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Rainbow Cake in a Jar

By Brooke McLay |

I’ve always had a penchant for sunshine in a jar. Doesn’t the very phrase itself, “sunshine in a jar,” roll off your tongue and fill your mouth with magic? While I’ve never yet found myself a sunshine in a jar, I think we may have just concocted it in our kitchen tonight. In this simple recipe, a basic white cake is turned into a slew of bright colors, baked to perfection, then topped with a creamy white frosting.

Cakes baked in jars can be topped with traditional metal canning lids and stored in the fridge for up to five days.  They make a great treat to ship to someone, so long as you can ensure delivery to it’s final destination within 3 days. Of course, you don’t have to do anything special with your cake-in-a-jar. There’s something lively & different about serving personal-sized batched of cake in glass mason jars.  They make for great dinner party conversations and ever better after-school suprises for your kiddos. Especially this one. Because, who doesn’t love sunshine in a jar?

Rainbow Cake in Jar

  • 1 box white cake mix made according to package instructions
  • Neon food coloring in pink, yellow, green, turquoise, and purple
  • 3 one-pint canning jars
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • Rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry the inside of each canning jar. Spray the inside of each jar thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Scoop about 1/2 cups of cake batter into five small bowls. It doesn’t have to be perfect, don’t panic if you get a little more of less of one color than another.  Tint each bowl of cake batter with the food coloring until very vibrant.

Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the purple batter into the bottom of each jar.  Spoon equal amounts of turquoise batter, then green, yellow, and pink.  Place the jars in a shallow baking dish, add about 1/4″ in water in the baking dish. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Remove jars and allow to cool completely before scooping a small portion from the top of your cake and adding a hefty dollop of vanilla buttercream to the top. Sprinkle & serve, or cover with a lid and store in the fridge or pop into the mail & surprise someone you love!

POST EDIT: Several commenters have indicated that the cake is not cooking all the way through in the 30-35 minutes indicated in the recipe.  This was enough time for our cake, but I’m cooking at high altitudes, and my oven tends to bake hot.  So, I’d recommend baking the cake for 40 minutes, then return it to the oven if it still doesn’t spring back to the touch when you check to see if it’s finished.  As for the cake puffing up and out of it’s bottle, ours did that a bit, as well.  Easy fix. We just scooped a bit of the cake out to make room for the frosting and wiped the outside of our jars clean.  Several people have indicated that the wide-mouthed mason jars work a little better for this purpose.  I’ve not yet baked with wide-mouthed. What you see above is what was baked in my kitchen according to the recipe instructions, and what came out of the oven when it was all.   Of course, if you’re feeling wildly impatient, you can also zap the cake in the microwave for 2 minutes.  It’s going to bubble up, for sure, but you can scoop the top part of that cake out, frost it, and no one will ever be the wiser. Good luck, everyone! This is such a fun cake. My kids went nuts over it, and I hope it works as beautifully for you as it did for us!

For even more great desserts in a jar, check out our slideshow “Contain Yourself! 15 beyond-exciting desserts in a jar!”










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About Brooke McLay


Brooke McLay

Brooke McLay is a recipe developer, food writer, food photographer, and cooking show host for Babble, General Mills, and Good Cook. You can find and follow her latest whims at Cheeky Kitchen. Read bio and latest posts → Read Brooke's latest posts →

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193 thoughts on “Rainbow Cake in a Jar

  1. JulieVR says:

    You are crazy! these are awesome! I want to have a 70s psychedelic party and serve these!

  2. Kathleen says:


  3. sheila says:

    I love this idea. I’m going to try it in baby food jars for my sons 1st bd coming up. A mini cake for everyone!

  4. Cammie says:

    I have made other types of cake in a jar. Some can keep for months if properly stored. This cake would be really cool if it was done in the wide mouth quart canning jars, because then you can pop it out and the slices would be so cool. Thanks for a great idea..

  5. Michelle says:

    What a fun idea!! Love it!!
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. Sue says:

    I LOVE this!

  7. Katie says:

    this is the perfect thing to send to my brother for his birthday this week, he’ll love it!

  8. Bright Shadows says:

    That looks so pretty, I love how you can see the colours right away. And if you don’t finish it you can put a lid on the jar and take it to go! Awesome.

  9. Jael Cain says:

    Love it will definetly try this

  10. Windi says:

    Okay, so did anyone who commented actually try this… do tell how it worked out for you…..

  11. Nina from says:

    WONDERFUL idea !! Will definitely try this sooon!

    Recently posted a great vanilly cupcake recipe which guarantees nice domes :-)

    Stop by :-)

  12. Eddy says:

    i did the recipe and for some reason when i let the cake cool, they shrunk in the jars! anyone know why?

  13. Elena says:

    Did anyone care to think that the jars would break from the heat in the oven?

  14. Erin says:

    OMG! LOVE these. (where I work) has been doing a bunch of rainbow stuff lately. We have your post featured on our Facebook page!
    Check it out!!/Tablespoon

    These are the recipe……

  15. Ninah from says:

    At ELENA:
    Exactly, thats what I was thinking. Because today I kept a glass of joghurt instead of throwing it away and I wanted to try the cake in a jar as well.
    I dont know whether I can use normal, ordinary glasses/jars from the supermarket that had joghurt or other stuff in them…
    Does anybody know??

    Just baked sugar cookies and coka cola cupcakes…they are soooo delicious!!
    Will post the recipes on in a couple days.

