“How to make a rainbow cake from scratch, easily!! Fail-proof  buttermilk vanilla cake recipe that’s delicious, easy and downright impressive!” 

Listen, I don’t know too many foods that can make you feel all cheery inside than the sight of a beautiful, bright rainbow layered cake!

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Just look at all those happy vibrant colors!! Wouldn’t you feel special if someone made this for you? Especially if you thought you were receiving just a regular ol cake? I know I would!homemade rainbow layer cake recipe 4

I made this rainbow cake this morning for my boys and they thought I was the coolest mom EVERRRRR! *toot toot*

rainbow cake recipe

They were so impressed and was all like “oh my God how did you make this!?”,  “You’re the best mom on this earth”, “You’re prettier than Beyonce mom!”, “I hope my wife is just as fabulous as you are!”…. Ok I added those last two lines but still…..you get the point…they were like, really happy.

rainbow layer cake recipe

The last time I made something rainbowish on my blog was when I made these rainbow (tie dye) cupcakes for Isaac when he was potty trained.

rainbow cupcakes recipe

Wow how time flies! Now I’m potty training Ethan!

rainbow layer cake recipe

Well this homemade rainbow cake is super simple to make just like those cupcakes!

I like to use my grandmother’s homemade buttermilk vanilla cake for this recipe. Most recipes I’ve seen online for rainbow cakes use a couple of box cake mixes to make the process easier.  I’m not knocking the box cakes at all honey if that’s your thang, do what you gotta do! It’s hard out here!

homemade rainbow layer cake recipe

But this buttermilk vanilla cake is so freakin easy there’s really no reason to pull out those box cake mixes. Save them for another day.

Did I mention that this cake recipe is a one bowl deal? (YESSSS GAWD!!!)  It has a light old fashioned vanilla-ish taste but not too intense.

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It’s kind of a cross between a white cake and a hummingbird cake in flavor. It’s one of my go-to cake flavors whenever I’m making something for a crowd.  It’s simple, tender, delicious and pairs up with pretty much any frosting flavor under the sun.

rainbow cake recipe

I rrrrreally like it with cream cheese frosting though. Makes it taste all complicated and stuff. And since there’s a lot of frosted layers with this cake you might as well make a really good, but not to sweet frosting right?

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I’m really selling this cake recipe aren’t I? Ha! Well might as well add another great thing I love about it: It’s VERY forgiving if you overmix it! Huge bonus since we’ll be doing a lot of stirring when we add in our food coloring.

homemade rainbow layer cake recipe 1

Make this cake for someone special. Even better if it’s a raining day! It will bring on a smile for sure!

Watch me make this easy rainbow cake recipe from start to finish!

Get the Recipe: Easy Rainbow Cake...From Scratch!

4.35 from 148 ratings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 people


  • 2 ½ cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Food coloring: , red, yellow, blue, green


  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ cups butter, softened (do not melt)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • Generously grease and flour 6 (9-inch cake pans.) I only had 3 pans so I had to bake in two rounds.
  • In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter.
  • Mix in eggs until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Mix in vanilla extract, buttermilk and heavy cream.
  • Mix in half of the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • When mixture is combined, mix in the rest of the flour.
  • Divide the batter into six bowls (about 1 cup of batter per bowl)
  • Add food coloring to each bowl to create a vibrant red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. (see note on how to make colors)
  • Pour each colored batter into the prepared pans and spread out into an even layer. (layers will be thin)
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until center is set. Do not overbake. Keep a close eye on them as some ovens run hotter and these are thin layers.
  • Remove from oven and let cakes cool in the pan until pans are warm enough to touch.
  • Run a spatula around the edges of the pans to loosen the cake and then very carefully remove the cakes from the pans.
  • Place on a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Meanwhile make the cream cheese frosting by creaming together cream cheese and butter.
  • Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla.
  • Place the violet layer down first and frost. Followed by the blue layer, green layer, yellow layer, orange layer and finally the red layer. (frost between each layer)
  • Place a thin coat of the icing on the cake to create a crumb coat. This will make the cake even all around and seal any loose crumbs.
  • Once the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake.
  • Slice & serve!
  • (To create more defined layers of frosting between the colors, place the frosted cake in the fridge to allow the cream cheese frosting to firm up before slicing)



Colors: Be sure to add in enough food coloring to the batter to make the colors very vibrant. To make orange, create a vibrant yellow and then add drops of red until you have orange. To make violet make a vibrant red and add drops of blue.
Cuisine: American
Course: cake, Dessert
Author: Divas Can Cook
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.