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Rainbow Cake Roll


posted: 08/09/13

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Rainbow Cake Roll! An easy recipe with a big wow factor!!

I’m kind of in denial, but my little girl is TWO today!!

I can barely believe that we have gone from that sleepy newborn stage to a little girl who loves to give her family hugs and kisses, dance wildly, and has a smile that could melt the polar ice caps in what feels like a week and a half.

Time has gone alarmingly quickly.

Slices of the Rainbow Cake Roll that is swirled with different colors and has a side of whip cream with sprinkles.

In the last year, Quinn has gone from a toddler who had more similarities to an American who speaks exclusively English traveling alone in Germany to this sassy spunky little two year old with a rich and wonderful sense of humor.

Very often people who have babies after losing a child call that next baby their “Rainbow Baby.” I cringe a little at that description, because I would never want anyone to describe Elliot as a storm. He was nothing but warm rays of sunshine in my life. But the wake of his death? Yes, that was a storm. Quinn’s pregnancy? That was a storm. Constantly wondering if she would be okay. Trying to imagine her being born into this world safe and sound and seeing nothing but darkness when I tried to imagine her safe passage into our lives.

But when Quinn was born, literally the moment after she was born, the clouds parted for me and she was my rainbow. My mind was put at ease, and I felt at peace with this little life.

And so Quinny is my rainbow. The rainbow at the end of that stormy time in my life. {Hence the giant Rainbow Party last year.}

So what better cake to celebrate than a rainbow cake??

Slices of the Rainbow Cake Roll that is swirled with different colors and has a side of whip cream with sprinkles.

This rainbow cake roll idea came to me in that odd state between fully awake and fully asleep around the Fourth of July. I was actually thinking of a red, white, and blue cake roll in addition to a rainbow cake roll and seriously woke up the next morning to see this amazing Patriotic Cake Roll from Crazy for Crust.

Great minds, people. Great minds.

Dorothy is the Queen when it comes to cake rolls. I, foolishly, tried to do this Rainbow Cake Roll with a box cake mix . . . twice . . . before just going with Dorothy’s flawless recipe and instructions. In fact, one of her most recent cake rolls, the Zucchini Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling, has an amazing set of rules/tips to follow when doing a cake roll. You must check it out. To see all of Dorothy’s Cake Rolls, click here.

Meanwhile, Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!! I love you my little rainbow. You light up my life!

Picture of toddler girl in a pink top and blue pants.

Batter is laid out on the baking sheet by the color of the rainbow. (Left to right: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)
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Rainbow Cake Roll

(tap # to scale)


For Cake Roll

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for rolling the cake
  • food coloring

For Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar not packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • food coloring


To Make Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 10 inch by 15 inch rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray, and lightly dust it with flour.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on high until frothy, about five minutes. Then beat in the sugar, oil, and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Divide the cake batter into six bowls. Add red food coloring to the first bowl, yellow and red to the second, yellow to the third, green to the fourth, blue to the fifth, and red and blue to the sixth. Stir each individual bowl of cake batter so that the color is well distributed.
  • Pour the bowl of red cake batter at the end of the prepared baking sheet. (See photos in the post.) Then repeat with the orange, then yellow, then green, then blue, and finally purple. Tip: Mentally divide the pan into six equal parts and then pour. You don't want to pour the orange batter directly next to the red and so on, because you won't have enough batter to make it to the other end of the baking sheet. But once they are all poured they will spread to cover the whole pan.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the cake easily springs back when you push on it with your finger.
  • While the cake is baking spread a clean towel on the counter, sprinkle very liberally with powdered sugar making sure that no area of the towel that will see cake is showing.
  • As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, flip it over onto the towel and peel away the tin foil carefully. Roll the cake up in the towel. Let the cake cool, rolled up in the towel, for at least an hour, but not longer than four hours.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.

To Make the Frosting

  • To make the frosting, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. If it becomes too difficult to mix, you can begin to add some of the milk. Once all the powdered sugar is added, add the milk (or what is remaining). Then add the vanilla.
  • Divide the frosting into six bowls and reheat the process of coloring them red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

To Construct the Cake

  • After the cake has finished cooling, unroll it. Frost the red frosting on the red part, orange on orange, etc. The lines of color won’t be exact, but follow the cake for the frosting.
  • Roll the cake back up, chill for at least a half hour, cut (make sure you wipe off the knife between each cut), serve with whipped cream, and enjoy!
Author: Lisa Longley

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Rainbow Cake Roll

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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  1. Tara @ Suburble says

    What a cool way to celebrate a birthday! I’ve never heard of a roll-up cake before (crazy, right?), and this might be something I should tackle this fall.

    And a very happy birthday to Miss Quinn! I hope that she has a lovely second birthday!

    • Lisa Longley says

      You’ve never heard of a roll up cake before??? You have to try it! It’s super pretty and super delicious!

  2. Lisa@ Cooking with Curls says

    That cake is pure genius Lisa! I absolutely love all of the colors :) Happy belated birthday to your adorable little girl!!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thanks Lisa!!

  3. Melissa {Persnickety Plates} says

    I love that Quinn is your rainbow. So cute.

  4. Kate | Food Babbles says

    Oh how cool is this!! My girl both have birthdays coming up and I’m scouring the internet for ideas. Love this cake!

  5. Jen Nikolaus says

    Seriously, I am in LOVE with this cake! And your daughter! How fun to have a girl! Happy Birthday to her! :)

    ~Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy

  6. Pam says

    If you follow the directions, step 6–colors laying short way, you will get stripes instead of all colors in each piece. Ask me how I know….. I believe you need to layer batter the long length of the pan.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Pam! Sorry the cake didn’t work for you! I’m going to email you a picture of how my colors looked in the pan, and add it to the post. Is it possible that you rolled your cake up a different way than I did?

  7. Rosie Bird-Hawkins says


    Lovely cake, easy instructions and beautiful little girl.

    Just one question – should I use plain flour or self-raising flour?




    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you so much Rosie! It was all purpose flour :)

  8. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says

    What a fun cake roll! Great idea.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thanks Erin!


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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners