Square Pastel Layer Cake

Six layers of moist pastel tinted cake, surrounded by fluffy homemade vanilla buttercream. A fun cake for a birthday or any celebration!

Square Pastel Layer Cake Recipe from @bakedbyrachel

September is a busy month for us. I bet everyone has months that are especially busy. Families with loads of birthdays and celebrations. For us, September means two birthdays, an anniversary, back to school, lots of appointments and soccer. So in the midst of settling back into the school routine, we get to make things even more chaotic and fun with birthday celebrations. And let’s not make things easier, they’re back to back. Hey… they could’ve been on the same day but we had a say in the matter and got to prevent that.

Every kid… no, every person of any age deserves to celebrate their birthday with a tasty and colorful cake. Birthdays are meant to be celebrated. And celebrate we shall…

Square Pastel Layer Cake Recipe from @bakedbyrachel

My good friends at McCormick are celebrating their 125th birthday this year! A milestone for sure! So for them, and my two youngest who are forced to almost share a birthday and everyone else celebrating now or in the future… this cake is for you!

When I was given the challenge of creating a fun and colorful cake, I knew I wanted it to be special. Why do something ordinary for an extraordinary day?

It had to be square. And so it was!

You know one of my favorite parts about this cake being square (outside of the fact that it’s far less traditional)? I love that it easily serves a crowd. Yes, this cake can very easily feed 20 or so guests. Don’t believe me? Try it out and see!

Square Pastel Layer Cake Recipe from @bakedbyrachel

Six square cakes tinted with McCormick neon food color for a fun pop of pastel color and flavored with a dash of their brand new extra rich pure vanilla extract. Be sure to look for it on store shelves!

Moist colorful cakes stacked high and covered with creamy homemade vanilla buttercream. This cake is a birthday girl or boy’s dream!

Ditch traditional plain Jane cakes and add some color to your celebration!

Square Pastel Layer Cake Recipe from @bakedbyrachel

Yield: 1: 8-"inch square, 6 layer cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes per cake

Square Pastel Layer Cake

Six layers of pastel tinted cake, surrounded by fluffy homemade vanilla buttercream. A perfect birthday or celebration cake!

Ingredients:

Cake:

Frosting:

  • 1 1/4C unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4C vegetable shortening
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6C powdered sugar

Suggested tools:

  • Parchment paper
  • Square baking pan
  • Baking spray
  • 1M piping tip
  • Piping bags
  • Small offset spatula
  • Large offset spatula
  • Bench scraper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut 6 pieces of parchment paper to fit the bottom of your square baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix box cake mix according to manufacturer's directions. Mix in 1/2 tsp extra rich pure vanilla per 1 box cake mix. Divide batter between clean bowls, measuring out 1 and 1/4 cup batter per bowl. Tint each bowl according to chart below.

Cake tint chart:
Pink layer: 3 drops pink
Blue layer: 3 drops blue
Green layer: 3 drops green, 1 drop blue
Orange layer: 4 drops green, 2 drops pink
Purple: 3 drops purple
White: none

Lightly grease pan (or multiple pans) with baking spray, insert parchment paper, lightly spray parchment paper with baking spray.

Add one color to a prepared pan, spreading out evenly into all corners. Use a small offset spatula to level out the batter. Bake for 17-18 minutes. Cool for several minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter.

Once fully cooled, using a sharp knife, carefully level off tops of cakes. Keeping parchment paper in place, stack cake layers and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill overnight.

When ready to frost, prepare buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla extract, followed by 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

To frost cake:
Choose the base layer of your cake, add strips of wax paper under each side. Add a large dollop of frosting to the cake, smooth our with a small offset spatula. Add another cake layer and frosting. Repeat method until all layers have been added. Top off with additional frosting. Coat cake with frosting, filling in gaps and sealing in crumbs. Transfer to refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Cover remaining frosting until ready to proceed.

Add additional frosting to top and sides of cake, smoothing out with an offset spatula and/or bench scraper. If roses are desired, add frosting to a piping bag fit with a 1M tip. Pipe roses around the top edge of the cake.

Chill if desired or serve immediately.

To slice cake:
Using a sharp knife, cut cake in half width wise. Cut slices length wise into desired thickness.

Remaining cake may be stored at room temperature or chilled.

*Cake will serve roughly 20 using slicing method listed.

Baked by Rachel original

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by McCormick. I was compensated for my time. As always, all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
This post contains affiliate links.

Stay Connected


76 Responses to “Square Pastel Layer Cake”

  1. #
    1
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — September 24, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Absolutely GORGEOUS! I love the pastel layers! What a beautiful birthday cake! Pinning it everywhere!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

      Thanks so much Anna! :)

  2. #
    2
    Rachel Cooks — September 24, 2014 at 7:04 am

    This is so gorgeous, Rachel! I know a little girl that would FLIP over this cake :)

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

      I know she would!! You should make her some ;)

  3. #
    3
    Marla+Meridith — September 24, 2014 at 7:30 am

    This cake is gorgeous!! Pinned :)

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

      Thanks Marla!

  4. #
    4
    Beth @ The First Year — September 24, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Rachel – this is AMAZING!!! You knocked it outta the ball park!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

      Thanks Beth!

  5. #
    5
    DessertForTwo — September 24, 2014 at 7:49 am

    This is so pretty! I wish it was my birthday cake!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

      Thanks so much! I hope you have a cake just as tasty! :)

  6. #
    6
    Katrina+@+In+Katrina's+Kitchen — September 24, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Stunning! I loooooooove this cake :)

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

      Thanks Katrina :)

  7. #
    7
    Nutmeg+Nanny — September 24, 2014 at 8:02 am

    This cake is so beautiful! Love all those colors :)

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

      Thanks Brandy!

  8. #
    8
    Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig — September 24, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I am in awe with the beauty and perfection of this cake, it’s just beautiful! So creative with the colored layers! Pinned!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

      Thanks so much Cathy :)

  9. #
    9
    Sarah @ Sarah's Bake Studio — September 24, 2014 at 8:34 am

    So beautiful! I love it!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

      Thanks Sarah!

  10. #
    10
    Anna @ Garnish with Lemon — September 24, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Love the shape, love the colors, love the layers, LOVE IT ALL!!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

      Thank you Anna! :)

  11. #
    11
    Amy @Very Culinary — September 24, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Oh wow, is that a thing of beauty. You did the NEON proud! Bravo, Rachel. Bravo. Pinned!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

      Thanks Amy! :)

  12. #
    12
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — September 24, 2014 at 9:03 am

    This turned out so perfectly pretty! Awesome job!!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

      Thanks so much Brenda!

  13. #
    13
    Aimee+@+ShugarySweets — September 24, 2014 at 9:16 am

    This is seriously the most beautiful cake. Ever!!! LOVE IT.

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

      Thanks Aimee! :)

  14. #
    14
    Liren — September 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Such pretty layers! This turned out beautifully! My daughter will be asking for this for her birthday when she sees it :-)

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

      I hope she does! And thank you :)

  15. #
    15
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — September 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

    The most beautiful cake I’ve EVER seen!!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

      Thanks Claire!

  16. #
    16
    Sharana+@+Living+THe+Sweet+Life+Blog — September 24, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Such a cool birthday cake!! Happy birthday to the two special september babies <3

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

      Thanks so much Sharana!

  17. #
    17
    Chichi — September 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

    This looks so pretty. Love the pastel colours

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

      Thanks Chichi!

  18. #
    18
    Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. — September 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    This cake is absolutely beautiful! I love all the layers, and that it’s a square! So pretty.

