Rainbow Cake for a Special Birthday

After the Valedictory Dinner and the graduation and finishing school and the formal for the Catholic girls, there was Arabella’s 18th birthday party.  I consider that Carl and I got off lightly in that instead of a massive party with a cast of thousands, she opted for a Champagne Breakfast with 25 of her BFFs.  No boys invited and I had a feeling gate-crashers wouldn’t be a problem as they would still be in bed sleeping off their hangovers.

The setting for the party

We woke to a brilliant sunny day with warm temperatures and not a breath of wind which was excellent given the event was to be held outside.  The guests were to arrive at 10am and we had a menu prepared that included fruit salad with yoghurt, three different flavours of warm muffins and breakfast pies followed with birthday cake.  The beverages were a rhubarb and rosewater mocktail and champagne.

Flowers for the tables

The girls all arrived with hearty appetites and despite what I thought were large quantities of food, there were no leftovers.

Rhubarb and rosewater ‘mocktails’

In the early afternoon the remnant left and headed to the beach but not before Arabella gave me a hug and said, ‘This has been my best birthday ever’.

Blueberry Muffins, Raspberry Muffins, Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Best breakfast pies

Rainbow cake covered in vanilla cream

Rainbow Cake

Serves:  30-40

Degree of Difficulty:  4/5 because there’s a lot of time involved

Cost:  Not a lot for a cake that feed this many.  The expense is actually in buying all the food colourings.

18 Rainbow coloured candles

(I’ve listed the ingredients for a single cake and provided them for all seven cakes – if you have a commercial-sized mix master).  I would recommend making two to three quantities at a time until all 7 cakes have been made.  It’s a good few hours in the kitchen!

  • 60g butter/430butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar/1 3/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1/3 tsp vanilla extract/2 1/3 tspns vanilla extract
  • 1 egg/7 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain flour/3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder/3 1/2 tspns baking powder
  • Various food colourings.  I used Wilton liquid colours in red, orange, daffodil yellow, leaf green, royal blue and violet.  (To make indigo I mixed together red and royal blue).

Preheat oven to 180C.

Grease and line a 25cm round cake pan.

Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat  until light and creamy.  Add the eggs and beat well.

Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and fold to combine.  Add food colouring (carefully) and mix carefully.

Pour into cake tin and place on the centre shelf of the oven.  Bake for 20 mins or until cooked.  Leave in tin for five minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer on a level shelf overnight.

Repeat six more times until all 7 layers of the cake have been made.

All the colours of the rainbow

Vanilla Cream

  • 750g butter at room temperature
  • 9 cups icing sugar (sifted)
  • 2 tbspns vanilla extract
  • 7 tablespoons of thickened cream

One large slice of cake

In a large mixing bowl beat butter until as white as possible.  Gradually add icing sugar, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract, then gradually beat in cream.  Continue beating until icine if of a creamy consistency.

On a large cake board place bottom layer of cake, Violet.  Spread vanilla cream over top of cake, then add Indigo layer, top with vanilla cream, add blue layer, top with vanilla cream, add green layer, top with vanilla cream, add yellow layer, top with vanilla cream, add orange layer, top with vanilla cream, add red layer.  Cover entire cake with remaining vanilla cream.  Decorate as desired.

To serve, cut cake into wedges then slice horizontally into smaller portions.

This is a very big cake!

A very happy birthday girl with a princess crown

The vanilla cake recipe has been adapted from Donna Hay, Flavours cookbook.

And all the instagramers stepped forward

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  1. That last photo cracks me up. A food blogger’s dream photo. 🙂 I love this cake although I think I’d need help eating just one piece.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Maureen, yes, those girls are so funny. They just swarmed the room with their i-phones. I cut the cake horizontally to make it more manageable. This cake is deceptively huge.

  2. Oh my … I have never seen a Roy G Biv cake! Awesome … and you are quite the party host! Thus, one reason you helped cater my celebratory event. 🙂

  3. Gasp Gasp Gasp!!!!! What a beautiful cake! I want to be 18 again 😀 Spectacular!!!
    As Maureen said, I adored the last photo, lol!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I want to be 18 again too. All the girls are just having the best time! It seems so much better than when I was that age. Yes, the last photo is an absolute classic – those girls are addicted to instagram!

  4. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    That rainbow cake is absolutely phenomenal. My birthday (not 18th) is on Wednesday. Hint. Hint.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Audrey, if you were closer, I would certainly make you this cake but sadly, this will not transport well to Minnesota! I hope someone much closer than me makes you a special cake!

  5. wow, is that your backyard?? So pretty! And you did a great job on the cake! 🙂 Haha, love all the girls taking pics. What a lucky girl Arabella is to have such wonder family and friends.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Amy, sadly, it’s not my backyard – but I wish it was. Yes, all the girls are big on the instagram! Hilarious.

  6. What a fantastic setting and the quote from Arabella is what makes it all worthwhile – the best birthday ever! What a lovely young lady you are raising.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Lisa. Yes, she’s a very special girl but what a week! So many big events just night after night after night and then the breakfast. Looking forward to her going away to study camp for a week so I can have some downtime – I might even get the house sorted!

  7. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    Awesome job on the rainbow cake Charlie, but I think I could have used a few of those breakfast pies this morning. 🙂

  8. what an incredible birthday party! it looks stunning!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Jenny. I was so pleased with the way it all turned out. It certainly helped to have such brilliant weather.

  9. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    I nominate you for mother of the year. You definitely deserve it.

  10. Jeno@ Weeknite Meals says:

    Charlie you are an awesome mom!!! Wow that is a beautiful party! I can imagine myself totally half-ass it if my little girl ever ask for a party of that caliber, there would be a sad girl and a dissapointed husband who is a much better party planner/decorator than I am…

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Great that your husband can help you with the party planning! I think children’s parties are very stressful and I don’t actually look forward to them. Such a relief when you can tick it off the to-do list for another year.

  11. Norma Chang says:

    A hug and the quote: “This has been my best birthday ever” how sweet!!!!! Were you all teary eyes?
    What a stunning setting, the pergola with all those wisteria flowers hanging, you have a gorgeous backyard. Topping all this with delicious food and a stunning birthday cake, well done Charlie.
    Norma Chanf, http://gardentowok.co/

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Norma. Yes, it’s a gorgeous backyard and I wish it was mine but it’s not. I’m so glad you noticed the wisteria! The owners would be so pleased. They have been struggling for years to grow the wisteria but every year it would be eaten by possums so they wouldn’t get even one blossom. We lucked it this year though!

  12. What a spectacular cake! Lucky Arabella to have such a great mum. Great party, everything looks fabulous!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Nazneen, yes, it was a great party and Arabella just loved it as did all of her friends. It was great going with the champagne breakfast idea as it was different to what most others are doing like the regular Saturday night party.

  13. You really are such a star! And happy birthday to the gorgeous girl.

  14. Thats massive! Your daughter must be all proud having such a great mom. I like your rainbow cake creation, its just perfect. I dont think so I d get it so perfect looking. =)

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Well do give it a try, Helene. I’m sure your cake would turn out just fine. I think the key is buying good quality food dyes so the colours turn out to be true colours without muddy tones. If you can source the brand I used, you can’t go wrong.

  15. I bet all the other moms are intimidated by your culinary magnificence especially when their daughters record and share the goodies you’ve provided. I can just imagine the conversations … “Arabella’s mum made xxx, why can’t YOU…”

    And what a gorgeous outdoor party setting. You have a beautiful yard in which to serve all those breakfast goodies. A magnificent reveal of the cake interior after that very classy white exterior.


    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Ann. Yes, it’s a lovely setting but sadly, it’s not mine. We were very fortunate to be able to hold the party at this lovely property.

