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Rainbow cake recipe

Rainbow cake recipe

973 ratings

This vibrant, six-tiered rainbow cake is a guaranteed showstopper. The delicious layers of moist, colourful sponge are sandwiched with a lightly whipped cream cheese icing, making a super impressive celebration cake. Learning how to make rainbow cake is so much easier than it looks! See method

  • Serves 18
  • 1 hr 20 mins to prepare and 30 mins to cook
  • 602 calories / serving
  • Vegetarian


For the cakes

  • 360g butter, softened
  • 360g caster sugar
  • 360g self-raising flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40ml milk
  • red food colouring gel
  • orange food colouring gel
  • yellow food colouring gel
  • green food colouring gel
  • blue food colouring gel
  • violet food colouring gel

For the icing

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 220g full-fat cream cheese
  • 700g icing sugar, sieved
No self-raising flour? Add 2 tsp baking powder for every 150g plain flour

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    32g 46%
  • Saturates

    19g 96%
  • Sugars

    62g 69%
  • Salt

    0.3g 5%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 79.8g Protein 2.8g Fibre 0.7g


  1. Heat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and base line three 20cm sandwich tins.
  2. Put 180g of the butter into a bowl with 180g of caster sugar, 180g flour, 3 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract and 20ml milk. Beat, using a hand-held electric mixer, until light and creamy.
  3. Divide the mixture equally between three bowls. Add red food colour to the first bowl, orange to the second and yellow to the third. Add only ¼ tsp of colour at a time until you reach the desired shade. Mix well. Pour each bowl of sponge mix into a prepared tin and spread to level. Bake all three in the oven for 12–15 mins, or until firm to the touch. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. Using the remaining cake ingredients, repeating the process to make three more sponges. Colour these green, blue and violet.
  5. To make the icing, put the butter and cream cheese into a bowl and beat until smooth. Add half the icing sugar and mix well. Then, add the remaining icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  6. Place the violet sponge on a cake board or plate and spread with a little icing. Place the blue sponge on top. Continue layering this way, following the colours of the rainbow. Spread a thin layer of icing around the sides of the cake and chill until firm.
  7. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. Chill until firm.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or icing if called for. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.

Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to add icing or decoration, add them after the baked goods have fully defrosted and are at room temperature.

See more Baking recipes

As part of a healthy balanced diet, we recommend this recipe for a special occasion or treat.

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