Rainbow Cake

4.96 from 21 votes
My Rainbow Cake recipe is an easy birthday cake idea or you can use it for any special occasion!
Gemma's Original Rainbow Cake Recipe

Hi Bold Bakers!

I’m Gemma Stafford, a professionally trained chef from Ireland. I want to show you how to create over-the-top sweet and savory recipes that are sure to impress. My first recipe is an out of this world RAINBOW CAKE that is as beautiful as it is delicious. I know what you’re thinking…Rainbows. Irish. Yes, there’s definitely a pot of gold at the end of this recipe so watch and find out how to begin boldly baking outside of the boxed cake!


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Rainbow Cake

4.96 from 21 votes
My Rainbow Cake recipe is an easy birthday cake idea or you can use it for any special occasion!
Author: Gemma Stafford
My Rainbow Cake recipe is an easy birthday cake idea or you can use it for any special occasion!
Author: Gemma Stafford


  • Amazing Rainbow Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 3 2/3 Cups all purpose flour (or cake flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Cup unsalted butter , melted
  • 2 Large egg
  • 1/2 Cup yogurt plain or sour cream
  • 1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • Food dye (Good quality and concentrated) red, yellow, orange, violet, blue and green
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 lb cream cheese (at room temperature for easy creaming)
  • 1 stick (1/2 Cup) salted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 Cups powdered sugar , sifted
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease and line a 10 inch springform or baking pan. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, baking soda, both sugars and salt.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave and set aside.
  • In a jug ,Whisk in the wet ingredients minus the butter- egg, yogurt, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Towards the end of mixing in the melted butter. The batter will be thick. Do not beat or over mix as this will toughen your cake.
  • Divide the batter into 6 bowls. Add a generous drop of food dye to each bowl. Mix until you have reached your desired color. Try to add enough at the start to avoid over mixing your cake batter.
  • Now for the fun part- Spoon the batter into prepared cake pan, alternating the color. Lay the colors over each other to create a beautiful marbled effect in the end cake.
  • Bake for 1hr 10- 1hr 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This is a thick cake so it will take some time.
  • To make the frosting, beat cream cheese on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer.Add in Butter and beat for 4 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add in the sift powdered sugar spoonful by spoonful and vanilla extract with the mixer running, for 4 minutes roughly.
  • Frost cooled cake as desired. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you wish to use. Cover cake and store at room temperature for up to 7 days.


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Pamela Correa

Pamela Correa

70 thoughts on “Rainbow Cake

  1. Thank u for sharing ur expertise w/us all , I luved making this cake & it turned out wonderful, I have learned alot from u, I make my own buttermilk, & all ur naks, I am Irish ( grandfather was from Dublin), we r a big family & I have been baking & cooking in the kitchen since I was 8yrs.old, I luv baking, sometimes I want something more involved & sometimes I want something easier, I luved the make ur own cookie flavor & it was fun to do w/ the kids ( 4,17,22 & 25 yrs. old,lol), I am excited to start the carrot cake, the 1 from Avoca Headweavers Cafe, I will post how it comes out, wish me luck!!!!

    1. Great to see a bold baker all the way from home, Megean! Delighted to hear that you’re making progress in baking with me!
      Keep up your good work! Can’t wait to see how your carrot cake turns out!
      Best, Gemma

  2. Hi, Gemma. I’m planning on making this for my son’s birthday in 3 6inch rounds. How long should I bake them if I put them all in the oven at once?

  3. Hi Gemma, can I make the different colour layers separately and can I make them in the microwave? I recently tried your microwave red velvet and it was a big hit !!

          1. Hi Gemma,
            I tried it and it turned out pretty amazing. Posting the pictures. Thankyou for this recipe !!

            1. Hi Sasha,
              Thank you for getting back to me. The pictures are taking a little time to post right now as there is a glitch in the process, but I will post it when I see it, thank you,
              Gemma 🙂

  4. We haven’t made this recipe yet, but my son (age 5 3/4) loves your website and wanted me to write a comment. He says “I like rainbow cake!!” We will try this recipe for his birthday. I have never been much of a baker but he is making me learn and improve! Thank you bigger, bolder, baking!!

  5. I have been looking for this! Nothing else even came close to what I had in my mind, until I came across THIS! You’re a lifesaver Gemma. You’re going to make this auntie the favorite auntie❤.

    1. A halved cake will cook much quicker, and could possibly need a lower temperature as well as a decreased cooking time. However, decreased time does not mean reducing it by half, but most likely it would be more than half the time listed in the recipe. So if baking time is 1 hour, you might have to bake it between 40 to 45 minutes. I hope this helps.

  6. Hello Gemma,
    One question: can I refrigerate the batter before baking?
    I wonder because there is butter in the Ingredients and I worry that it will solidify.

  7. Hi Gemma, I have been making a cake similar to this that is a family recipe for 32 years now. I’m the 4th generation to continue the recipe. It’s much larger with no icing. Very dense & moist. Many people over the years would call it a rainbow cake. Family history is a marble cake. There is not one out there to my knowledge that compares. Sorry I can’t share any pictures I took an oath not to reveal the family secret. ????

