Hidden Rainbow Easter Egg Cake

Hidden Rainbow Easter Egg Cake | BoulderLocavore.com

It was about 3.4 nanoseconds after cutting into the Hidden Heart Cake recipe I created for Valentine’s Day that I began to think about an iteration for Easter.  It seemed such a perfect holiday for sneaking away an unexpected egg where one would not think to look; in the middle of a cake!

We all have memories of that last Easter egg gone missing.  My most ‘fond’ would be when I was in Junior High.  In the early summer the off-putting odor of sulfur began to emanate from my closet.  After several attempts to locate the source of the stench, I finally found a beautifully dyed hard boiled egg rotting in the pocket of my ski parka.   I did curse the Easter Bunny for the putrid odor that did not dissipate quickly.

Hidden Easter Egg Pound Cake - BoulderLocavore.com
Would you ever guess inside this unassuming Lemon Poundcake lies a rainbow egg?!

No risk of that happening in this case.  The making of this cake actually includes two methods; making a Rainbow Cake and the nesting of a cake-inside- a cake.  Since I am a gluten-free baker I have chosen to use pound cake.  Gluten free cake tends not to be as dense as cake with gluten (gluten is a binder that holds things together), so desiring the most dense cake possible I’ve found pound cake works well.

I think you’ll agree the ease of creating a Rainbow Cake is one that is easily adaptable for many forms of cake and occasions.  It is a bit mystifying to imagine how it turns out as it does; a seemingly unsophisticated, random method of slopping colored batter in layers that magically transforms during baking to yield a swirling rainbow extravaganza.

Rainbow cake eggs for Hidden Egg Cake | BoulderLocavore.com

However magical the rainbow cake may be, there is no greater surprise then to cut into an unsuspecting Lemon-Glazed Pound Cake to find a Technicolor egg waiting!  The bright lemon flavor celebrates the freshness of spring along with the festive egg.

Hidden Easter Egg Pound Cake - BoulderLocavore.com

Recipe notes:

Food Coloring:  there are many options for coloring food to fit your needs and preferences.  Wilton colorings come in a myriad of bold and brilliant colors and may be found in craft or cake decorating stores. Traditional coloring kits are available in the spice aisle at the grocery store and can be mixed to form your preferred color.  I personally love India Tree Dyes which are all vegetable based and natural.  Part of the choice is the color hue you desire; vegetable dye will be an earthier, muted tone vs. the other options.

Color mixing:  Flashback to elementary school art and recall color mixing instruction (click here for help).  As I mixed up a brilliant shade of lemon yellow for my rainbow cake it struck me as not the best color since my outer pound cake would be light yellow naturally.  Trying to save the batter I added a bit of violet coloring to make the most ghastly shade of putrid brown.  Ick.  Mix colors thoughtfully!

Swapping cake mixes:  I received a number of emails from readers who had made the Hidden Heart Cake with different types of cake mix not just pound cake.  Experimentation is much of the fun.  If you want to use a different type of cake mix just follow the directions for your selection.

Hidden Easter Egg Pound Cake - BoulderLocavore.com


Hidden Rainbow Easter Egg Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 12+ servings depending on thickness of slices

No one will suspect nested inside this fresh-flavored lemon pound cake is a brightly colored Easter egg! A delight for all ages. Can be made gluten-free or with gluten based on the mix or recipe selected. Actual preparation/cooking time is an estimate as the cooling stages can vary. The recipe can be made in two stages over two days too.


    Ingredients for Rainbow Cake:
  • Vanilla pound cake mix or recipe (I used Pamela’s Classic Vanilla Cake mix and prepared it to the package pound cake directions)
  • Ingredients for the Lemon Pound cake and Lemon Glaze:
  • Vanilla pound cake mix or recipe (I again used Pamela’s Classic Vanilla Cake mix prepared for the pound cake instruction)
  • ½ teaspoon Organic or Natural Lemon Flavoring
  • ½ teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Supplies:
  • 1-2 loaf pans (if only having one it can be washed in between cakes)*
  • 1 Egg-shaped Cookie Cutter
  • Serrated knife
  • Spatula
  • Separate small bowls for individual color mixing
  • Food Coloring


