CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Sussex Life today CLICK HERE

Recipe: Rainbow cake by Frances Quinn

PUBLISHED: 14:11 04 September 2015 | UPDATED: 17:53 08 September 2015

Rainbow Cake (Copyright Georgia Glynn Smith)

Rainbow Cake (Copyright Georgia Glynn Smith)


Not your ordinary rainbow cake, this lemon sponge with fresh fruit decoration is perfect for a children’s birthday party or just to brighten up a rainy day

Frances Quinn (Copyright Georgia Glynn Smith)Frances Quinn (Copyright Georgia Glynn Smith)

This colourful cake looks spectacular but is very simple to make. You can use a ring-shaped savarin tin to bake the cake, but I quite like the DIY approach of putting an empty golden syrup tin inside a round cake tin – a pot of gold in more ways than one. Either way, with its clouds of cream and rows of glistening, lemon-glazed fruit, this bake will ‘rain’ supreme!

Quinntessential BakingQuinntessential Baking

Makes a 23cm cake

Serves 6–8


For the cake

• Cake-release spray for the tin

• 100g butter, softened

• 100g caster sugar

• 2 lemons

• 2 eggs (at room temperature)

• 100g self-raising flour

• 2 tbsp ground almonds

For the lemon syrup

• 100g caster sugar

To decorate

• 300ml double cream

• 1 kiwi fruit

• 1 mango

• 150g strawberries

• 50g blueberries


• 23cm round, deep, loose-bottomed

• Tin,

• Greased and fully lined

• Empty golden syrup tin (454g size)

• Cocktail stick

• Medium paintbrush

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease the outside of the syrup tin with cake-release spray, then wrap it in baking parchment. Place it in the centre of the lined round tin.

2. Using a hand-held electric whisk, or in a free-standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 5–10 minutes or until very light, pale and creamy. Grate the zest from the lemons into the mix and beat it in.

3. Lightly beat the eggs in a mug or jug. Gradually add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks like it’s curdling, add a spoonful of the flour. Sift the flour and almonds into the mixture, in batches, folding in each batch until just combined.

4. Squeeze all the juice from the lemons. Gently stir 2 tablespoons of the juice into the cake mixture. Set the rest of the juice aside.

5. Spoon the cake mixture into your tin, taking care to keep the syrup tin central as you spread the mixture around it. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the cake is risen and lightly golden brown, and a skewer inserted into it comes out clean.

6. While the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup. Measure the reserved lemon juice and add water, if necessary, to make it up to 100ml. Pour into a saucepan. Add the caster sugar and set the saucepan over a medium-high heat. Warm for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

7. Once the cake is baked, and while it is still warm, prick the surface all over with the cocktail stick. Brush over some of the lemon syrup using the paintbrush or a pastry brush, allowing the syrup to soak into the sponge. Set aside the remaining syrup to glaze the fruit later.

8. Leave the cake to cool slightly before carefully lifting out the syrup tin. Set the cake, still in its round tin, on a wire rack to cool completely.

9. Remove the cooled cake from the tin. Using a ruler as a guide, cut the cake across in half to make two rainbow shapes.

10. Whip the cream with a hand-held electric whisk until it forms soft-to-medium peaks. Using a small palette knife, spread half the cream over each rainbow-shaped cake, creating a slightly textured finish. Place one cream-covered rainbow cake on top of the other.

11. Cut the top and bottom off the kiwi fruit, then slice the skin away in strips. Use a small, sharp knife to peel the mango, then slice the flesh off the central stone in large pieces; you’ll only need about half of this, depending on the mango’s size. Cut the kiwi, mango and strawberries into neat 1–2cm pieces.

12. Arrange all the pieces of fruit on top of the cake in neat rows, to create the appearance of a rainbow. Brush the remaining lemon syrup over the fruit as a glaze. (Any leftover syrup can be kept in the fridge for up to a week and used to flavour other cakes.)


I also like to present the finished cake on a slate board that is dusted with icing sugar clouds, made by sifting icing sugar over a cloud stencil (use the cloud template shape on p.213 to cut a stencil from a sheet of card). To add to the display, fill a golden syrup tin with lemon drops and gold chocolate coins and put it at the end of the rainbow cake to represent the pot of gold.

Extract taken from Quinntessential Baking by Frances Quinn (Bloomsbury £25.00)

Photography © Georgia Glynn Smith

Like this? Read the interview with Frances Quinn.

If all this talk of baking has got you running for the kitchen, head over to Great British Life to find the best baking accessories.

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Baking

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Whether you have strawberry or raspberry jam on your scones, or prefer Earl Grey to English breakfast tea - we've found 12 of the best tearooms that Devon has to offer

Read more
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Great British Bake Off can be a life changing experience for the contestants. We chatted to local finalist from series one, Ruth Clemens about her journey and the new series.

Read more
Friday, August 26, 2016

Millions tune in to see the Queen of Baking share her culinary wisdom each week on The Great British Bake Off – but how much do you really know about judge and food writer Mary Berry?

Read more
Monday, August 8, 2016

Afternoon Tea, once the preserve of high society, is now widely available in cafés, tearooms and restaurants across Britain. This is no less true in the Cotswolds, where you can delight in a cream tea or sip a delicate speciality blend in virtually every town and village in the region. To help you choose, here’s our selection of the best places to enjoy afternoon tea around the Cotswolds.

Read more
Sunday, April 10, 2016

Are you always on the hunt for the perfect Flat White or Americano in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds? Whether you like your latte fair trade, decaffeinated or crafted from locally roasted coffee beans – we pick 9 favourites to fill that caffeine craving

Read more
Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Are you always on the hunt for the perfect Flat White or Americano around Suffolk? Whether you like your latte fair trade, decaffeinated or crafted from locally roasted coffee beans – we pick 10 favourites to fill that caffeine craving

Read more
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

If you’re looking for things to do with a friend, or you just want to indulge a sweet tooth, Suffolk is home to some of the best cream teas in Britain – from country house hotels to chilled out coffee shops, we pick 10 worth a visit

Read more

Most Read

Latest from the Sussex Life