For the Kid In All of Us {Rainbow Cake}

One of things I love about living in Mexico is that there is always something to celebrate.  And today is not the exception.

Today is a particularly festive day all throughout Mexico and in the Limón household.  It is El Dia del Niño (Children's Day). 

In our family, the kiddies get the day off.  No chores.  No homework.  They have the entire day to do as they please.  And they decide what we will be having for extra large pizza with pepperoni, chorizo and jalapeño peppers.

Our Dia del Niño celebration wouldn't be complete without a cake.  This year, my kiddies chose a Rainbow Cake.  I made them one for St. Patrick's day and they loved it so much that they requested it again for El Dia del Niño.

Making a rainbow cake couldn't be easier.  You start with a box mix, prepare according to package directions and color the batter with food coloring.  See?  Piece of cake.  (Pun totally intended.) 

Before we start, let's talk about food coloring.  I recommend that you use gel food coloring.  You get great color results and it won't water down your batter like using the liquid food coloring.

If you're like me and your living in a small town in Mexico, where gel food coloring isn't available, fear not.  Just head to one of the local mom & pop farmacias (pharmacy) and ask them for pintura vegetal.  It's powdered food coloring and comes in tiny brown paper envelopes in a variety of colors including: Azul (blue), Verde (green), Rojo (red) and Amarillo Huevo (egg yellow).  And best of all it's very inexpensive.  I bought 8 envelopes for 4 pesos.  (Less than 40 cents). 

Rainbow Cake


  • 1 box Betty Crocker French Vanilla cake mix
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • Gel food coloring (red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple)
  • White Frosting 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare the cake mix according to package directions.

Divide the cake batter into 6 bowls.  (About 3/4 cup of batter per bowl.)

Tint the cake batter with food coloring.

Pour the cake batter, one color at a time, into the center of a greased and floured cake pan.  I started with the purple, then continued to pour each color of batter directly into the center of the previous color.

I used two 9-inch rounds, but you could also use one 10 x 3 round pan. 

Bake at 350F, according to package directions.  I baked my two rounds for 25 minutes.

Fill and frost with your choice of frosting.  I prefer using a cream cheese frosting, but for this particular cake, I used ready made white frosting.  (Gasp!) (Hangs head in shame.)  In my defense, my electric mixer died on New Year's and I'm hoping the "kiddies" will gift me a new one for Mother's Day.   


And watch how your kiddies will gobble this cake right up!



  1. I love how the batter spreads out so beautifully, and with each color separated! Looks delicious:-)
    Take care,

  2. Beautiful vibrant cake! I bet it taste just as yummy as it looks! I can't wait to try this out. Your family is lucky to have such a talented mom! =)

  3. That looks like fun! Cream cheese frosting would be delicious!

  4. Leslie, this is my first time visiting this blog because I don't know how to cook, but I do like to bake and when I saw your rainbow cake, I fell in love! I'm planning Isabella's birthday party and I want to try it with cupcakes. Are you sure I can get "pintura vegetal" at a pharmacy? Why would they sell it a pharmacy? Do you think "La Farmacia GDL" would have it? I'm a little embarassed to go and ask and they're going to think I'm a crazy Gringa. But then again that wouldn't be the first or last time. Is there a way I could get your "cream cheese" frosting receipe? I've tried it before and it came out runny. Anyway, your cake is wonderful!

  5. Hey, I have the some of the same bowls(the green & purple) as you! I got them at the local flea market from a little mexican import booth. I liked them cause the edges and print on them! :)

  6. This is really a great idea! I always saw rainbow pound cake in the West Indian bakeries in Brooklyn, and I always wondered how they managed to disperse the coloring. I think I will try this at my next family function!

  7. Hi Jackie! Being that you live in a much larger city, I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding food coloring, be it gel or powdered. Farmacia Guadalajara doesn't carry the powdered version. The pharmacies that usually carry it are the smaller ones, that have been around for years and years. I asked my sister-in-law, who lives in Guadalajara during the week, where you could find food coloring. Since we don't know what neighborhood you live in, she said that you could find both kinds at El Mercado Corona which is located in El Centro. She told me that there is one store in particular that sells everything for your baking and decorating needs.

  8. (P.S.) Oops! I forgot to include the link to my favorite Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe.

  9. StephanieinSuburbiaMay 1, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    PRETTY! But isn't every day Children's Day? :)

  10. wow, what fun for the kiddies (in all of us right?) and to have a day just for that.... that is a whole lot of fun

  11. This is so fun! I've always "meant" to make rainbow or tie-dye cakes or of these days. Yours will be my inspiration ;-) I like the new look of your blog...the lemon background is so pretty.

  12. What a cool idea! It definitely looks yummy!

  13. Thank you Leslie! I headed over to the "Mercado de Abastos" and found a baking/party supply store. I just asked for help to find it and sure enough, they had it. Thank you for sharing such a fun idea. I'll let you know how it turns out. :)

  14. I tried to comment on your spicy chicken sandwich down below and the comment window was loading correctly. Anyway, that sandwich looked killer and was so colorful.

    Speaking of colorful...this cake! It's so fun and perfect for "children's day". Ya know, it's about time we celebrate the children too. Such a great and fun cake, I'm sure they loved it.

  15. So pretty! I've seen these cakes before but your step-by-step makes it seem less daunting... BTW, I love how you mix & match bowls.

  16. Love it! that is soo cute! I've always wondered how that's done. You always make it seem sooo easy!! Thanks for the step-by-step! 

  17. I found the perfect recipe for a little friend of mine. She turns 3 next week. She will love this cake! 

  18. This is perfect for my baby girls circus theme party