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This rainbow cake is a show-stopping crowd-pleaser. Not only does it look out of this world, but it tastes amazing, too. It will be hard to resist a second slice!

slice of rainbow layer cake served on a white round plate with a silver fork

Rainbow cake is one of those cakes that is great for pretty much all occasions. It’s fun, exciting, and pretty delicious. The cake couldn’t be easier to make too. The colorful layers are made from a doctored boxed cake mix that gets their colorful additions from food coloring. In between the orange, yellow, green, and blue layers is super fluffy buttercream frosting. Each bite of this cake is truly better than the last.

cross section showing rainbow layer cake served on a white cake stand

SIMPLE RAINBOW CAKE RECIPE

The rainbow cake recipe takes a classic boxed cake mix and doctors it up a little to make it even better. The recipe takes the boxed cake mix and adds sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and water to make a super fluffy and moist cake.

To get all of the colorful layers in this cake, you’ll need to have six cake pans. After you mix the cake, divide the batter evenly among six bowls and add an equal amount of food coloring to each bowl. You can use any kind of food coloring, but gel food coloring will provide the strongest color in the cake. With the cake batter ready to go, add it to the six cake pan and place it in the oven to bake. While the cake is baking, make the frosting so it will be ready to go once the cake is cooled completely.

ingredients to make rainbow layer cake

INGREDIENTS

  • White cake mix – the white cake will hold the food coloring the best.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sour cream – keeps the cake nice and moist.
  • Eggs
  • Gel food coloring
  • Buttercream frosting
steps to make rainbow layer cake
steps to make the rainbow layer cake frosting

HOW TO MAKE A RAINBOW CAKE

1. MAKE THE CAKE BATTER

Add the boxed cake mix to a bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients. Stir together well using a whisk or electric mixer

2. ADD THE FOOD COLORING

Distribute the cake batter evenly among six bowls and add an equal amount of food coloring to each. Each color will be a different layer of the cake. When the color is evenly distributed, add the batter to six or eight-inch round cake pans.

3. BAKE THE CAKES

Bake the cakes in the oven until a toothpick comes out clean. Take out of the oven and let the cakes cool completely.

4. MAKE THE FROSTING

While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream frosting.

5. FROST THE CAKE

When the rainbow cake is cool, start frosting the cake. Add a dab of frosting to the bottom layer to secure the cake. Then add frosting to one layer at a time, starting with the frosting in the middle and spreading it out to the edges. Add the layers as you go. Once all of the layers are added, use the frosting to add a small crumb coat to the cake and let sit in the refrigerator to chill. After about 30 minutes, add the remaining frosting. Add sprinkles and decorations if desired.

rainbow cake served on a cake stand with a slice of cake being taken out with a cake spatula

FAQ

WHAT IS THE TASTE OF RAINBOW CAKE?

Rainbow cake may have a whole lot of colors going on, but the cake itself tastes basically just like a vanilla cake. Since the cake mix is white cake and the frosting is plain buttercream, it is a rather simple cake when it comes to flavor. Feel free to add extracts or flavorings into the batter and frosting to add flavor to the cake.

WHAT IS RAINBOW CAKE?

A rainbow cake is a cake full of different colors of the rainbow. Most rainbow cakes are layered with colors like red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. The colors are stacked into cake layers to make show off each color of the rainbow when you slice into it.

HOW DO I STORE RAINBOW CAKE?

A rainbow cake can be stored just like any other plain cake with frosting. The cake will last about a week in an airtight container. You could freeze the cake as well. Simply slice any leftovers and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw when you are craving a sweet treat!

slice of rainbow layer cake served on a white round plate

MORE RAINBOW TREATS 

Rainbow Layer Cake

This rainbow cake is a show-stopping crowd-pleaser. The taste and look of this rainbow layer cake are out of this world.
No ratings yet
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Kasey Schwartz

Ingredients  

  • 2 boxes white cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • gel food coloring
  • 4 eggs

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to the temperature on the back of the cake box. Prepare and grease the cake pans. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, sour cream, and eggs. Mix well to combine.
  • Evenly distribute the batter into six bowls to make all of the colors. Add the desired amount of food coloring to each bowl and mix until the color is smooth.
  • Add the batter to the pan for each color and bake according to the package on the back of the cake mix box.
  • Let the cake cool completely before frosting the cake with buttercream frosting. Frost the cake, first with a crumb coat, and then with the remaining frosting. Top with sprinkles if desired.
Keyword: cake, cake recipe, layered dessert, rainbow cake
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

Hi, Iā€™m Kasey, Founder of All Things Mamma – where I am dishing up family favorite recipes that are easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients. Plus – tips and tricks for living your best life!

Comments

  1. I’m not understanding what the sour cream is for. The directions say to mix all ingredients together according to box directions, but box direction don’t require sour cream? If you could clarify it would be appreciated. I am making this for my daughters 4th Birthday party this weekend. Thank you!

    1. HI Kerry! The sour cream is for moistness. I think it give it a little more flavor as well. You could leave it out if you choose. Good luck!

  2. This looks so easy, thanks for sharing. I want to make one for the kids and surprise them!

  3. wow! look at that… i will defintely make this cake for my nephews on thier next birthday.
    I just thought about making an “house cake” with a red roof and green windows šŸ™‚

  4. Dee @ Cocktails with Mom says:

    Looks Yummy! My kids would get a kick out of this.

  5. Hi Kasey, thanks for the idea, I always try to think of a cool cake for the kids that won’t be super difficult to made. By the way do you use any special coloured gels?

    1. HI Jo! Yes, I use the food coloring gels from Wilton. They always turn out bright and colorful.

  6. Robin @ Blommi says:

    Wow, I want to make one of these šŸ˜€

    1. You should, Robin! They are yummy, too!

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