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Vegan Rainbow Cake

There is no doubt that you will have come across pictures of stunning rainbow cakes on Instagram or Pinterest and thought to yourself, 'there is no way I have the time or patience for that!', well that is where I am here to help! This cake is one of my more simple, yet most impressive bakes; there is nothing quite like slicing into this cake and seeing the beautiful rainbow layers. In honour of the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ+ Pride, here is my recipe for a vegan rainbow cake.

Vegan Rainbow Cake

This cake is a deliciously moist vanilla sponge, with a rich buttercream frosting. I decided to keep the outer design simple to contrast with the bold bright colours of the sponge inside! I would recommend using gel colours such as Colour Splash to make sure you get a vibrant rainbow sponge, I have previously tried using regular supermarket colours and ended up with sponges which had a dull tinge of colour (not ideal)!

Vegan Rainbow Cake

This cake can be used for all occasions from birthdays to celebrations, however I personally made this cake to represent the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Rainbow Flag. The annual Pride traditions originated in New York City, one year after the Stonewall Uprising, and 2020 marks the 50th anniversary where we reflect on the roots of pride, celebrate love, and continue to fight for equality.

Vegan Rainbow Cake

Significant progress has been made however at the root of it all, Pride is still a protest. It is illegal to be LGBTQ+ in 73 countries around the world and is punishable by death in 12 of these countries. Hate crimes against members of the community are continuing to rise, one in five have experienced homelessness, and in this current year, there are laws still being passed which discriminate against trans rights. Sadly, this is only a small selection of the horrific facts and figures published by Stonewall. During Pride, and throughout the rest of the year, it is everyone's responsibility to promote kindness, acceptance, and love, and continue to learn and educate others about the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Vegan Rainbow Cake

Vegan Rainbow Cake

Prep time: 60 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Total time: 105 minutes

Servings: 12



For two cake layers:

  • 160ml plant-based milk (480ml total)

  • 2/3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (2 tbsp total)

  • 150g plain flour (450g total)

  • 120g caster sugar (360g total)

  • 4g baking powder (12g total)

  • 3g baking soda (9g total)

  • 1/4 tsp salt (3/4 total)

  • 50ml vegetable oil (150ml total)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (3 tsp total)

  • Food colouring (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)

For the icing:

  • 200g dairy-free butter

  • 500g icing sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Rainbow sprinkles



  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160 °C fan assisted, like mine) and grease and line two 9'' cake tins.

  2. Combine the milk with the apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside for around 10 minutes (this makes vegan 'buttermilk').

  3. Combine all the dry cake ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, making sure there are no lumps.

  4. Add the oil and vanilla to the 'buttermilk' mixture and stir.

  5. Slowly add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and gently fold until evenly mixed (do not overmix!)

  6. Divide the cake mixture between the two tins, ensuring they are evenly spread and reach all the edges, and colour each of your batters with a different one of your six colours, gently stirring to spread the colour.

  7. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

  8. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool fully on a wire rack.

  9. Repeat steps 2-8 another two times, colouring each sponge with a different rainbow colour. Do not make all six cake batters at the same time (unless you have six tins and a very large oven) -once you add the wet to the dry ingredients the apple cider vinegar starts to react so you will end up with flat cakes!

  10. Whilst the cakes are cooling, mix the butter, icing sugar, and vanilla to make the buttercream icing.

  11. Once the sponges are fully cooled, ice and stack the cakes, then crumb coat the outside and leave to chill in the fridge for around 20 minutes (until firm to the touch).

  12. Spread a thick layer of buttercream around the top and outside of the cake and smooth.

  13. Use the remaining icing to pipe dollops on top of the cake and add your sprinkles as desired.

Vegan Rainbow Cake


  • Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

  • Be brave with the amount of colour you add, I like to use gel colours by Colour Splash as I find they give the brightest colour!

  • I kept the flavour for the cake simple vanilla, however if you are feeling adventurous you could try flavouring each of the layers as desired for a bold (and, erm interesting...) tasting cake!

  • Make sure to check that your sprinkles are vegan as most are not! Some non-vegan friendly ingredients to look out for are confectioner's glaze (from insects), beeswax, gelatine, and some E numbers.

  • For resources, information and to campaign with the LGBTQ+ community, visit Stonewall.

Vegan Rainbow Cake

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy my vegan rainbow cake recipe and continue to share the love throughout the year! If you do try any of my recipes I'd love to know how they turn out - tag me on Instagram @josiewalshaw!

Josie xox


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