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It’s the ever-popular rainbow cake… with a natural twist! One of our creative HWTM Community Members – Kelsey Hilts of Itsy Bitsy Foodies – is here today sharing her clever tutorial for a Rainbow Cake with Natural Dyes! The rainbow colors are achieved using colorful fruits, veggies, and egg yolks. Thanks so much to Kelsey for sharing this creative recipe with others that want to avoid regular food coloring and still eat their rainbow cake too. ;)

THE CHALLENGE

From Kelsey: “Rainbow cakes are everywhere these days. I made one last summer and my family and guests loved the bright, vibrant colors. But in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think of the negative discussion and controversy surrounding chemical food coloring. My husband was actually the one to challenge me to make a rainbow cake with natural food dyes.

My son, who is my toughest critic, ate it (while exclaiming, It’s beautiful, Mommy!) The rest of my family concurred that surprisingly it tasted just like cake and that it seemed much more palatable than the typical bright rainbow cake made with synthetic dyes. So, I considered the baking experiment a success. I would much rather serve my loved ones a beet or carrot-colored cake than an artificially-colored alternative.

A rainbow cake made with natural dyes can be an incredible and fun learning experience for your kids. They can brainstorm fruits, veggies and other colorful foods and then experiment with creating a beautiful and natural rainbow. Not only is it educational but it can also help your kids learn to appreciate the natural beauty of foods. And the process can be translated into many other cooking projects or non-edible projects such as homemade finger paints and homemade playdough.”

Rainbow Cake with Homemade, All-Natural Dyes

by Kelsey Hilts

INGREDIENTS:

::
NATURAL DYES:

– 1-2 Tbsp beet juice
– 1 Tbsp carrot juice
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 Tbsp spinach juice
– 1+ Tbsp blueberry juice
– 1+ Tbsp blackberry juice

WHITE CAKE {Courtesy of Cooking Light}:
– 3 1/2 cups flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1 3/4 cups sugar
– 1/4 cup butter
– 1 1/2 Tbsp oil
– 2 egg whites
– 1 2/3 cups milk, divided
– 1/2 cup plain, fat-free yogurt
– 2 1/2 tsp vanilla

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
– 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
– 1/2 cup butter, softened
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 3 Tbsp milk

WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING:
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1/4 cup powdered sugar
– 1/8 tsp salt
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

*****

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

::
NATURAL DYES:

Red: Juice beets in a juicer or use the liquid in canned beets.
Orange: Juice carrots in a juicer or buy carrot juice.
Yellow: (you’ll use an egg yolks for this)
Green: Juice spinach in a juicer.
Blue: Microwave roughly 1/4 cup frozen blueberries in 30 second intervals until they start to burst, straining out 1+ Tbsp of blueberry juice.
Purple: Microwave roughly 1/4 cup frozen blackberries in 30 second intervals until they start to burst, straining out 1+ Tbsp of blackberry juice.

WHITE CAKE {Courtesy of Cooking Light}:
1. Cream the butter, oil and sugar. Add the egg whites and beat well. Add the vanilla, 1 cup milk and yogurt alternately with the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
2. Pour six 1/2-cup portions of cake batter into separate bowls. Mix the natural dye into each bowl {2 Tbsp beet juice, 1 1/2 Tbsp carrot juice, 1 egg yolk + 1 Tbsp milk, 1 Tbsp spinach juice, 1 Tbsp blueberry juice and 1 Tbsp blackberry juice, adjusting the color by using more or less dye}. Reserve the remaining batter for a different use. {You will either need to add roughly 4 1/2 Tbsp milk to the remaining batter or the equivalent in natural dye.}
3. Pour each 1/2 cup colored batter into a greased and floured 5 1/2-inch cake pan.
5. Bake the cakes for 10-15 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let the cakes cool for five minutes in the pan and then gently slide a knife around the edges and invert the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.

{You could also make cupcakes by layering the colored batter into each lined cupcake tin.}

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
1. Mix the ingredients and beat for several minutes until a smooth, creamy frosting forms.
2. Adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar or milk.

WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING:
1. Beat the cream, sugar and salt at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
2. Fold in the vanilla extract.

RAINBOW CAKE:
1. Assemble the cake once the layers have completely cooled.
2. Place the purple layer on the serving cake platter.
3. Spread a couple of spoonfuls of buttercream frosting over the top of the layer, smoothing it until it is even.
4. Place the blue layer on top and repeat the process until the red layer is on top.
5. Place the layered cake in the freezer for five minutes to let the icing set so that when you ice the exterior of the cake the layers won’t slide around.
6. Using a knife, generously coat the top and sides of the cake with buttercream frosting, smoothing it with a spatula or a table knife, making sure that it is completely covered but getting rid of excess frosting.
7. Then spread the whipped cream frosting on top for a finishing coat, either spreading it smooth with a knife or spatula or pulling it into soft peaks using a knife or the back of a spoon.

Then serve your beautiful rainbow cake!