Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rainbow Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

Today is my daughter Olivia's 10th birthday!  We've been celebrating Olivia's birthday for about a week now, giving her one present everyday for the week leading up to her birthday.  On Sunday we had a surprise birthday party and I made Olivia this Rainbow Cake. 

The cake itself is rather unsuspecting, until you cut into it, and then it is quite a beautiful surprise.  Trust me when I say that if I can do this, you can too!  Baking really isn't my forte, but this cake is pretty foolproof. 

Rainbow Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream
Adapted from Love and Olive Oil, original post found HERE
Serves 20
For Cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces)
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring

For Frosting/Filling:
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
10 large egg whites
2 pounds (8 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound best-quality white chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cake pans by first liberally buttering the pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter the rounds and set aside.

Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

Divide batter evenly between six medium bowls. Add enough of each color of food coloring to each bowl, whisking, until desired shade is reached. Transfer each color to an individual cake pan. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 15-25 minutes (working in batches if necessary).

Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire rack. Allow to cool completely. At this point, the layers can also be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen.

To make frosting, put sugar and egg whites in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, and set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter by the tablespoon, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and white chocolate. (Any leftover frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.)

To assemble, using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment or waxed paper around perimeter of a cake stand or lazy Susan. Place the purple layer on the cake plate. Scoop a 1/2 cup (or more for a larger cake) buttercream filling over the first layer and spread with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond edges. Repeat process with blue, green, yellow, and orange layers.
Place the remaining red layer on top, bottom-side up. Gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush. Using an offset spatula, cover the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting (also use any of the excess frosting visible between the layers). Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
Using a large offset spatula, cover cake again with remaining frosting.
Notes/Results:   I was stunned when I sliced into the cake.  I really didn't think I would be able to pull it off.  In fact, one of my layers fall apart but you couldn't even tell once the cake was cut.  The cake was a huge hit at the party!  It was very pretty with some white chocolate curls on top.

I do have a few notes to share about this recipe.  The original author used 6" cake pans and her cake layers were a nice thickness.  I used 8" cake pans, with about 1 cup of batter for each color and baked them 11-13 minutes each.  My cake layers were quite thin.  If I were to make the cake again, then I would definitely opt for the 6" cake pans so the cake layers themselves were a bit thicker.  The thin layers were pretty, but buttercream definitely stole the show when it came to tasting the cake.



  1. I love it! This is so pretty, perfect for your pretty little princess. You are a great mom:) Happy birthday to Olivia!

  2. Have a wonderful birthday Oliva. I know you are going to love that cake....celebrate!

  3. I find these cakes to be so much fun! They really do look cool. I don't have enough pans or the space to store them so I would be in the kitchen all day using my two pans over and over. I am sure she was very surprised not only by the party but by the cake as well.

  4. That is quite a show stopper. I have seen these cakes on other peoples blogs but it always seemed way to complicated for me to attempt. I'm glad to hear you say it isn't
    Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter, and happy early Mother's day to you.
    *kisses* HH

  5. that is GORGEOUS! I've eyed that rainbow cake many a time and nixed it, thinking it was too hard. But you really pulled it off!

  6. What a fantastic impact .... perfect cake for a birthday at any age!!!

  7. Happy birthday to Olivia! What a lovely cake you made!

  8. Happy Birthday Olivia! You are gorgeous and so is your birthday cake.

  9. Hi! One of your readers told me you had a rainbow cake on your blog today too! I just made mine for my daughter's 4th b-day! Yours looks great, and your daughter is very pretty :)

  10. Tye dyed cake! That is such an incredible job. I'd be halfway into it and say "awwwww screw it" and mix all the colors together, ending up with a color of cake that resembles a laundry accident!

  11. That turned out so beautiful! Hope your girl has had a fabulous birthday :)

  12. Buon compleanno Olivia ! I love the cake it's gorgeous !

  13. This is really cool, Kim! I don't know if I'd have the patience :)

  14. Kim, you did a fantastic job with the cake. I'm sure Olivia was pleased. It is gorgeous. Almost like a rainbow on a cakeplate. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  15. girlfriend, you rocked that thing out! it looks amazing! what a lucky little girl to have such an awesome cake.

    happy birthday olivia!

  16. Olivia is a lucky little girl. The cake is spectacular!

  17. Birthday wishes to Olivia! This is a really special cake. I think it is delightful. I am loving it.


  18. Happy (belated) Birthday , Olivia! Such a fun cake...I've always wanted to make one like that, too!

  19. Wild! I wouldn't think that I could pull that off either. What a wonderful job you did on it!

  20. Happy Birthday to Olivia! I bet she loved the cake! I was going to make it once and wimped out. You did it proud!

  21. This is fantastic and I have to love the frosting / cake ratio too. ;-) I am impressed--you did a beautiful job.


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