Monday, March 14, 2011

Martha's Rainbow Cake

Last week, when I was at my mom's house in Mississippi over Mardi Gras break from school I decided to try Martha Stewart's Rainbow cake. I saw it on another blog and just had to try it. It turned out so pretty, but I never want to make it again!

Martha's cake recipe is amazing and it tasted great. When it was time to divide the batter into 6 separate bowls I used a one cup measuring scoop so the layers would be relatively even. Since I was in MS and not at my kitchen at home I didn't have my awesome food coloring gel tubs so we had to mix some colors which worked out well. Here is where the trouble started- as we were scraping the bowls it really wasn't enough batter to cover the 9 inch pans. Also my grandmother only had 5 9-inch pans so we had to bake 4, then do the other 2 after. I thought that that would be a pain, but they only take about 12-13 minutes so while the first batch was in the oven we stayed busy cleaning up the mess of all of the separate bowls. We used 3 metal pans and 2 glass ones. IF I were to do this again (which I swear I won't any time soon) I would just use the glass pans because the pancake thin cake came out of those a lot easier and the metal pans were a tiny bit bigger so when I started layering them I had to shave some off the edges. Once the cake had cooled I decided to attempt Martha's Lemony Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It calls for NINE egg whites that you have to cook on the stove while the sugar dissolves- this was really hard to do without it turning into scrambled egg! Once the sugar melts you move back to the mixer and add in 2 sticks of butter, cut up. After that you beat it on high for 5 minutes to room temperature until it forms peaks. Well- I beat it for way over 5 minutes and all I had was a soupy mess. At that point I just decided to go back to my regular buttercream frosting- 2 sticks of softened butter and 1 lb of confectioner's sugar and some vanilla. I had to double it so that I could do all of the layers plus the top.

The cake was a big hit- I brought it over to my dad's after we sampled it at my mom's. It is really pretty and the cake tasted great- way better than box! It was just a lot a lot a lot of trouble! I would much rather just do tie-dye cup cakes where you just spoon in the different color batter into the muffin cups.

(not my picture- I forgot to take pictures when we made these- stolen off of Google Images)

Recipe for Martha Stewart's Rainbow Layer Cake
Makes one 9-inch-round six-layer cake
  • Vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring
  • Lemony Swiss Meringue Buttercream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush six 9-inch-round cake pans (or as many 9-inch cake pans as you have, reusing them as necessary) with shortening. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper; brush again and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Slowly add egg whites and mix until well combined. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and milk in two alternating additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the milk. Mix until well combined.
  3. 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 minutes (working in batches if necessary).
  4. Remove cakes from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack; re-invert and let cool completely.
  5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the purple layer on the cake plate. Spread a scant 1 cup buttercream filling over the first layer with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond edges. Repeat process with blue, green, yellow, and orange layers.
  6. 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.
  7. Using an offset spatula, cover cake again with remaining frosting.


  1. That sounds like an adventure! I love beautiful cakes... but sadly baking is not my strong point. I'm a good cook... but my baked goods come out kind of lopsided. Yours looks great!

  2. I think I could do the cupcakes... that would be easier for me than trying to do a cake. It looks so tasty!!

  3. Doesn't it just look like it has to taste better even if it is the same ol mix??! So bright and cheery :)