Here’s how to make a beautiful, jelly bean rainbow cake for an exciting addition to a colourful, birthday party! Fun and unique and not as hard as it looks to create!
When I first saw this rainbow cake idea a couple of years ago I was amazed by it, but completely put off making it because of the complicated instructions that I found. Most seemed to suggest freezing layers of cake, cutting the tops off and other labour intensive stages that seemed much too difficult! But when Cakie decided she wanted a Willy Wonka birthday party, this seemed to fit the theme perfectly, so I decided to just have a go and hope for the best! It really wasn’t as hard as I expected and I cut corners with an easy cake recipe and by using store bought icing!
Here’s what I did:
I trebled my trusty go-to Victoria sponge recipe, with the aim of making 6 thin layers of cake. It’s lovely and easy because it is mixed all in one- perfect!
540g self- raising flour
540g softened butter
540g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons baking powder
gel food colouring
dash of milk
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease two 7 inch cake tins with removable bases
- Mix all the ingredients (except the food colouring) in a large bowl until smooth, using using electric beaters
- Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, each in a separate bowl. (I did this by eye, by first splitting it into 3 portions, then dividing those in half. Of course you can do it however you like, but this seemed easier and a good way to ensure each portion was the same size.)
- Add 1 teaspoon of gel food colouring to each bowl of mixture and mix in really well. I used Wilton brand and they were really vibrant! I used red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. (Yes, I know food colouring isn’t healthy, but I do think birthdays are special, one-off occasions! The natural colourings, though a much better option, just don’t look as vibrant at all.)
- Bake two cakes at a time for 25 minutes. Insert a metal skewer to the middle of the cake to see if it comes out dry. If it still has doughy cake mixture on it then leave it for 5 more minutes and try again. You don’t want these to over-cook as that will increase the crumbliness, which makes the decorating difficult.
- When cool, place the purple layer on a cake stand ready to start the sandwiching of the layers together! I borrowed a tip I’ve seen on You Tube in the past, of tearing 4 strips of paper and sticking them under the edges of the cake (as you can just make out in the photo above). This is great for catching icing mistakes, as when you pull the paper out later it takes all the mess with it!
- I totally cheated and bought 3 tubs of Betty Crocker’s vanilla buttercream icing/ frosting as I didn’t want the stress of getting the perfect icing consistency and knew that I could mess up a beautiful cake by getting it wrong! Icing IS really easy to make though, so if you’re not as lazy as me, try this recipe from all recipes.com.
- I used a small amount between each layer of cake to sandwich them together and secure them. Make sure you use enough so that it can be seen when cut, as this adds to the visual impact!
- When all the layers are sandwiched together, create a “crumb coat” of icing over the entire cake, i.e. a thin layer of icing that will catch all the loose crumbs. It doesn’t matter if this first layer is a bit messy, just ensure it’s fairly even.
- Either put it in the fridge (if you live somewhere hot) or leave out on the side for a couple of hours, to dry out and set a little. Then come back and add the final layer of icing. By keeping it simple and white it really adds to the WOW when the colours are revealed inside!
- When it as completely covered I added a packet of jelly beans all over it and made a quick number 4 topper by writing the number in glitter glue on some card and sticking it to the middle of a lollipop.
The birthday girl was thrilled with her whacky, jelly bean rainbow cake and completely amazed to see the colours inside it! This cake was MUCH easier than I thought it was going to be and I would definitely make it again. Cutting corners by using store bought icing and not bothering to freeze it in-between icing definitely removed some of the stress factor and made it a manageable morning’s project.
Have you ever tried making an unusual birthday cake? Please share your ideas in the comments!