    Instructions for baking the Rainbow Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to the required temperature for the cake mix or recipe being used for the Rainbow Cake.
  2. Decide how many colors you desire for the rainbow cake (I used 5). Prepare the cake batter and divide evenly between the coloring bowls for the number of colors being used.
  3. Mix food coloring into each individual bowl of batter.
  4. Prepare a loaf pan for baking (greasing it if called for). Spoon the first color into the prepared loaf pan. Using a spatula spread the batter to cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Gently spoon the second color over the first. DO NOT MIX INTO THE FIRST COLOR! Carefully spread the second batter over the first as much as you are able to. I used a kitchen knife and teased it over the first color carefully not to mix them. It’s not a perfect science; if you cannot cover the first color, don’t worry about it (it will still be fabulous in the end!)
  6. Continue covering each layer with the next color until all of your mixed colors are in the loaf pan. Tap the pan firmly on a countertop a few times to release any air bubbles especially if using a thicker mix. Put the pan in the oven and bak for the time specified in your recipe/mix.
  7. Remove from oven. Allow to sit on a cooling rack for 15 minutes and remove from pan; place on the cooling rack to cool completely. Note: I recommend chilling gluten-free cake for a few hours or overnight, wrapped in plastic wrap to allow it to fully solidify before going to the next step.
  8. Cutting out the Rainbow Easter Egg and Making the Lemon Pound cake:
  9. Preheat oven for the temperature specified for the pound cake mix or recipe you are using.
  10. With a serrated knife, cut horizontal slices of the pound cake the thickness of the egg cookie cutter. Using the cookie cutter, cut out an egg shape from each slice.
  11. Prepare a loaf pan (grease it or to specifications in your recipe). Prepare the pound cake mix or recipe you have selected and add the Lemon flavoring and lemon zest.
  12. Spoon a very small amount of batter on the bottom of the loaf pan; there should only be enough to set the egg-shaped rainbow cake sliced in the batter (1/4 inch thick; more than that and the eggs may protrude through the top of the cake).
  13. Leaving a small space on either end of the loaf pan, place the egg cake slices with sides touching in the batter on the bottom of the pan. Ensure the eggs are centered, not touching either side or the ends (so the eggs will be hidden when the cake is baked).
  14. Gently spoon the remaining lemon pound cake batter on either side of the eggs, the ends of the pan and eventually over the eggs to cover them. Note: I used a very large egg cookie cutter. If doing the same you may experience some cake batter displacement as it begins to bake. I suggest placing a baking sheet underneath the loaf pan so if any batter drips from the pan you are covered. If the egg shape is medium size you should not have any dripping.
  15. Check cake during baking for browning of the top and doneness. I placed foil loosely over the top of the cake about halfway through when the top had cooked and was a deep golden tone not wanting it to become overly brown; do not place foil over the cake until the top has cooked (otherwise it will not fully bake properly). Note on doneness: My cake baked the full duration specified on the mix. The cake can complete baking early, by about 10 minutes due to the center already being baked (the rainbow eggs). Check for doneness 15 minutes before recipe or mix specifies to ensure it does not over cook.
  16. Remove cake and allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes. Gently run a knife around the outside of the cake and ease it out of the pan, onto the cooling rack to cool completely. After cooling to room temperature it can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated to allow it to fully cool (especially if it is gluten free).
  17. Prepare the Lemon Glaze by combining the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice in a mixer to combine fully. Drizzle over the top of the cake and allow 15 minutes or until glaze has hardened. Slice and serve.


*I have two sizes of loaf pans with one being just a bit larger than the other. I baked the rainbow cake in the smaller pan wishing to have more space around the cutout egg by making the final cake in the larger loaf pan. My egg cookie cutter was large so this made more of a difference due to that.


Hidden Easter Egg Pound Cake - BoulderLocavore.com



    • says

      It is pretty fun Lorie. The rainbow portion as noted is a very crude method and magically emerges looking as you see it in the egg photos. The rest is also straightforward just ensuring everything is centered in the pan so nothing can be seen before it’s cut into! Using a medium size cookie cutter as mentioned would make that easier than the huge egg I used!

  1. Colleen says

    I am having a major OMG moment here in the China Airlines VIP lounge at the Taiwan airport opening your latest blog post! What a gorgeous and exciting cake; you had me at the very first photo! And then to see how it’s made – it looks like something really fun for the older kids to help with. Thank you for such an inspiring photo essay to accompany the practical details. I am tempted to try to fit this into my schedule …

    • says

      Thank you my friend for taking the time to comment ‘in transit’! It is a recipe-meets-craft-meets-engineering creation; the best kind. Love the magical end result of the rainbow cake. Still mesmerized by the sloppy layering turning out in a beautiful marbled coloring.

    • says

      Thank you so much Kayle and ‘amen’ to the plastic egg idea. I feel confident the Easter Bunny keeps track of where any hard boiled eggs are hidden at our house from the shear angst I eminate at the prospect of a repeat July-egg find scenario.

  2. Kayleigh says

    I’m really excited to make this recipe but I was just wondering: Does the cake in the middle get over cooked?

