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

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…

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!

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!

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Square Pastel Layer Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours
Yield: 20
Six layers of pastel tinted cake, surrounded by fluffy homemade vanilla buttercream. A perfect birthday or celebration cake!



  • 2 boxes white cake mix
  • McCormick extra rich pure vanilla
  • McCormick neon food color


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

Suggested tools:

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


  • 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.


Recipe yields 1: 8-inch, 6 layer cake, serves roughly 20 using slicing method listed.
An original recipe from Baked by Rachel
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most accurate data, use your preferred nutrition calculator with the actual ingredients you used to make this recipe.
Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Snap a picture and tag @bakedbyrachel on Instagram!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords: Cake

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.