  16. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says:

    Coolest cake ever!!! I love the pic of all the girls with their Iphones 🙂

  17. That is by far the coolest cake I’ve ever seen! Just spectacular! Now, since you got off easy for her birthday breakfast….maybe you should talk Carl into taking you on a nice week somewhere with the leftover proceeds so you can put up your feet and relax after all of the festivities of the last week! 😉

  18. yummychunklet says:

    I’ve made this rainbow cake before. It’s such a spectacular showpiece!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Oh wow! I would love to see photos of your cake. Yes, it’s amazing when it’s cut into. Having never made one before, I was very happy with the results.

  19. Once again, I bow to your party expertise, Charlie Louie! You did it! And what a truly magnificent cake and a lovely setting. No wonder Arabella had the best birthday ever…you’ve got to be the best and most talented mom ever!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Betsy, yes, I did it. What a week. Looking forward to some downtime when she goes to study camp for a week.

  20. lisaiscooking says:

    What a great birthday party! It was a beautiful setting, and the food looks delicious. And, what an amazing cake. No wonder your daughter declared it the best birthday ever!

  21. Aaaah you made the perfect rainbow cake my friend! Super mum strikes again 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  22. You’re a star, Charlie! That cake is a masterpiece! And what a gorgeous backyard you have!!

  23. Hi friend, it’s been a while! 🙂
    I looooove the cake, so festive, beautiful. I can see it being time consuming though.. I hope your daughter gave you the biggest hug and kiss to you for doing that!!!!
    Oh, and I love the last photo, hilarious!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Jo-Jo, great to hear from you; yes, it’s been a while. I love the last photo too. I couldn’t believe how the girls swarmed the table with their i-phones to take the pic.

  24. Victoria of Flavors of the Sun says:

    You are truly the Queen of Cakes–plus the Queen of Moms, which is even better. What a lovely event for Arabella’s 18th. Very special and full of memories for a lifetime. I love your menu–and those pretty, feminine muffin papers are fabulous!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Victoria. I bought the paper cases at a kitchenware shop close to where I live. They’re a great idea as they make it so easy to make the muffins – no greasing and lining of tins and praying they don’t get stuck when you try to get them out!

  25. What a wonderful idea for a birthday party! A champagne brunch! My birthday is Saturday. Perhaps I’ll do the same. 🙂 I think that rainbow cake is a bit too advanced for me though. It looks lovely! I don’t know how you managed it all this week Charlie. You’re an inspiration!

  26. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Wow Charlie just WOW!

    That cake is just stunning and the photo of the instagrammers is hilarious. What a wonderful Birthday party and lucky Birthday girl. I love the menu too.

  27. Such a beautiful day, such a beautiful cake, such beautiful girls 🙂
    I’m glad to see that the day went so beautifully, and that Arabella chose a relatively low key affair. After all, it’s about sharing the love, and that’s so much more special with just special friends than with thousands of mere aquaintances 🙂 xox
    PS. my daughter just sat down besides me and claimed that cake for HER next birthday too!

  28. Charlie, you are clearly just amazing – that cake is astonishing!! And how on earth did you cut it so precisely. Congratulations – on the cake, the daughter & having it all over and done with!

  29. OMG….I am SPEECHLESS at all the food you made and the AMAZING rainbow cake! You are seriously SUPERWOMAN, I don’t know how you manage to swim, cook. clean, look after Alfie, bake and prepare for Arabella’s birthday party AND still be able to make this cake 😀 Truly the best~

    I’ve been meaning to try the rainbow cake, but am a little worried that it wont turn out right or that i won’t know how to ice it properly and like you said, it is quite time consuming, but still i am going to try this recipe out soon! I have promised myself hehe 🙂

    So happy to hear that Arabella had the best birthday and I hope she’s grateful for having such a wonderful mother like yourself xox

  30. Arabella is gorgeous. I couldn’t have made a cake like that in my wildest dreams. You’re such a good mom!

  31. Barb Bamber says:

    Wow! I did a pink layer cake but it didn’t have this vibrancy and height! What a happy birthday , indeed, my daughter’s 21st is coming up and you’ve given me some great ideas, thanks!

