Nanna’s Birthday Rainbow Cake

10 May

Nanna’s birthday requires a very special cake indeed, and what is more special than a rainbow. Thomas and his Nanna love rainbows so in an effort to get him away from ‘pink smartie’ cakes, I thought a rainbow cake would be the way to go.

We decided on a heart shape rainbow cake and I used my Nan’s old heart tin that she used to make my Mum’s birthday cakes in when she was little which added that little bit extra to it. Its a bit beaten and battered but still does the job.

Don’t be fooled by this picture… Appearances can be deceiving!

I have seen these cakes made in layers, each colour representing a different layer and separated by buttercream icing but apart from being a lot of fussing around making several different cakes, (too much for a 2 year old) I am still recovering from the chocolate Easter layer cake I made a few weeks ago that had an insane amount of kj’s in each slice! Steer clear of layer cakes (for now anyway)!

Anyway, yes this cake has alot of food colouring in it but this is a great exercise in mixing colours and experimenting with which colours when put together make a different colour – a bit advanced for Thomas but great for preschoolers. Ask them questions and get them to predict what might happen if you mix 2 colours together.

The basic cake and icing recipe are just from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Cookbook.


125g butter softened

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 cup milk

1 & 1/2 cups self raising flour

Food colouring


  1. Preheat moderate oven.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat each until just combined.
  4. Stir in flour and milk in 2 batches.
  5. Divide mixture into several small bowls (use as many as you like. We did 7, red, yellow, pink, blue, green, orange and purple.)
  6. Colour to your hearts content. You need a fair bit of colouring to get the vibrant colour, just keeping mixing and adding until you get it to the colour you want. I have seen it suggested to use gel food colouring because the liquid ones interfere with the consistency of the cake batter but I just used the liquid ones from the supermarket and didn’t have any trouble.
  7. Spoon mixture into tin, dollop spoonfuls of colour mixes around the tin. Level mixture out with knife.
  8. Bake in moderate oven until cooked (approx 15-18 minutes).
  9. Stand in cake pan for about 5 minutes and then turn onto wire rack to cool.
Butter Cream:
125g butter softened
1 &1/2 cups icing sugar mixture
2 tablespoons milk
Beat butter in small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible. Gradually beat in half icing sugar, milk, then remaining icing sugar. Colour as required.
TA-DAA!!! Rainbow cake!
Thomas was very excited when he saw the finished product!

2 Responses to “Nanna’s Birthday Rainbow Cake”

  1. joalch May 10, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    That is lovely! I think we may have to try this one.

    • cookwithkids May 10, 2011 at 8:49 am #

      It looked great. Bit indulgent but aesthetically pleasing!

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