OK, can you believe? Family Kitchen reader Lia submitted this entry for the Birthday cake contest and I have to say I’m in love. Mostly because it’s just so brilliantly simple. Lia made it for her daughter’s fourth birthday (which, speaking from experience, does seem to be peak age for girls’ Rainbow Phases) and basically just used food coloring in regular vanilla batter for each layer (click to the jump for more detailed instructions). A big thank-you to Lia for submitting and to everyone who is flooding my inbox with more genius ideas. Winner will be announced in May, so keep them coming!
Directions for Rainbow Cake from Lia:
I used a doctored cake mix recipe for white cake. I had to double it so that I had enough for four layers. After mixing up the batter I divided it equally into 6 bowls. I colored each bowl with gel food coloring (it takes a lot less food coloring to get bright colors working with gel rather than liquid), making sure the colors were really bright. After spraying the pans with non-stick spray, I poured two colors into each pan: Red/Orange, Orange/Yellow, Green/Blue, Blue/Purple. When adding the second color to the pan I carefully scooped it in with a spoon rather than pouring so that the colors wouldn’t mix too much. I actually used Wilton baking strips around the outside of the pans so that the cakes would rise evenly and I wouldn’t have to trim off a bunch of the color. I baked according to the directions on the mix and left them to cool.
I made a double batch of cream cheese frosting (but you could also use simple buttercream). I left one half white and then divided the other half into three separate bowls. I colored one bowl orange, one yellow and one blue using the same gel food coloring. I tried to match the brightness of the cake as close as possible with the frosting so it would blend in. Then I just stacked, putting the blue frosting between the bottom two layers, the yellow frosting in the middle, and the orange frosting between the top two layers. Frosted the whole thing with the white frosting and decorated with colored nonpareils.