We’re on. It’s cake time.
Finally! The post you’ve been waiting for. The one I neglected in order to write this and this. Ah, relief. No more deep thoughts (for now).
So. Roll up your sleeves, because it’s going to get messy. And time consuming. And kind of pricey. Also, seriously unhealthy. It’s time for…
Your hands will get dirty, or, at the very least, dyed a vivid pink hue not found in nature. If my daughter could dye all of her food this color, she totally would:
The seed for a rainbow layer cake began over a year ago when I saw this gorgeous concoction on April Peveteaux’s fab site, Gluten Is My Bitch. I had NO idea such a thing existed, but apparently it was big on Pinterest back then. I was intrigued, but scared. Seemed like a LOT of work. So I stuck with a simple (ish) but decadent double chocolate cake for Bunky’s 5th birthday party. It was gluten, nut, egg free, and AWESOME.
But this year I was ready. A kick-ass rainbow cake seemed a perfect match for Bunky’s art-themed party and my rainbow loving girl.
Gluten Free Rainbow Birthday (or any day) Cake
What You Need:
- 3 boxes of gluten free cake mix (I used Cherrybrook Farms Yellow Cake mix) – plus whatever mix-ins it requires: oil, eggs, etc.
- 2-3 circular cake pans, springform is easier but not totally necessary, I used 10-inch but could use 8-inch for a smaller circular cake
- approximately 6 containers* of Betty Crocker or Duncan Heinz vanilla frosting, or homemade if you prefer, or for dairy free try this recipe
- AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color – I bought the junior kit on amazon, but you can really use whatever dye you’d like, but the gel color is REALLY vivid. Also, this brand is gluten AND nut free (and kosher), woo hoo!
- parchment paper or nonstick spray or butter to grease pans (I used spray with our springform pans, but if you’re using regular cake pans I would suggest lining them with parchment AND greasing to make sure you can get those skinny cakes out)
- help in the form of childcare, partner support, and/or sous chefs, maybe some wine
- patience of a saint doesn’t hurt
* When it comes to buying tubs of frosting, you can get a combo of the Whipped Vanilla kind, which is great to spread over the finished and assembled cake stack. But for in between each layer, we suggest using Regular Vanilla because the Whipped texture might be too airy and squishy to go between. You don’t want the layers to collapse together. My sous chef husband pointed this out and he was totally right. Thanks honey.
Getting It Done:
1. Prepare cake pans by spraying and/or lining them. If you’re not using springforms, line with parchment and grease. If using springform, nonstick spray or butter liberally.
2. Preheat oven and then prepare the THREE box mixes as directed. I started with only two Cherrybrook Farm mixes (why I followed the gluten Betty Crocker recipe and not April’s is beyond me) and divided them up into 6 bowls, weighed them with my kitchen scale (yes, I’m an anal dork), dyed the crap out of them, before realizing it wasn’t enough to cover the bottom of my 10-inch cake pans. So, I had to send my husband out for another box. Do yourself a favor and buy three boxes upfront unless you get secret pleasure out of making your partner run extra errands. No judgement here.
3. Divide into 6 bowls (or how many layers you want). Like I said above, I used a kitchen scale because you want each layer to be the same size, but you could also just use measuring cups.
4. Here’s the fun part: adding color! A little squeeze of gel goes a long way, so be warned. Bunky and I both loved the hot pink. Little Guy went nuts over the blue and green.
5. Start the cooking process. I had six cake pans, but we cooked two at a time (in 3 separate sessions) because our oven cooks unevenly on the different racks. If you can squeeze in three, go for it. But use your discretion. My sous chef, aka Husband, did the dirty work here. He spread the batter in the pans and was in charge of the cooking, cooling, and releasing.
We cooked ours for about 6-7 minutes (it’s a thin cake, remember) but our oven is like Hades hot, so again, you may want to check your cakes starting at 6 minutes but it could take a bit longer. Don’t overcook, though, because that takes away a bit of color.
And please make sure the cakes are FULLY cooled before releasing or (gently) prying them out. You don’t want to damage the goods.
