Introduction: How to Make a Rainbow Bombe Cake

Clearly, this thing is amazing, but if you're uncertain about what this majestic feat of rainbow actually is, let me enlighten you. It's a bombe, which is a kind of molded frozen dessert which gets its name from its resemblance to, well, a bomb. Since the French coined the term, it's bombe with an E, in your best French accent, please.

So, this particular bombe is composed of an ice cream and rainbow buttercream-swirled interior, which is then covered all over with mini cake roll slices. Assembled jelly-roll style, these little spiral cake slices are filled with rainbow buttercream instead of stupid health-food jelly, which not only makes them superior in deliciousness, but also far prettier.

The recipe might seem kind of complicated, but really, this wasn't hard to make. It is somewhat involved, but when you follow along with the pictures, it's really not all that intimidating.

Recipe originally seen on

Step 1: Assemble Your Supplies and Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Jelly roll pan

parchment paper

For the buttercream

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 6-8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • cream or milk, to thin, if needed

Food coloring in the colors of the rainbow

6 separate bowls or ramekins

Other things you'll need:

  • 1 half gallon ice cream, your favorite flavor
  • A freezer-proof bowl (I used a 6-cup capacity pyrex bowl)
  • plastic wrap

Step 2: Make the Buttercream.

First, go ahead and make the buttercream (it's easiest this way). In a stand mixer, cream the butter for 2 minutes on high. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, until you've reached your desired spreading consistency. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Add a little more sugar if it's too thin, a little milk or cream if it's too thick. Divide the buttercream into 6 equal amounts in separate dishes. Tint each one the different colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. Cover with plastic and set to the side.

Step 3: Make the Roll Cake.

Make the cake.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper.In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set to the side.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until light. Add in the vanilla and milk, and stir to combine.

Stir the dry ingredients in, incrementally, mixing on low speed and scraping with a spatula after each addition.

Spread the batter on the prepared baking sheet--it will barely make it to the edges, but make sure that it is a solid layer with no translucent portions (you might not spread all the way to the edges), and bake for 5 to 10 minutes--you're not looking for golden here, but just for the cake to spring back slightly when you touch it. Too browned and it will crack when you try to roll it.

Generously (very generously) dust a clean towel with confectioners' sugar. Turn the cake on to the towel and roll it up. The recipe I used asked that I remove the parchment, but I kept it on because I forgot and it was fine. Choose your adventure. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Make Little Rainbow-rritos From Cake Strips.

Unroll the cake. If it gives you any resistance put it in the fridge for a few minutes and try again--that should help. Cut the cake into six strips: first into long thirds (going with the "grain" of the rolling) and then cut in half horizontally.

Spread buttercream, one color each, on each one of the strips. You will have a little extra buttercream, and this is a good thing. Set it to the side.

Roll each portion, jelly roll style. I lovingly thought of these as my little "rainbow-rritos". A few small cracks, no problem (perhaps this attitude is why I am not a professional pastry chef?)

Let the little rolled portions cool in the freezer for 30 minutes so that they can firm up.

Step 5: Slice the Rainbow-rritos

Slice the rolls thinly--I sliced mine about 1/4 inch thick.

Step 6: Assemble the Spiral Cakes in the Bowl.

Line a bowl with plastic wrap (I used a 6-cup capacity pyrex bowl). Press it deeply into the bowl to mold to its shape.

Place the little spirals at irregular color points all over the surface. I kind of mashed some into place, trying to fill every space on the surface. If you have pieces that look "ugly" on one side, like the slices from the end, face the pretty side down, as it is the one that will show.

Place the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes or so, so that they can firm up again.

Step 7: Fill the Mold With Ice Cream and Buttercream.

Scoop ice cream into the bowl, filling it nearly to the top. Add the leftover buttercream between scoops so that it will be swirled throughout.

Use the leftover cake swirls to press into the bottom of the bowl. Wrap the plastic around it, and freeze for several hours.

Step 8: Unmold!

When ready to serve, remove from the freezer, turn out from the bowl, and pull of the plastic wrap for a fantastic reveal.

Step 9: Slice and Serve.

To cut, run a knife under hot water then dry it off before cutting to make clean cuts. Serve immediately after cutting, and keep any un-served portions in the freezer.