Planning Eleanor’s Second Birthday Party

I designed the invitations this weekend. We’re just having our family over, so no need to include the address (I’m pretty sure they know how to find us).

I want to make a rainbow cake for her. Last year, I ordered a chocolate cake from the local bakery. It tasted fine, but it was kind of expensive for a plain cake and I didn’t like the way they frosted it (I decorated the top myself with a chocolate silhouette). I remember thinking that I should have just made the whole thing myself, so this year I’m going to give it a try.

photo by Nicole Hill Gerulat

I’m thinking balloons and polka dots, in lots of bright colors for the decorations. I’m sure the party will come together, but I hope I’m not being overly ambitious with the cake.

83 Responses to “Planning Eleanor’s Second Birthday Party”

  1. Johanna April 18, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    I totally had that cake made for my birthday this past weekend! And I turned 26! It was a very simple cake, fun to make. I went to (Rainbow Cake) for the recipe. Good luck!

  2. Gwendolyn April 18, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I think it’s perfect and will be a lot of fun!

  3. Tara April 18, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Love the cake idea! I’ve started a tradition of making my son’s birthday cakes. So much cheaper and special that way :)

    Have fun!

  4. Amanda April 18, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    If you need, I have a friend who bakes great cakes in OP. She’s a very experienced baker & did our daughter’s baptism cake, to much praise from our guests:

  5. dayle April 18, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Really cute invite! My friends recently made me a rainbow cake and it was a hit!

  6. Tara Jane April 18, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    My son loves rainbows and hockey. I think we are going to have a rainbow hockey party for his third b-day. I am totally going to make that cake!

  7. Jillian April 18, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I’ve made a rainbow cake using this process (but not the recipe for the actual cake – I had my own family white cake recipe) It was super easy and a lot of fun. We made a cool colours layer and a warm colours layer.

  8. niki April 18, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    If the cake seems too intimidating these cupcakes on Spearmint Baby look great!

    • Danielle April 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      I thought of these right away also!

  9. chole April 18, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Great design! (as always)

    I love that you are making the cake. I have become “baker of the birthday cake” in our family. I love finding out what each person wants and then searching out the perfect recipe (I use a lot of Cake Mix dr. recipes… they never fail me) Home made cakes are so much more special!

  10. Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife April 18, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Love the invite! I made a rainbow cake a couple months ago and I was surprised how easy it was. I hope it goes smoothly for you!!

  11. Jessica April 18, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I made this cake for my husband’s work. Everyone was amazed. It really wasn’t that hard. I used boxed cakes and I bought 4 and only used 2. I made the layers really small – I think a 1/2 cup per layer? I didn’t want them too thin so it would lean. The hardest part for me was making the icing. Everyone loved it though.

  12. Aud April 18, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Another option is to go with rainbow/tye-dyed cupcakes. Mix up your white cake batter and divide into bowls. Then, using a small cookie scoop, place one or two scoops each of 3 different colors into your cupcake liners and bake. The colors don’t mix, so you end up with this really great marbled/swirled effect. Not quite the same look as the rainbow cake, but possibly more manageable.

  13. Marissa April 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    That rainbow cake looks precious! And there is no such thing as being overly ambitious for your kid’s birthday…they only come once a year :)

  14. ShannonK April 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    My friend made this cake for her nieces’ 4th birthday. She flipped out she was so excited! It was hysterical!

  15. Lydia April 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Don’t worry about the cake, super easy. It will be a hit!

  16. Kayleigh April 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Stop on over to Bower Power ( — Katie just threw Will a rainbow themed first birthday party and has some adorable inspirations for you :)

  17. Erika April 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    LOVE those invitations! I don’t think the cake is hard to make, just a little more time consuming.

    Here’s a nice tutorial from Tasty Kitchen.

  18. Ash April 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I LOVE your invites. I did a similar theme for my little ones first bday and used these tablecloths from Crate & Barrel×108%22-tablecloth/s569448- Jonathon Adler had the EXACT same hanging paper lanterns at the time but I couldn’t find them for you online – they may no longer have them. The rainbow cake looks amazing – looking forward to seeing the photos!

