They say “Eat The Rainbow” – I say eat this rainbow cake!
Rainbow Cake

We’ve been so good at healthy eating this week that I thought we could keep up the momentum.

Eat the rainbow, you say?!

Done and done.


Wait, you think that phrase has nothing to do with eating every shade of cake in the visible spectrum?


Say it ain’t so.


Weeeelllll I think we can make an exception.

Just this once.

In the name of sprinkles.

And Friday.

And eating our YAY IT’S THE WEEKEND feelings.


Are you with me?


So here’s the deal with this cake.

Yes there are a lot of layers, yes it will take you the better part of an afternoon, yes you will want to pull your hair out at some point during the cake making process (like, when you accidentally flip all the red batter onto your coffee table and then have to scrape it off into the cake pan <– don’t be like me).

But yes IT. IS. WORTH. IT.

I paired it with a honey swiss meringue buttercream that will make you drop to your knees in worship, but you can use your favorite white frosting. Or chocolate frosting. Or you can go the naked cake route, though I really do think there is something to the element of surprise when you cut into it.

My point being, you do you. I’ll love you either way.


Rainbow Cake
They say "Eat The Rainbow" - I say eat this rainbow cake!
Yield: 1 8-inch layer cake
For the cake
  • 2¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter , softened but still cool
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring
For the frosting/filling
  • 1¼ cup sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup water
  • 5 egg whites
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp honey
  1. For the cake, heat oven to 350F. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with baking spray. Line with parchment paper and grease again. Set aside.
  2. Pour the milk, egg whites, almond extract, and vanilla extract into a 2-cup measuring cup. Whisk until blended. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add in the butter and beat at a low speed until the mixture forms moist crumbs. Add all but ½ cup of the milk mixture to the mixer bowl and beat at medium speed for 1½ minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup of milk and beat for 30 seconds more. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again on medium speed for 20 seconds.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between 6 bowls. Add enough of each food gel to each bowl to get the desired colors. Transfer each to a cake pan, depending on how many cake pans you have. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until a cake pan inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Let cool in the pan for 3 minutes. Invert onto a parchment-lined wire rack. Clean out the cake pans and repeat until all of the colors have been baked. Allow cake layers to cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, combine 1 cup of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan. Boil until they reach a temperature of 245F. Meanwhile, start the meringue.
  6. In a clean stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar until they form soft peaks. Slowly pour in the hot sugar/water mixture while the mixer is running on high. Beat the frosting for 10 minutes or until the outside of the bowl has cooled to room temperature.
  7. Beat in the butter by the tablespoon. Pour in the honey. Mix for about a minute, or until the frosting comes together.
  8. To assemble, using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes so they are level. Place the purple layer on an 8-inch cardboard round. Scoop ½ cup of buttercream over the first layer and spread so that it goes just beyond the edges of the cake. Repeat with the blue, green, yellow and orange layers.
  9. Place the red layer on the top, bottom-side up. Using an offset spatula, cover the tops and sides with a very thin layer of frosting (the crumb coat). Place cake in the freezer for 5 minutes so the frosting can set. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting.
Cake from Love & Olive Oil, frosting adapted from these cupcakes
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice


More fun cakes!

the lovers, the dreamers and you rainbow cake

The Lovers, The Dreamers, and You Rainbow Cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Dream Cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Dream Cake

sweet and salty cake

Sweet and Salty Cake

From Around the Web:

Rainbow Mousse Cake from Sugarhero

Extra Rich Vanilla Cake with Rainbow Frosting from In Katrina’s Kitchen

Rainbow Squares from Hungry Rabbit

Rainbow Birthday Cake from I Am Baker

Rainbow Cupcakes For Two from Chocolate & Carrots


Rainbow Cake
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57 Responses to Rainbow Cake

  1. Could this cake be any more gorgeous?! Totally worth your hours in the kitchen;-)

  2. Hurrah for rainbow cakes! I pair mine with cream cheese frosting and it’s always delicious!

  3. Trisha says:

    This is absolutely gorgeous! I want to eat the rainbow!!!

  4. Rainbow cake!!! I would eat this rainbow any day. . Joanne, looks perfect, bright and beautiful!!! TGIF!!!

  5. Zainab says:

    Oh you know I don’t need much convincing when it comes to cakes…especially pretty cakes!!

  6. One of our favorite traditions, I just bought fun rainbow balloons for our annual Rainbow Cake Party. Hooray for big slices of happy.

  7. Kathryn says:

    This is a total stunner of a cake!

  8. Oh my goodness! Oh how fun. I didn’t know you were a skilled baker girl!
    Lovin’ those beautiful layers.
    Have a great weekend!

  9. Erica says:

    Ahhh so colorful and happy! A perfect Friday recipe Joanne! I love this 🙂

  10. Johanna GGG says:

    that is gorgeous – and you might love me for making this but just imagine the love from a 6 year old for a cake like this – maybe one day!

  11. Too freaking fun. I’ve always wanted to make a rainbow cake!!

  12. Beautiful!!!
    How the heck do you have the time to do this? 🙂

  13. I really love your cakes! This one is so happy!

  14. SallyBR says:

    There is NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER that I would try to bake this cake. Still, in my next life, I will come back as a baker and this will be the first cake I’ll make, right after I learn how to walk and reach the kitchen countertop…

    awesome cake! just awesome!

  15. Beth says:

    Awesome cake! And haven’t we all flipped the red batter at some point in our lives?

