A light lemony cake with cream cheese frosting, this four layer rainbow cake is just as delicious as it is beautiful.
the lovers, the dreamers and you rainbow cake

Weekend project!!!

And it’s so much better than mowing your lawn or tilling your fields or cleaning your basements or whatever it is you people with real lives do during the spring.

Because, cake. And rainbow sprinkles. And Kermit the frog stuck in your head for a full on 48 hours.

I can’t wait. (!!!!!!)


This is the cake you always wanted to make but your mom wouldn’t let you.

Because food coloring. Everywhere.

I made it three weeks ago and most of my apartment still looks like it was tie-dyed.

I am strangely okay with that.


To make things even more interesting, you should wear one of your fiance’s/best friend’s/roommate’s/brother’s white t-shirts while making it.

It will feel like a really good idea in the moment.

Until they get home from work and realize what you’ve done. And then you just have to convince them that this is soΒ one of those things you’ll look back on and laugh about.


The elusive someday.


So here’s how this is going to work.

One cake.

Four layers.

Six colors.

Cream cheese frosting and rainbow sprinkles in every bite.


Will it be easy?


You will come dangerously close to overflowing your stand mixer and dirtying every bowl in your apartment.

Having to lift the larger than life cake layers on top of each other will likely tailspin you into a panic attack.

This is not a cake for the faint of heart.


But it will be worth it.

And if worse comes to worse,Β just remember – rainbow sprinkles cure all frosting failures and lopsided cake woes.

Keep calm and sprinkle on.


The Lovers, The Dreamers, and You Cake {Rainbow Cake}
A light lemony cake with cream cheese frosting, this four layer rainbow cake is just as delicious as it is beautiful.
Yield: 15 large servings or 30 small servings
For the cake
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (800 g) sugar
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 6 cups (750 g) flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2½ cups reduced fat buttermilk
  • 2-3 drops each of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple food gels
For the frosting
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 (8 oz) packages lowfat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. For the cake, heat the oven t 350F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Using a ruler, measure along the shorter sides of the pan and mark the parchment into thirds so that the pans are split 3 ways lengthwise. Flip the parchment over so that the lines are visible but won't actually touch the cake layers.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on medium speed. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add the lemon extract and stir to incorporate.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer still running, add in ¼ of the buttermilk mixture, then ⅓ of the flour mixture. Repeat, alternating the buttermilk and flour mixture, until both are incorporated.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among six bowls. Add the dollops of food gel until each so that you have red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple batter.
  5. Transfer the red batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip. Pipe the batter onto one-third of the sheet pan. Clean the tip and bag and repeat with the orange batter. Pipe it onto the middle third of the sheet pan. Clean the tip and bag again and repeat with the yellow batter, piping it onto the final third of the sheet pan. On the second sheet pan, repeat with the green, blue and purple batter.
  6. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes spring back when touched. Allow to cool completely.
  7. For the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream together the confectioner's sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Refrigerate for an hour to set.
  8. To assemble the cake, cut the layers in each sheet pan in half so that each half contains all three colors. Transfer one of the red/orange/yellow layers to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Apply a thin layer of frosting to this layer. Carefully top with the green/blue/purple layer. Add another layer of frosting. Repeat the layering and frosting with the remaining red/orange/yellow and green/blue/purple layers.
  9. Before frosting the top, use a serrated knife to trim the sides and ends of the cake so that they are all even. Using a clean offset spatula, apply the remaining frosting to the top of the cake, leaving the sides unfrosted.
  10. To make the sprinkle hearts, cut a heart shape into a piece of parchment paper so that you now have a heart-shaped stencil. Put this on top of the cake and sprinkle the sprinkles into the open heart-shaped hole in the paper. Remove the parchment stencil and then add decorations and sprinkles as desired.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice


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83 Responses to The Lovers, The Dreamers, and You Rainbow Cake

  1. Such a beautiful cake! It makes me smile πŸ™‚

  2. Hahha keep calm and sprinkle on!! This is so pretty!! Love the colors and of course the sprinkles πŸ™‚

  3. Leah Davis says:

    This is so fun!! Making something so great usually requires making a grand mess in the kitchen, which I am pretty good at at this point!! Happy Friday πŸ™‚

  4. Johanna GGG says:

    oh I do love those vibrant colours – so much fun and so delicious. I hope the boy takes the hint from his newly tie dyed t-shirt and buys you an apron πŸ™‚

  5. I love colorful cakes like these – they just scream childhood! Maybe I’ll make it fun Mexican colors for Cinco De Mayo!!