  19. Ash April 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    I LOVE your invites. I did a similar theme for my little ones first bday and used these Marimekko Kimara tablecloths from Crate & Barrel×108%22-tablecloth/s569448- Jonathon Adler had the EXACT same hanging paper lanterns at the time but I couldn’t find them for you online – they may no longer have them. The rainbow cake looks amazing – looking forward to seeing the photos!

  20. Paige April 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    I agree that the rainbow cake looks more daunting than it really is. Once you have made your batter, split it into 6 bowls and colour in the bowls (not in the actual pans as I’ve seen some friends do). This will give you consistent colouring throughout. I’d also use a meringue in between layers to keep it from being too thick. That’s how I do it!

  21. Erin April 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Cute invites! My daughter Elise was born just a few days before your Eleanor. And her 2nd birthday party is scheduled for the exact same date and time!

  22. Brianne April 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    LOVE IT!! How fun!

  23. Jill Browning April 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Cute idea! I think this would be a great idea for decorations:

    They look easy to make and very inexpensive!

  24. Wyndi April 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I wish you all the luck with that cake and hope it turns out better than mine. I wanted to make it for my niece’s upcoming baby shower. I usually just wing everything last minute but decided to do a trial run using that same recipe. I am a good cook but the cake and icing were epic fails! So now I am going to make my own cheater version with mixes.

  25. Wendy April 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    The cake is so easy!! I actually just did a rainbow party for my daughters 2nd birthday last month. You can view it here if you’d like to check it out:

    If you don’t mind cake mix – that’s how I make mine. Two white cake mixes (Duncan Hines). I add one extra egg & 1 tsp vanilla to mine. And I use milk instead of water. Then it’s about 1 1/4 cups of batter for 6 colors. 1 tsp of gel food color.

  26. casey April 18, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    a rainbow cake is a must for the next party i plan. good luck! i am sure it will turn out great!

  27. Emily April 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    I made a rainbow cake for my daughter’s first birthday. It was a huge hit. I added fruit to each layer. It tasted fanstastic and got rave reviews from our family and friends. Here is the recipe that I used:

  28. Alison April 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    So pretty — Eleanor is going to have the best 2nd birthday party ever!

    My first reaction was “I want that cake for my birthday!” — I’m glad to see in the comments that it isn’t just for kids.

    Really, I cannot get enough rainbow-colored or rainbow sprinkle-covered food. It just tastes BETTER!

  29. Nicole April 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    I made this cake for my parent’s anniversary. I used two white cake mixes (each split into three colors). The baking took the longest because I only had 1 pan I liked. Be sure to put the cake in the fridge after a crumb coat so the final icing layer stays white. Then everyone is amazed when the cake it cut open. It is so fun!

    For my daughter’s birthday I did this again with one mix and just 3 layers (pink, orange and red).

    Good luck!

  30. Julie April 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I’ve made the rainbow cake 10-15 times (even last Wednesday for my seven year olds birthday, per her request)… It’s always a hit. I’ve found the cake is much more stable when baked in square pans. Calphalon makes ones with sharp corners, so the finished product looks gorgeous. Good luck! I’m allllll for the homemade birthday cake.

  31. Mariesa April 18, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    That cake is awesome! I’m thinking it would take some time to make each layer, but it looks like it’s worth it.

  32. tammy April 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    I made a rainbow cake just like that last month for my daughter’s birthday! I am not at ALL a baker but it turned out great!

  33. coucoumadame April 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    my mother-in-law and I made one for my daughter’s 2nd birthday this past weekend. it was a hit. it was a lot of work, but worth it, as it looked beautiful in the end and tasted very yummy. we used natural food coloring (vegetable-based) and it was good but does come out more pastel (unless you really use A LOT of food coloring). i still would prefer pastel though over non-natural food coloring, just personally. we also used maple syrup as a substitute for sugar in the recipe for both the cake and the frosting (cream cheese frosting) and it tasted delicious. oh, one tip…i would definitely bake the cake the day before and frost the day of. it’s very time-consuming. good luck and happy 2nd birthday to your daughter!!

