making a rainbow cake

It’s Riley’s eighth birthday today. He’s only a tad older than this blog.

I’ve chronicled most of his life here – in little pieces, that will become smaller, or at least more filtered, as time goes on – because it was important to me to tell those early stories to get through one of my personal lowest periods, and that will always be entwined with his baby days: from his birth story, even to his first steps.

So when we celebrate his birthday, all those remarkable, crazy, frenetic, entertaining and wonderful years, a tiny part of my fist bumps myself for being here, for getting through – because I wasn’t sure I would.

And what better occasion, I thought, than to make a rainbow cake*. Rainbows come out after storms, when the sturm und drang is over. It was a recent addition to my Living List, partly because they’re in fashion – I concede – but also because they’re so cheery.

Here’s how I went about it – because if I can do it, you can.

The mix was two packets of a basic vanilla cake, bought from the shop. We also had leftover the great AmeriColor gel pastes that we bought from a local cake decorating shop and used for his Minecraft cake last year. (Which I never blogged about! But trust me, it was magnificent. Kudos for that one belonged to my mother and Adam).

Have a guess what #livinglist item is getting ticked off today

Once the mix was ready I divided it into six equal portions (I didn’t add the seventh as I liked the even number).


I used a couple 23cm cake pans for the baking – not the 20cm, which I originally would’ve preferred. But it turned out better this way, otherwise the cake would’ve been far too high and unmanageable (for me).

This is what it looks like at assembly time:

rainbow cake before trim

To get an even spread for the butter cream icing we trimmed the edges like so:

rainbow cake trimmed

(Not a perfect circle, but it doesn’t matter.)

Then the icing:

rainbow cake icing

Then some smarties on top:

rainbow cake top

Riley’s name on the side:

Riley's name

And one happy boy!

blowing out candles

Happy birthday, Riley! xxx We love you.

* Oh, and because he asked for one! Excellent timing.

karen andrews

Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity