Tie Dye Cake Recipe

DIY Tie-Dye Cake Recipe

What’s better than a slice of cake? A slice of cake with a surprise baked inside! This tie dye cake dessert recipe is a cinch to make and can be customized with any shape.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been experimenting with desserts that have hidden surprises. I’ve tried a number of different ways to bake shapes inside of cakes, and this one has delivered the best results by far. (Fortunately, my family enjoys eating all of my failed attempts.)

At first glance, this Peace Cake might not seem like a “piece of cake” to create. But I’ve simplified the process so that you can achieve sweet success in your own kitchen. By the way, I used a peace sign in this tutorial, but you can do this with any shape. It’s really fun with alphabet letters, numbers, holiday shapes, etc. You’ll just want to make sure you have the right-sized pans to fit the sizes and shapes of your cookie cutters.

What You Need

Makes a 6-inch by 8-inch cake
  • 4 boxes Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix (has fewer air bubbles than regular cake)
  • 2 2/3 cups milk (use 2/3 cup per box)
  • 1 cup softened butter (use 1/4 cup per box)
  • 8 eggs (use 2 eggs per box)
  • Food coloring: blue, purple, pink, green, and yellow
  • Disposable pastry bags or Ziploc bags
  • Frosting
  • Peace sign cookie cutter (I found mine at cheapcookiecutters.com)
  • Two 6-inch x 6-inch x 2-inch baking pans
  • Non-stick cooking spray and flour (for dusting the pans)

How-To

DIY Tie-Dye Cake Recipe

Step 1
Spray pans with nonstick baking spray and dust with flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2
Mix one box of pound cake mix with 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup butter, and 2 eggs. Split into 5 equal portions and add food coloring to each, making blue, purple, pink, green, and yellow. Pour colored batter into separate, sealed disposable pastry bags or Ziploc bags.

Step 3
Cut off the bottom tips and begin swirling the batter into the pans, alternating colors often. Tap and lightly drop the pans on the counter to help eliminate air bubbles.

Step 4
Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Slightly under baking them is OK since you’ll bake them again later. Allow the cakes to cool, then remove them from the pans and set aside. Repeat previous steps to make two more swirl-colored cakes. When all four cakes are baked and cool, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. (Freezing the cakes makes them easier to slice and cut. It also helps prevent them from overcooking the second time they are baked.)

DIY Tie-Dye Cake Recipe

Step 5
Spray pans with nonstick baking spray and dust with flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 6
Mix one box of pound cake mix with 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup butter, and 2 eggs. Pour batter into a sealed plastic pastry bag. Set aside.

Step 7
Remove two, swirl-colored cakes from the freezer and slice them to the thickness of your cookie cutter. Cut shapes from each slice, and stack them in the center of your baking pans.

(HELPFUL HINT: After you have stacked your cut shapes, insert a few long toothpicks or wooden skewers into the stacks. This will prevent them from moving or shifting when you pour the pound cake batter around them. It will also keep them from bubbling up and shifting out of place while baking. Just remember to take the toothpicks out after they’re done baking.)

Step 8
Cut off the bottom tip of the pastry bag filled with pound cake batter and begin squeezing batter into the inner shapes of the peace sign. Once those are filled, pour batter all around the outside.

Step 9
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

DIY Tie-Dye Cake Recipe

Step 10
Allow the cakes to cool. While still in the pans, cut off the top bubbly portion of the cakes, flush with the pan. Remove the cakes and trim all four sides neatly. Repeat the previous steps to make two more cakes with peace signs inside.

DIY Tie-Dye Cake Recipe

Step 11
After all four cakes are trimmed to the same size, put a thin layer of frosting on the tops of three of them. Stand them upright and stick them together on your cake plate. Frost the entire cake with a thin, crumb coat of frosting. Refrigerate for an hour, then frost the entire cake with a thicker, more decorative layer of frosting. (REMEMBER: mark which side of your cake plate is the front, so that you know where to cut from later.)

DIY Tie-Dye Cake Recipe

That’s it! Slice and surprise your guests with a cake that’s so much more than it appears!

DIY Tie-Dye Cake Recipe

Happy baking ;-)

  • http://www.cococakecupcakes.blogspot.ca/ Coco Cake Land

    awesome tutorial, sandra! seriously fun-looking! ^__^

  • Sandra Denneler

    Thanks! I love sugar that has an element of surprise.

  • Sarah Smith

    this look amazing!

  • Three Girls One Apple

    WOW you’re like a baby genius!!! This is a dope asssss idea =)
    http://www.3girls1apple.com

  • tasch

    what a fun idea. I have a question….will the peace sign part of the cake be dry, since was baked twice?

  • http://www.theskinnyonhealth.com/ The Skinny on Health

    this looks so amazing!!!

  • Guest

    No. My peace sign was just as moist as the rest of the cake. It helps if you slightly underbake it the first time, and freeze the cake before you cut it into shapes. That way, when it bakes the 2nd time, it takes longer to heat up in the oven and prevents it from overbaking.

