Rainbow Butter Cake

Three colors of batter—what’s not to love?

After I volunteered to make a favorite little friend a birthday cake, I, who love color and art in my food, was told that he prefers white cake with white icing. Rainbow Butter Cake has saved the day—what 11 year-old boy wouldn’t like a multi-colored version of a white cake?

I found this in one of my mother’s favorite’s, the 1961 edition of The New Antoinette Pope School Cookbook:

Rainbow Butter Cake

  • 1-1/2 c. butter (room temp.)
  • 2-1/4 c. sugar
  • 4 large eggs (room temp.)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 5-1/2 c. sifted cake flour
  • 4-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. + 2 Tbs. milk

Cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat for several minutes. Add extracts, then flour sifted with baking powder, about 1 cup at a time, alternately with milk, beating after each addition only until smooth.

To 3-1/2 c. batter add red food coloring, to 2-3/4 c. add green coloring, to remainder (2-1/4 c.) add yellow coloring.

Grease and flour a 10 x 4 tube pan with a removable bottom. First pour in pink batter carefully with a spoon and spread it gently; then with spoon pour in green batter, and lastly yellow batter.

Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 1 hour; then about 20 minutes more at 375 degrees or until done.

The first time I tried this cake I cut it into layers—this was a mistake. The cake crumbled. Keep it whole until it’s time to slice!

First spoon in the red batter and top with the green batter.

Lastly, top the green batter with the yellow batter.

A slice through the cake—layer 1.

A slice through the cake—layer 2.

Fresh Strawberry or Raspberry Fluff Icing

This is the freshest, lightest, truly amazing icing. It beats up like a meringue.

  • 1 c. fresh strawberries
  • 1-1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • a few drops red food coloring

Beat all together at high speed until light and quite stiff, about 5-10 minutes.

Garnish with fresh berries.


Joe on his 14th birthday, ready to enjoy his cake.




7 thoughts on “Rainbow Butter Cake

  1. Dori, can you check Antoinette Pope to see if she had a recipe for a chocolate cake made with cocoa powder and milk that’s been soured with vinegar? I’m trying to figure out the source for our family chocolate cake and that name rings a faint bell.

  2. This is the cake that my Mom made for everyone of her six kids birthdays growing up. Now two generations later this is the cake everyone still wants for their birthday. It is so funny because this cake is a bit on the dry side, but everyone loves it. It is even better with a buttercream frosting and cup of coffee in the morning.

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