    1. Hi there,
      Well, an oath is an oath! I love this story, thank you for sharing it with me. We used to have a marble cake too, usually vanilla and chocolate, and very delicious it was too. That too was a dense cake, a bit like a pound cake.
      Gemma <3

  8. Hi Gemma, I’m very fond of your recipies, and they come out really well. I have tried all your oven cupcakes????. This time I tried the rainbow cake , it came out really well , but it was very big in size for the two of us, that’s me and my daughter????‍????. If I want to make half the size of this cake , do I need to take half the amount of baking powder and baking soda as well , or do theys remain the same as in your original recipe and also can I make it in the same 10 inch pan or I need a smaller one. Thanking you

    1. Hi Nadira,
      What a good question!
      You need to halve all of the ingredients in a recipe for best results. I suggest you write out the recipe, and work through all of the ingredients for the measurement system you use, then divide each one. This is how to get it right, it is easy to forget one!
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for appreciating my work. I love ur suggestion of Crumb layer as this will soften the cake and will keep it moist. Please if you can teach us to make pineapple upside down cake.
    Yours loving friend.
    Rabiya ????

    1. Hi Rabiya,
      Thank you for being an active member of the Bold Baking community, I appreciate your being in touch.
      I have pineapple upside down cake on my list. I need to find a Bold way to do it!
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Hello Gemma,
    Made this cake on Eid …nd turned out absolute scrumptious! Not a piece was left behind. This recipe is the best. One thing what I felt was if we bake cake a day before nd then refrigerate it the whole day before frosting, cake got little dry but then it was overcome by the frosting. So wat we should do like sprinkle sugar syrup or milk on the cake before refrigerating?
    Yours truly,

    1. Hi Rabiya,
      I saw your cake, and it looked perfect, well done you.
      I would get this cake ready for the final frosting by using a crumb layer of buttercream all over the cake. This will set up nicely and prepare for the finish coat. It will also keep the cake moist.
      I would not use a sugar syrup for this purpose. Wrap the cake well and it should keep well,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Hi gemma. I made this into cupcakes. It came out too dense and the top was hard. I cooked it for 30 mins. The tooth pick came out clean but still it was like an underbaked raw dough. What could have I done wrong?

    1. Hi there,
      I really cannot say what happened! I do not have sufficient information. This is a soft cake batter, and I cannot figure out how it would not be baked as a cupcake in 30 mins, that would normally be too long, 15 – 20 mins more correct.
      Did you alter the recipe?
      What type of oven did you use?
      I cannot figure this out with your brief description, sorry,
      Gemma 🙂

    1. Hi there,
      That is so good to hear, kids love being in the kitchen with Mom, and the bonus is that one day they will do the baking, and you can put your feet up! Win win,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Hi Gemma,
    I tried making the cake but it dint turn out well. The top layer got burned and one side was still uncooked. What did i do wrong? I am new to baking.
    Thank you

    1. Hi there,
      It sounds like there is something wrong with your oven!
      If oyu bake this, or any cake, at a controlled temperature, then you should have a good result. Some times the thermostat in an oven may be off. If there is someone in your home using the oven for other things they will be able to help you with this. Something is not right, but it will be difficult for me to figure it out, I am sorry,
      Gemma 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for responding to my query. Even though i could not get it right your recipe is very easy to follow. I made cookies following your crazy dough recipe and they came out absolutely delicious. You make baking really easy????

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Thank you for your kind comments.
      I love waffles, and ice cream, and with really good chocolate sauce it is heaven!
      I will add this idea to my list, thank you,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Hey Gemma! How gorgeous this cake is. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe.
    My question is that what brand food dyes you’ve used? I have Wilton icing colors. Can they be used in this recipe?

  14. Hey Gemma! Could you please tell me what brand food dyes you’ve used in this recipe? I have Wilton icing colors. Can they be used in this recipe and give me the same result as yours?

  15. Gemma can i halve this recipe my cakepan is really small 8 inches in length and 1 and a half inches width

  16. Hi Gemma,

    I really love your recipes and I am really excited to try this recipe for my husband’s birthday next week. I have one question though: Can I substitute Vanilla Extract with something else? And also one tsp of lemon/ vinegar should be used in how much milk to make the buttermilk.

    Can’t wait to try this 🙂

    1. Thanks for your question. You can leave the vanilla extract out if you do not have access to it. For every Cup of Buttermilk needed mix 1 cup of regular milk with 2 tablespoons of Lemon juice or white vinegar. Mix and let it stand for a minimum of 30 minutes before using.

  17. I watched one of your videos and you said that you would leave the buttermilk recipe in the description box below but I didn’t see it. So, how do you make buttermilk?

  18. Hi Gemma! This is one of the first videos I’ve watched of yours. This so far is my most favorite. The presentation and music is wonderful. It truly was beautiful to see the different dollops of colored cake batter. Both you and your husband are very talented and I look forward to watching more of your creations!

  19. hi gemma! i would really want you to know that my sister really loves your rainbow cake!!!!!!! her name is Kisha

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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