A year or so ago, I bought Mima Sinclair’s Rainbow Bakes Book and it’s definitely one of my favourite baking books! It always inspires me to be a creative baker and I do love that you can make a special cake which looks amazing but isn’t actually that complicated. Take this cake, for example. Underneath all the icing, it’s actually a simple and tasty red velvet cake. The ‘tricky’ part is the icing and decorating. The icing itself is a simple buttercream icing, and the only ‘tricky’ thing with it is that the shape of the cake can be a bit awkward so you just have to be patient. As for the decorating – there is a little precision required and a lot of patience to be exerted as you make a rainbow from individual skittles. However, believe me, it’s worth it for the fantastic result you get at the end! Full recipe below, but the original recipe and more fantastic bakes available in Mima Sinclair’s Rainbow Bakes book.

Red Velvet Rainbow Cake

Serves 10 | Prep time: 1 1/2 hrs + cooling | Baking time: 40 minutes | A little effort
Red Velvet Rainbow Cake
You’ll need:
For the cake:
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing;
  • 300g caster sugar;
  • 2 large eggs;
  • 40g cocoa;
  • 1-2 tsp red food colouring paste or gel;
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract;
  • 240g buttermilk;
  • 300g plain flour;
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda;
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt;
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar.
Cream Cheese Buttercream:
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened;
  • 250g icing sugar;
  • 200g full-fat cream cheese;
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To decorate:
  • 3 large packets (or around 800g) of Skittles, or other rainbow coloured sweets, separated by colour.

First, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm x 9cm bundt tin or ring mould. Using an electric hand whisk, beat the butter and caster sugar together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa, food colouring paste and vanilla extract to make a thick paste. Whisk this into the butter mixture.

Starting to decorate

Beat in half the buttermilk until smooth and combined. Sift over the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and fold through evenly with a large spoon. Gently beat in the remaining buttermilk with vinegar, then beat the whole mixture for 2 minutes.

Pour into the prepared bundt tin, spreading evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

For the cream cheese icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the cream cheese, a spoonful at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract until smooth and combined.

Ready to be iced and decorated!

To decorate, once the cake is cold, use a serrated knife to trim the top so that it’s completely flat, then cut it in half vertically so you have to crescents. Use some of the cream cheese icing to sandwich the flat sides of the trimmed base together and then ‘stand’ them up on a serving plate or board securing them with a little icing underneath so the cake is the shape of a rainbow.

Using a palette knife, cover the outside of the cake evenly with the remaining icing, then press the Skittles or sweets in a coloured rows over the cake to look like a rainbow.

And enjoy!

Original recipe from Mima Sinclair’s book Rainbow Bakes.

Just a note to say, the cake isn’t hard to make but the decoration can be a wee bit fussy. The shape isn’t the easiest to ice evenly and placing the skittles is a job for the patient ones! It takes a bit of precision and a lot of patience. However, it’s definitely worth it at the end as the cake looks absolutely beautiful and it’s just as delicious!