  • Sandra Denneler

    No. My peace sign was just as moist as the rest of the cake. It helps if you slightly underbake it the first time, and freeze the cake before you cut it into shapes. That way, when it bakes the 2nd time, it takes longer to heat up in the oven and prevents it from overbaking.

  • Sandra Denneler

    You could certainly try. But, I always use pound cake because it’s denser and keeps it’s shape better, making it easier to trim and frost. Regular cake mixes tend to crumble, and bake with more air pockets in them.

  • Liza

    I loved it!! Sandra I’m a huge fan of your work. You’re amazing!! Keep going!!

  • Lois Carol

    I love,love love your cake. where can I buy a peace sign cutter? (in the UK)

  • Sandra Denneler

    Thanks so much! I’m not sure where you can buy a Peace cookie cutter in the UK, but I found mine just by searching online for “peace sign” and “peace symbol” cookie cutter.

  • Amy

    This cake is a beaut! I’ve been looking for a similar peace sign cutter but can’t find one. Where did you get yours from? X

  • Sandra Denneler

    I found mine at online at Cheap Cookie Cutters.

  • Kimberly Ganir

    What icing recipe do you use??

  • Sandra Denneler

    I have a favorite buttercream icing that I like to use:
    1/2 cup butter
    1/2 cup shortening
    1/8 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla
    5 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup and 1 tbsp milk

  • gincan

    This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

  • Sandra Denneler

    Thanks, Dawn!

  • Sandra Denneler

    Awww… thanks!

  • Sonja Wiebe

    thank you great idea ,thank you.

  • Cassandra Eb

    this is awesome!

  • Sandra Denneler

    From a Sandra to a Cassandra – thanks!

  • Sandra Denneler

    So pleased you like my cake, Sonja!

  • Ann

    This is AWESOME! What a special cake! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Sandra Denneler

    That’s fantastic, Dawn. I’m sure your daughter was thrilled. What a sweet & thoughtful mom.

  • Sandra Denneler

    You are right, Lorena. I seem to have all kinds of patience when it comes to making desserts. But dinner is another story. ;-)

  • Sandra Denneler

    A regular cake mix isn’t as dense as pound cake. It will crumble more and have more air holes/pockets. That’s why I recommend using pound cake mixes.

  • Guest

    You are correct. That cookie cutter has a couple of metal brackets that prevent you from being able to slice all the way through. Try to make your tie-die cake slices 1/2-inch thick or less.

  • Angela

    I just wanted to say, “That is sooo cool” (Huge smile on my face) That is really neat!! Good Job!!

  • Sandra Denneler

    Thanks Angela! (Huge smile on my face, too.)

  • Sandra Denneler

    This recipe will make about 20 slices of cake.

  • cindy

    Thank you! I’m so excited to try this.

  • Nicole Anderson

    I am on the final baking step for this in mt oven right now! im nervous i will mess it up. Instead of a peace sign i used a number 20 for my nieces 20th birthday. and im using small round pans i will stand up and line up. (because i couldn’t find the peace sign or small cake pans in any local stores) Wish me luck!

  • Nicole Anderson

    Ive had to cut the tie die cake in in half (like a hamburger) to get the cookie cutter right. She explains this in the directions.

  • Sandra Denneler

    Thanks Tavette. This was my 3rd attempt at baking a shape within a shape, and my best yet. I’m still learning from my mistakes (but hopefully helping others not make them!)

  • Marilyn

    I love this cake. I am wondering if you could use real whipped cream instead of frosting? I want to serve mine with sliced strawberries so real whipped cream seem the best choice. Your thoughts.

  • Sandra Denneler

    Whipped cream and strawberries sounds delicious with pound cake. I’ve never tried this type of cake with angel food cake, but that would be great with whipped cream and strawberries too!

  • hazel

    Id love to try something similar for my sons birthday in august. Could I make it a day in advance? Don’t want to spend half his birthday in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing this recipe it looks amazing!

  • Sandra Denneler

    Absolutely. This cake will keep just fine for a couple of days in advance of a party. If you have room in your refrigerator, it would keep even better. (Not sure where you live, but buttercream icing in the summer can melt pretty quickly. My son’s birthday is in August too, and I always seem to struggle with frosted cakes in the heat of the summer.)

  • Caroline Moassessi

    Brilliant! !!

  • Jelli

    love it! I’ll have to try this for my son’s birthday next month. Doing a number one will be even easier than the peace sign because I won’t have to pipe frosting into any crevices!

  • Sandra Denneler

    Yes, using a simple shape inside will definitely make this easier. Good luck!

  • Kristy

    “For a 6-inch by 8-inch cake, I used:
    4 boxes Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix”

    Shouldn’t it be 8 boxes? 4 tie-dye and 4 regular? I want to try to make it and want to have the right amount when attempting…

  • Sarah

    Instead of tie-dying the shape, could you use just one colour, perhaps?

  • Sandra Denneler

    No, I really did use 4 boxes of pound cake mix. Two of the boxes become tie-dyed and 2 of them are used plain. (Sorry, my directions are a little weird because I only had two of the 6-inch square pans to work with so I could only bake one cake mix at a time.) If you read a little further into Step 4, I say to “repeat previous steps.” Basically, I used 2 tie-dyed pound cake mixes, and two regular to end up with a 6″x6″x8″ cake.