6. Now for assembly. Again, my sous chef was in charge here. He likes doing the detail work and I like when he does it. But the birthday girl was the cake designer, with very specific instructions as to the order of colors. She went against the whole ROY G BIV color scheme which I know made my (OCD) husband a bit nuts, but hey, it was her day.
Like I mentioned earlier, we used a combo of Whipped and Regular Vanilla frosting. Regular for between the layers, and Whipped for the outer layer (because it goes on smoother and faster).
7. Then top that sucker with whatever you want – we went for an easy and crowd pleasing route: sprinkles.
But you could try this gorgeous insanity that I contemplated for about twenty seconds:
But seriously, sprinkles are a sure thing. Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Unless you want to.
The cake was a HUGE success, and so was the very sweet art party. But let’s talk about the cake!
Every kid devoured it. Even the one boy who told me ahead of time that he doesn’t like cake. I promised that I wouldn’t make him eat it. But when he saw it he gestured me over. “I’ll take a small piece,” he said. And then he ate the entire thing, crumbs included.
Happy Birthday to my dear girl, who loved decorating her butterfly wings surrounded by her friends. She is growing her own secret wings, and one day she will fly away from me, but not yet.
Shared on the fabulous Vegetarian Mamma’s Gluten Free Friday link up. Click the badge below for more awesome GF recipes and tidbits.
Dana WOW you are such a creative Mum the party looked amazing and the cake TO DIE FOR…im thinking I might use it for a minecraft party for my sons birthday he has a friend who is allergic to nuts and dairy. I could make the layers in minecraft colours thanks for inspiring me I am a very average baker but this looks like a winner at any party. Happy birthday Bunky.
Oh, thanks so much Kath! She definitely loved it, both party and cake. And if you use square pans you could totally make an awesome allergy free Minecraft cake!! I love those allergy free box mixes, because one of Bunky’s good friends has nut and egg allergies, so it helps to have baking shortcuts. I loved that both girls were able to enjoy the cake, when often, they are the ones who have to bring their own. It’s really lovely of you to do the same for your son’s friend 🙂
This looks so good! I am definitely going to have to try this.
Thanks Kamilah! It’s a lot easier to make if you don’t have kids tripping you up 🙂
Haha! You may be right about that.
I love the bottom right corner color, and your baking assistant of course. 🙂 What a great job you did on the cake, I’m sure your daughter really appreciates it. (She probably doesn’t even know quite how much she appreciates it yet). Sprinkles are always a sure thing, but thanks for sharing the crayon beauty as well, I was in awe!
Thanks Kaila! Those colors are pretty awesome. She definitely loved the cake, and I think her inhalation of it was her appreciation, ha. Wasn’t that crayon cake incredible?! I read the instructions and it doesn’t seem too hard, but I suspected I might be better off with sprinkles 🙂 this time anyhow.
Thanks, Dana for the final tasty recipe! I loved it all! Your kids are very lucky! 🙂 xxx
A mother’s love is measured in many different ways… what a colourful and special cake.
So well said! Thank you so much 🙂
What a fun cake. I’ve always wanted to try a rainbow cake or an ombre version but always chicken out because I don’t want to mess with the dye. Happy Birthday to Bunky. 🙂 (Little guy looks pretty excited too.)
Yeah, the dye is super intense! It’s definitely a very special occasion type of thing. Both kids were super into it, and Little Guy kept asking for more days later! It left quite an impression 🙂
Impressive results! So glad that all your efforts and patience were rewarded with success!
Thank you so much! I’m glad too, phew. My kids just looked at the pictures again and both of them immediately began begging for more 🙂
YUM!!! Looks so fun to make too 🙂
Thanks Naomi! It was fun to make 🙂
Speaking of great posts, I read and loved this one but didn’t make time to comment. A post about a cake with this many layers probably counts as six posts in one! Very, very impressive, and it does look like you all had fun. 🙂
Oh, you’re the best Molly! The thing that I love best about this blog is all the people I’ve “met” along the way. 6 layers = 6 posts indeed! It was fun and insanely delicious. I totally scarfed down a slice and would’ve finished my son’s but he was too quick for me.
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SO cute!! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂
Its live now!
Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com
Thanks so much Cindy!!
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