  6. You are my hero. This cake is AMAZE.

  7. Monica says:

    Oh girl – I love it! It is so gorgeous. I know what you mean about all the food coloring but honestly, colorful cakes like this is just so beautiful to look at. I particularly love the sprinkle-hearts! It makes me happy, thank you!

  8. Shashi says:

    You can come stain everything in MY house – if you will make me this cake! YUM! I swear I can smell the frosting on this…no wait…your pictures are just that good!

  9. A giant heart made from sprinkles….my Friday = made πŸ™‚ I so wish I had the patience to make this beautiful cake.

  10. I sincerely admire your perseverance and patience with a cake like this one! You, my friend, are forever one of my baking heroes.

  11. So beautiful Joanne!!! Absolutely LOVE it, I am sure it is also just as delish!!

  12. Meg says:

    There is nothing — NOTHING — I do not love about this! <3 My sister is a sprinkles fanatic (and actually carries some in her purse sometimes for "emergencies"), so I know what I'll be whipping up for her birthday this summer!

  13. So cute and colourful! Sprinkles for life!

  14. Oh my gosh, SO much fun – I loooove it, it makes me happy!

  15. Oh my goodness I can hear little girls squealing over this cake. Yes, it certainly beats cleaning the basement. Very sweet in every way. Smiling here. However what I wanted a picture of was the white t-shirt you were wearing when you baked it.

  16. Heather says:

    Wow. This is the perfect Friday cake… love the colors and the happy feeling you get looking at it. Plus… lemon=win.

  17. cheri says:

    What a happy cake Joanne, love the colors and layers and the sprinkles!!!

  18. sandra says:

    Interesting choice of color combinations – were you going for something or winging it? This looks dangerously close to the raspberry filled, somehow almond flavored, chocolate covered rainbow cookies I crave from time to time and have considered trying to make. It likely takes the same amount of commitment and fortitude!

  19. This is right up my alley— I grinned my way through the post, love love it!

  20. Pam says:

    What an awesome cake! My kiddos would absolutely LOVE this beauty.

  21. You make the most gorgeous cakes! A heart made out of sprinkles is like a double whammy of cheer. πŸ™‚

  22. I’m thrilled to discover I am not the only person who enjoys suffering through cake making. It’s a sickness I tell you…but one bite into this and you know it’s worth it!

  23. Gorgeous. Rob loves sprinkles. He is very manly like that. He would die if he ate this. HAHA! Love it!

  24. Kate says:

    So my son will only eat “colored” oatmeal. Which means our kitchen pretty much looks like a rainbow of different colors every morning. Somehow it seems more worth it for cake.

  25. Shannon says:

    you are crazy πŸ™‚ love all the colors though, and of course the flavor is one of my faves!

  26. I love it! So bright and colorful. And with sprinkles to boot! Just looking at the pictures make me smile (and crave a giant slice of cake) πŸ™‚

  27. Corina says:

    It looks like such a fun cake to make. I love the rainbow spinkles too – they remind me of being a child.

  28. Weekend project INDEED. I must bake this cake on Saturday, and eat it all by Sunday. The challenge is on!

  29. Monet says:

    Rainbows! Rainbows! Rainbows! How beautiful Joanne!

  30. P says:

    Want a slice of this!! Even the cake scraps will suffice πŸ˜‰ !

  31. Megan says:

    That is one gorgeous cake! I love all the layers and vibrant colors!

  32. debbie says:

    Now that is one pretty cake! I think that would bring a huge smile to anyone who would receive this as a birthday!

  33. i had been waiting for this post for a while – soooo pretty!!!

  34. I am loving and dreaming about your stunning cake for a while now πŸ˜€

    Choc Chip Uru

  35. Min says:

    Haha! I’m going to have to go digging for a white t-shirt in my husband’s closet ;). I’m terrible at frosting but baking I can do. As for cleaning up the mess…I shall think about that later. This cake makes me happy just looking at it ;).