    Greetings everyone

  16. Kate says:

    Love, love love!!!!! My kids will go nuts over these! :)

  17. Lauren says:

    @ Elena
    the jars should be able to withstand the heat in the oven as they shouldve been annealed in a lehr previous to them going on sale, also the placing them in a tin of water helps

  18. Kim says:


  19. Katie says:

    This is probably the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. My friend and I have started this tradition where we send treats back and forth in the mail (she’s in Pensacola and I’m in Orlando) just as a Thinking of You! type thing. In the last box I got she had put mini cupcakes inside mini mason jars and I’ve been stumped with what to send back because I’m worried about the Florida heat. But this is perfect (sans icing)! I’m super excited to hear about her reaction when she opens the box and finds these beauties. Thanks for the great idea! <3

  20. J says:

    You don’t get colors as vibrant as those from food coloring? Are you sure your didn’t use food color gel? Please clarify.

  21. ELBSeattle says:

    That looks revolting.

  22. Nadia says:

    Oh my word these look amazing! What an cool idea

  23. Nadia says:

    Oh my word these look amazing! What an cool idea

  24. Cookie Monster says:

    These are awesome! I already have so many ideas for holidays….green & red alternating color cake for xmas… & orange for halloween..etc.

    @ J…. it’s NEON food coloring which is more vibrant than just regular ol’ food coloring. :)

  25. Madoline Madigan says:

    You’re so clever! I know some people I just have to send these to!

  26. Bee says:

    These are AMAZING! I’m always on the lookout for stuff that our kids club can make and this is now top of my list! Thank you so much for sharing! And I definately think baby food jars is the way to go for kids!

  27. L says:

    SUPER cute idea. My 11 year old daughter and I used this as our “Girl’s Night In” recipe and had SO much fun! We just made these tonight and ran into a few problems. The cakes were “runny” in the middle…not completely cooked through and once they cooled they shrunk terribly as someone else had mentioned.

    For filling the jars, we found that using an ice cream scoop cut down on getting the sides “messy” and spinning the jars a few times helped to level the layers out nicely.

  28. Barbara says:

    I ran into the same problems. The first batch came out severely undercooked and then shrank a lot. The next batch I bumped the heat up about 10 degrees, and baked them for 40 minutes, and they STILL came out undercooked and while they were baking the cake batter ERUPTED out of the mason jars. I am so disappointed :( Any tips so my NEXT attempt doesn’t fail?

  29. Lauren says:

    @Bee and @Elena I would stick with canning jars for anything baked, as the glass is tempered to withstand higher temperatures than normal. Food storage jars off the grocery store shelf may shatter in your oven. That said, I’ve done pies in the 4 oz wide mouth jars, and they were adorable- a bigger hit with the adults than with the kids. I think it’s the portion control factor that made the small jars so attractive.

  30. vedette says:

    I tried making one of these awhile ago and it shrank drastically when I placed it on my jar, what am I doing wrong?

  31. Jane says:

    I recently discovered mason jars and am obsessed! I can’t wait to try this out it looks yummy, I’m now always looking up new ways to use them lol

  32. sam says:

    I just made these and am not sure how to post my pics. I used regular jars off the grocery store shelf. If following the instructions of putting water in the baking dish you should be fine with any type of glass jar. Mine came out 70′s looking dark on the outside but as soon as you take a piece off the top the inside is really cool. I made them because I’m headed to the beach for 5 days and while there have a niece celebrating her 9th so this is absolutely perfect. Put a lid on and they travel. I know I didn’t layer the mix correctly as it didn’t look close to the picture but it is ok. The inside is bright and swirly with colors. I’ll try to post pics and thanks so much to whoever was the original poster.

  33. CK Bakery Shop says:

    We at do something close. It is our “Stars N Stripes” cake. We swirl the batter. Our Facebook page has pictures of it. This is a really cute recipe. Thanks for sharing!!

  34. Denine M. Anderson-Regan says:

    Oh my – I just HAVE to make these for my kids birthday parties this year. How fun!!

  35. Beth says:

    Oh, dear Lord these are SO FREAKIN ADORABLE!

    I love to bake and look for fun and unique recipes! I will DEFINITELY bookmark this page to keep for whenever I want to make something fun and different for family and friends!

  36. ANGRY GOD says:

    It´s pathetic

  37. Candi says:

    Mine are not quite like the pictures :(
    They are darker and they shrunk… Any help? These were the trial runs so I need to perfect them for end of year teacher gifts. Thanks!

  38. Z says:

    The colours of my cake definitely did not turn out like the picture. They came out a little brown, but that’s to be expected.

  39. lisa says:

    isnt there a recipe for the cake? I cant get cake mixes like that here in germany, and I would rather make it myself, would ordinary sponge cake work? Awsome idea, cant wait to try it out.

  40. haylea says:

    I made these last night but they didn’t turn out as pretty, they browned all over the sides. Could it have been because i used vanilla cake mix instead of white? I’ll be trying again tonight because it’s such a wonderful idea.

  41. Rita says:

    Super cute idea, and I attempted to make a few tonight, BUT…how do you get them to come out so “pretty”? Like others have stated, the sides browned a bit and the colors are not as crisp as the picture…the colors are definitely vibrant once cut into. I sprayed the jars before pouring the batter, and the jars were placed in a water-bath while in the oven. Any suggestions? Would really like to try them again, but with better results. :)

  42. Sarah says:

    Just tried my first batch…..the colors ran horribly when I tried to “layer” them. The cake mix was way too runny. I added corn starch and flour to each color, and the consistency was MUCH better for layering. I would def recommend doing this!