  32. Nic@diningwithastud says:

    What a gorgeous cake! Arabella looks stunning 🙂 so beautiful!

  33. Jackie Brown says:

    That cake looks awesome, and wow what a great mum you are having done all that and survived 🙂

  34. Juliet Batten says:

    You are a big hit! The rainbow cake is glorious, and full of surprise, and the whole menu looks fabulous. No wonder Arabella is so happy.

  35. Wow, great job mum and it looks like it went down a treat with her friends…even just for the pics.x

  36. justonecookbook says:

    Best. Cake. Ever. I’ve seen on my blogger friends sites, period!!!! WOW. How can you pull off everything – I’ve read your busy life, and you made this gorgeous cake! Speechless…. can you be my mom too? Wait, I’m a bit too old to be your daughter… xD

  37. cityhippyfarmgirl says:

    That sounds like a perfect way to turn 18. No wonder she was so happy.
    Love the last pic of everyone taking a phone picture.

  38. Until I saw that picture of Arabella and her Rainbow Cake, I’d no idea it was so huge! It makes complete sense, mind you, but it is still something to see. The res of your menu was just right for a group of BFFs, gathered for an 18th birthday party. Well done, Charlie!

  39. What a great cake! How could it not be a hit!

  40. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Aren’t you just the best mom ever! Beautifully done!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  41. That is one seriously impressive cake. Wow! It sounds like a gorgeous birthday all up – the breakfast was a lovely idea and the food all looks great.

  42. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Beautiful cake Charlie-love the colours and the slice taken out so that everyone can photograph it! And your garden looks like a perfect setting for it too! 😀

  43. tania@mykitchenstories.com.au says:

    Lovely cake and great way to get out of a long noisey night ( by having breakfast). You have done a fantastic job

  44. Awww, what a lovely birthday party! And, so much more memorable than the party that many opt for, for their 18th birthdays (including myself, I guess I should add!). That cake looks beautiful, as does that mocktail! Fantastic!

  45. What a wonderful sounding birthday – and great since you had the rest of the day free and quiet, without having to worry about cleaning up late into the night. Impressive looking cake as well, and that mocktail sounds lovely!

  46. Happy Birthday to her. She is so beautiful and her crochet dress fascinated me. Of course the Birthday menu and cakes too… You are amazing dear Charlie, Thanks and Love, nia

  47. I’m so glad that Arabella enjoyed her birthday. It did look like such a big to-do & I loved how everyone photo’d the beautiful cake … Well Done, Charlie 🙂

  48. Glad she enjoyed her birthday!
    I love the photo of all the instagramers together. 🙂

  49. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says:

    Oh my lordy! That looks incredible! I think I saw the cake from Martha Stewart!

    Happy Birthday Arabella 🙂

  50. Just stunning!!! Thank you so much Charlotte. What a beautiful 18th:)

  51. Perfect looking cake Charlie! You are a master baker! I’d love to make a rainbow cake but I’ve always been afraid of toppling so many layers but you laid em down like a pro. Happy Birthday to Arabella – looks like it was a wonderful party 🙂

  52. mjskit @ mjskitchen.com says:

    The last picture is hilarious! What a gorgeous cake and a fun cake for a party! Looks like it was a real hit. You put together a wonderful brunch!

  53. I already read this on Facebook…the cake immediately caught my eye, Charlie! It’s stunning! Everything is so personal and beautiful, What fun times!

  54. Unbelievable. never have I ever seen a cake that perfect! Way to go! and those rhubarb drinks look fantastic, too.

  55. The cake looks too beautiful to eat. Thanks for the recipe. I’m bookmarking it! 🙂


  1. All is Well says:

    […] have nothing to do with Best Breakfast Pies but that is what I cooked for Arabella’s 18th birthday party and so having shown them in the Rainbow Birthday post I thought I’d let you know that you can […]

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