Food Adventures: Celebrate any occasion with colorful cake

Nicole Bowman-Layton

For my family, Easter is kind of like the second coming of spring.

Not only do you have the bright colors coming out in nature, but the Easter season lends itself to changing over from heavy, warm-you-up meals to lighter fare. You move from the earthy colored brown and yellow foods to colorful spring and summer salads, citrus-infused dishes that feel like they brighten your taste buds, etc..

A child gives their approval of the frosted rainbow cake. Nicole Bowman-Layton/Dispatch Staff

One of my favorite things to make for Easter is cake. It’s not just any cake. This rainbow-colored, vanilla-flavored cake feels light and is full of color, like the plastic Easter eggs hidden during this time of year for kids to find.

Normally, rainbow cake is baked in layers, meaning each layer/color is baked in its own pan and then assembled into one cake. That’s what the following recipe details.

I prefer to use one larger pan once (less mess and work).

To do this, I divide each color batter into its own bowl as the recipe suggests. For my version, the pan gets a pour of each colored batter. After a decent amount of batter is in the pan, I create a swirl pattern using a bamboo skewer. Sometimes, I do this several times so I make sure every part of the cake features the design. A word of warning though, mixing the colors too much will blend them together so you lose that marbled look.

For the cake, I use a little more food coloring that I think is needed. As the cake cooks, the colors tend to fade, so I try to make sure the colors stand out.

I hope you’re enjoying the weather and the great food that’s starting to come into season. Have fun on your culinary adventures!

Rainbow cake is a great way to celebrate no matter what the occasion. Land O Lakes


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple food color

Buttercream frosting
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple food color

For cake
■ Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two (8-inch) round cake pans and lightly flour the bottom of the pan, or spray with baking spray. Set aside.
■ Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
■ In another, larger bowl, beat sugar and butter at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.
■ Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating at low speed after each addition, just until mixed.
■ Divide batter evenly among six bowls, about 3/4 cup each. Tint cake batters red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Spread red batter into one of the prepared pans and orange in the other. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 3 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely. Meanwhile, wash pans; grease and flour pans. Repeat with remaining colors until all cake layers are baked.

For icing
■ Beat 2 cups butter in a medium bowl at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add whipping cream and 1 tablespoon vanilla alternately with powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt, beating at low speed until well incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat mixture until smooth and creamy.
■ Remove two cups of frosting for use between the cake layers; set aside. Divide remaining frosting evenly among six bowls with about 1/3 cup each. Tint frostings red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Set aside.
■ Place purple cake layer onto serving plate, bottom-side up. Frost top with 1/4 cup white frosting. Place blue cake layer over frosting; frost with 1/4 cup white frosting. Continuing adding green, yellow, orange and red layers in that order, frosting with 1/4 cup white frosting between each layer. Frost outside of the cake with remaining white frosting. This frosting layer of will be thin. Cake will be visible through frosting. Once frosted, refrigerate cake 30 minutes. (The crumb coat will prevent crumbs from interfering when piping rosettes.)
■ Place each tinted frosting into an individual resealable plastic food bag; push frosting to one corner. Cut off 1/2 inch from the tip of the corner. Place an 18-inch-long piece of plastic food wrap onto the counter surface. Pipe each color onto plastic wrap to form wide 12-inch horizontal lines (using all of the frosting) that are touching.
■ Gently roll frosting lines into one large log using plastic wrap. Snip tip off one end of plastic wrap. Place cut-side down into piping bag fitted with size 1M open-star tip. Pipe rainbow rosettes on the cake, beginning with the middle of top of the cake and working out and down the sides. The most vibrant colors will be on top of the cake.


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