How To Make A Tie-Dye Cake

DIY Peace Cake

What’s bet­ter than a slice of cake? A slice of cake with a sur­prise baked inside! This tie-dye cake 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

For a 6-inch by 8-inch cake, I used:

  • 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)
DIY Peace Cake

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 Peace Cake

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 Peace Cake

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 Peace Cake

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 Peace Cake

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

DIY Peace Cake
  • 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.… ;)