Rainbow Birthday Cake

 Part of throwing a party in our house is making a cake.  It’s a hobby of mine, and the girls really enjoy it too.  I had a design in my head and decided to look online to see if anyone had done anything similar.  It was basically going to be a bunch of rainbow tessellations going up the cake.  However, I saw this design on the Party Wagon and just had to do it. Make sure you also check out the final results of our Rainbow Party.

The first step of course is baking.  The kids love to help with this party.  Please see our favorite white cake “White Velvet Cake” and my “Cake Making 101” tutorial.  I simply added food coloring to a white cake batter. 

The next step is to frost.  You can see my level on top. I like to use a lever anyway, but I found it really helpful with such a tall cake.  While I was frosting, the girls had their own cake making Play-Doh set out.  I also had to color all of my fondant the rainbow colors. 

The final step was to decorate.  The big trick here was a Christmas gift from my wonderful husband…the clay extruder.  It is actually a tool used for clay, but it really works great for fondant.  It made this job fairly easy. It has a bunch of different discs that slip on the end so you can extrude different shapes. Great tool! I also need to say that I wanted to decorate during nap time.  Abby really doesn’t nap much anymore, but sometimes she falls asleep during her quiet time.  I was pretty disappointed when she came waltzing into the room.  However, I invited her to join in, and she actually probably ended up cutting my job in half.  She would roll out the fondant to fit into the extruder.  She’d also help clean out the extruder after every color.  It was really helpful, and I ended up being absolutely thrilled that she was there to help me.  The design is fairly simple if you have this tool.  Just extrude the snakes and layer onto the cake.  Roll out fondant balls to put on top…or you can throw a bunch of gumballs on top for a bit of whimsy.  

rainbow cake 3
I love Duff Fondant. It tastes better than most, with a similar flavor profile of a Lucky Charms Marshmallow. I like how it behaves while you work with it, and I like that it comes in a variety of colors. Here are some helpful links:

Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Fondant, White, 2-Pounds

Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Fondant, Red, 2-Pounds

Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Fondant, Blue, 2-Pounds

Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Fondant, Green, 2-Pounds

Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Fondant, Lemon, 2-Pounds

Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Fondant, Purple, 2-Pounds

Duff Decorating Fondant Small Orange 8 oz (Pack Of 3)

With the popularity of the rainbow loom, I also wanted to bring you a Rainbow Loom Cake idea done by Local Fun for Kids.
I was featured:

mop it up mondays


    • says

      Yea – the extruder was my saving grace. One fill made to strings to go around the cake. It was one of the faster cakes I’ve done…especially with my daughter’s help. Thanks for commenting.

  1. says

    This is AWESOME!! I love this! I’ve been searching for the perfect kind of cake to make for my sister’s birthday. This is the winner! Thank you!

    -Courtney from terminallydomestic.blogspot.com

    • says

      Thanks for the kind words and invites. It was a crazy week trying to get out of town. I’ve saved your button and will be linking up tomorrow if there’s a party going on. Thanks so much for letting me know about it.

  2. says

    WOW! I wish I could make something this amazing:) You did an excellent job with this! I’m so pinning this. Thanks for sharing.
    Mindy @ The Blooming Daisy

    • says

      Thanks so much for commenting. I do like the cake wraps. I don’t get as much of that dome shape when I use them. It cools the outside so the cake bakes more evenly. Highly recommended. I linked up a couple recipes. Now I wish I just had more of my cakes up on my site.

    • says

      Thanks so much. It’s such an amazingly fun hobby for me. One of those things that makes me forget about lunch while I’m working…that never happens.

  3. says

    Jodi, you’ve totally outdone yourself. This is so incredible! I’ve featured you at today’s Mop It Up Mondays! Have a wonderful week!


    • says

      Hey. Thank you so much for letting me know about it. I’ve been on vacation, and we’ve been away from the computer most of the time. I’m writing from my phone now. I’ll try to link up when I return.

  4. says

    Jodi, this cake is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing it at Project Queen. I’ll be featuring it as one of the highlights tonight at the Highlight Party.

    • says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I was surprised at how helpful my daughter actually was. With her help, we were able to bang out the sides while the other two were napping. Thanks again!

  5. says

    Hey that’s my design!! LOL!! I made that cake for my stepdaughter a couple years ago (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cakesandcookiestoo/5158602417/)… I honestly came up with it on my own:) Hmm…makes me wonder if the source you got it from saw my Flickr picture. Anyway, it’s all good.. and if they did get it from me it’s an honor…if not, then I guess it means great minds think alike:) The funny thing is that it got around to you… what’s the chances that a bloggy buddy would make the same cake! You did an amazing job on yours!! It definitely was one of my fave cakes that I’ve made!

