Rainbow Swirl Cake
This rainbow swirl cake is easier to make than you may think! Dress up a boxed cake mix.
My baby boy turned 2 this week. He lives his life with such joy and you just can’t be near him without laughing. And he’s wild. He deserved a Rainbow Swirl Cake.
I love how he sings his ABCs at the top of his lungs.
I love how he says “Hi! How you doin’?” to every single person he makes eye contact with.
I love how he does somersaults when he is excited,
and tells people to clap whenever he completes a puzzle.
While I could do without him climbing on top of our kitchen table
I love when he gives me that ornery little grin when he’s been caught.
I love his wet, sticky kisses
and his ticklish little baby toes.
I love how he watches Yo Gabba Gabba even while staying in constant motion
and how he can fall asleep upright in his rocking chair reading a book.
I just love him to pieces. ♥
Making a rainbow swirl cake is very easy- I hope you’ll try it sometime. I snapped a few pictures with my phone along the way. Oh yes- he liked the cake 😉
Rainbow Swirl Cake
- Yellow, or white cake batter, divided
- Gel food dye, I use Americolor
- Buttercream frosting
- Prepare your cake batter as you normally would and divide into however many sections that you would like.
- Use food dye to color your cake batter. If you use gel or paste then you will only need 1 drop per section for a brilliant, deep color.
- Drop your batter into the pan one color at a time and bake as normal.
- Frost and enjoy!
A Few Notes on Food Coloring
- I used Americolor GEL food coloring which can be purchased online or at Hobby Lobby (Amazon link provided at the end of this post).
- Food color gel is NOT decorating gel.
- Wilton also makes gel food coloring (available at Wal-Mart, Michaels, and JoAnne’s). I do not prefer it but it is more readily available and would produce better results than using liquid food color found in most grocery stores.
- You use one teeny tiny drop of Americolor gel food coloring to get these vibrant colors. To get a vibrant color with liquid food coloring you may have to add up to a teaspoon of coloring (which I do NOT recommend). The color may still not be as vibrant and adding that much liquid will change the consistency of the dough.
- I am including the links to the basic color pack and the “electric” colors. I use both sets in my kitchen. To see some more colors check out my Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Items used in this recipe:
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104 Comments on “Rainbow Swirl Cake”
Can I use a sheet cake pan
I love it that you posted this recipe in celebration of your son turning 2…. and the reason I’m here is because my little boy is turning 3 and asked for a rainbow cake! I bet our boys would be great friends!
Thank you for posting this!
Thanks for this recipe. Could I use a rectangular 13 x 9 pan? Have you tried it that way?
Hi, what cake mix did you use?
Your rainbow swirl cake recipe just won my 10 year old son the kids bake off at his local school!!!$150 voucher at a cake store and lots of utensils!! He is so thrilled!!! Best tasting and he only did one layer but it came out lovely!!! Just used your way of doing the layers. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am SO happy to hear that!!
Hi! I plan on making this cake, but I was wondering, did you have to use two boxes of cake mix to get two layers? Besides that I’m really exited to use this recipe!
Hi, How Wonderful,’I’m sure your son has had some fab birthdays since you made the rainbow cake for him. My soon to be 4 year old daughter is crazy about rainbows. Her letter to Santa reads, I want a rainbow present. lol. This looks so awesome and with her birthday about 5 weeks away I know she will love this when we cut it open. Thanks for your great ideas, superb for a party on a hot summer day in January in New Zealand
Made a rainbow swirl cake for my dads 60th and turned out amazing. We used 4 colors and just dropped them all over in. I order. I was disappointed when I pulled them out of oven as colors looked to have severely muted and browned but it was just the outside. When I leveled the top I was all giggles and excitment! Thank you for the great fun idea!!!
it looks moist and delicious!Thanks for sharing the recipe,
I just have to say that your coments on how you love your son just grabed my heart with sooooo so so so much love – I just have to make that cake with my 9 year old Niece who I love the same way that you love your baby boy – I sadly so not have kids so all my overflow of love goes to my two amazing nieces. Sarah who is 9 years old and her sister Sofie who is 14 – thoes two girls ARE my WHOLE HEART. So I have to go – got to get baking a love rainbow cake 😉
What a fun cake! My son turns 6 next month, so will be giving it a go then. Think I will order the gels online as I haven’t seen them in the UK supermarkets and want to make sure it’s as colourful as possible! Thanks for sharing!
Wow, looks so colorful and attractive. But I think it’s not so hard to make this cake
Can you do this in a 13 by 9 inch cake pan? If so, do you think that instead of splotches of color that making stripes (as in a rainbow) would work in the larger pan?