  16. When I saw sprinkles, the little kid in me started to jump up and down lol. I know crazy, but this cake definitely reminds me of my childhood. I LOVE THIS and I’m making it.

    Kay of Pure & Complex

  17. Sana says:

    What a beautiful cake! I love rainbows and I love cake. It’s the perfect combination.

  18. This cake just brightened my day. It’s beautiful, Joanne!

  19. Heather says:

    Nothing makes me happier than brightly colored cake. One of these days I’m just going to have to ban everyone from the kitchen so I can attempt it. :p

  20. Monica says:

    Gotta love Fridays and I love how you balance eating well and healthy with a little fun and decadence thrown in. Love your vibrant cake – I’d be happy to eat this rainbow. : )

  21. So colourful and tempting! Save me a large slice pleeeeeeeease!

  22. Joanne – that honey swiss meringue buttercream looks divine! I just wanna lick my screen – up until today, I’ve been craving chicken – now I am craving cake!

  23. Katerina says:

    What a beautiful cake!! It is attractive in the eye and I am sure delicious in taste!

  24. Eileen says:

    Eat the rainbow, indeed! This would be such a great surprise at a kid’s party — just frost the cake plain white and watch everyone freak out when it’s sliced. Also, man, is that a lot of egg whites! I hope you’re making lemon curd or something with all the leftover yolks. 🙂

  25. what a fun fun fun cake! love it 🙂

  26. Kelly says:

    Such a fun and gorgeous cake! I love all the layers and sprinkles, so so pretty!

  27. Rainbows brighten everything. So rainbows on a Friday? Pretty much heaven.

  28. Kathy says:

    Ah Joanne…such a pretty cake! Love the honey swiss meringue…sounds wonderful!

  29. This cake makes me so happy! All the sprinkles! And the colors! Eat the rainbow indeed.

  30. I’ve always wanted to make this cake, but I don’t think I have the patience. That frosting though. OMG!

  31. Sues says:

    This is perfectly glorious!! I have a similar, but more ombre-ish, cake planned and this is making me so excited for it 🙂 Obsessed with all those sprinkles!!!!

    Happy Friday 🙂

  32. Kate says:

    I am so with you – once Passover is over.

  33. SOOO BEAUTIOUS! This cake just makes you smile 😀

  34. mira says:

    Your cakes are always beautiful, girl! Love this rainbow 🙂 Pinned!

  35. Whaatt!! This cake is gorgeous! And even though I would have no hair by the end of baking this, it would be so worth it. Okay, this is now on my to-do list. When I find the time.

  36. Christine says:

    Holy Cake! I’m a rainbow freak, so this amazing cake is right up my alley. Can’t believe the amount of time and patience you put into this. So gorgeous, that I pinned it.

  37. Cailee says:

    I love this!! It’s so cute and fun and pretty! 🙂 Gotta love treating yourself sometimes! I’m all about balance and moderation!!

  38. I feel happy just LOOKING at this cake! How much happier would I feel to be offered a slice (do you think it would still taste good if you sent me some? 😉

  39. Katie says:

    Now that’s a happy weekend right there! X

  40. Nicola says:

    I have always wanted to make a rainbow cake. Oh wait… and a sprinkle cake. Hopefully soon I can make them both together!

  41. Chris says:

    This looks beautiful but you should have used Skittles on top….”TASTE THE RAINBOW!” lol.

  42. I love all the colors in this cake and I love rainbows. I wish I could have a slice right now.

  43. Joanne,
    This is truly a work of art! Maybe you should open a bakery! Baking is not my strong suit – nothing seems to come out quite the same when I don’t use sugar or eggs. Hahaaa!!! It’s the darn cravings I get after indulging – even once. I apparently have a very addictive personality when it comes to sugar. I’m so glad I can at least indulge visually at your beautiful site!

  44. Susan says:

    I think the weekend was meant for rainbows…and cakes! Maybe you pulled out your hair but it turned out beautifully.

  45. How could you not smile upon seeing this cake? How fun! What a great way to enjoy the weekend.

  46. Foodiewife says:

    A lot of work? Hell, yes! Worth it? Ditto. Love the colors, and the cake recipe looks amazing. I want!

  47. mjskitchen says:

    What a fun cake! Great job!

  48. Sune Moolman says:

    It’s just so pretty! That frosting looks great! 🙂

  49. Now THIS is a guaranteed way to make me eat the rainbow Every Single Day! And I love that sprinkles picture more than anything. 🙂

  50. grace says:

    this is so much fun, joanne! i’ve made this a few times and while it’s always been pretty (and laborious!!), i’ve never quite gotten a great picture. beautiful work! 🙂

  51. Lynn says:

    That is one pretty cake!

  52. June Burns says:

    Ahhhh that looks perfect! Love all the sprinkles too. Looks like your rainbow cake came out perfect–not so sure I would be able to get those layers together, haha 🙂

  53. Lynnette says:

    This cake looks amazing. I can feel the sugar rush coming on just by looking at it. I often wondered when baking this cake, do you just fill it just below half in the cake pan or do you fill it up like you to bake a single layer cake? I am just counting the colours and envisioning this very tall cake. I will need to work up the courage to make cakes in that size. I have only mastered the loaf, cupcakes and a double layer cake (I forgot to cut the tops off so it wasn’t even and I had parts where icing couldn’t reach. 🙁 Thanks! x

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