  3. says

    I was wondering how you made the inside all colorful! I’ve seen the heart one done before. Now what holiday can we do next? Also, too funny about finding that Easter egg after it was rotting (well ok so I guess it wasn’t funny at the time haha).

  4. Mistica says

    I was just wondering if you have tried using a bunny cookie cutter in place of the egg. I just want a hidden bunny pound cake 🙂

    • says

      I haven not Mistica but I too wanted a cake with a bunny, one with a chick and more! I really don’t think the cookie cutter shape matters after doing each the heart cake and now this one. For a bunny you’ll need to think through the size, assuming you want the bunny standing upright. Will the size of your cut out bunny be taller than your end cake will be? Maybe you have a tiny cookie cutter or a shape of a bunny on all fours that would work. Otherwise the only other thing to watch is if the cookie cutter is really large (as my egg is here) you may have some cake displacement (it coming out of the side of the pan when the second cake is cooking). With a small or medium sized shape it’s not an issue. Please let me know how it goes!

      • Mistica says

        I have a bunny on all fours 🙂 I just need to figure out what cake mix I want to use. All I have on hand at the moment is Classic yellow, Lemon Supreme and Milk chocolate. NO idea which ones would go well together.

        • says

          Are you making this a pound cake? I would personally use the Classic Yellow for the rainbow cake (the bunny). Since it’s yellow you’ll need to think through the color combining as I did (since it’s not a white cake the coloring will be affected a bit). Then I’d put the rainbow bunny in the Lemon Supreme cake. Those flavors sound most like what I did and would go together. Chocolate and vanilla would taste good but doesn’t feel or look as ‘springy’.

          • margaret says

            Does it have to be a pound cake? My daughter has milk allergy and subbing milk free butter rarely works well for these kinds of things. I was hoping to do the regular gf cake recipe but scared it won’t work as well in the loaf pan.

          • says

            I made it as a pound cake wanting a dense cake since gluten free cake is usually not as dense as regular gluten cake. I have only made the cake this way however when I published the Hidden Heart cake some readers made it not as a pound cake and it worked. Are you making it gluten free?

          • margaret says

            Yes same gluten free mix you suggested (I am gluten free, daughter is milk free). I’ve never made it before so I wasn’t sure how dense it would be. I’ll give it a try and report back. Mostly I wasn’t sure how well this would bake in a loaf pan as a regular cake.

          • says

            I have used this mix in several forms, all successfully. I have only made it in a loaf pan using the pound cake method. Here is a cake size conversion chart: http://allrecipes.com/howto/cake-pan-size-conversions/. It looks that you could make it by the normal method in a loaf pan. I think what will be important is to allow full chilling in between stages; when removing the rainbow loaf, before cutting the shapes out of the rainbow cake, removing the final cake and before cutting the final cake. Gluten free cake is most sturdy when it has been allowed to fully cool, even refrigerating before the cutting stages. The other option would be to explore Pamela’s website for any dairy free tips to making the pound cake method.

      • margaret says

        So far it’s been interesting. Cake #1 came out perfect. Dense enough to use for the eggs. Cake #2….oy. Should have used a smaller cutter or a larger second pan. It oozed all over (luckily I had a pan under it like you suggested). I poked with a toothpick all over and it seemed done but when I took it out of the pan there was raw batter oozing out. I stuck it back in the oven and will see how it all turned out when I try to cut it later. I’m sure it will all taste fine, just not be as pretty as your picture.

        So the answer is, yes the Pamela’s GF cake cooked normal (not to pound cake) worked fine for this. Had to cook way longer than what was specified, I went to 20 min then checked every 10 min after that. All in all probably almost an hour of baking.

        • says

          I do wonder if it is the size of the inner cake/cutter size you used. For pound cake it cooks for an hour anyway and I found the second cake needed that even with cooked inner cake. When I made the hidden heart cake the cookie cutter I used was more of a medium size and there was no cake overflow, as I too experienced with my seemingly enormous egg cookie cutter!

          Be sure you really cool and chill it before cutting with a serrated knife. Please let me know the final result! If the cake seems cooked from the outside view I’m sure it’s fine since the bulk of the cake is the inside which you know was cooked when you inserted it.

  5. Kayleigh says

    I made this recipe and it turned out soooo cute. I used cream cheese pound cake, which tasted really good, but the rainbow cake didn’t swirl. I would recommend maybe swirling it with a toothpick if you are using denser cake. I topped mine off with a white chocolate glaze and it tasted perfect. Everyone at Easter thought it was really cool! Thanks for the awesome idea!!

    • says

      Kayleigh thanks so much for taking the time to write! Interesting about the no swirl. What did it do, just stay layered? My pound cake was pretty thick too and you could see what it looked like when it went in and came out of the oven. I’m glad it was a hit for your Easter!


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