Candice Brown's rainbow cake recipe

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Want to make your very own rainbow cake? This rainbow cake recipe is easy to follow and is great for those special occasions...

Rainbow cake
(Image credit: Catherine Prior)
  • healthy
Preparation Time1 hours
Cooking Time35 mins
Total Time1 hours 35 mins plus cooling
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories468 Kcal23%
Sugar54.5 g61%
Fat19.4 g28%
Saturated Fat11.5 g58%
Salt0.25 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein4.7 g9%
Carbohydrates69.5 g27%
Salt0.25 gRow 7 - Cell 2

Great British Bake-Off winner Candice Brown reveals how to make this show-stopping rainbow cake recipe in just a few simple steps.

Candice Brown's rainbow cake recipe would be the perfect centerpiece for any charity bake sale or party. This recipe serves around 16 people. This impressive birthday cake isn't too difficult to make with our easy mix sponge cake recipe, you just have to be bold with the colours and use concentrated gel paste colours. This rainbow cake takes around 1 hour and 35 minutes to make. 


  • 335g self-raising flour
  • 335g soft unsalted butter
  • 335g golden caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 eggs
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Rainbow gel colours

For the icing:

  • 500g icing sugar
  • Juice from from 1 lemon
  • sprinkles to decorate




  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line your cake tins, which should be between 8-10 inches wide.    
  2. Add all the cake ingredients to the bowl and mix really well so it is combined and fluffy, but don’t over mix it. Divide the mix into how many layers you are going to make - five is an ideal amount, and place into separate bowls.  Add a small amount of food colour to each bowl, mix to colour evenly, adding more colouring if necessary to get vibrantly coloured mixtures.
  3. Put the mixes into the prepared tins, level them with the back of a spoon so they’re lovely and smooth. Put them into the oven, for about 20 mins (depending on size), until well risen and just firm to the touch. TOP TIP:  don’t open the oven too soon or they might start to sinK.
  4. Take the cakes out the oven and give them a few minutes to cool in the tin. Then put them onto a cooling rack. If reusing the tins, wash, grease and line with clean paper before adding the next mixture. TOP TIP: Put a tea towel onto a cooling rack before turning out the cake to avoid having marks on the cake
  5. For the icing add half the butter into the icing sugar and whip together. Electric whisker is best for this. Mix for a while until it’s nice and smooth. Gradually add more butter then start adding in the lemon juice bit by bit. Keep whipping the icing until it is light and fluffy and doesn’t feel grainy when you rub it between your fingers. Add a layer of icing between each of the cake layers.
  6. Divide the rest of the icing into bowls how many layers you have and add colour.
  7. Add a layer of icing between each layer, and then blob each of the different coloured icing around the edge of the cake in a straight line up the side. Start from the bottom and work up until you reach the top. You should have lines of colour around the cake. Take a smooth palette knife or spreader, spread in one movement buttercream around the cake to get the desired stripe look
  8. Finally, get creative! Spread the remaining buttercream on top and either leave plain or add sprinkles - decorate the top however you like! By Candice Brown

Watch how to make rainbow cake

Top tips for making this rainbow cake recipe

Use 18cm round sandwich cake tins, you’ll probably need to bake the sponges in batches if you don’t have 5 tins, but this is not a problem as the cakes don’t take long to cook. Once baked you can freeze the sponges until you are ready to assemble and decorate.

Is it best to use food colouring gel for a rainbow cake?

When it comes to making a rainbow cake you want the best vibrant colours to show through when you cut into it. If you’re opting for food colouring we’d recommend using food colour gels. Gels are much thicker than liquid food colouring which means they are more concentrated so you won’t need to use them as much. 

Food colour gels will not impact the mixture either whereas most liquid food colouring can often separate or make your cake mixture very runny. Unfortunately, food colour gels do tend to be more expensive.

What natural colouring can you use instead of food colouring or gel?

If you’re hoping to avoid using food colouring when creating your rainbow cake you may have to try using a different, powdered, or natural coloured liquid instead. Beetroot juice and pomegranate juice work well to create vibrant reds. Paprika and turmeric are a good alternative to orange and yellow food colouring, however, they will give your cake a fiery taste. Matcha powder is the perfect option to create that striking green colour and acai berry powder for a purple colour.

The Great British Bake Off winner has created this showstopping rainbow cake to support children’s charity the Rainbow Trust - which offers support to seriously ill children and their families.

Candice is calling on families and friends to spend time together and take on the challenge of rainbow baking, so they can have fun and support the charity at the same time.

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