Wow, i see the cake is full of color. I feel so attracted to make it. Thanks for sharing this recipe to me.
I love the colors and pattern of this rainbow cake. I want to try my hand at it!!! I hope you don’t mind, but I reposted the recipe and one of the photos on my blog. If this isn’t allowed, please let me know. I am giving you a credit and will give a link to this post and will link the photo back here.
I’m going to follow you. I like your blog!!! Hope you and yours have a Happy, Healthy New Year!
I just tried baking this cake tonight for my 12 year old daughter’s Katy Perry Themed birthday party tomorrow! So far it looks great. Can’t wait to cut into it tomorrow!! So easy to do! The only thing that I tried differently is gently running a toothpick through the batter before baking to give some swirls. We’ll see…. Thanks so much!!
Katy Perry birthday party? Sounds fun! Thanks for making the cake!
I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a
famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!
Wow! Is what I can start off by saying…. you are such an inspiration! Do you mostly focus on desserts? That is my favorite!! How do you find the time to think, create and demonstrate it all? Looking forward to future recipes.
Thank you for sharing all your recipes. I am wanting to start-up a food blog, but trying to find the time to get all organized and get it up and running….
My daughter and I were making this cake and baked it without the food coloring. Any way to fix this and have the colors there?
That sounds like the story of my life! I hope you at least enjoyed a delicious cake. 🙂
This cake is so beautiful! I can’t believe that it’s so easy to make. My grandchildren will love this cake and I can’t wait to make it for them. Thanks for sharing all you awesome recipe’s!
Great tutorial on making this delicious looking rainbow cake.
What a beautiful cake! I want to make it for my son’s 4th birthday (he has chosen “rainbow” as his new favorite color because he just can’t decide which one he likes best!). Did you use the electric colors for this cake, or the regular soft colors? Thanks!
Hi Celine, I think we talked over email? I used the electric colors except for the red.
I surprised my family with this colorful cake this week and included it in my recent blog post. Thanks for sharing how you did it!
It looks great! Thanks for letting me know!
I’m from England and we tend to use the liquid food colourings, will this make a difference or do I need to get hold of some gel colourings?
I have updated the post to show exactly what colors I used. Some others have made the cake with liquid coloring and the colors turn out more pastel rather than vibrant. Just FYI! Thanks for stopping by!
I love this recipe and would like to know what colors you used 🙂
Hi Mackenzie- I have updated the post showing which food colors I used. Thank you for reading!
Hi, I tried this with 1 box of Pillsbury’s white cake mix and Betty Crocker Gel Food colors. My results, frankly, were miserable. It took a really long time to get the batter to the colors I wanted, and after it was baked, It was really flat. Any suggestions? How many cake mixes that you use. My hunch is that I over-mixed the batter to get the color in.
Hi Lucy, I have received a few emails about this from other readers as well. Please note that Better Crocker Decorating gels are NOT food coloring. They are used to write on cakes/cookies/etc. I’m sorry that your experience with this cake was not good. I have updated the post howing exactly what colors I used. I hope you will try it again. Thanks for reading!
Made it with Taylor 🙂 It was pretty easy and we’re planning on doing it at her place next time. I love how it turned out and so does my family
Glad to know it turned out well and that you liked it!
it was amazingly easy mad it with my girl on our girls night
I’m happy to hear that you tried it and loved it! Thanks for letting me know.
Hey there! It’s my first time on your site – I found it through a “rainbow cake” Google search. Your recipe and presentation looks awesome, and I really want to try to make this cake. My only problem is that I can only find powdered food coloring in my area. Is it possible to substitute powdered coloring for the gel? Do you have any tips?
Thanks for stopping by! Other readers have sent my pictures of their cakes using liquid food coloring. The method will be the same for you. The colors just may not be as vibrant. I’ve never worked with powdered food color. Good luck!
Made it with my four-year old acting as assistant! Turned out wonderfully! Great make-at-home cake for kids.
I’m so happy to hear that you and your child enjoyed baking it together!
Ok, I just scrolled above and got my answer from a previous comment!
I plan to make this cake but before that, I had a question – was there a specific method you used to drop the batter into the pan? From the final outcome it looks like you randomly dropped blobs of coloured batter into the tin. Am worried that dropping it in incorrectly may result in a sludge of colours and ruin the cake’s appearance, so any guidance is appreciated.
Yep I just dropped big blobs (like that technical term?) of batter into each pan. I didn’t run a knife through or swirl it around.
Looking for rainbow images for my four year-old daughter, we bumped into your blog and fell in love with your Rainbow Swirl Cake and amazing creations–so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your passion, creativity, love of family and food…it’s contagious:-)
That makes me so happy! I’m so glad you’re here!!