    Maysem @ http://odetoinspiration.wordpress.com

    • says

      Oh my goodness! Well, it’s an amazing design. You did a fabulous job. I was seriously going to do something else. I just fell in love with this design though and couldn’t get it off my brain. My husband kept trying to brainstorm other rainbow ideas with me, and I couldn’t let this cake go. I kept visiting the rainbow tessellation idea I had, but I kept landing on your design. Thanks for designing something so amazing. It really has been one of my favorites I have made too. Wish I had claims to the intellectual rights 😉 – guess that’s you! Good work! It is spreading, by the way. I’ve had over 3000 page views on it, and it’s been pinned left and right. You can feel good about that!

  6. says

    Alright, this cake made the cut. Guess I’m going to have to try and make it this week! I’ll follow your tutorial, should be pretty good, even if it doesn’t look like yours!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the feature! I really appreciate it. I tried to get the feature button, but it didn’t work. I re-did the quotation marks too. I was doing it to give you the link back, so whatever you want to do. No biggie!

  7. says

    I was amazed at how level and even your rolled fondant was!! Thank you for sharing your tips and tricks. I love to learn new ways! Hope the party was a success!

  8. says

    Hi Jodi,

    First of all, congratulations! The cake is marvellous…

    I’m from Portugal and I believe we don’t have those white cake mix.
    Do u have any other recipe to bake the rainbow cake? What kind of food colouring did u used?

    • says

      Thank you so much! You can use any white cake recipe, but here’s a great one:
      3/4 cup vegetable shortening
      1 1/2 cup sugar
      2 tsp vanilla extract
      2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
      1/2 tsp salt
      4 tsp baking powder
      1 cup milk, room temperature
      4 egg whites, room temperature

      Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour the sides and bottom of two 9 inch cake pans. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream shortening until light and airy. Slowly add 1 cup of sugar, continuously beating until fluffy. Add vanilla. In a small bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add 1 Tbsp of the dry ingredients to the shortening mixture and mix well. Then add 1 Tbsp of the milk to the shortening mixture and mix well. Continue adding the dry ingredients alternately with the mix, blending well after each addition, until thoroughly combined. Do not overmix. In another bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat until stiff, shiny peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until blended, being careful not to overmix. Place in the prepared pans and bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let teh cakes cool in the pans for about 20 minutes, then invert onto wire rack s and remove pans. Cool completely.

      If this is too complicated or you can’t find some of these ingredients, I would just look up any white cake recipe with high marks on all recipes.

      The coloring I used was just the Wilton food coloring.

      Good luck. I hope that’s helpful.

  9. says

    Wow, this is very impressive! I just love the bright colours, and as someone who does quite a lot of cake decorating, I can appreciate the time involved in putting together a cake such as this one! Well done, this is fabulous :)

  10. says

    G’Day from Oz! I am so going to make this stunning cake for my daughters 1st birthday in October! And my cousin owns the best cake shop in Sydney!

  11. Anonymous says

    Hi!! Your cake is gorgeous!!! I plan on making this cake for my daughter’s birthday in a couple weeks. Just a question….what kind of food coloring did you use? Most recipes call for the gel which I’ve had trouble finding. Looking forward to making it. Looks so simple!!! Thank you!!

    • says

      I did use the Wilton gel ones. Could you order them online? If not, I would just experiment with mixing colors with normal food coloring. I believe there is a recipe on the back that tells how many drops of each color to achieve orange and purple.

    • Anonymous says

      Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!! I have found the gels at Sur La Table!!! Can’t wait to make your cake!!! Thank you!

  12. says

    Wow that is a stunning cake! I’m doing my daughters 5th birthday cake similar, only using pinks and purples!! How many cake mixes are there in total and how much fondant is needed??

  13. says

    So cool you’re going to do something like this, Stacey. You’ll need to make 3 cake batches. I hate to say that I don’t remember how much fondant I used. I wish I was more help there. I’d love to see the results when you are finished. Thanks! Jodi

  14. says

    Oh WOW i love this cake. Its so beautiful and amazing. Your cake inspired me to make one for my sister shes turning 17 on Sunday and im really exited to see her reaction. Except that im putting skittles on the top and candy strips all around.

  15. says

    Hi Jodie. The cake looks fantastic!

    Just wanted to ask how much gel you ended up using to get the layers so vibrant ? Made something similar a few months back but ended up with more pastel looking colours.


    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Paul. I’m not sure exactly how much I put it. I just kept adding until I liked the color. I’m a stickler for making the colors vibrant. It was a lot though.

