When Making a Rainbow Cake…

Because I have boys and boys don’t generally like rainbows but I like rainbows and I love Pinterest and cakes like these from one charming party:

I thought I could squeeze a rainbow cake in for Tyler’s 6th birthday, calling it a carnival cake. Aren’t I smart (and pushy?) Just add some red stripes and it doesn’t look girly at all, right?

And rather than looking up how to make these cakes and learning from somebody else’s mistakes, I decided to go into it blind, thinking, “I can wing this thing!” Actually, after the week of flu, I really just didn’t think about research and had to get it done so I just jumped in. In case you are smarter than me, here are things to note if you want to make a rainbow cake.

  • make sure you have a whole day to do this thing. Between making the cake mix, coloring all the colors (and I only did six), letting them cool, making the frosting, and parenting thrown in here and there, it will take a whole day. Well, a whole afternoon. We were at church all morning. Then the popcorn store. THEN the cake.
  • plan out where you’re going to cool all of these cakes. As it turns out, I don’t have enough wire cooling racks for six cakes. And definitely not for eight, when the first two turn out too pastelish. Be sure to do them in order so that they’re ready to stack as you go, starting with the color you want on the bottom.
  • which brings me to my next point: make the batter very bright. Subtle colors just don’t work on this baby. And when you make a nice pink and a nice orange and bake them, they will turn out looking almost exactly the same.
  • so I repeat: make the batter much brighter than you think you want it. Like candy colors bright.
  • use a cake leveler or a big serrated knife to flatten off the rounded tops of the cakes. If you are making a layer cake more than two layers high, your cake will start to mound in the center and crack and fall along the sides if you don’t do this.
  • Cut those layers thinner than you think you should. I simply cut off the “mounds” on top of each layer, and ended up with a cake a mile high. Which actually turned out to be kind of fun and show-stopping. But if you want a normal sized cake, make the layers thin. Then use the extra cake to make cake pops or something.
  • If you do make the mile high version, don’t bother making cupcakes on the side. We had almost 50 people (I know, boundaries in party inviting are not really my strong point) and the cake itself was plenty for everyone. No cupcakes needed.

But the most fun thing about this cake is the reaction. When I cut into that thing in front of all of Tyler’s little guests and families, a loud, “whoa!!” went up from the crowd around me. And Tyler, who only likes “white cake with no frosting” actually requested a piece of rainbow cake. Now that is a win in my book, and makes it totally worth the work.

Happy Baking!


2 thoughts on “When Making a Rainbow Cake…

  1. Wow! about the cake. so fun! and Wow! about the 50 people. We hosted 8 kids for Jane’s party and they filled up the house. You are one serious hostess. So glad both boys had memorable birthday celebrations!
    Love from Auntie Sarah

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