  • Sandra Denneler

    Absolutely! I’ve done that many times with other “surprise inside” cakes. One color is easier for sure. Just make sure that your inside cake shape contrasts enough with your outside cake color. (For this particular cake, I just wanted to make it tie-dyed and colorful to go with the peace symbol.) Good luck!

  • Sarah

    1.So I sort of match the colour of the shape? E.g. If I used a heart for a girl’s birthday, I would maybe use pink? 2.Or if what you mean is if the outside cake icing is white, maybe I should do a peace sign like yours, or any other shape that could relate to white? Please let me know if 1. or 2. is right, or if none is right. I’m looking forward to big success, and the whole of this cake is a paradise for someone who needs a good cake idea!

  • Sarah

    Try this recipe without using the red, because that sort of ruins the yellow and blue. If it still doesn’t work, try using just one colour. Hope this works!

  • Sandra Denneler

    Hey Sadia – not sure what might have happened with your colors. Did you use gel or liquid food coloring? I always use gel. You get darker, richer colors with gel vs. liquid drops.

  • Jess

    My only question is how do you ensure that the “peace sign” portion of the cake is not super dry compared to the rest of the cake?

  • Sandra Denneler

    Yes a pink heart and a white cake would be great. Basically, I just meant that your two cakes should contrast – one dark color, one light color – to make the shape stand out. I made a pink heart inside of an orange cake once and you could barely make out the shape because the colors we too close.

  • Sandra Denneler

    As long as you freeze the shaped portion that gets baked twice, it will not be dry. Basically, the frozen “peace sign” portion of the cake doesn’t bake the 2nd time. The cake batter poured around it bakes, while it just “warms up” inside. I promise, mine were not dry.

  • Guest

    1.So I sort of match the colour of the shape? E.g. If I used a heart for a girl’s birthday, I would maybe use pink? 2.Or if what you mean is if the outside cake icing is white, maybe I should do a peace sign like yours, or any other shape that could relate to white? Please let me know if 1. or 2. is right, or if none is right. I’m looking forward to big success, and the whole of this cake is a paradise for someone who needs a good cake idea!

  • Sarah

    Thanks, big success- I’m really loving this cake idea, so does my lil’ girl! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  • Guest

    Haha, I can’t wait to see all the failed attempts at this…. ;)

  • Deanna

    Instead of just whipped cream which melts or separates in the summers here, I use pudding mix but instead of the milk, I use heavy whipping cream in the same measurements, the pudding helps it to stay together. It makes for a rich fluffy frosting. I use it for a topping to the jello striped cakes.
    I use 2 small boxes for a 9 x 12 pan size cake and a quart of “heavy” whipping cream. If I have extra frosting left, I freeze it for a frozen treat later.

  • Patricia

    Hi, what size cookie cutter did you use?

  • HippieChick

    Man! I love this! Totally awesome! :)

  • Sandra Denneler

    My peace symbol cookie cutter was 3 1/2 inches round.

  • Chelsea

    Where can you find a 6x6x2 cake pan? I cant seem to find one at any local store!

  • Sandra Denneler

    I got mine at a local cake supply store. There are also many for sale on Amazon – just search for “square baking pan.”

  • Calvinsmama

    You are B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T!!!!!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous technique! My little boy will be so surprised for his birthday. Definitely wish there were more people like you.

  • Sandra Denneler

    You can use whatever size of cake pan you’d like. I just happened to have 6-inch square pans. Plus, I wanted my peace sign to be centered in the middle of the cake and have a white border/edge.

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  • http://www.davidmunroeart.com/ David Munroe Art

    Very cool, Almost like artistic food
    http://www.davidmunroeart.com/sahara.html

  • http://my-culinaryart.blogspot.com/ Dagmara Osowska

    Wow, I am impressed :)

  • Caroline Farley

    Wow what a cool idea!!! Can I make this cake with any size molding/ pan?

  • http://www.filmdizin.com Özge başak

    These pics are amazing. i will share them on my blog here:

    https://medium.com/@SimgeKutman

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  • http://foofynotfoofy.blogspot.com/ HeatherAnne Norbury

    That is incredible! I always wondered how those cakes were made. Thanks for the how to!

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  • Lisa Henderson

    I cannot find pound cake mixes here in Canada. Could I make a pound cake from scratch and treat it the same way?

  • Sandra Denneler

    Absolutely, Lisa. Pound cake from scratch would be fantastic. (I just took the easy route with box mixes.) The pound cake is denser and will bake together better than a regular cake mix – less crumbly, more solid.

  • Lisa Henderson

    Thanks for the quick reply. I will definitely be trying this and WOWING everyone!

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  • Madison Beaulieu

    Hi Arianna! Yes! I think you could do it the exact same way using different shaped cookie cutters! Please let us know how it turns out! Your idea sounds awesome!

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  • Sandra Denneler

    I found mine at cheapcookiecutters.com.

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  • Annette G

    This is amazing! I’m picturing a tie dye #10 for my daughter’s 10th birthday party. Only problem is I’m not much of a baker. Hope it turns out well.

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