Pastel Rainbow Layer Cake

Pastel Rainbow Layer Cake

Recipe by Alice Arndell © 2014,

Rainbow cakes are all the rage when it comes to multi-layer cakes but can be a bit tricky when you have to juggle multiple batters, colours and reusing tins. So the Wilton “Easy Layers” Cake Pan Set is a bit of a god-send really! It makes 5 cute little 6 inch (or about 15 cm) layers – just the perfect size for a party!

This recipe is makes a lovely “white” cake that can be easily coloured to both bright rainbow colours or pretty pastel ones (like mine). It’s a simple all-in-one cake mix (no creaming required!), is easily divided into 5 portions and, best of all you can bake all the layers at once (no watching the oven for hours).

You can buy both the gel colours (see Baker’s Note below) and the Wilton “Easy Layers” Cake Pan Set online from Cake and Kitchen (one of my favourite online caking and baking supply shops!).

Serves 8-10

Layer Cake

5 egg whites

¾ cup milk, room temperature

2 ¼ cups plain flour

½ cup cornflour

1 1/3 cups caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp salt

175 g butter, softened

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Gel food colouring (see Baker’s note below)


250 g butter

7 cups icing sugar

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

½ cup milk, room temperature


How to

  1. Preheat oven to 170 °C and so that you can bake all your cakes at once, set the racks one above, and one below centre. Grease your 5 Wilton Layer Cake pans well and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix together egg whites and ¼ of a cup of milk and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer mix together the flour, cornflour, sugar, baking powder and salt on a low speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the softened butter, vanilla extract and the remaining milk and increase the speed to medium and beat for 90 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well.
  5. Add the egg whites in three lots, mixing on medium for 20 seconds after each addition and scraping down the bowl too.
  6. Divide the mixture between 5 small bowls (the batter in each should weigh about 240 g) and tint with gel food colouring stirring well.
  7. Spoon mixture into prepared tins and level out.
  8. Bake for 16-20 minutes, turning and rotating tins at 10 minute mark, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Cool the cakes in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. If the cakes have risen a bit in the middle, place a clean tea towel on them and gently press down with the palm of your hand (this is best done after they have been out of the oven for 5 minutes and just prior to turning the cakes out of the pans).
  10. Cooled cakes can be kept individually wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 48 hours before icing (in fact, it’s better to ice them the day after baking if you can as it helps keeps crumbs down).
  11. To make the frosting, put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held electric mixer and a large bowl) and beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes with a stand mixer and 8 with a hand-held).
  12. Add the vanilla and half the icing sugar and beat again until smooth and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  13. Add the remaining icing sugar, salt and the milk and beat for another 7-10 minutes (the longer you beat it, the lighter, fluffier and smoother it will be). If the icing is a bit stiff, add a bit more milk, if it is a bit soft, add more icing sugar.
  14. To ice the cake, put a small dab of frosting on your cake board (or stand) and top with your first layer. (Handy Hint: If you’re icing your cake directly onto a cake stand then put a few small pieces of baking paper under the edge to keep the frosting from spreading over the stand).
  15. Smooth about ½ a cup of frosting over the first layer, top with the next layer (put it on bottom side up) and press down firmly to level.
  16. Repeat the frosting and cake layers until you’ve got all the layers on, making sure the final layer is bottom-side up.
  17. To crumb coat the cake, put 1 cup of the frosting on top of the cake and, using an off-set spatula or butter knife, spread the frosting thinly over the top and down the sides of the cake. Keep working the frosting over the cake in a thin layer until all the sides are covered. You’re not trying to thickly cover the cake (you should still be able to see it under the frosting), instead, you’re just applying a thin layer to “trap” the crumbs in so they don’t mar the outside with unsightly marks!
  18. Pop the cake in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  19. Spread the remaining frosting over the chilled cake, checking occasionally to make sure that it is even (stick a toothpick in to see how deep the icing is).
  20. Finish the cake with a set of bunting, some pretty sprinkles and a bit of ribbon.


Baker’s Note – Gel Food Colours

Gel colouring is super concentrated so you only need to use a very tiny amount. Dip the very end of a toothpick into the colour and dot it on the batter then stir it in. Go lightly the first few times use it until you get the hang of how much is needed.

For this cake, I used Wilton colours in: Rose, Violet, Royal Blue, Kelly Green and Golden Yellow.

I do not recommend using liquid food colouring for these cakes as you will need to add quite a bit to get a good colour and this may alter how the cake comes out.

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