Six Layer Rainbow Cake Tutorial

I sometimes try to be Super Mom.  But with working full-time, I sometimes have to outsource.  I called my BFF Stacey the weekend before Angry Kid’s birthday party, and asked a favor.  This was not a small favor, but a relatively huge favor.  I asked her if she could make a rainbow layered birthday cake for Angry Kid’s party.  For some crazy reason, she agreed to do it.  I had almost all of the supplies (well colors for the cake), and I took them all over to her house.  While I was there, I may have borrowed two large tables and some chairs too.

I also forgot to mention the fact that she’s NEVER made this cake before.  I sent her some photos from the Internet.

My son's 6th birthday cake

Doesn’t the cake look delicious? I took this photo right after Stacey cut the first slice at the birthday party.

Stacey is also a smart BFF.  She knew that I would probably want to post a tutorial of some kind on my blog.  So she took photos along the way, and even typed up some tips for making the FAMOUS rainbow cake, well these cakes are sorta famous on Pinterest and parenting blogs.

Six (6) Layer Rainbow Cake Tutorial:

1.  MIX-Make TWO (2) packages of white cake mix.  Stacey used the stock ingredients.  I add some extra items for my rainbow cupcake recipe, and they are listed in my blog post. Either recipe is fine, as in straight out of box, or added items.

2.  DIVIDE-Divide the prepared cake mix into SIX (6) bowls equally, which equates to about 1 and 1/2 cups of batter per bowl.

 

Divide white cake mix batter into 6 bowls for rainbow cake

3.  COLOR-Color the batter in each bowl different colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple).  Stacey used a combination of Duff Brand Color Gels, and Wilton Icing Colors.  I had both of these brands in the box that I gave to Stacey.  Stacey preferred the Duff brand because they were in a squeezable bottle.

Adding icing colors to the white cake mix batter for the rainbow cake

4.  PREP and GREASE-Prep the (6) cake pans for baking.  Stacey used Pam with Flour spray to coat the pans.  She HIGHLY recommends it.  You don’t have to bake all (6) seperate layers at once.  You can do a few at a time, and wait for them to cool, then bake more.

5.  BAKE-Bake the cake layers according to the directions on the cake mix box.

6.  COOL-Let the cakes cool.

7.  CUT-Once the cakes are cooled, cut the rounded dome off the top of the cake.  They need to lie flat, due to the layers. (IMPORTANT)

Cut the rounded top off the cake in order for it to lie flat for layered cake

8.  PRE-MADE BUTTERCREAM-Stacey pre-made a crap load of buttercream.  I’m not sure of there is a definition for the specific amount that crap load indicates.  Stacey uses THIS buttercream recipe which works like a charm every single time.

9.  PREP BUTTERCREAM LAYERS-Stacey made thin layers of a frozen buttercream transfer the day before to speed up her assembly process.  She traced the bottom of the cake pan on a piece of wax paper.  She did this because she knew that the cake layers would be relatively thin, and prepping/freezing the buttercream would help the cake from crumbling.

Prep and Freeze the buttercream for the rainbow cake's center layers

10. STACK-Stack the layers, cake-buttercream-cake-buttercream, alternating obviously.

Stack the layers in the cake, alternating cake and buttercream

Six layer rainbow cake pre-icing.
11. HEIGHT-After assembling the cake, it should be approximately SEVEN (7) inches tall.  It will FALL over if you don’t put dowels in it.  Stacey learned from a friend that you can use straws in lieu of dowels.  The straws are easier to trim that dowels too.

Use straws in lieu of dowels to hold the cake layers together

12. TRIM-Trim the excess from the straws that are holding the layers together.

Trim the excess portion of the straws being used to hold the layers together

13. FROST/ICING-Stacey did a “crumb coat” of frosting before she brought the cake to my house.  She transported this cake for an approximate thirty minute drive.  When she arrived at my house, we placed the cake in the freezer for approximately TEN (10) minutes.  After the “crumb coat” had hardened a little, she then completed the frosting/icing of the cake.  By doing a crumb coat and freezing it, the cake is easier to frost.

14. DECORATE-Place cake on cake plate or other serving platter.  Finish off cake but placing decorative trim around the bottom, or other decorations on top of the cake.  I made my own rainbow cake bunting with felt.

Rainbow Birthday Cake with Rainbow Bunting on Top

15. ENJOY CAKE-Take pictures of the finished cake, like tons.  I’m a blogger, did you think I was talking about eating the cake?  Once the cake is cut and eaten, depression starts.  The cake was sooo awesome.

16. TAKE MORE PICTURES-There’s only one piece of cake left? Well of course, you need to document that. Take more pictures, post them EVERYWHERE!

Now how am I going to pay my BFF Stacey back? I owe her big time!!! It is probably a good thing that she likes to bake!

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41 comments
Amy Rose
Amy Rose

Hey there! This cake looks amazing! My family is always coming up with requests for birthday cakes they would like me to make, this being the most recent request. However, I live 3 hours away from my family and was wondering if the cake would survive the trip? Would hate to create something so wonderful to have it fall apart during travel. Thanks! :)

Alyson @ SnifferWalk
Alyson @ SnifferWalk

Julie girl...you just saved my hiney!! My daughter wants this cake for her birthday tomorrow and I had lost the instructions! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

Andrea Smith
Andrea Smith

Wow, a great cake and a great step-by-step instructional guide! Thank you for sharing this, can't wait to try this one for my sister's birthday!

Becca
Becca

Thanks for the awesome instructions! I am going to attempt one of these rainbow layer cakes for my little cousin's first bday cake in a couple weeks and I am already having anxiety over it!!! This post helped to calm my nerves a ton.

Suzy
Suzy

Awesome! Just made this today for my daughters bday! Thank you for the great tips. I cant tell you how much time was saved with freezing the frosting! Genius!

Lorna Reinhard
Lorna Reinhard

Thank you, thank you! I'm gonna make this for my little sister's birthday today! :)

Evy
Evy

anyone tried to add flavors to each color? strawberry, orange, banana, lime, blueberry, grape?

Bertie Vance
Bertie Vance

Okay so I have been dreaming about this cake since I saw it on your birthday party post. She is one good friend, and she did an amazing job on that cake!

Abbey
Abbey

SUCH A COOL IDEA!! We'd love to see you link this up at our Monday Link Party!! www.dimpleprints.com. Our readers would love this idea!

Kelli
Kelli

She is one good friend, and she did an amazing job on that cake! How smart to freeze layers of buttercream!

Galit Breen
Galit Breen

I absolutely adore this idea! Fun, creative and delicious? Perfect!

Kristi {at} Live and Love Out Loud
Kristi {at} Live and Love Out Loud

I've made rainbow pancakes and now I'm dying to tackle rainbow cupcakes and a rainbow cake. Now I know who to call if I need help. ;)

Elena
Elena

This is so awesome! I need to remember this for my kids birthdays!

Amy Anderson
Amy Anderson

What an awesome job! I'm making my kiddo's cake in a 12 days and it will be my first time trying fondant - which I'm going to make from scratch! Why? Because apparently I like to torture myself. It's going to be a snake cake because that's what my little girl wants. An orange snake with purple polka-dots.

Cheryl @ Mommypants
Cheryl @ Mommypants

If I had a friend like Stacey I'd never make boring funfetti cupcakes again! That cake is all sorts of awesome! Did you see Ciaran's from this weekend?

Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity
Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity

That's a pretty cake. You have one amazing BFF there, Julie. I think you should keep her and thank her every day for doing that for you. LOL

Jen
Jen

This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing how to make this cake.

Stacey
Stacey

I just wanted to add, that I baked them for like 3 minutes LESS than what the box said. I don't have a double oven and I baked 3 colors at a time. They fit fine. The Frozen Butter Cream Transfer method was my only moment of genius. It's kind of a pain, but it was worth not having a crumbly cake. I had to triple that butter cream recipe. Also, if it's at all possible, use the clear artificial vanilla extract so your frosting stays white. I am normally not an advocate for artificial flavoring, but with this...its a must! <3 you Angry Julie

Mary Jo
Mary Jo

This cake is awesome!! Your friend, Stacey, did a fantastic job!!

Lori O
Lori O

Thank you so much for the suggestions here. I am making this cake for my daughter's birthday in a couple of weeks and I would never have thought to make "frosting layers" in advance. That will make assembly so much easier and less messy. I love the straw idea as well. I was heading to the store later to pick up dowel and now I don't need too! Love it!

Making It Work Mom
Making It Work Mom

Okay so I have been dreaming about this cake since I saw it on your birthday party post. I totally want to make it for my daughter's fifth birthday, a rainbows and unicorns theme. I thought I was going to have to research it and then you read my mind and posted awesome directions here! Yahoo! I love it. Thank you!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

I think that the cake would survive the trip. Especially since you put straws in between the layers to hold it all together. It is less likely to fall over. Maybe you could do the scratch coat of frosting prior to leaving, and finish frosting it when you arrive.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

YAY! With the step-by-step recipe that I wrote, you should receive the mom of the year award!

Suzy
Suzy

Bekka, I was so worried but if you follow these directions it really wasn't that bad. Also if you read the comments Stacy wrote that she cooked the cakes less than the box says to. My oven cooked them 18 minutes for most of them and 20 minutes for the rest.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

YAY! I will tell my best friend. I would have never thought of doing that either. She thought well ahead when making the cake.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

I'm not sure if anyone has tried to add flavors to it, but that would be sooo good.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

She is a very good friend. I think she also wanted to attempt the recipe. It was good practice for her.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

LOL, it is pretty simple to make the cake and cupcakes. It's all about setting out the bowls for the different colors and layering them. If you've made rainbow pancakes, you can do this...I'm always on The Twitter if you need help.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

LOL, poor Casey cake fail. You must level the cakes!!! Must must must!

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

You are nuts to try out fondant. I'm not a fan of fondant. LOL, a snake is hilarious too...but love the polka-dot idea...so girly.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

Yep. I saw Ciaran's cake. I actually forwarded Stacey's email straight to Ciaran. Ciaran had the instructions before I even looked at it.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

I do thank her every day. She is amazing. She makes a kick-ass cheesecake too.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

You are very welcome. I hate when people post these pretty cakes, etc. and then tease us with no instructions or tutorials.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

I heart you BFF....you complete me, or understand me...whatever....I still need to get your tables to you!

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

I think Stacey making those frosting layers in advance was genius!!! I think it is a great birthday cake, and it impresses everyone. The moms at at school are still impressed.

Becca
Becca

Just an update on my rainbow cake, I did it and it turned out fabulous! I have a post about it on my blog. I don't think I would have felt capable of making the rainbow layer monster had I not come across your blog and tutorial. Thanks so much! p.s. please do go check out my post, I left some link love to your tutorial for my friends and followers to see.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Yay!!! I'm soo happy for you. I will tell my BFF Stacey!! Seriously, everyone was probably impressed with the cake too. People still talk about my son's cake, almost a year later.

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