  43. jen @ onecurlyfry says:

    I love love love cake! What a cute idea. I’ll have to give it a shot!

  44. Kris says:

    Who on earth would like to eat such thing. Looks radioactive!

  45. Leah says:

    I want to send one in the mail to my friend across the country, but I’m worried that it might mold :/ how long do they last and still taste good? It would need to survive over 6 days in the post.

  46. jennibell says:

    AWESOME! Thank you for the great spring/summer idea ;)

  47. Meli says:

    I cannot get over these. They are sooooo beautiful. I just wanna stare at them.

  48. Heidi says:

    I made these as instructed. They baked up really thoroughly and I thought I was in the clear. However, once they had cooled the condensation from the cooling process moistened some of the batter at the bottom of the jar quite drastically, to the point where I can’t give these as gifts in the morning. I know they were cooked through because while one was still warm I couldn’t help myself and had to dig in! :) It was cooked all the way to the bottom. Also, they shrank quite dramatically. After an hour I thought they were cool and they had shrunk slightly; however, by the time I went back to frost them – several hours later – they had shrunk more.

    I used the gel food coloring to keep the colors vibrant. I found that even though I assembled the batter in a layered fashion the cakes ended up all mixed up – which was fine; it was cute, too. Just not as pictured.

    If I were doing this over again I’d buy the wide-mouth jars. When they came out of the oven I’d attempt to pop them out of the jars to cool. Once they had cooled I’d put them back in the jars. I think this might help with the batter problems I seemed to have, and possibly the shrinking issues.

  49. Peechee says:

    I also would like to know how long these would stay fresh if it was sent in the mail? Will it be ok 6 days later in the mail as Leah above had questioned?

    Should it be first put in the refrigerator before mailing or just get it to room temp after baking and then put the cover on and then ship out?

    Please help. I love this idea and would love to create and send this out for all the dad’s I know for father’s day.

    1. Brooke McLay says:

      Up to three days, Peechee. You’ll want to expedite them in the mail to ensure the utmost freshness.

  50. CatyDid says:

    I tried this tonight for my friend’s birthday. My local grocer doesn’t carry neon food dye, so I anticipated my colors to be a bit darker than pictured here. I used a larger jar than suggested, so I cooked it a few minutes longer. The outsides did indeed brown a little, so the colors appear even darker. But when I scooped the top off to make room for the icing, the inside was surprisingly bright! All in all I am very satisfied with this idea. My gratitude to Brooke Mclay for sharing this grand idea!

  51. Andrea says:

    OMGoodness….the jars are in the oven and they are looking AWESOME! I live in southern LA, below sea level (lol)…so I definitely had to go with the 40 minutes! My son is giving this to his teacher with a note attached saying “You take the cake!”…thanks so much for this idea!

  52. newbie says:

    These are quite cool and fun to make, did them for a friends birthday. Thanks for the idea. However, they turn out much much darker then expected, and not nearly as neatly layered as the ones in the picture.

  53. Francesca says:

    Made banana bread in a jar. Came out great, a tad dry from fridge storage, best to eat same day. luv ya.

  54. Melinda says:

    These were an amazing idea! Although, I did have a little bit of a problem when putting in the batter. How do you put the batter so the colors so blend so much?

  55. Laura Flowers says:

    Brooke you are the coolest mom ever. I love all your colorful ideas!

    Laura Flowers

  56. Bettie says:

    These are adorable. So glad that I stumbled onto your sight! Your ideas are precious. Can’t wait to try them!

  57. PJ says:

    I am thinking about making these for my daughter’s 14th bday party. Can someone please tell me about how many one batch of cake makes??

  58. jason says:

    this DID NOT work for me at all!): i was so excited. i’ve attempted it about 4 times now and it’s just not working! i am sad!

  59. becky says:

    Mine came out browned too – and HUGE – and the colors mixed together. I’m going to try again, adding the flour and corn starch to make it thicker, then I’m going to cook in the microwave to avoid browning. Or I’ll cook at a slightly lower temp; my oven runs hot.

  60. Lynette says:

    If you leave the frosting off and put the lids before the cake cools they will seal and will be good for months and can be mailed to our troops over seas.

  61. Lisa Dawn says:

    I tried this today with an 8 oz jar. I only made one jar’s worth since I had a cake recipe that made 2 servings of cake (which was the perfect amount for one 8 oz jar). While the colors may not have been as brilliant as the pictures above, they were definitely very vivid. My main problem was with the layering of the colors. I had blue on the bottom, then pink, then purple, then green. When it cooked, the blue and green dominated but once you started eating it, there were swirls of pink and purple on the inside. I think the 8oz jars work perfect for this. I filled them a little less than half way, and the cake rose to about a 1/4 inch from the top. I’ll be making 6 of these on Thursday for a friends birthday, so we’ll see if I can figure the layering thing out better.

  62. Heather says:

    Ok so I made these today and for some reason my green on the bottom shows more than the other colors… Idk why but gonna try again next week but gonna layer them different….. I think I am gonna put the batter in to bags and squeeze in several different layers.. Green purple blue pink repeat… Will let ya know…..