    • says

      Oh – this is a really hard questions. Theoretically, a 10 inch cake (which I think it what I did) can feed 12 or more. This cake, admittedly was a bit more challenging to cut, and I just ended up giving the kids a huge slice that they would never be able to finish. You could cut the large pieces in half or even into thirds so there are 2-3 color layers for each piece. You could also cut it like a wedding cake. Wilton has a great guide for that http://www.wilton.com/cakes/cake-cutting-guides/wedding-cake-cutting-guide.cfm. That would serve more like 30 if you were to do the tall slices or 2-3x that if you were to cut own on the height. I just served cake at a wedding and served cake based on that guide, which I have never done before. I loved serving cake that way. So much easier. The thing that makes it challenging to serve this one is just its height. I would love to see your results, so send pictures my way when you get a chance.

  16. says

    Hi what a great great cake! Can you answer one question once the cake was iced did you cover in fondant then attached each strip to the fondant or are the strips attached to the frosting?

  17. says

    Hi what a great great cake! Can you answer one question once the cake was iced did you cover in fondant then attached each strip to the fondant or are the strips attached to the frosting?

    • says

      I’m not sure. Are you talking about the pasta roller and cutter? I think it would be really hard to work with the thin strips of fondant. I haven’t used any other pasta maker…that makes more of a tube pasta, so I’m just not sure. Thanks!

  18. says

    Lily has requested a rainbow birthday cake for her birthday at the end of March…and…I think this is it! I have never worked with fondant…do you have any tips about that? When connecting the ends do you make a seam down one side of the cake, or is there a way you hide seams?

    • says

      Hey Melanie – I’d love to see how it turns out. I did a Cake Making 201 post – http://meaningfulmama.com/2012/02/day-47-cake-making-201.html I don’t know if it will be totally helpful for this because it’s mostly about covering a cake. I use corn starch when working with fondant to keep it from getting too sticky. I like using Duff fondant. I also like using the Wilton coloring that comes in small cylinder containers. It gives great color. You want to knead the color in. I used a lot to get the vibrant colors. The trick is you don’t want to add too much, but you also don’t want to over knead fondant. You can also buy pre-colored fondant, which makes it mass easy, but is the more expensive route with this cake. The clay extruder makes this pretty easy. When you have your fondant snakes, you don’t want to pull or tug at them too much because they’ll stretch weird. However, I have recently found a great way to handle long strips is to roll them up kind of like bubble tape, and then unroll onto the cake. There is a seam, and I just had it in the same place at the back of the cake. Does Luke still have my phone number? Just give me a call if you have any questions. I’ll let you know if I think of anything else. Someone just asked me how much fondant this cake takes, and I don’t quite remember. Also, I can’t find their question back on my post, so I feel bad I haven’t responded to them directly. I generally use a pound of Duff fondant to cover a 2 tiered 8″ cake. I’d say you’re using about the same thickness, so my guess is 3 lbs, but I would have 4 on hand just in case. They come in 2 lb containers, and I believe 2 containers would cover it.

  19. says

    Someone asked me about how much fondant it takes to cover this cake. I don’t remember. I also can’t find the question on my comments, so I’m sorry I haven’t responded directly to this person. I’m going to take a guess here. I generally use a pound of Duff fondant to cover a 2 tiered 8″ cake. I’d say you’re using about the same thickness, so my guess is 3 lbs, but I would have 4 on hand just in case. They come in 2 lb containers, and I believe 2 containers would cover it.

  20. says

    I don’t make my own fondant. I have a recipe, but I have found it inconsistent. Because there are so many steps to making cake, I choose to avoid the fondant making step and buy it. I do not like Wilton’s fondant. I use Duff’s, and I’ve been very happy working with it. I always have a 40% coupon to our local craft store, so that’s how I buy it. Duff also has pre-colored fondant, which can be convenient. You can search Amazon for Duff fondant. Other than that, I would recommend searching the web for a 5 star marshmallow fondant recipe. Good luck!

    • says

      Thank you so much! This one was actually not as bad as you’d think. My daughter was actually a lot of help in working the clay extruder. Baking was a bit more involved with so many later. I really need to keep better track of how long these cakes take m because I get a lot of people asking that question.

  21. says

    I can’t remember if I commented a little while ago to say thank you for the fabulous recipe for the cake as well as the idea for the gorgeous cake. I made this for my oldest daughter’s 11th birthday and it was HUGE!! It was 10 inches tall when I got done – totally an epic cake for her! I just used the drops for food coloring since my gels had dried up and so they were more pastel, but still fabulous all the same! lol I’m making it again today but splitting the cakes in half to give to 2 of our teachers at school as an end of the year present. I know it’ll be a hit. Thanks for sharing your talent with the rest of us!

    • says

      I’m so glad this turned out for you. I would love to see the results if you have any pictures. You have me thinking I should do an end of the year cake my my daughter’s class. Thank you so much for commenting. I love to hear about other people’s successes!

  22. Lillian says

    LOVE this cake… Can you tell me what brand/ name of the clay extruder you used is? Am hoping to get one as soon as possible! My daughter saw your cake and is now completely obsessed with it for her birthday!

