Ann Reardon

Rainbow Steam Cake Recipe

rainbow steam cake

A super-easy Rainbow Steam Cake that comes out of the oven looking like this! That’s right, there’s no need to bake all those different coloured cakes separately & level layers! With this recipe, all you do is trim the edge and pour on the ganache. Really it is that simple!

It’s school holidays in Australia so we’ve had grandparents visiting from out of State. Seeing them in person is much better than phone calls, especially for our littlest one. You can’t have cuddles down the phone, nor can you go to the shops together and come home with an awesome Lego set! (Thanks Nanny and Granddad)

Rainbow Steam Cake Recipe

Deep loose based round cake tin 20.5cm (8.07 inches) x 9.5cm (3.74 inches)
(if you are in AU or NZ you can get one here)
2 cups or 320g (11.29 ounces) plain all-purpose flour
rainbow steam cake recipe how to cook that
1 ½ cups or 327g (11.53 ounces) sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp or 7.5g (0.26 ounces) gelatine (powdered – we are using the gelatine as an emulsifier in this recipe)

1/2 cup or 125millilitres (4.23 fluid ounces) vegetable oil such as canola oil
1 cup or 250millilitres (8.45 fluid ounces) cold water
7 egg yolks

7 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Gel colouring I used purple, blue, yellow and red to make the colours you can see.

Ganache to decorate
50g (1.76 ounces) milk chocolate
50g (1.76 ounces) dark chocolate
30millilitres (1.01 fluid ounces) cream (what cream to use?)

To decorate (optional)
additional 50g (1.76 ounces) melted chocolate

Preheat the oven to 160C (320 degrees Fahrenheit).
Add the sugar, baking powder, salt and gelatin into the flour and stir it with a whisk.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, egg yolks and water but don’t mix it.
Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk to soft peaks.
Mix the flour mixture on low until it is just combined.
Mix in a third of the egg whites. Then fold in the rest in two batches until just combined.
Split the mixture evenly between 6 bowls. Add a little colour to each bowl and gently fold through.

rainbow steam cake recipe ann reardon

Pour the purple mixture into the lined tin and place in the oven on the middle shelf. Put an empty tray on the top shelf to stop it browning and a tin of boiling water on the bottom of the oven. This makes the oven steamy and keeps the cake moist.

After 9 minutes add the next layer and return to the oven for another 9 minutes. Repeat with the remaining layers baking the top one for 11 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin and then tip out.

To make the ganache pouring hot cream over the chocolate and leave for 1 minute, then stir together until smooth.

Place a bowl or something slightly smaller than the cake on top and use it as a guide to cut off a thin layer all the way around.

To make some simple syrup put equal parts of sugar and water into a cup and microwave until the sugar has dissolved.

Using a pastry brush add generous amounts to the cake.

Pour your ganache on top right in the center then let it drip down over the edge.

To decorate the top of the cake dip the base of some macarons in melted chocolate and add them in a circle going around the top of the cake.

rainbow cake recipe macarons

Recipe by Ann Reardon


I have been busy over the last year planning, writing and overseeing the photography and layout for my first ever cookbook! There are heaps of my favourite dessert recipes in there with a chapter on pastries, ice-cream, yummy cakes, artistic desserts and of course chocolate desserts. Each chapter has its own intro explaining the food science that you'll need to know for success every time. Booksellers where you can purchase your very own copy:

All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

137 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 3

    My layers are NOT set after 9 minutes. Are Australian minutes longer? 😂

  2. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    I was wondering if I can make the sponge cake chocolate flavoured? What amount of cocoa powder would I need to use?
    Thank you 😃
    (I haven’t made it before, but I know it will amazing, that’s why there are 5 stars!)

  3. Rating: 5

    Hi. I was wondering if this came would be strong enough to have a fondant layer over it? I’m using this method for a friends rainbow layer wedding cake but wasn’t sure if the fondant would squash it too much.

    P.s. used this recipe for an 8th birthday cake and it worked like a dream

  4. Rating: 5

    i made this for a birthday. it is a very good recipe and convenient so that you don’t need to stack the cake and cook separately. even though there is nothing in between the layers, it is not dry.

    one of the best baking recipes i have used 👍👍

  5. Rating: 5

    Finished cake

  6. Rating: 5

    I baked this for my daughters 4th Birthday yesterday. Turned out looking fabulous except for few air bubbles in the top layer. Texture is more on the heavy side not light and fluffy. But taste was good. I think this cake needs lot of patience and needs to follow steps precisely to get good results. Thank you Ann for all the efforts you put on to give us these lovely cakes!! From Sri Lanka ❤

    • Inside

  7. Rating: 3.5

    Well I had an absolute cake fail with this. The layers didn’t set properly so it ended up being more like tie dye, and it was WAY shorter than I aught to have been. I think I know where I failed, but it might be a while before I try again. If the recipe is good, then the cake will at least taste nice if it doesn’t look it, but I will have to change the way it’s decorated. You know what they say, frosting hides a multitude of sins!

  8. Rating: 3.5

    How much flour did you use,
    What if I don’t have gelantin ,what can I use instead

  9. Rating: 5

    I used this recipe with shades of blue for a Princess Elsa doll cake, and it worked like a dream, thanks so much!

  10. No it is not have you tried it? I have and it was great!

  11. Rating: 4

    Can this be done with a square cake?

    • Yes

  12. Rating: 5

    I would love a vegan version of this to make for my friend’s birthday. Do you know of any or is this something you could do for a future video? Just testing vegan cake recipes I mean rather than duplicating the video. Love all your videos thanks

  13. Rating: 4

    can you use this cake for sculpted and/or fondant cakes? 🙂

    • Hi Laura, For sculpted cakes I prefer a firmer cake like this one

    • Not sure what part of the recipe you’re looking to make vegan but: You can make an eggless cake with vegan butter and a vegan substitute for gelatine

    • I made this cake before and as it was as beautiful as I hoped it was inedible. I have a mild allergy to egg and couldn’t eat it because of how much there was, but also it was all my family could taste? Any suggestions?

      • Rating: 2.5

        I just made this for the first time, and it wasn’t until I’d started that I realized it contains no milk, butter, or even vanilla! No wonder it was inedible! My layers didn’t set up in 9 minutes either, so it’s probably a mess inside as well as tasting mostly of egg. 7 is A LOT. Haven’t tasted it yet, but I’m making backup cupcakes as well as I suspect this rainbow monster is mostly for show.

  14. Rating: 5

    The rainbow cake looks really pretty. What is the function of the gelatine Also when you divide the cake batter into several bowl & mix colours into each one , won’t It deflate the egg white meringue ?

  15. Hi its a very good day to u..i want to learn more how to cook all the delicios food from u…tanks..

  16. How do you make macaroons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>