  34. Giulia April 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Love the rainbow theme! Can’t wait to see the details.
    I’m doing rainbow coloured decorations for my hubby’s birthday next week – maybe I should make the cake for him as well?

  35. Jana April 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    I have made this cake before…its a process, but the end result is SO worth it!

    I agree with the others that said bake and frost on separate days. One time when we made it all in one shot but we were so tired that when it came to stacking the cake we got two of the colors in the wrong order…it was all downhill from there. Also note I said “we” it helps to have a partner in crime on this one.

  36. valerie April 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about making that cake for my son’s 2nd birthday in June. I’ve seen one that they make out of pancakes… we are thinking of having a pancake pajama party so that would be ideal! love the invitation! :)

  37. Beth April 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I did this cake last year for my daughter’s birthday. Not hard at all. I would recommend freezing the layers before layering/frosting. It helps to keep the whole thing level and makes it much easier to stack. Good luck – she will love it!

  38. Becka @ life as an artistpreneur April 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    I’m dying to make a rainbow cake. Since I don’t really have a party on the horizon, I’m going to make one for my business’ 3rd birthday. ;)

  39. Erica April 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    For really detailed step-by-step instructions for a rainbow cake, check out this blog:

    She even went on Martha Stewart!!!

  40. soisses April 18, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    wow – i love that card :) when the party will be beautiful like the card- everything is fine – no better than fine… perfect ;)

    have a nice day, dani

  41. Loren April 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    I made a similar cake for my boyfriend’s birthday a couple years ago. It was really simple but really messy. Instead of 7 layers one color each, I did two layers that were each rainbow. I had some leftover batter and did the cup cakes too, those were ADORABLE. If I did it again I would only make the cupcakes. Good luck.

  42. Katrina April 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    I adore the rainbow cake!! The invitations look pretty :)

  43. Emily April 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    I made this cake after seeing it on Martha Stewart and I did something (maybe a lot of things wrong) it was not pretty and I had to keep making more and more and more frosting. I think if I ever make it again I would use square pans, but honestly the thought of it exhausts me. It seems simple but true to anything Martha does there were a crazy amount of steps. I saw several links in the comments maybe they have easier way to do it.

  44. Appletree April 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    I just made this cake a few weeks ago and had a rainbow themed party.

    For favors I used sets of water colors tied to a balloon each in a color of the rainbow.

    I blogged about it here:

    Make twice as much frosting as you think you need. trust.

  45. JC April 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Made this birthday cake last year for my 6 year old’s birthday! My advice: If you have a food scale, USE IT to ensure that bowl of UN colored cake batter weighs the same amount. Then color the bowls with GEL food coloring. You’ll have even layers. If you don’t have a food scale, GET ONE. I baked 3 layers at a time and had a six layer cake. It was beautiful!

    Also, tamp down each cake pan before putting them in the oven, and then use a serrated knife to even out the ones that dome.

  46. Cara April 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    OK, now I want to make a rainbow cake! I made my own wedding cake (actually 2 because my husband also made one) and everyone kept telling us what a bad idea it was and how awful and stressful it was going to be. But it was totally manageable, and people loved that the cakes actually tasted good. So go for it!

  47. Mandy of Kini Style April 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    How fun! I’ve been wanting to attempt a rainbow cake for some time. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

  48. Alicia April 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    I made a rainbow cake for my son’s first birthday! It was sooo much fun and everyone loved it!
    Check it out here:

  49. Renee April 18, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    I made that cake last year for my daughter’s 6th birthday and it was super easy and a BIG hit! One little girl even told her mom the cake I made was better than the princess one she got for her own birthday!! lol
    Happy birthday to your special girl.

  50. lindel April 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I made that cake for my son’s 1st birthday last year. To make it less ambitious, use a box cake mix (or 2) and make ahead and freeze the layers. Much easier to do it in parts like that than all at once with small children around.

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