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


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


  • 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



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


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.


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


While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream frosting.


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



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.


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.


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


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.
1 from 2 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


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


  • 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.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.


  1. Did you bake all the cakes in the oven at the same time? I have little faith in my oven to achieve this successfully all at once, lol.

    1. Shyanne - ATM Team says:

      We do, but you can work in batches as needed!

  2. What size cake pans should I use?🙃

  3. Ashley Ferrell says:

    WELL I BE THIS IS ADORABLE! MY OLDEST DAUGHTER WOULD ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS I THINK I WILL MAKE IT FOR HER DURING PRIDE MONTH AS A LITTLE SURPRISE GIFT TO LET HER KNOW EVEN MORE THAT I SUPPORT HER AND WILL ALWAYS BE ON HER SIDE AND THAT REGARDLESS OF HER DECISIONS I WILL ALWAYS Want her to be happy and and no matter who she loves I want the relationship to be healthy One where she is there partner,best friend,team mate where she feels loved supported understood and at home whoever she’s with needs to be Patient and understanding And supportive. PRIDE MONTH MEANS SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR ME TO ME ITS A MOTHERS LOVE FOR HER CHILD AND PRIDEFUL THAT SHES ALWAYS KNEW WHIS SHE WAS AND WHAT SHE WANTS SHES SO STRONG AND HAS A HUGE HEART SHES SUCH AN OLD SOUL WITH A GIFT FOR NURTURING SHE HAS A GIFT FOR Making anyone feel better during a emotionally draining experience when you are sad or devastated her presence around you you automatically feel better that child has sVed me more times than I can count ❤️ by just simply being there!! I’m so of the woman she has become. So this is my Gift to her to show her how proud of her I am for her being so strong and not caring about what others think So my strong willed flamboyant child is getting a Rainbow cake for Pride month in honor of her coming out of the closet!!

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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 🙂

  7. Dee @ Cocktails with Mom says:

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

  8. 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.

  9. Robin @ Blommi says:

    Wow, I want to make one of these 😀

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

1 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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