Rainbow Citrus Cake

"When I was a teenager, my mother found this in either Woman's Day or Family Circle. It's been a beloved recipe in our family ever since. I have used a store-bought lemon curd in place of the lemon filling when I'm pressed for time. This is a wonderful cake for birthdays or dinner with friends."
photo by a food.com user photo by a food.com user
Ready In:




  • Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) cake pans. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add shortening, milk, eggs and vanilla. Beat at low speed 1 minute. Beat 3 minutes more on high speed (scrape side of bowl several times). Divide batter into 3 bowls; add lemon rind and yellow food color to 1 bowl; add orange rind and yellow and red food color to 1 bowl; and add lime rind and green food color to the last bowl. Stir each just to blend. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Put layers together with lemon filling; frost top and sides with orange cream frosting. Garnish by placing the walnut halves evenly around the edge of the cake.

  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in large saucepan. Beat 2 egg yolks and 3/4 cup water with a wire whip until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until mix thickens and bubbles 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in 1/3 cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons butter. Pour into glass bowl; cover with plastic wrap; cool completely. Spread between layers. If there's a store-bought lemon curd that you like, skip this step, and spread the lemon curd between the layers.

  • Beat 1/2 cup butter until soft. Beat in 1 package 10x sugar (sifted) and a dash of salt until all sugar is added. Beat in 2 tablespoon orange juice, 2 tablespoon corn syrup and 2 tablespoon vanilla until spreadable. Tint orange with red and yellow food color. Frost top and sides of cake.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
Got a question? Share it with the community!


  1. Betsy J.
    I have been making this cake for Mother's Day and my Mom's birthday every year for at least 10 years now! I make it all from scratch - cake, filling, and frosting. It's an excellent recipe that - while time consuming - is always enjoyed.
  2. Ahorsesoul
    This recipe was on the front cover of Famiy Circle Feb 1977. I still have the clipping for the magazine. This is a great recipe. I no longer make it from scratch but use cake mixes just adding the rind and coloring. I also have used canned frosting. I sometimes decorate it with Easter candy.


I've been cooking since I was 11 years old, which means I've been doing it ... awhile ;-). My biggest culinary influences? My folks, the astounding and unsung Jacquline Higuera McMahan, Rachael Ray, and Dr. Peter D'Adamo, originator of the Blood Type Diet. Besides cooking, my favorite pastimes are music, reading, movies, gardening, interior decorating, and pets.
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes