For me, every beautiful layer could tell its own unique story (minus the pain of overlooked toothpicks!).
The first rainbow cake I ever tasted was the signature dessert at Beth Barden’s Succotash in Kansas City, MO.
Then I saw one that two British women made for a special birthday. The cake had so many differently colored layers (and candles) that they had to serve the cake on its side.
Just recently, Better Homes & Gardens featured a rainbow cake as a way to show off a cake stand.
There’s even a video to guide you through the basic process.
When I started experimenting with rainbow cake, I found that making individual, multi-layered rainbow cakes appealed to me.
Also, thinner rainbow cake layers taste best with a cream cheese frosting that is just a little tangy. Both the frosting and the cake come together better.
I found a large nonstick 6-cup muffin pan from R & M International Corp.
at a cake decorating shop. The muffin cups measure 3-1/2 inches in diameter.
After the little cakes were baked, I cut each cake in half horizontally, then frosted three little layers together in varying combinations.
I call this photo "Sunlight on Rainbow Cakes." Hope they make you smile.
Cake flour and sour cream in the batter insure that your cake will be moist and tender, yet firm and sturdy—just what you want for a rainbow cake. If you like, you could stir about ½ teaspoon flavoring in each tinted batter—lemon zest for yellow, orange zest for orange, lime zest for green, and so on.
Makes 4 (3-1/2-inch) cakes to serve 8
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) container dairy sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups frosting of your choice tinted robin’s egg blue
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter a 13-1/2 by 10-1/2-inch pan that makes 6 (3-1/2-inch diameter cakes and set aside. In a large bowl, with a hand-held electric mixer on low speed, cream the butter and granulated sugar.
Beat in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.
Then beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Use a spatula to completely fold the dry ingredients into the batter until smooth and thick.
2. Set out 5 small bowls. In each small bowl, place ¾ to 1 cup of the batter and tint with food coloring to your desired color. (I used a toothpick inserted in a bottle of Americolor gel coloring, then dipped the toothpick into the batter.) Keep in mind that the color will somewhat darken during baking.
3. Fill each small cake cup with a tinted batter and smooth with a spatula or knife.
4. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan.
5. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack.
Using a serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally.
6. Using your prepared frosting, frost and stack three layers, securing the take with toothpicks if necessary. Frost the top and sides of each little rainbow cake. Repeat the process until you have four little three-layer cakes.