81. Absolutely gorgeous cake!! And love those sweaters 🙂 Happy New Year!

  82. The gay cake looks fabulous! I think I’ve mentioned that I adore Italian rainbow cookies… so this just blew my mind. Happy New Year, Joanne!

  83. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Wow..I want that colorful slice of cake! Wonderful to know you and this lovely space, Joanne. Hope to have more foodie fun this year.
    Love and hugs.

  84. Beth says:

    Love the sweaters! Thanks for posting that photo!

  85. I’m Texan, so I can’t give up my meat. But I’ll definitely have some cake.

  86. The cake looks absolutely fantastic, but I LOVE that horribly ugly sweater even more!!! =D

  87. Elizabeth says:

    You KNOW I love these cookies, I would devour it in cake form

  88. Sook says:

    Joanne, this cake is so awesome! So colorful and gorgeous! I bet it’s delicious, too! 🙂 Happy New Year!

  89. A terrific cake! So festive, colorful and tempting.

    Happy New Year!



  90. LOL I am SO happy you posted the sweater photo!!! I was going to ask for it when you mentioned it in your other post but wasn’t sure if you’d want to share. It’s awesome. 🙂 Gorgeous cake! Very fun.

  91. Monica says:

    Hi Joanne – I spied this cake from your archives a while back and just made it. My family and I love tricolor/rainbow cookies with a vengeance and this cake was a huge hit with us! I love being able to have it in cake form now and it’s easier/quicker than the cookie version. I’m going to post it once I get my act together to finish writing it up. I’m so glad you shared it. Thank you!!! xo

  92. Carolyn says:

    i just found this cake recipe. I’m hosting a 40th wedding anniversary for a friend who absolutely loves, loves the rainbow cookies. What a nice surprise this cake will be! My question is, is the butter salted or unsalted. I’m accustomed to using unsalted, but I need this cake to come out perfect! Also, I’ve never used almond paste, the name makes me think this product is pasty (I’m assuming)…how would this be “grated”? Hopefully I’ll get a response…thank you for your website!

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