  63. Tara says:

    Can You use a baby food jar

  64. Melanie says:

    I made this today with short and fat 16 oz jars; one box of white cake mix made three jars. I baked each jar separately to make sure they were evenly baked.
    The first time, the colors were very dark and the bottom of the cake mix did not bake all the way.
    The second time, the colors were a little better because I added more dye but the cake then boiled over the top making a mess.
    The third time I used a lot more neon dye and the pink was gorgeous when it came out.
    I don’t know if it would work for every color, but using more dye made the colors more vivid. However, they still were a little brown and I did not like how they looked.
    I don’t know what I was doing wrong but my colors definitely did not turn out like the picture. I think from now on I will be making rainbow cupcakes instead. So this was not a total waste! Good idea though, looks so cute if it is done right.

  65. Amber says:

    I was so excited to do this until I started reading the reviews. Now I’m scared to try it! Maybe I will any how ;)

  66. mercedes says:

    sorry you didn’t mention anything about the glass. i once happened to cook something inside a glass recipient in the oven and it wasn’t heat proof so it broke. does it have to be heat proof glass or it worked just fine for you with regular jars?

  67. שף בבית says:

    i love all the bright colors. i also posted a few similar things at my site : . loving the original idea. great post.

  68. breanna says:

    i can’t get enough of this!! i just had to share it with my readers too!

  69. Chelsea j. says:

    I did a practice set of these today for my daughters tie dye party. I used 6 half pint jars instead of 3 pint jars. They turned out so cute! I had no problems with them at all. I used the neon dye. They erupted over the sides, as to be expected, but cleaned them up and they are adorable! I also swirled the jar around each time I put a new color, to make sure each color shows. Sine they were smaller,

  70. Chelsea j. says:

    Oops I meant since they were smaller I baked for 16 mins to start, put them back in for 5, then 3 more, for a total of 24 mins. Seemed to do the trick! Thanks soo much for sharing!

  71. Joanna says:

    A little late to the game I see, but my little man and I just finished our first batch of these and they are BEAUTIFUL! So they did brown a little (cake does that, weird!) and I left too much room in the jars, so… extra frosting! They’re not perfect, but since the delighted taste testers of my practice runs are 7 and 4, NO complaints until I can get them just right! Thank you so so much for posting this simply adorable recipe! =]

  72. carrie cook says:

    What a mess!!! I followed directions exactly…the bottom colour, purple, rose 2/3 of the way up the jar…the blue and green barely visible, and the top 2 colours barely showed. they appeared more tie dyed than rainbow. The second batch did not bake all the way thru but bubbled over…..and also, as many others stated…the cake shrank away from the jar…a lot. As slices, once removed from the jar…the cake was very pretty bit that defeats the entire purpose of cake in a jar! Does anyone have any solutions???

  73. I DON'T BAKE OFTEN says:

    Wait, so are you telling me that I can just microwave the cake INSTEAD of baking it? Would all the preparation steps be exactly the same, and would it come out the same way?
    I mean, if that’s the case, I know what I’m doing…

  74. B.J. says:

    I made 12 little 8 oz RAINBOW CAKES IN A JAR and they were PERFECT, AWESOME, and DELICIOUS ! :D I had NO problems with the jars turning brown AT ALL ! I followed CHELSEA J.’s advice a few post above here and adjusted the baking time as she did. I *think* I added 3 mins once more and TA DA !!! :) As for the ‘turning brown’ problem, I sprayed my little jars LIGHTLY with BAKER’S JOY [has flour in it] and again…. mine came out perfect !

    I wish we could post pictures here, but if you’ll go to DUNCAN HINES on FB… I posted my picture on their wall. GOOD LUCK guys & gals… I WILL be making these again and using different colors.

  75. Lindsey says:

    This looks awesome! We saw this on Pinterest and are going to have to try it soon! Love the look of the mason jars…


  76. concerned eater says:

    how do i eat it?

  77. Lexy says:

    this wont break? I keep breaking glass because i put it through too much heat :<

  78. Hannah says:

    I made these at the weekend and they were great! I’ve made rainbow cake before so used a normal cake recipe (125g sugar/butter/ self raising flour, 2 tsps baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 egg, bit of milk) and they made 6 gorgeous cakes! I would advise putting boiling water in the oven instead of normal water, and having the oven very hot. :)

  79. Alicia says:

    Awesome! I came across this on stumbleupon earlier today. Now, 4 of my friends and I are making them. :) We’re using a turkey baster to insert all the colors into the jar! Tell you how it turns out soon. We’re super excited about. We’re going to SF Pride tomorrow so it’s perfectly festive.

  80. Sunny Haynes says:

    We made several batches of these now and they are turning out great … except for the layering. Any ideas?.

  81. Jennifer says:

    Making these for 4th of July in red white and blue. :-)

  82. shawn says:

    Can I use baby food jars?

  83. Polly says:

    Super awesome !! Thank you for sharing !! I have a question?? Can I put the frosting and then send it out to my mom in Arizona I live in Texas ?? I just don’t want the cake nor the frosting to go bad ???

  84. Lindsey @ Why Just Eat says:

    I’ve been looking for something fun to do for my daughter’s 6th birthday – I think this will be on our menu for sure!

  85. angelique523 says:

    Put the lid on it and send it to me please!

