This truly easy to make one pan rainbow layer cake is topped with vibrantly colored fondant polka dots for a fun cake that anyone can make! No matter where you take this cake, it is always a crowd pleasing favorite with it's bright colors and fantastic flavors!
Easy Rainbow Birthday Cake Idea
Of course, this is a wildly popular kids' birthday cake but it can go anywhere from office parties to just about anything you can think of! The bright, beautiful cake is sure to be the hit of the party!!
What I love most about this method for rainbow cakes is that it is so easy to make these colorful layers! It's truly one of the best and easiest ways to make a rainbow cake, whether you are doing a single layer cake or even more layers than I used here!
All you need for this one pan rainbow layer cake is a handful of pretty standard baking ingredients. Of course you could buy buttercream frosting or fondant, but my recipes are super easy and delicious!
- All-Purpose Flour - 2 ¼ cups of flour.
- Sugar - 1 ⅓ cups of granulated sugar.
- Baking Powder - 3 teaspoons of baking powder (not baking soda)!
- Salt - ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Milk - 1 cup of milk at room temperature.
- Butter - ½ cup of butter that has been melted and cooled.
- Eggs - 2 large eggs at room temperature.
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Almond Extract - ½ a teaspoon of almond extract, or omit it and use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
- Gel Food Coloring - In your desired colors.
- Vanilla Buttercream Frosting - 1 batch of my buttercream frosting recipe.
- Marshmallow Fondant - 1 batch of my recipe or 1 batch of my fondant without marshmallows.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
This one pan method for making brightly colored rainbow cake is super easy to bake and just as easy to assemble and decorate! My cake is topped off with a buttercream frosting crumb coat, then a layer of marshmallow fondant before we added more rainbow colored fondant polka dots!
- Prep. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly coat 2 8-inch round cake pans with butter or non-stick baking spray.
- Mix dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, add all of the dry cake ingredients (2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 ⅓ cups sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt) and mix them together.
- Add wet ingredients. Add your wet ingredients (1 cup milk, ,½ cup butter, 2 large eggs,1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ teaspoon almond extract) to the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
- Color the batter. Once the cake batter is mixed well, divide it into 6 equal portions. (You can use more or less colors, or opt for whatever colors you like.) Color each portion of batter a different color with gel food coloring, mixing until the color and batter are thoroughly combined.
- Make layers. In your prepared 8-inch cake pans, layer the colors by adding a spoonful of each color into the center. The colors will spread and push out to form the rainbow layers on their own. Repeat until you have used all of the cake batter.
- Bake. Bake your cake centered on your oven's middle rack for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick, knife, or cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Cool. Transfer the baked rainbow cakes to a wire cooling rack so they may cool completely before you decorate.
Assembling the Rainbow Layer Cake with Fondant Polka Dots
- Color your fondant. After mixing 1 recipe of buttercream frosting and making 1 recipe of marshmallow fondant, split the fondant batch to add colors. Wrap the fondant tightly and securely until (and between) ready to use.
- Level the cake rounds. Level each of the cake rounds, then spread a small amount of buttercream beneath where the center of the cake will sit to hold it in place. Put the first cake layer on top on your serving plate or a turntable.
- Pipe buttercream. Pipe buttercream frosting around the outside edge of your cake. Then either continue to add buttercream to make an even layer in the center of your cake, or fill it with a flavored filling of your choice.
- Add second layer. Set your second cake round on top of the first and even it out until it is securely in place. Frost the sides and top in a thin ¼-inch layer. Place the cake in the fridge before covering it with fondant.
- Add fondant. Roll your fondant out into into a single round large enough to cover the 8-inch cake (16-inches wide, and ¼ inch thick). Drape the fondant over the cake and smooth it toward the base.
- Add polka dots. Using water, apply your cut polka dots to the fondant covering the cake. Allow them to dry while you apply any other desired trim or decorations.
- Store or serve. Once done, store your fondant covered cake at room temperature so long as you did not use fruit or dairy fillings that can spoil.
This delightfully fun polka dot rainbow layer cake is wonderful for birthday parties or any celebration! Everyone will be so impressed that this beautiful cake was made by hand and not purchased at the bakery. Enjoy!
💭 Tips & Notes
- For the best color, try clear vanilla extract! It can be found in the party and cake supplies sections at WalMart, Hobby Lobby, or Michael's crafts.
- Gel food coloring is easier to work with than liquid. Particularly when coloring cake batter, icing, or frosting. It can be found in all the same locations as the clear vanilla extract listed above!
- Chilling your cake before decorating makes it so much easier! I find my favorite method is to wrap the individual cake layers tightly in cling film and chilling them in the fridge before I apply the crumb coat.
- Storing: A fondant covered cake can be kept in a storage container at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerated for up to a week (depending on your choice of fillings and/or toppings).
- Freezing: For long term storage, cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap then foil and place it in the freezer for up to a year (again dependent on any spoilable toppings and/or fillings). When ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge overnight then set it out to come to room temperature before you slice and serve.
🍰 More Amazing Cake Recipes!
- Maraschino Cherry Coffee Cake
- Mandarin Orange Cake
- Jamaican Black Cake
- Cherry Chocolate Dump Cake
- Pineapple Sunshine Cake
- Chocolate Fudge Cake with Fudge Frosting
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📖 Recipe Card
One Pan Rainbow Layer Cake with Fondant Polka Dots
Rainbow Vanilla Cake
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk (at room temperature)
- ½ cup butter (melted, cooled)
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract (or omit and use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
- gel food coloring (your desired colors)
- 1 recipe vanilla buttercream frosting
- 1 recipe marshmallow fondant (or my fondant without marshmallows)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly coat 2 8-inch round cake pans with butter or non-stick baking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of you stand mixer, measure out your dry ingredients and add them (all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) then mix them together.2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 ⅓ cups sugar, 3 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add the milk, melted butter, eggs, and extracts (vanilla and almond extract combo, or use vanilla) then mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl.1 cup milk, ½ cup butter, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon almond extract
- Once the batter is combined, divide the batter into 6 equal portions. You can use more or less colors, and whatever colors you want. Color each portion a different color and mix until well combined.gel food coloring
- Layer the colors in your prepared 8-inch cake pans by adding a spoonful of each different color in the center (the colors will spread and push out to form the rainbow layers). Repeat until all of the cake batter is portioned out.
- Bake centered on your oven's middle rack for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick, knife, or cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the baked rainbow cakes from the pans and transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.
Assembling the Rainbow Layer Cake with Fondant Polka Dots
- Mix the buttercream frosting and make your fondant. Split your fondant batch to add colors. Wrap the fondant tightly and securely until (and between) ready to use.1 recipe vanilla buttercream frosting, 1 recipe marshmallow fondant
- Level both cake rounds then put a small spread of buttercream beneath the center of where your cake will sit (to hold it in place). Place the first cake layer on your serving plate or a turntable.
- Pipe buttercream around the outside edge of the cake. From here you can continue to add buttercream to make an even layer of white buttercream in the center of your cake, or fill with a flavored filling of your choice.
- Set the second cake round on top and even it out until it is securely in place. Frost the sides and tops, leaving a thin ¼ inch layer. Place in the fridge before covering with fondant.
- Roll out your fondant into a round big enough to cover the 8-inch cake (16-inches wide, and ¼ inch thick). Drape over the top of the cake and smooth toward the base.
- Use water to apply your cut out polka dots to the fondant covering. Allow to dry while you apply any other desired trim or decorations.
- Store your fondant covered cake at room temperature (as long as it hasn't been filled with fruit or dairy fillings that could spoil).
- I like to use clear vanilla extract when coloring cakes. You can find it in the party and cake supplies section of WalMart, at Hobby Lobby, and Michael's craft stores.
- Gel food coloring is easier to work with when coloring cake batter, icing, and frosting and is also easy to find at the locations mentioned above.
- It's easier to decorate your cake after chilling the cake layers. My preferred method is to wrap the layers in cling film and chill before applying the crumb coat.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!