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Surprise Skittles rainbow cake

  • Serves 10-12
  • Prep 1 hour
  • Total time 2 hours, plus cooling (if baking 2 sponges at a time)
3.7/5 rating (63 votes)
Surprise Skittles rainbow cake
Surprise Skittles rainbow cake

step by step

  • 1Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease and line the bases of 6 x 20cm cake tins (or as many tins as you own – ideally at least two).
  • 2In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl and using an electric whisk), cream the butter and sugar for 5-7 minutes until pale and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
  • 3In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  • 4Add the vanilla extract, then the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter mixture, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • 5With your mixer running on low speed, gradually add the buttermilk until just combined. Then, in three batches, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • 6Divide the batter equally between 6 small bowls (each one should weigh just about 300g). To colour the batters, take a tiny amount of each paste using a cocktail stick and add to each bowl (you only need to add a very small amount). Fold in the colour gently and efficiently without overmixing until very bright and vibrant, adding more if needed.
  • 7Spread the batters into the prepared tins and bake for 17-20 minutes. If you only have 2 cake tins, simply do this in batches, washing and relining the tins between baking each batch. Once the sponges have baked, leave them to cool in their tins for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 8While the sponges are cooling, make the cream cheese icing. With an electric whisk, mix together the butter, Philadelphia and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar and continue to whisk gently until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • 9To finish the cake, place the purple sponge on a board and spread a thin layer of icing on top. Top with the blue sponge and spread a thin layer of icing over it. Next, take the green and yellow sponges and, using a 9cm cutter, cut out a circle from the centre of each sponge (snack on these – cook's perk! – or discard). Place the green sponge on top of the blue, spread with icing as before, top with the yellow sponge on top, and ice as before. Fill the 'hole' with the Skittles, then place the orange sponge on top and ice as before. Finally, place the red sponge on top. Ice the top and the sides of the cake with a thin layer of icing, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes (to firm up and give a nicer finish), before icing the top and sides generously with the remaining icing.
  • If you don't use colours in baking regularly and don't want to invest in the Sugarflair products you can also use 5 x 10g tubes Dr Oetker gel food colour in ultra violet, sky blue, lime green, sunshine yellow and neon orange and 2.5 tsp Sainsbury's cochineal red food colouring (from a 38ml bottle). These colours still give a good end result but won't be quite as vibrant.

  • Recipe by Jenna Leiter

    Photograph by Ria Osborne

Get ahead

Assemble the cake up to a day ahead, keep in the fridge. The uniced sponges can be frozen. Any leftover sponge will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.

You will need

For the sponges:

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the tins
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 500ml buttermilk
  • Sugarflair pastel paste colours in Magenta, Aztec blue, Apple Green, Cherry red, Apricot and Daffodil (this brand is available from various online stockists)
  • 1 x 174g Skittles fruit pouch

For the cream cheese icing:

  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g full-fat Philadelphia
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
  • 300g icing sugar

+ Nutritional Information