Hump Day Treat: 1985 Rainbow Cake

by Rachel on August 11, 2010

mean girls
For today’s treat, I wanted to share more details on the my fab birthday cake my mom designed for my 1985 themed birthday party.

We discussed a bunch of ideas for this cake until I had the realization that I love all things geek and wanted to represent that with an old-school Macintosh cake. The design would be simple, so we had to think of some way to make it worthy of my mom’s effort. After all, she made my brother’s volcano cake flame. I wanted something impressive!

I came across a really sweet rainbow cake a while ago, but it was a long and skinny cake. That obviously would not work for a cake that needed a logo on top. But I knew my mom would figure it out. And she did!

Here are some tips from making your own rainbow layer cake, straight from my mother, the cake boss of Grand Blanc.

  • Use one box of white cake mix for two layers of cake. I prefer Pillsbury cake mix with the pudding in the mix.
  • You might want to get extra pans. I used 9″ disposable pans from the dollar store.
  • One box of cake mix makes four cups of batter. Separate the batter into two cup portions and use gel food coloring to color each two cup portion a different color. (The gel food coloring can be bought at JoAnn’s, Michael’s, or any other store that sells cake supplies. I bought a set of 14 colors at JoAnn’s with a 40 percent off coupon!)
  • Put the colored batter in the pan and bake it according to the directions on the package. The color of the finished cake will be slightly darker than the batter.
  • Cool the cakes as directed. Before assembling the cake, you must level each cake so that it will stack well. I used a $5 cake leveler that I bought at Joann’s (with a 40 percent off coupon). It looks like a wire on legs and can be adjusted to the height you want. If you do not have a cake leveler, use a bread knife and slice the hump off of each cake. (Eat the sawed off humps of cake with a glass of cold milk!) The flatter the cakes are, the better they will stack and hold. I think this probably the most important thing in making this cake.
  • Put your desired cake on the bottom, sawed side DOWN, and then frost the top with a layer of frosting. Don’t put too much, or your layers will want to slide off. Use just enough to stick the next layer like glue and have some yummy frosting to taste in between layers. Put the next layer on top, again, with the sawed off side facing down, so that the crumbs will not mess up your next layer of frosting. You will be frosting the bottom of the cake layers each time. (Bottoms up!) Continue with the thin layers of frosting and layers of cake until you reach your desired height.
  • I cut about four inches off of two bamboo kebob sticks and put them on either side of the cake to help it to stand up without sliding. You can also stick straws down in the cake to help it hold.
  • I used a regular butter cream frosting (powdered sugar, butter, milk, vanilla). I guess you could even use chocolate frosting if you wanted to, depending on the inside colors of the cake.
  • Frost the sides of the cake first. Start at the top and work your way down the side of the cake, going around the cake. Frost the top last. I used a large, flat bowl scraper to smooth the sides and top of the cake when I was done frosting. Someone who is really talented could put fondant over the cake and make it really smooth.
  • Decorate as desired and enjoy the glory when it is cut. Fool your guests into thinking that it’s just a regular cake. Our friend Rick didn’t think it lived up to the standards of my other fabulous cakes…until it was cut.

So there you have it! How to make an awesome cake, and really make the best of your 40 percent off coupons at JoAnn’s. This technique is so cool; you could definitely get creative with the colors and make striped cakes for all sorts of theme parties. But really, I love that my mom represented one thing I love (technology) using another thing I love (baked goods) with the help of another great thing (kitchen gadgets!!). I felt like a very special girl on Friday.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RhodeyGirl August 11, 2010 at 8:17 am

This is so rad I don’t een know what to say. I am obsessed with rainbow cakes and can’t wait until I have a reason to make one.

I first saw them here, have you seen this one before?! It is more tie dye style: http://www.omnomicon.com/rainbowcake

I like yours more though!

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2 Rachel August 11, 2010 at 8:20 am

Sabrina — I hadn’t seen that one but I like it — it’s kinda like tie-dye!

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3 Alicia at Poise in Parma August 11, 2010 at 9:57 am

I give you guys a lot of credit for making this cake. My mom used to make wedding cakes, so I know more than I should about the construction of EPIC cakes such as this one. Yours is glorious and the perfect way to celebrate such a wonderful day!

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4 Laura August 11, 2010 at 10:15 am

I had a rainbow-y cake for my 11th birthday party except we used Jell-O to color the layers. I got the recipe from American Girl magazine… oh man

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5 Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun August 11, 2010 at 3:42 pm

OMG! That cake looks amazing! It’s too much work for my lazy self to make though. ;-)

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6 Bridget@PavementandPlants August 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Is Preston wearing an apple tshirt too? You love a theme!

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7 Trinidad Pena August 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Wow!!! The cake looks great! I’ve always wanted an excuse to use a cake leveler!

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