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Rainbow Layer Cake

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  • Prep 1 hr 5 min
  • Total 3 hr 5 min
  • Servings 12
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You’ll be proud to make and serve a cake that’s as much fun as this one. And you don't have to be a pastry chef to pull it off! Rainbow Layer Cake is surprisingly easy to create, thanks to a little help from Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ Vanilla Cake Mix and Betty Crocker™ Classic Gel Food Colors.
By Angie McGowan
Updated Aug 1, 2023
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Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 bag (2 lb) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk


  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Spray bottoms and sides of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.
  • 2
    In large bowl, beat 1 box cake mix, water, oil and eggs called for on box, with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among 3 small bowls. Using food colors, tint batter in 1 bowl blue, 1 bowl red and 1 bowl green to desired shades.
  • 3
    Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, repeat with second box of cake mix, water, oil and eggs to make 3 more layers. Divide batter evenly among 3 small bowls. Using food colors, tint batter in 1 bowl yellow, 1 bowl orange (using red and yellow) and 1 bowl purple (using blue and red). Repeat baking and cooling.
  • 5
    In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. On low speed, gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until frosting is smooth. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
  • 6
    Trim off rounded tops of cake layers to level, if necessary. On serving plate, place purple cake layer. Frost with 1/2 cup frosting. Repeat with blue, green, yellow, orange and red cake layers. Frost top and side of cake with thin layer of frosting to form a crumb coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting on top and side of cake. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    Be sure to cool cake pans completely, then wash, dry and spray with cooking spray before baking the second cake mix.
  • tip 2
    If you only have two 8-inch cake pans for this Rainbow Layer Cake recipe, bake the cakes in three batches instead.
  • tip 3
    To make sure cake layers bake up level, be sure to evenly divide the batter between the bowls when coloring.
  • tip 4
    Using half shortening and half butter for the buttercream frosting ensures that it will stay firm enough at room temperature.
  • tip 5
    Ever wondered how to make a Rainbow Layer Cake without having to fuss over the layers? For guaranteed easy unmolding, line each pan with baking parchment. Set one of the pans on the paper and trace a circle around the base with the tip of a sharp paring knife to create a round that fits inside the pan; repeat to make enough for all the layers.
  • tip 6
    To give your Rainbow Layer Cake a deeper red color, add a teaspoon or two of unsweetened baking cocoa to the red batter.
  • tip 7
    Make this Rainbow Layer Cake a party dessert and switch up the colored layers as requested by the birthday girl or boy.


990 Calories, 49g Total Fat, 6g Protein, 131g Total Carbohydrate, 102g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1 Starch; 0 Fruit; 7 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 9 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • As the classic children’s song says, “Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple Make the Rainbow Bright.” All the colors of that fabulous rainbow come together in a super-celebratory rainbow layer cake that’s perfect for any occasion. If you’ve been wondering how to make a rainbow cake, Betty is ready to walk you through all the steps. Rely on Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ Vanilla Cake Mix and Betty Crocker™ Classic Gel Food Colors to streamline the baking process. Get ready for some major “oohs” and “aahs” when you cut into this full-spectrum masterpiece. And now that you’ve got rainbow cake mix mastered, you can find traditional favorites, quick-and-easy shortcuts and fun new twists in Betty’s Best Layer Cakes recipe collection.
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