Natural Rainbow Layer Cake: Picture Perfect Pastels

rainbow layer cake
Celebrate spring’s arrival with a colorful rainbow cake! This pastel beauty uses natural dyes made from everyday fruits and vegetables. I love the subtle pastel hue of each layer, and the clean all-natural flavors. But it’s not just beautiful — this lighter rainbow cake is moist, tender, and flavorful — perfect for your next party!

This recipe makes a giant six layer 8″ cake, which is really big and really tall. We mostly served it in two 3 layer sections, or very long, rectangular pieces. Feel free to halve the recipe and use smaller cake pans. In fact, feel free to adapt the recipe in any way you like. With a blender, some fruits and vegetables, and milk I made my easy dyes, and there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t work just as well in any recipe that uses a decent amount of milk, though a yolk-less “white” cake may transmit the colors best.

This recipe makes a lot of batter, so you may want to divide into 2 batches. I made it all at once, and it was a bit much.

And finally, try not to worry when you see that the layers are light brown on the outside — the centers will be pastel beautiful.


Rainbow Layer Cake with Natural Dyes
(adapted from Itsy Bitsy Foodies)

for the natural dyes
red –1/3 cup steamed beets, grated fine, plus 1/3 cup milk
orange — 1/3 cup carrots, grated fine, plus 1/3 cup milk
yellow — 2 egg yolks, plus 1/3 cup milk
green — 1 cup raw spinach, washed, dried, and well chopped, plus 1/3 cup milk
blue — 3/4 cup blueberries, cooked 3 minutes, or until juices are released, plus 1/3 cup milk
violet — 1/2 cup blueberries, cooked as above, and 2 tablespoons steamed beets, grated, plus 1/3 cup milk

For each color, combine 1/3 cup milk and the coloring agent in a blender, and blend well. Rinse the blender well between each layer. Pour individual colors into jars and set aside while you prepare the cake batter.

for the white cake
7 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
4 egg whites
3 tablespoons neutral oil
2/3 cups milk
1 cup plain yogurt
5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour six 8″ cake pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. ӬӬIn a small bowl, combine the yogurt and milk and set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes (If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.). Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes, until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Add the egg whites, and beat until well combined. Add the vanilla. With mixer on low, add half the flour, half the yogurt mixture, the remaining flour, and the remaining yogurt mixture. Mix on low until ingredients are fully combined.

The dough will be quite thick at this point. Divide the dough into half, and then divide each half into thirds, for a total of 6 equal portions of just over 2 cups each (At this point, I prepared and baked 3 of the layers, and then the next 3. If you have the cake pans/oven capacity for all 6 at once, go for it). Set each portion into a small bowl and mix 1/3 a cup of the prepared milk dye into each one. Do your best to fully combine the milk, but not over mix.

Spoon each layer into the prepared cake pan, and bake for roughly 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mix and bake all the layers (being sure to keep track of which color is which), and then allow each to completely cool on a rack. Once layers are completely cool, wrap them in plastic and stick in the freezer (chilled cake will be easier to work with), taking care to keep each layer flat, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. I used a classic buttercream, like this one, for my layers and crumb coat, and a sweetened whipped cream for the outer layer.

Once layers are cool, assess and trim any if needed. Then stack the layers with buttercream in between, spread on the crumb coat, chill for 30 minutes, add the whipped cream, and serve.

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