The secret to making a rainbow cake like the one above (from Pixelated Crumb) lies in a thick batter and thick food coloring. The more dense a batter the less likely it will bleed, while food dyes that aren’t watered down like pastes or gels achieve stronger hues. But then comes the challenge of styling your rainbow cake so that its unique crumb isn’t hidden behind messy frosting — and what if the icing is where you want your rainbow to beam? We’ve gathered a few of our favorite alternatives for customizing your rainbow cake into something truly unique.
The icing of this rainbow cake gets just as much attention as the cake itself when colored fondant is wrapped around a “Cat in the Hat”–shaped cake base. The striped fondant was made using a clay extruder, a tool often found with pottery but works just as well with the dense pastry ingredient. The long rolls were wrapped around the cake one at a time, while the tall cake was topped with small balls of fondant.
Learn how to make your own rainbow cake using Meaningful Mama’s recipe.
A white cake base prevents colors from being distorted for this rainbow cake pop. Each dyed batter was baked and crumbled separately into marble-sized balls, and then one of each color was smashed together. The cake pops were then dipped in candy coating and topped with sprinkles.
Crickpop share how to make these rainbow cake pops.
Use an individual brownie pan to make this personal-sized sweet by stacking the layers between smears of chocolate fudge frosting. Rather like brightly colored petit fours, the dessert is enhanced with almond extract, but one might consider adding a touch of strawberry extract to the red layer, lime to the green and so on for a fruit punch–flavored surprise.
Get the recipe for this rainbow cake recipe from Spontaneous Haus Frau.
Rainbow cakes can also be served at breakfast, thanks to this unique pancake recipe. A traditional pancake batter was dyed just like a normal rainbow cake batter, but rather than baked, the batter was fried. Serve for a surprising Sunday short (or tall) stack.
I Am Baker shares how to make rainbow pancakes, created by Amanda’s Diner.
Skip the traditional ROYGBIV and try out a pink-themed rainbow cake. While technically more of an ombre styling than a rainbow, we like the grown-up take. Imagine this styling at a breast cancer awareness event or tuned to match other pre-set colors at a wedding or holiday party.
Learn how to make your own pink rainbow cake from CoCo & Co.
Finish off your meal with this mini rainbow cupcake, which sits in tiny paper soufflé cups. The buttermilk cake base sits under a rainbow cream cheese frosting. To customize this look, consider mixing frosting into solids rather than streaks, and then arrange the cupcakes on a platter.
Cupcakes Garden shares this free rainbow cake recipe from Food is My Life.
Rather than crisp subsections of color that line traditional rainbow cakes, this tie-dye cake blends everything together in a magic confection. The colored batter is poured into the center of the pan so that the colors ripple out and blend together more freely than other methods.
Learn how to make this unique rainbow cake from Easy Baked.
Image credits (from top): Pixelated Crumb, Meaningful Mama, Crickpop, Spontaneous Haus Frau, Amanda's Diner, CoCo & Co,Food Is My Life & Easy Baked