Rainbow Sherbet Cake

Apr 07

Tender yellow cake layers with raspberry lime curd filling and orange buttercream.


I had a cake class a couple weeks ago, where we made my Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting. It’s such a basic cake, but man oh man, is it good! I worked on my yellow cake recipe last year when I did a collaboration with Brooke Eliason from Female Foodie. It’s her favorite cake and I did my best to come up with a recipe that would meet her expectations… and I think I did. This yellow cake is tender, sweet and flavorful thanks to a good amount of egg yolks, sour cream, cake flour, and both clear vanilla extract and butter extract.
After each cake class, I bring home layers of the cake we made that night. I never let them go to waste and usually try to use them for a new cake. In this case, after doing a lot of chocolate cakes recently and still obsessing over the lemon curd from my last cake, I wanted to go with something fruity again. I then asked Westin if he wanted to help me come up with a new flavor. He jumped right in and quickly helped me decide on a raspberry lime curd for the filling. We also talked about a lime buttercream, but when we got started on the frosting, I realized I didn’t have any lime flavoring. Westin and I went through what I did have and chose orange emulsion to go in my basic vanilla buttercream.
You guys! Oh. My. Gosh. The combination is out of this world good. With one bite, I immediately thought of the rainbow sherbet I used to get as a kid at Baskin Robbins and it made me smile ear to ear. I’m beyond thrilled with how this cake turned out.
As for decorating this cake, I definitely had some fun with this one. After grabbing these cute cactus napkins at Orson Gygi, I also saw a Katherine Sabbath cake with buttercream cactuses on it and couldn’t resist creating my own version, inspired by the two. I have a video of this cake on Instagram and my last post about applying sprinkles to the side of your cake.
Hoping you love this cake as much as I do!


Rainbow Sherbet Cake

Yield 1 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Tender yellow cake layers with raspberry lime curd filling and orange buttercream.


For the Yellow Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola oil 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract  

For the Raspberry Lime Curd (recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine)

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (about three large limes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons corn starch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes 

For the Orange Buttercream

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 teaspoons orange emulsion
  • Orange food gel (optional)


For the Yellow Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl, sift the cake flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, canola oil, salt and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time to the bowl and beat on medium until well incorporated.
  5. Turn the mixer on low and add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture until fully incorporated. Then the sour cream and blend well. Finish by adding the remaining flour mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Add the clear vanilla extract and butter extract and beat on low until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on low for another 30 seconds.
  7. Evenly distribute the cake batter among the three pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
  8. Remove cakes from the oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely.

For the Raspberry Lime Curd

  1. Puree the raspberries and lime juice in a blender. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium saucepan, pushing it through with a rubber spatula. Rinse the sieve - you'll be using it again.
  2. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, lime zest, and salt into the raspberry puree. Whisk in the egg yolk. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it's thick like pudding, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time until incorporated.
  3. Strain the mixture through the sieve into a small bowl, pushing it through with rubber spatula. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely set, at least 4 hours and up to 5 days. 

For the Orange Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the cream, salt and orange emulsion. Mix until combined. Add food gel, if using. Mix until incorporated completely.
  3. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat the frosting for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove bowl from the mixer stand and use a wooden spoon to beat the frosting by hand for about 2 minutes to push out any air pockets. 


  1. Spread a small dollop of frosting onto a cake board. Place the first layer of cake, top side up, on the board.
  2. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake layer and pipe a rim of frosting around the edge of the cake to create a barrier to the filling. Spread half of the curd in the center of the cake, carefully spreading it to the edge of the piping.
  3. Place a second cake layer on top of the piped frosting and filling and repeat step 2. Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of filling.
  4. Lightly coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the cake for about 10 to 15 minutes to set the frosting.
  5. Finish frosting and decorating the cake with the remaining frosting.
  6. The cake can be stored in the freezer for about a week, in an airtight container. Give the cake about 8 hours to return to room temperature before serving.

4 thoughts on “Rainbow Sherbet Cake

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  1. Hi Courtney! I love your cakes & look at your perfection of an Instragram daily. I am currently looking for the perfect recipes to make a vanilla cake with lemon curd and vanilla buttercream layers this week. Would this yellow cake recipe work for that? Want to make sure I pick something nice and light/fluffy so it’s not too dense with the lemon. Thanks so much!!

  2. This cake looks delicious. I’m wanting to try the raspberry lemon curd. Can I use frozen raspberries instead of fresh? Thanks!