  86. Teresa says:

    My mom and I are hosting a bridal shower this Sunday, and a few weeks ago we were trying to figure out what to make as the dessert. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this page and fell in LOVE with this recipe! The only thing we really did differently aside from using wide-mouthed jars (it’s all we could find after hunting through nearly half a dozen different store chains!) was instead of rainbow colors, we went with teal and white stripes. (Teal is the Bride’s favorite color/wedding colors, and white because – well, it’s a wedding shower!) Tonight is the test run to make sure they turn out alright before we serve them to guests – in other words, it’s a chance to eat cake before the bridal shower happens! haha. I’ll post an update once the shower occurs and hopefully I’ll send some pictures if I get the time to take some! :)

  87. ladiebuggg888 says:

    I have made a similar recipe for cake in a jar and if you handle it all properly, you can turn put a seal lid and a ring on them, turn them over on a towel and they will self can themselves from the heat of the jar. my kids were eating them for a few months. they did do the shrinkage thing and there was some condensation in the jars but my girls are not fussy and still loved them

  88. Jess says:

    My question is: can you send frosting in the jar like this? Or if I sent it to a friend should they put on the frosting themselves?

    This looks delicious btw!

  89. Sharon says:

    This is the most fun I have had in a long time with a birthday cake! I used jelly jars and they cooked up great!! I wish I would have thought of jars to send birthday cakes to my kids when they were first at college. The 19 year old is going to love her cake in a jar!

  90. lauren says:

    I was wondering if a marshmallow Fluff jar is too small for this recipe?

  91. Amanda says:

    After reading these reviews, I am kind of nervous to do this recipe. I plan to make a cake in a jar for my boyfriend’s birthday, but decided that I am going to try and take a core out of the jar so that there is frosting throughout the entire cake. It may not go well, but at least it will be fun.

  92. brittany says:

    this looks awsome!! i am soo going to try this lol :)

  93. Briny says:

    I’m gonna try this with my kids this week!
    I just link up to you from my post


  94. Grace says:

    this is super awesome!

    thanks for sharing


  95. Bethany says:

    ok so our stripes all blended to one nasty color…any tips?

  96. Anita L. Williams says:

    Use a skewer to poke down in the middle of the cake to test if it’s done. I can think of all kinds of fun things to do with this idea. Thanks!

  97. Capability says:

    Love this! I made Whisk Kid’s rainbow cake which is gorgeous but way more work! I have some smaller mason jars and think this is a great idea – Thanks!!

  98. StinaStew says:

    Made these earlier this week w/my hubby & we layered, however, the layers didn’t work even close to what the pic displays. Our bottom color was prominent & others kinda just went in the middle. Once baked, the outside still had the same prominent color, but the middle was neat. It was sort of like tye-dye. We used only 3 jars for the cake mix bc it was about as full as the pic on here, but grew out of the top of the jar! This time, we are trying 1 color for each of the 4 jars this time. Going to see if that makes a difference. Still fun concept!

  99. omar says:

    love your post..
    and i have here a good book

  100. Miss Cuisine says:

    I am impressed with the beautiful results, congratulations. I put forward on my French blog with a link to this article (

  101. Lorrie Scott says:

    I need to try this with the neon dye. I have baked cakes in jars since the 80′s. If you use potholders and put the canning jar lids and rings on them, straight from boiling water, when the cake comes hot from the oven, and place the seals on, they will ping like jam, and will have a much longer shelf life…sealed and sterile!

  102. kelli says:

    I made these today!!! So cute!!! But after i let them cool a bit, i frosted and put a lid on the jar and when I went to serve them later they had shrunk inside the jar!! Like they got skinny in there…has that happened to anyone else? Any suggestions??

  103. Candin says:

    I saw this image on pinterest and tracked it down to here! I loved it so much that I featured it on my blog below! Thanks for the creativity!!

  104. Jessica Lang says:

    I made these today and they looked horrible!! I put the layers bottom to top…purple, pink, blue, yellow, green…and they turned out like a big brown blob. What did I do wrong?

  105. Justmyperfectwedding says:

    I loved it.
    I featured it in our blog with more than 1500 notes and people loving it!:)

    you’re welcome:D

  106. Diane says:

    omg i love it!!!! i will be trying this very soon , thank you so much

  107. gudrun says:

    do you put the jar in the oven ?

  108. Andrea says:

    Has anyone tried this with the natural food colorings? My daughter can’t have artificial dyes but can have the natural food based dyes. I know they won’t be vibrant like these but would they work?

  109. Becca says:

    I made these yesterday in the half pint jars for our sons 8th birthday. I used 1 less color in the layering process. They were a hit with the family. The only complaint was that they were a little doughy at the bottom. We sealed one and will see how it holds up over time. Thank you for this wonderful idea!!!!!

  110. stephanie says:

    Adorable idea :)

  111. Barbara says:

    Really nice! I’ll try to make it, my children will like it! :)

  112. Aubrey says:

    Do you know where I can purchase Neon Food Coloring? I am so excited to make this cake!!!

  113. 3fita says:

    this looks super delicious!! i am excited to try this out!! i’ve read all the comments, and i think i’m ready.. wish me luck! :)

  114. Heather says:

    I made these for my sister’s 16th birthday this weekend. I was frustrated because spooning on 3 table spoons of each color into the jars equalled only half of a jar of cake once cooked. The cake peaked like a little mountain, and I was very disappointed with out it turned out. The last one I made was with left over batter, which was about 1/2 cup of each color, and that one turned out perfect.

    ALSO, I “throughly” sprayed the first jar with cooking spray, only to have the purple color seep up the sides and make a gross looking color. So, for the other jars, I sprayed a light coat of spray, and then actually wiped out the spray, leaving only a small film of non-stick spray on the jar itself. This worked much better, but still not perfect like the on pictured above.