  23. Isha says

    Wow…this is such a beautiful cake!!!!i would like to know the size of cake pan u used for this particular cake and also the total height:)

    • says

      Thank you! I used 8 inch cakes. I would estimate 12 inches with the layers, frosting and fondant, but it may be more like 10…not 100% sure. I’d love to see your pictures. Sorry it took me so long to respond!

  24. Vicky says

    Hi, Do you know how much fondant you used. i dont want to be stuck with not enough! Also can this be made a couple of days in advance and if so how many days in advance do you recommend?

    • says

      Hi Vicky, You can definitely make the cakes in advance. I make my cakes in advance and freeze them. I pull them out a few days before the party and frost them. I then might keep them in the refrigerator overnight. Then, I cover it with the fondant the next day. If you used a buttercream frosting, it is OK covered in fondant at a mild-cold room temperature for a couple days. If you are using a non-butter/cream based frosting it could probably go for even longer. Although that is true, I like to refrigerate my cakes. What you want to avoid is condensation when you take the cake out. I do have an extra refrigerator, so that helps. Condensation happens when you pull a cake out from the refrigerator and it goes from cold to hot too quickly and begins to sweat. In hot temperatures, this can be a big problem. To avoid it, you want to box your cake before putting it in the refrigerator. Pull your cake out of the refrigerator a few hours before the party. Do not open the box!! This will help it warm up at a slower rate and the condensation will not happen. Once it has been at room temperature for a few hours, you can open the cake and shouldn’t have a problem. My one warning is that really warm climates can be brutal on a cake. Try and find a cool, dry place to store it. I really wish I had kept track of how much fondant I used. I really don’t remember. This cake is semi-equivalent to 3 cakes, so I would estimate that I used 6 lbs of fondant, but I really am not sure. I’m so sorry I’m not more helpful there. I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks!

  25. Ann says

    Hi Jodi,
    Such an amazing cake! I waited months to try to make this for my daughter’s 3rd birthday but when I finally did I ran into a few problems, mainly that the cake was so tall it became unstable and was impossible to move onto the cake stand after frosting. I’m not sure if part of the problem was my kitchen was so hot the frosting started to melt, causing the layers to slip off. Most tall cakes like this seem to use a board between the tiers. How did you manage to keep yours so stable and then transfer to the cake stand? Also I noticed that the bottom cake board you used extended outside the cake perimeter. Did you end up trimming it? Would love your advice or that of anyone who’s successfully replicated this, as I hope to try again. Thanks!

    • says

      Hello Ann, I am so sorry for the problems you encountered. Heat can have a horrible influence on cakes, and that may have been part of your problem. Also, did you make sure that your cakes were very level. In one of the pictures you can see that I checked the level after each cake to make sure that I was creating the stability. I’m also curious if you used my cake recipe. Different recipes can create different outcomes and have different stability issues. Here is the recipe I used: http://meaningfulmama.com/2012/02/white-velvet-cake.html. A pound cake might also be good for the future as it tends to have more stability: http://meaningfulmama.com/2012/11/day-327-perfect-pound-cake.html. I wouldn’t be surprised if the melting frosting really did play a huge part in the layers slipping and creating the unstable nature of the cake. You can always use smoothie straws or wooden dowels down the center to help hold the cake together. Just make sure to remove before serving. I don’t remember if I trimmed my cake board, but I don’t think I did. I generally by rounds of the same size of the cake I’ve made. The cake, when baking, tends to pull away from the edges of the pan and therefore end up slightly smaller than the cake pan. So, if you are cooking a 8″ cake, it will lose a slight bit on the sides when removed from the pan, but your board is still 8″ big, if that makes sense. Again, I’m sorry for your issues. If you are working on a hot day, I would keep any down time (before fondant) in the refrigerator. Good luck!! let me know if I can be of any more help.

      • Ann says

        Thanks or the response Jodi! I did use both your white velvet cake and buttercream recipes. I checked the cake level after the top tier but not after each tier. I also may have used too much frosting between layers so that combined wuth the heat may have contributed to my issues. I may try the. Pound cake but the white velvet was just so delicious! I ended up just salvaging some of my layers, trimming them to Hal the height and then just frosting with buttercream like a traditional rainbow cake. I have yet to make it to the fondant part! do you remember how tall each of your layers was? Anyway thanks again for such a great blog!

  26. says

    I am hosting my sisters 60th birthday on a sunday very soon. I have so many things to make. Can I make this cake of Friday, Fondant rings and all? If so will the colors run? What should I store? Using buttercream icing?


  27. says

    I am hosting my sisters birthday on a sunday very soon. Since I have so much to do can I make this cake using buttercream on Friday? How do I keep fondant soft like it was just made?


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