Skip to Content

How to Make a Rainbow Trifle Dessert for a Magical Party

Today, we are going to be sharing a delicious and colorful rainbow trifle dessert recipe that is sure to impress your guests! This dessert is made up of layers of cake, pudding, whipped cream, and cookies, and it is perfect for any special occasion.

A rainbow trifle is ideal for St. Patrick’s Day, unicorn parties, baby showers, or any celebration with a rainbow theme or lots of color.

Rainbow trifle in a bowl on a board.

Rainbow Cake Trifle Layered Dessert

This festive rainbow trifle dessert is the perfect way to add some color to your special occasion. This delicious layered dessert contains a combination of cake, pudding, whipped cream, and cookies.

With its bright colors and irresistible flavors, it is sure to impress your guests with its unique presentation. Not only is this recipe easy to make, but it also requires pretty simple ingredients.

Whether you’re serving up a special treat for a birthday party or adding to a large dessert table, this rainbow trifle dessert is sure to be a hit. Make sure to check out our funfetti birthday trifle, too.

Vanilla wafers, food coloring, jello, candy melts, and cake mix.

Rainbow Trifle Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this happy recipe. The measurements are in the recipe card below.

  • Box of white cake mix and the ingredients to make it. Make sure you have everything you need to make the box of cake mix of your choice.
  • Instant vanilla pudding. Get a box of vanilla, French vanilla, or white chocolate pudding. Keep in mind that this will change the color of the trifle a bit.
  • Milk. I use 2%. Use your milk of choice to make pudding.
  • Whipped topping. Thawed Cool Whip or your choice of whipped topping.
  • Nilla wafers. You can also use your choice of rainbow cookie. It’s best to use a crunchy cookie.
  • White candy melts.
  • Sanding sugar in pink, yellow, green, blue, and violet
  • Wilton color gels in pink, lemon yellow, kelly green, sky blue, and velvet.

Layered Rainbow Dessert Directions

Step One: Prepare

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Set aside five wafer cookies for the topping and crush the rest for the layers.

Eggs and cake mix in a mixing bowl.

Step Two: Make the Cake

Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the package.

Cake batter in five bowls.

Divide the cake batter evenly into five small bowls.

Pink, yellow, green, blue, and purple colored cake batter in bowls.

Color each bowl using the color gels. Make each bowl a different color of the rainbow.

Pink and yellow cake batter in a baking pan.

Pour the pink and yellow cake batter into one of the prepared pans. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Do the toothpick test to make sure they are done. The cake will be very thin. Let them cool completely.

My pans are 12.5″ x 17″, which might be bigger than standard pans. If you use smaller pans, you will need to bake them longer.

Green, blue, and purple cake batter in a baking pan.

Pour the green, blue, and purple cake batter into the second prepared baking pan and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges start to brown like above. Let them cool completely.

Vanilla pudding in a mixing bowl.

Step Three: Make the Pudding

Mix together the pudding and milk and whisk well. Refrigerate for 5 minutes or until set.

Step Four: Color the Cookies

Melt the candy melts according to the directions on the package.

Dipping a nilla wafer into white candy melts.

Dip the wafer cookies halfway into the melted candy and sprinkle them with one of the colors of sanding sugar.

Nilla wafers with sanding sugar on them.

Repeat until you have one cookie of each color.

Place the cookies onto wax paper and let them set and harden.

Place two scoops of whipped topping into a 12″ pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and set aside.

Step Five: Assemble the Trifle

Use a fork to scrape the cake into crumbs, keeping each color separate.

Using a fork to break up purple cake.

Start with the purple cake and sprinkle into the bottom of the trifle bowl.

Purple cake and vanilla pudding in a trifle bowl.

Next add half of the vanilla pudding and spread it evenly on top of the purple cake.

Sprinkle on a layer of crushed vanilla wafer cookies.

Crushed nilla wafers in a trifle bowl.

Add the blue cake and follow with half of the whipped topping.

Blue cake topped with whipped cream in a bowl.

Continue with the green cake and the rest of the pudding.

Add the rest of the crushed cookies.

Add the yellow cake and the rest of the whipped topping.

Sprinkle on the pink cake.

Use the reserved whipped topping in the pastry bag to pipe five round dollops on top of the trifle.

The top of a rainbow trifle.

Gently press one cookie into each of the dollops.

Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Layers of rainbow cake in a rainbow trifle dessert.

This recipe serves 12-16 people.  

You can also layer this trifle into individual cups like these banana split parfait cups.

Crumbs Bakeshop

Skip the mess and order colorful treats online! If you're too busy or don't feel like making your own desserts, Crumbs Bakeshop is loaded with rainbow, sprinkly, and delicious cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and more. Get ready to drool when you browse their site!

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Rainbow Trifle Recipe Notes and FAQ

Colored cookie alternative.

If you want to skip coloring the wafer cookies, you can use any kind of crunchy cookie. Choose a rainbow cookie if you want the added color, or any kind of crunchy vanilla cookie will be good. It’s good to have the crunch, so choose a harder cookie if you can.

Rainbow cake trifle in a bowl.

The order of the layers.

Here’s the order of the layers once again to be clear: Purple cake, pudding, cookies, blue cake, whipped cream, green cake, pudding, cookies, yellow cake, whipped cream, pink cake, topping.

Rainbow trifle topped with colored cookies.

Do I have to use a trifle bowl?

No, using a trifle bowl for this recipe is optional, but great for appearance. You can also make mini trifles by layering the ingredients into individual glasses. If you don’t care how it looks, layer the ingredients into any kind of bowl you want!

Trifle Bowl
$34.94

Make those trifles look fancy even though they are impossibly easy to make! Display all the layers in this gorgeous trifle bowl.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/14/2023 02:15 am GMT
Yield: 16

Rainbow Trifle Recipe

Rainbow trifle topped with colored cookies.

Layers of rainbow cake, pudding, whipped cream, and cookies for a magical and tasty dessert.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box, white cake mix and ingredients to make cake
  • 1 box, 3 oz, instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 small tub, 8 oz, whipped topping, thawed
  • 10 nilla wafers
  • 1/2 cup white candy melts
  • sanding sugar in pink, yellow, green, blue, and violet
  • wilton color gels in pink, lemon yellow, kelly green, sky blue, and velvet

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. 
  2. Set aside 5 nilla wafers for topping. Crush the rest.
  3. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Divide batter evenly into 5 small bowls. Using the color gels, color each bowl a different color. 
  4. Pour pink and yellow cake batter into one of the prepared pans. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until edges just begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake is very thin, but should bake just fine. Cool completely. 
  5. Pour the green, blue, and violet cake batter into the second prepared pan and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely. 
  6. Mix together pudding and milk and whisk well. Refrigerate for 5 minutes until set. 
  7. Melt candy melts according to package directions. Dip wafer cookies halfway into the melted candy and sprinkle with one color sanding sugar. Repeat until you have 1 cookie of each color. Place on wax paper and set aside to harden. 
  8. Place 2 scoops of whipped topping into a 12" pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Set aside. 
  9. To assemble trifle, use a fork to scrape the cake into crumbs keeping each color separate. Beginning with the violet cake, sprinkle it onto the bottom of the trifle bowl. Follow with half of the pudding and spread evenly on top. Sprinkle crushed wafer cookies on top. Add the blue cake and follow with half of the whipped topping. Continue with green cake and the remaining pudding. Add the rest of the crushed cookies. Spread yellow cake on top and place the remaining half of the whipped topping on top of the cake. Sprinkle with pink cake. 
  10. Use the reserved whipped topping to pipe five round dollops on top of the trifle. Press one cookie into each of the dollops. 
  11. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Notes

My baking pans might be bigger than the standard pans. My pans are about 12.5" x 17". If you use a smaller pan, you'll need to bake the cake longer. 

You can use crunchy rainbow cookies if you want to skip coloring the wafer cookies.

The layers are cake, pudding, cookies, cake, whipped cream, cake, pudding, cookies, cake, whipped cream, cake, topping.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 64mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g

Nutrition facts are an estimate only.

Did you pin this recipe?

Please save a photo to your Pinterest boards!

Rainbow Desserts

Want desserts delivered instead? Read my review of Crumbs Bakeshop cupcakes and cookies!

Pin this image to your dessert board to save and share!

Layers of rainbow cake in a trifle.

Subscribe to the blog if you like recipes like this one. You will also receive free printable unicorn coloring sheets to use right away.

Let me know if you make this rainbow trifle. I’d love to hear how it turned out!

Skip to Recipe