  115. Lora says:

    can you make these in baby food jars?

  116. Ellie says:

    Try cooking the bottom two layers before adding the top.. otherwise they don’t cook properly. I also made my own buttercake, I hate the packet ones… perfect tasting and very simple!
    90g butter, softened
    1/2 cup caster sugar
    1 cup plain flour
    1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
    2 tsp milk
    2 eggs
    Mix with electric beater until just combined, then mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Add food colourings and follow rest of recipe.
    Soooooo tasty.

  117. pat says:

    Bake the cakes in a cake pan, slice, then spoon in the cake, Frost and decorate

  118. renea turner says:

    will this work w/ baby food jars? happen to have some that have no lids & can’t think of what to do w/ them.

  119. Traci says:

    Made these for a practice run for my daughter’s 4th birthday. Needless to say they did not turn out like the picture. The colors were not as vibrant and I used neon die. The outside of the bottom of the cake was undercooked–I stuck them back in the oven so hopefull that helps. Not sure if I will be making these for her party. I have seen a layered rainbow cake turn out much better. Looking for ideas to improve this if anyone can help bc I love the idea and really want to use it. I used the half pint wide mouth jars.
    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  120. Jolee says:

    Hello I was wondering if this would be ok in smaller jars? like 6 oz or so. If I planned to do a jar/ kid at my daughters birthday party. How long do you think I should cook them? ~ Jolee

  121. Tiffany says:

    I made these tonight as a trial run for my sons “Christmas in Candyland” theme party. I had the same issue with the purple on the bottom layer taking over the whole jar. The inside was awesome though. I think I am going to try the tip some other ppl gave. 1.) less oil in the jar. 2.) thicken up the batter a little. 3.) put the bottom color in, bake it a little bit, then add the next layer and so on. I really think that will help with the layered look on the outside! As for the vibrant colors, I used a LOT of food coloring and my colors turned out super bright! I think for the shrinking problem, just fill the jars up more, like 3/4ths full and when it spills over that is fine, you can just clean it off and level off the top! I have made rainbow cupcakes many times an have used this recipe because it makes the cake firmer and gives that “bakery” taste….

    Take a normal cake mix, mix the box mix with the oil that is called for, three eggs, and one cup on buttermilk. VERY good! Also, I use the boxed buttercream frosting (Wilton??) that you can get at Walmart or hobby lobby in the wedding craft isle. It is delicious and easy. Just add a couple tsp of milk then mix and violia!! Hope this helps with some of your questions! I will be trying to make again in a few days and I will keep you posted!! :)

  122. janelle says:

    awesome idea! i’m definitely going to try this for my friends birthday :)

  123. Lacie says:

    I made these twice over the holiday and had issues with the bottoms becoming soggy after baking. The first time I thought maybe I didn’t cook them quite long enough as I am from San Diego and was in Oregon for the holidays….then the second time around they seemed cooked all the way through ( toothpick came out clean) bit when I returned after Thanksgiving dinner they were soggy again……..what did I do wrong?!?

  124. Ashley says:

    As I was reading this recipe, I was thinking that perhaps it might be a sufficient idea to find some sort of round hollow device to put in the middle of the jar and add the batter around it, so that it will cook all the way through, as well as provide a nice hollow crevice to apply icing throughout the cake, rather than just at the top. I haven’t tried this recipe, nor the alteration i have suggested. ….it was just a thought.

  125. Angela says:

    I made these as a trial run last night for my daughter’s birthday party and they came out perfect! They did spill out a little outside of the jars, but I expected that and it was an easy clean up to wipe the outside of the jars clean and cut off the tops to make it even. I used the half pint jars and took the advice of previous commenters: I used Baker’s Joy (but I forgot on my second batch and they still didn’t brown like others have mentioned) and I use the Duncan Hines Moist something-or-other WHITE cake mix. I used a combination of neon food coloring and gel coloring to get the colors I wanted. I used 6 colors in my first batch, but the layers were too thin for my liking so I went to 5 for the second batch. I used equal amounts of all the colors, but on the next one, I would use less of the top color because it becomes the largest “color band” in the jar–I used two spoonfuls of each color, but would probably only use 1 spoonful of the top color next time. I think I ended up baking the jars for about 30 minutes total @ 350. I also put the pan with water in it in the oven while it was preheating to make sure the water was warm before I added my jars. I think the issue with the bottoms not cooking is because the cold water in the pan is not heating up as quickly. Hope this helps!

  126. Erica says:

    Hello! I was wondering if you think it is a good idea to send this in the mail to my husband who is deployed. Do you think it would still be good once it got to him? Thanks!

  127. nancy says:

    Very interesting a innovation, not only have the rainbow, and other. Looking forward to it.

  128. Tanya Bannwart says:

    These look so absolutely amazing I just couldn’t wait to try them. In fact, my plan was to make them and give them as gifts for Christmas. Unfortunately they were an epic fail for me. I’ve tried a variety of cooking combinations and nothing’s worked. Pam and Flour on the sides of the jars to help the batter climb; flour coating looks burnt, cake barely rose. Pam only in the jars; cake still looks overly brown and didn’t rise that much. Oven higher temp, oven lower temp. Longer cook time, shorter cook time. Water bath. No water bath. Everytime the results are the same, brown edges, barely rose. The cake looks delicious when you look down into the jar, but through the glass you can barely tell there’s different colors behind the brown edges. Am currently cutting the cake out of the jars to turn into rainbow cake pudding. Bummer. Absolutely love the recipe. Just can’t figure out what I did wrong. Hope everyone else has better luck because these look amazing.

