Tie-dye Cake

I promised my 8-year-old I’d make her a gummy bear layer cake for her birthday, but she happens to be a tie-dye fiend as well, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a tie-dye pattern in the layers. And here goes…

This recipe allows for two layers at a time. Any white cake mix will do.



1. Separate the cake mix into six small bowls and use food dye to make different colors.



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2. Pour half of the batter from each bowl, one by one, in the center of the first cake pan. Each color should expand inside the previous color, naturally pushing the previous color outward to make a “Dr. Suess” look.

Pour the remaining batter into the second pan with colors in reverse order.

  • Note, this is where the “tie-dye” effect comes into play. For a “rainbow” effect, you would simply pour the colors in the same order for each layer of cake. My sister-in-law did this for her daughter’s cake recently, and it was adorbs. I will be doing that for my other daughter come Summer. But we’re not going for adorbs here, we’re going for groovy. So pay attention.


Bake the cakes according to package instructions. After they cool you can ice and decorate. Or you can go bananas and make two more layers. Then decorate.

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If you want a cleaner look, I recommend doing a “crumb” coat and chilling in the fridge for an hour or two before starting in on the final layer of icing and decorating. But it’s up to you.

To put the gummy bears on, the more random, the better. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. As a matter of fact, the harder you try for random, the worse it will look. Just put them on there all over the top, don’t think too much, and then fill in the spaces where you see too much frosting. Same with the sides.

Take a step back to examine the cake every few minutes to make sure you are not overdoing one color anywhere.





Tie-dye Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
  • 1 package of white cake mix
  • Food dye
  • 1 large package of gummy bears
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease two round cake pans.
  2. Make batter according to package instructions and separate the batter evenly into six small dishes (about ¾ cup each).
  3. Color each bowl a separate color.
  4. Pour half of your first color into the center of a cake pan (a little over ¼ cup) and let it spread out a little. Pour the next color into the center of the first color and let it spread out. Continue until all of your colors have been added sequentially. Do not touch the batter once it has been poured. If you need it spread more evenly, gently jiggle the pan to help it.
  5. Repeat this technique, reversing the colors for the second pan.
  6. Bake both cakes according to package instructions.
  7. Once the cakes have baked and cooled, gently slice the tops off of them to make a flatter, more stackable surface (this is especially important when making a taller layer cake)
  8. Ice each layer and decorate.
For this project, I recommend food dye gel over liquid food coloring drops. It tends to yield a more vibrant color.


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