Rainbow checkerboard cake 21



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This cake will make you the most popular grandparent ever! It is an updated version of the rainbow cake. This cake involves cutting pieces out and changing the colours around to get a checkerboard effect.

This cake serves 8+ people.



  • 320g unsalted butter, softened
  • 340g granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 220g self-raising flour
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • red food colouring
  • blue food colouring
  • green food colouring
  • yellow food colouring


  • 220g unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 500g icing sugar
  • food colouring is optional


  • 6x bowls (for each colour)
  • Hand-held electric mixer
  • Ruler
  • Serrated bread knife
  • Offset spatula
  • 15cm cake tin
  • 9.2cm circle cutter
  • 4.7cm circle cutter



  1. Preheat oven 180’C/Gas mark 4
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter with a whisk until light and fluffy
  3. Slowly stir in eggs and flour; making sure each is thoroughly stirred in
  4. Mix in the vanilla
  5. Stir in the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring thoroughly after each tablespoon is added
  6. Now divide the bake mixture evenly into 6 smaller bowls and add the food colouring as follows
  7. Bowl 1 – 16 drops red (you want a really strong colour, but use less or more depending on how dark it goes)
  8. Bowl 2 – 16 drops yellow, 8 drops red
  9. Bowl 3 – 16 drops yellow
  10. Bowl 4 – 16 drops green
  11. Bowl 5 – 16 drops blue
  12. Bowl 6 – 16 drops blue, 8 drops red
  13. Mix well until colours are evenly distributed, the colours should end up being – bowl 1 – red, bowl 2 – orange, bowl 3 – yellow, bowl 4 – green, bowl 5 – blue, bowl 6 – purple
  14. Grease your cake tin – if you have more than one tin it will speed things up, otherwise you’ll need to just bake one bowl at a time
  15. Fill the cake tin with one colour and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes – remove from oven, allow to cool and repeat until all the the different colours have been baked
  16. You should now have 6 different coloured cakes – leave them to cool (you can even pop them in the freezer) while you make the frosting


  1. Put the softened butter and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl – slowly add the icing sugar while blending with a hand-held electric mixer
  2. Blend for approximately 3 minutes, until smooth

Now to assemble the cake which will create the checkerboard effect.

  1. Remove the 6 cakes from the freezer and with a serrated bread knife slice the tops so they are all flat and will stack neatly on top of each other
  2. Get your two circle cutters and cut each cake so it’s now in three pieces (it’s easier to follow if you watch the video below)
  3. You should now have 18 pieces of cake in 3 different sizes
  4. With the spatula, spread some frosting around the inside ring of each cake – this will hold them together
  5. Then fill each big ring with a smaller ring and a circle – these should all be different colours
  6. You should now have 6 cakes again that are ready for stacking
  7. Put the bottom layer onto a cake stand and cover the top with a thin layer of frosting, repeat until all 6 layers are stacked
  8. Finally, cover the cake with a layer of frosting, leave it to set and give one more coating – smooth with a ruler


Tell us, do you like to bake?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Before I was married (almost 30 years ago), I bought a checkerboard cake tin set. I think I used it once. In the last year, it has been used over and over by my married daughters and all their friends. They are very popular.

  2. all those artificial colours and all that sugar, would never have made a cake like that in my life…..grossssssssssssss!

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