  36. Betty says:

    What a happy cake! πŸ™‚

  37. This looks so fun. I wouldn’t mind dirtying every bowl to make this. And I love me some cream cheese frosting.

  38. Julia says:

    This is everything, EVERYTHING I could wish for in a cake! My former roommate and I used to make “dot cake” (funfetti) all the time. This takes it to a seriously awesomer level. So amazed! I’m doe eyeing you right now…

  39. Hotly Spiced says:

    Gorgeous Joanne. I’ve made a rainbow cake before and yes, there was mess and stress EVERYWHERE. I love how you decorated it with the hearts! This is a cake of joy! xx

  40. Veronica says:

    I love it! Can I ask why you made it? Just because or a special occasion? Methinks you are already for motherhood, with a cake like this under your belt. πŸ™‚

  41. I love this rainbow cake. I am sure that it would put a smile on ones face.

  42. Haley says:

    Love this! Sprinkles make everything better πŸ™‚

  43. Oh wow. This is amazing! I have seen rainbow layer cakes before but this is by far the most colourful and sprinkled πŸ™‚

  44. Great way to make a plain white apron bright!

  45. It looks so happy and fun! Bet it tastes wonderfully delicious too.

  46. This is such a cheerful cake – I love it! I need to top up my sprinkles supply – more rainbows required!

  47. Tina says:

    As soon as I saw this photo it made me smile! It’s beautiful and you are right- better to make a lovely cake than mow the grass.

  48. Wow, 10 eggs with this recipe! And I’ll be picking the colored sprinkles out of my dentures forever- but it looks SO GOOD!

  49. This is SO awesome. Keep Calm and Sprinkle On…I need that hanging in my kitchen πŸ™‚

  50. This has to be the happiest cake I’ve ever seen! How fun. And, cream cheese frosting is always my best friend!

  51. Deena kakaya says:

    I do love your blog titles and that you always make good look so pretty x

  52. Lovely cake and can we have a slice now?

  53. Claudia says:

    The perfect cake for May day, the beginning of Spring or Mother’s Day. Any day actually.

  54. Reeni says:

    This is sooooooooo PRETTY! I want to face plant in it! It makes me happy just looking at it! Eating it would send me to the moon – and hopefully back again.

  55. Lynna says:

    This cake looks beautiful! And, I`m sure messy to make, but it`s all worth the laugh in the future! πŸ˜€

  56. Christine says:

    What a fun cake! Bet it was delicious.

  57. Lori says:

    You have seriously wowed me with your rainbow. Seriously, I am so impressed by rainbow desserts! This looks great and that lemony cake, cream cheese frosting combination sounds outstanding!

  58. Wow this cake is impressive! Beautiful layers!! Who cares if this recipe means tons of dirty bowls in the sink. It’s totally worth it!

  59. If someone made me this cake for my birthday I would actually love them forever! It’s so cute and the colours are so pretty πŸ™‚

  60. I always love your macro shots Joanne, but these are particularly awesome. Love the shot of all the scraps too! This whole thing just makes me smile.

  61. Haha! We have Paul on video (of course) singing Rainbow Connection to Haley when she was 4 days old. So, um, ya, that song is permanently etched on my brain. I love that you made a 4 layered cake with sprinkles. And perhaps created a tie dye shirt in the process. FUN!

  62. Susan says:

    This will bring the ‘kid’ out in anyone πŸ™‚ Such a cheery cake, Joanne!

  63. This is awesome! If a dirtied white t-shirt is the price to pay for a cake like this, take all of my shirts!

  64. This cake is so pretty! And I’m totally making a sign that says keep calm and sprinkle on πŸ™‚

  65. So fun! Love the colors…and can you just go ahead and send those cake scraps my way? Kthanks πŸ™‚

  66. This cake sounds so delicious! Lemon and cream cheese are my weaknesses. Plus rainbows. I’ve never made the mistake of wearing someone else’s white shirt, but food coloring usually results in my having to rearrange everything to cover up the splotches of red and blue everywhere πŸ˜€

  67. Lynn says:

    It sounds very tasty, that rainbow cake. And it’s fun!

  68. Trisha says:

    This is sooo awesome Joanne. Absolutely love it!!! x

  69. Very pretty! Love the heart shaped spirnkle design

  70. Why yes I DO want a giant slice of this cake!

  71. grace says:

    that’s so much fun, joanne! and look at all those scraps you get to eat! love the cake and the title. πŸ™‚

  72. […] week I saw on Joanne’s lovely blog, a rainbow cake she’d made that was covered in cream cheese frosting and decorated with […]

  73. It looks wonderfully Alice in Wonderland Joanne. The sprinkle patterns are the best. i am Ok with food colouring sears as well

  74. I adore that this is a kermit Rainbow cake!!!! It’s SO pretty and happy and colorful! yayyy!

  75. I certainly hope you ate all those cake trimmings….I totally want them. Love this colorful creation!

  76. This cake is drop dead gorgeous! How could it not bring a smile to your face?? πŸ™‚

  77. dina says:

    the colors are so pretty. it looks great!

  78. The colors! The sprinkles! I’m in love!

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