Julie Dickinson-Warren shares a wonderful rainbow cake to cheer up the family during lockdown

[New City Magazine – June 2020, page 22]

At the moment we are surrounded by rainbows. A delightful ‘hello’ and expression of play by children at home during school closure and forbidden playgrounds. The symbolism of this delightful natural phenomenon is as manifold as there are cultures and religions in the world.

Australian rock paintings, for example, dating from 10,000 years ago, depict the rainbow serpent as a powerful spirit still part of Aboriginal myth today. In Buddhism the rainbow symbolises the highest state of enlightenment before Nirvana. The diversely coloured rainbow flag reflects diversity in sexuality and hope for marginalised groups, whilst the magical destination in the song ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ is an unattainable place. Oh and did you know that rainbows are not arcs at all, but full circles, which are only visible from high up, such as in a plane!

For me, rainbows have always been a sign of something better yet to come. They appear after showers and always make me smile. When my daughter was going on her first ever Brownie camp, we were asked to contribute a treat to share. I wanted to send something to make her feel home wasn’t too far away: a rainbow cake, a sponge cake with a little twist to make young campers smile! Over the years it became a regular treat in our family, making even surly teenagers smile. And it still does so, even as I am writing this in April 2020. My grown-up granddaughter has been staying with me since just before lockdown started so that no family member would be left on their own. She is gluten intolerant and it certainly raised a smile with her to see brightly coloured gluten-free cake, even if I had only been able to find a couple of food colourings in the cupboard! So here is my lockdown rainbow.


175g each of SR flour (can be gluten-free)

caster sugar


3 eggs

Vanilla essence

a little milk to give a dropping consistency

Food colourings as available


Cream butter and sugar together, beat in the eggs with a little flour, add vanilla essence, fold in remaining flour, adding milk if required. Using small dishes equal to the number of colours you have, divide the mixture and, leaving some plain, stir in the food colours. Spoon into two greased and base lined sandwich tins in any order you like to achieve a multi-coloured effect. (Or use small tin foil flan cases for individually coloured cake layers.) Bake at 180ºC for 25-30 mins. Leave to cool, assemble and fill as required.
Smiles guaranteed as lovely colours are revealed when the cake is sliced up!

 [See the article in full PDF edition on page 22]

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