Kim-Joy’s Orange and amaretto rainbow cake recipe

Kim-Joys Orange and amaretto rainbow cake

Kim-Joys Orange and amaretto rainbow cake - Credit: n/a

Delicious flavours and a rainbow cake – how can you say no to that? Plus you can fill this with loads of sweets for a fun piñata-style reveal that kids will love! You can make all six cakes at once if you feel confident managing a large amount of mixture (the batter will just about fit in a stand mixer) and baking six cakes at the same time. If not, then just split the recipe in half and make three cakes at a time.

Kim-Joys Orange and amaretto rainbow cake

Kim-Joys Orange and amaretto rainbow cake - Credit: n/a

Serves: 30–40

525g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

525g caster or granulated sugar

¾ tsp salt

525g shelled eggs (about 8 large)

Grated zest of 6 oranges

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1½ tsp vanilla bean paste

600g self-raising flour

150g finely ground almonds

Purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red food dyes

Orange & amaretto simple syrup

360ml freshly squeezed orange juice

300g caster or granulated sugar

4 tbsp amaretto


1 quantity of American Buttercream, flavoured with 2–2½ tsp almond extract

Sweets, to fill the centre of the cake

For the americam buttercream

Makes: enough to fill, crumb-coat and cover a tiered cake

550g unsalted butter, at room temperature

800g icing sugar

Milk, to thin

115g salted butter, at room temperature, chopp.ed

600g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 170°C [340°F/Gas mark 3]. Grease 6×7-in cake tins and line the bases with baking paper.

Place the butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer (or use a handheld electric whisk) fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until the butter is smooth. Increase the speed and beat on high until the butter is fluffy and pale in colour.

Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then add the eggs, 1 tbsp at a time, to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Add the orange zest and vanilla bean paste and mix to combine.

Sift a third of the flour in at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition to combine. Add the ground almonds and continue mixing on low speed until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among six bowls (you can use weighing scales to ensure each layer is equal). Add the food dye and mix to create six different colours: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red (do three colours if you are making half the recipe at a time).

Transfer each coloured bowl of batter to a prepared cake tin and bake for 30–40 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the orange and amaretto simple syrup. Heat the orange juice and sugar in a small pan over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes, then take off the heat. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool, before stirring in the amaretto.

When the cakes are baked, leave them in their tins for five minutes, then run a knife around the edges and turn out onto racks. Peel off the paper.

Immediately poke holes all over the cakes and use a pastry brush to soak both sides of the sponges with the syrup. Try to distribute the syrup evenly over all the sponges. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, make your buttercream and flavour with the almond extract, to taste. Transfer the buttercream to a large piping bag and snip a large tip.

Make sure the cakes are cool before assembling. First, use a small round cutter (mine is 5.5cm) to cut out holes in the centre of each cake – apart from the red cake, as this will go on top. You can eat these cut-outs straightaway or stack them together to make a mini cake!

Stack the cakes. In between each cake layer, pipe an even layer of buttercream and smooth with a palette knife, but don’t cover up the hole. Stack the cakes in rainbow order: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, then red. Before placing the final red cake layer on top, throw all the sweets down the central hole of the cake.

Place the red layer on top, cover the top and sides with buttercream and smooth. Chill in the fridge, or freezer if you’re in a rush, before decorating.

For the American buttercream

Place the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer (or use a handheld electric whisk) fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and beat until light and fluffy. Add milk, 1 tbsp at a time, to achieve a spreadable consistency.

Now add any flavourings. That’s it! Use on your cake right now, or cover with plastic wrap if not. Refrigerate if not using for a few days.

For more of Kim-Joy’s wonderful recipes, see or grab her book, Baking with Kim-Joy, £18.

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