  129. Kizy Mcloughlin says:

    Okay i made these and i noticed this:
    . Male sure you have lots of Red for the top
    . Keep checking on them when they’re in the oven so they don’t go brown!
    . It takes a lot of patience!
    . They didn’t fill the jar (they were way too small)
    . They do actually work! :D have fun making them- they are cute Xmas presents and i think everyone is gona like mine mine because even though they look a little…. “messy” i have the excuse of the fact i’m only 12 :D

  130. Monica says:

    After reading all the comments I didn’t notice a response to “why does the cake shrink?” Immediately upon removing the jars from the oven, the cake began to shrink away from the jar. Also, the cake is a little brown, but no biggy; but how are your cakes NOT browned?

  131. Paula says:

    Would you mind sending me an invite to pintrest? My email is I would love to pin this idea but it take so long for them to invite me. Thanks

  132. Katie says:

    I made this cake today for my friends birthday. How do you get such vivid color on the outside? The inside has great color but the outside is a little brown. How do you prevent that?

  133. the original Sarah says:

    Clever! I love it! Did you know if you layer the colors in a bunt pan it creates a rainbow arch? Perfect for making a rainbow shaped cake.

  134. Susan says:

    Great idea!
    Sending one to my 41 year old son tomorrow.

  135. Madeline says:

    I just added this to my recipe binder. Brilliant!

  136. Kimberly says:

    Baby food jars work well for a smaller version but this was great! Thanks!!!

  137. Kris says:

    These were a huge hit, thank you!

  138. Brynn says:

    That is a lovely idea

  139. Shea Goldstein says:

    What a fabulous idea! I have to do this for my kids…

    Shea @

  140. Ashley says:

    I would LOVE to make these for my son’s 1st Birthday coming up, but it seems liek I will have to do a few test batches based on all the comments. I would liek to use baby food jars, has anyone used them, and have any tips? Thank you so much in advance!

  141. cookiemom says:

    I’m wondering if you should remind people that the water in the pan should be up to oven temperature before you put the jars in to bake? I usually put boiling water in the bain marie. Using cold water would keep the bottoms of the cake jars from baking properly.

  142. Brooke says:

    Have the jars ever shattered? I love, love, love the way these look and really want to make them, but I am petrified due to past glass baking explosions.

  143. Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet says:

    So cute!!

  144. Emma says:

    Where did you get the jars from??

  145. Natasha says:

    Just a quick question..are you even allowed to put glass jars in the oven at that temperature? Won’t the crack or explode?

  146. linda millen says:

    How long will these last in the jar. just thinking on sending to some soliders in korea. i could send the icing and sprnkles separately.

    Have a good day

  147. Loreli says:

    This is such an awesome idea for party favors! So much easier to store than regular cupcakes because you don’t have to worry about bumping them and ruining the icing! I made these little cakes in solid purple for my mom’s 50th birthday using the stage 2 size jars and they turned out great. I painted the lids with flat black spray paint and glued a purple plastic gem to the top, wrapped a square of black tulle and a 1″ wide purple and black zebra print ribbon around the jar and they were the hit of the party. They did brown a little so I think next time I will stick to chocolate cake so that it’s not so noticible. I would also recommend only filling 1/3 of the jar to avoid them overflowing durring baking.
    To those of you who are worried about babyfood jars breaking… these jars are made to withstand heat because they have to be sanitized in the canning process. I’ve baked in the same stage 2 jars twice so far and haven’t had a problem.

  148. Laura says:

    I’m over in the uk and i really want to try this but do i need to convert the 350 degrees? As my oven doesnt even get close to that! I think it would be around 180 degrees for me? Please let me know (if anyone knows!)
    Laura x

  149. Tammy says:

    They look so cool! I’ve made rainbow cakes before and all colours swirled together like a Retro look. Also done seperate layers and sandwiched together with buttercream. Both ways cakes shrunk significantly after removing from over. Only reason I can think of is thee food colour as other cakes don’t shrink. So I’m going to substitute some of the milk for food colour so the cake mix still has the correct amount of liquid instead of extra. Hopefully this will help with undercooking and Browning issues.

  150. Stacey says:

    I used 1/2 pint jars and baked for 43 minutes. They were perfect! My daughter loved them. Just a warning…your kids will poop bright blue the next day!

  151. amber biven says:

    Soooo cute! Could you use baby food jars for individual cakes…kinda like cupcakes?

  152. Camalee says:

    I’m having a problem with them browning a little around the sides of the top. Am I doing something wrong? I’m using bakers spray and new jars. Any ideas?

  153. Anna Lynn says:

    Ahh, who cares? Sure it’s beautiful, but the colors don’t affect the flavor. So it’s not that amazing.

  154. Christy says:

    Does anyone know how well this recipe works with gluten-free cake mixes? One of my boyfriend’s daughters needs a gluten-free diet but the other doesn’t. We will have them next weekend, and I thought this would be a really FUN idea that they would LOVE!

  155. katie says:

    What is the serving size for this? I’m a teacher, and I want to make these for the kids for a off to the next grade gift.