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

      Thanks Stacey! :)

  19. #
    19
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — September 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Holy cow, how cute is THIS??? Love the colors. Totally want it for my birthday!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

      Thanks Dorothy! :)

  20. #
    20
    Ilona @ Ilona's Passion — September 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    What a lovely colors of the cake!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

      Thanks so much :)

  21. #
    21
    Cookin+Canuck — September 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    That is the prettiest cake! It would be perfect for birthdays, baby showers, Easter, afternoon snacking… :)

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

      Haha! I love the snacking part. Cake on the counter is hard to resist! ;)

  22. #
    22
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — September 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    This is such a fun dessert!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

      Thanks Lori! :)

  23. #
    23
    Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts — September 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    this is beautiful! I’d love a cake like this for my birthday this year!

    • Rachel — September 24th, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

      Thanks so much Angelyn! Maybe you can convince someone to make you some? No one should have to make their own cake! :)

  24. #
    24
    Mandy | Baking with Blondie — September 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    What the heck!? Now how am I supposed to think about anything else until make this? It looks flawless, and seriously so delicious! Nice work!

    • Rachel — September 25th, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

      Haha! Thanks Mandy :)

  25. #
    25
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — September 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    This is stunning!!! And SO fun! Love those neon colors! :)

    • Rachel — September 25th, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

      Thanks Laura!

  26. #
    26
    Rachel - A Southern Fairytale — September 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    This is incredible! I think I need to find an excuse to make this! Gorgeous!

    • Rachel — September 25th, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

      Thanks Rachel! :)

  27. #
    27
    Jessica @ Sweet Menu — September 25, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Award for the prettiest cake ever right here! Seriously gorgeous!

    • Rachel — September 25th, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

      Thanks Jessica!

  28. #
    28
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — September 25, 2014 at 9:20 am

    This cake is GORGEOUS! I am the world’s worst cake decorator, but I’d still give this one a try just because it looks so fun to make.

    • Rachel — September 25th, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

      You really should! And thank you :)

  29. #
    29
    Amanda — September 25, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I love everything about this! So pretty!!

    • Rachel — September 25th, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

      Thanks Amanda!

  30. #
    30
    fabiola@notjustbaked — September 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    How much fun is this cake?!!!

    • Rachel — September 26th, 2014 @ 7:45 am

      Thanks so much :)

  31. #
    31
    Marly — September 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

    This seriously may be too pretty to eat! OK. Not actually seriously…but almost!

    • Rachel — September 26th, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

      Thanks Marly!

  32. #
    32
    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — September 28, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Thankfully we don’t have a month that’s quite as busy as yours, but I can imagine how hectic it could be! There must barely be time to breathe, let along bake and photo and sleep! I love the gorgeous colors in this cake, and making it square is absolutely brilliant. I really want to try that sometime! Pinned!

    • Rachel — September 28th, 2014 @ 9:31 am

      Thanks so much Amy! :)

  33. #
    33
    Connie Reyes — October 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Love your cake! But what size of square pans did you use? I am new to baking…

    • Rachel — October 3rd, 2014 @ 6:09 pm

      This is for an 8-inch square layer cake, as specified in the recipe details. Good luck! :)

  34. #
    34
    Baby June — November 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Wow this is so pretty! I love the idea of a square layer cake, unusual but awesome!

    • Rachel — November 11th, 2014 @ 5:54 pm

      Thanks so much :)

  35. #
    35
    Kathy — February 25, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Gorgeous cake. Thanks for the instructions.

    • Rachel — February 25th, 2015 @ 3:12 pm

      Thanks Kathy!

  36. #
    36
    Glory/ Glorious Treats — April 2, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I have a serious soft spot for pretty pastels… and cake of course! This is gorgeous!

    • Rachel — April 3rd, 2015 @ 7:27 am

      Thanks Glory!

  37. #
    37
    Kim — February 20, 2016 at 6:57 am

    What are the strips of wax paper for?

    • Rachel — February 20th, 2016 @ 8:07 am

      They help to keep the bottom edge of the cake and serving plate clean and neat. After you’ve frosted the cake, simply remove the wax strips to reveal a clean edge.

  38. #
    38
    heather — May 30, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    What size baking pan did you use??

    • Rachel — May 31st, 2016 @ 7:48 am

      The recipe details specify that this is an 8-inch cake.

Leave a Comment