  156. Julie says:

    Just finished making this delightful recipe. I used 8 oz mason jars (1/2 pint size) and the cake mix yielded 7 jars of beautiful rainbows. I decided not to spray the jars based on previous comments indicating the cake slid into the jars and looked brown. If we’re eating the cake directly out of the jar, it doesn’t matter if it sticks to the sides. I used six colors…included orange and just worked very slowly and carefully spooning the various colors into the jars. They were about 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter. I did put hot water in my lasagne dish before putting the jars in the dish and baking. I baked this size jar for just about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I used Pillsbury white cake mix and 4 egg whites, I also used Wilton gel food coloring. I’m very pleased with the outcome…had my doubts after reading so many comments, but they’re beautiful! They’re going on the table for a breakfast treat for my kids tomorrow to celebrate St Patrick’s Day! (They’ll probably be bouncing off the walls by 9 am, but St Patty’s is only once a year!! ) Thanks for the great recipe…hope they taste as good as they look!

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  158. Jod says:

    could u do this in baby food jars??

  159. kayla says:

    Could I use baby food jars for smaller versions of this?

  160. Rebecca says:

    ummm it exploded in the microwave!

  161. Rebecca Simons says:

    My bestfriend and I did this, It was lots of fun. It says you can cook it in the microwave in 2 minutes,but DO NOT put it in the microwave… We put one of them in there for 30 seconds as an experiment and the last two layers of cake were already bubbling out! We cooked ours for 40 minutes in the oven. and when they were done I made a hole all the way through the center and stuffed icing in there, then topped it with vanilla ice cream and sprinkles! mmmm

  162. Croix says:

    I’m scared to bake things in jars or anything glass! Won’t the glass shatter from the heat?!?

  163. Marlene says:

    Does this work or yellow cake mix too or just white?

  164. Jess says:

    So, no one ha a solution for yet he issue with the cake shrinking after it comes out of the oven? Mine looked great on the over but after i let it sit out to cool it shrunk in the jars and turned out awful it looks disguising….

  165. Kaybee says:

    I just don’t get the appeal of cake in a jar.

  166. Kay Bear says:

    How many does one mix make?

  167. Jodi Rives says:

    I kept promising my Facebook family I would make these and so I did. The colors blended more than I would have liked, but my three year old was not that discerning!

  168. Kookie says:

    This looks like sooo much fun….Im going to try doing a Red White and Blue one for the 4th of July. Thanks for your ideas!

  169. Martha says:

    Wow, the ingredients make it sound delicious…looks like we have something for dessert.

  170. Shayla says:

    I just finished making these for my little girl’s birthday. The are in the oven now and look great. The bottom layer is thicker than the rest, but they look so cute. I plan to test them after 35 minutes of cook time:) They might not come out just like the picture, but my husband and kids will love them:)

  171. Juan says:

    Hello, I recently tried this recipe. When my cakes cook they look amazing, but as soon as they start cooling down they begin to shrink. I was wondering if I’m doing anything wrong? Is there an extra step I’m missing? Please let me know. Thank You! :)

  172. Lacy says:

    I have tried this with half pint jars instead of the pint jars and that was still toooo much cake for a single serving. Loved it but I think I will try wide mouth half pints next time. I will not fill them so full. I think they will be easier to eat out of the jar.

  173. Alisha says:

    I only had 1 qt jars so I thought if I doubled the recipe and baked longer the results would be the same. NOT QUITE! done on the top and raw batter on the bottom. I’ve now bought wide mouth pint jars and hope to have better results this time…

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  175. As says:

    Didn’t turn out quite well. I used half pint jars and at 20 minutes the top and side was already becoming browinish.
    More disappointingly, even with browns top and side the inner most part of the cake was not cooked.
    Next time I am thinking using the oven to bake a bit and the using the microwave to finish, to keep the colors and cook thoroughly.
    Also it was my first time buying and using a cake mix and prepared icing, and I’ve learned that both were disgustingly sweet. Next time I think I will prep white cake batter and icing from scratch with less sweet recipe.

  176. Georgia says:

    I just took my cake in a jar out of the oven! Let me tell you, it looks great!
    I am going to tie a cute ribbon around the jar and give it to my neighbor beacause it is his birthday.

    Good luck to everyone else trying this recipe!

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  183. KJ says:

    Has anyone tried this in baby food sized jars?

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  186. Louise says:

    Hi, i was just wondering how many jars does one box make? btw, these look incredible!

  187. StarsStudent says:

    This is OK I suppose considering all of this, but on levels stupid. Why do this when you can just make cupcakes. Just another waste of a jar…Don’t you know that glass can shatter/break or burn because of the heat. In MY opinion, this is not adorable, more like a waste of time…”Adorable!” “Precious!”
    “Looks great!” Please…

  188. Tabitha Blue says:

    Love this recipe! I wanted to feature your photo and recipe on my blog as well as in my BlogHer blog, may I have permission to do so? We’re featuring some favorite St Pattys day inspired rainbow recipes! Thank you for your time in advance!

  189. Stacia says:

    Since bottling jars are created to bottle in which involves high heats to preserve the food & seal it the jars should be fin if they are jars made for bottling such as Ball brand. Some even go in a pressure cooker so they are made to handle quite a bit of heat. I didn’t grow up bottling so I might have been skeptical too as some others have posted & obviously like me grew up not aware of how sturdy bottling jars are & may have never been exposed to this. Not trying to offend those that are not aware as I was there at tone time too.

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