Over-the-Rainbow Orange Spice Cake {Gold Leaf Tutorial}

Over the Rainbow Orange Spice CakeI don’t know what it is about St. Patrick’s Day that makes me want to drink a tall Guinness and blast a little Flogging Molly, but every time March comes around, I can’t help but get a little giddy. I buy corn beef, slow cook it in Bass Ale and spices, and create a spicy, Guinness sauce to drizzle on top. Then I slap it between two pieces of fresh sourdough and add a little provolone. It is beyoooond amazing. I can’t take credit though. It is totally a Paula Deen recipe I found years ago in a magazine and the Hubster asks for it each and every St. Patty’s Day. And I just can”t help but oblige…wink wink nudge nudge…

But this year, there is a new dessert in town to compliment my oh-so-delicious black and tan sandwich tradition.

Over the Rainbow Orange Spice Cake

The recipe I used to create this 6-layer rainbow cake is actually pretty versatile. You can use it for a traditional vanilla cake, or you can make it more exciting by adding different extracts, spices, and other add-ins. For this cake, I added in a few spoonfuls of orange extract and baking spice to give it a more spice cake flavour. Another option would be to add in orange peel if you happen to have oranges on hand. The icing is a whipped buttercream, again flavoured with orange and vanilla extracts. It is light and fluffy and compliments the cake nicely.

Over the Rainbow Orange Spice Cake

What really makes this cake though is the green fondant clovers and gold leaf coins that decorate the bottom. I kinda see it as the gold at the end of the rainbow, ya know?

Earlier this month, I had ordered a chocolate coin mold on Amazon. I had been wanting to work with edible gold leaf for some time now and these chocolate coins seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I ordered edible gold-leaf too.

If you have never worked with edible gold leaf before, there are a few things you oughta know:

According to About.com Candy:

Definition: Edible gold leaf is a gold product that can be used to decorate food. In candy-making it can be used to cover whole candies like chocolates or truffles, or applied sparingly as a small decorative touch.

Is Gold Leaf Really Edible?

In most cases, yes. Gold is considered “biologically inert,” meaning it passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed. When selecting gold leaf, make sure to get gold that is as pure as possible–this means 22-24 carats. Gold leaf with a smaller carat value has more impurities and is less safe to eat. If you are careful and buy gold leaf that is clearly labeled as “edible” and has 22-24 carats, eating gold leaf is harmless.”

What’s important to remember is that if you plan to use gold-leaf on your cakes or other edible decorations, you need to make sure that your gold-leaf product is at least 22-24 gold carats. The product is usually labelled; you just need to check before ordering.

Edible gold-leaf tutorial

 How to apply gold leaf:

Gold Leaf Tutorial

Before I begin, let me tell you that this was the first time I had ever used gold leaf before and it is just my experience using it. If you have any tips or helpful hints, I am happy to listen!

What you will need:

  • Paper towels
  • 2 dry, small paintbrushes
  • edible gold leaf
  • chocolate coins
  • tweezers{optional}
  • latex gloves{Wearing latex gloves helps to prevent it from sticking to your fingers.}

What to do:

  • Lay down a few sheets of paper towels so that you have a clean workspace for your gold leaf coins.
  • Use tweezers to carefully lift up a small corner of the gold leaf sheet. Once you’ve caught it, use your small paintbrush to pick up the second corner and slide a small piece of the gold leaf onto your chocolate coin or edible decoration.
  • Use the other paintbrush to gently pat and smooth the gold leaf onto the decoration.
  • Continue to smooth out the remaining gaps or bubbles with your paintbrush.
  • Carefully pat down the edges with your paintbrush and remove the excess gold leaf.
  • Carefully place on cake.

Over the Rainbow Orange Spice Cake

Over-the-Rainbow Orange Spice Cake

Yield: 2 8-inch rounds

Recipe by Carrie


  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ounces{1 stick} unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup{4 ounces} milk
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking spice or cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 8-inch round pans with parchment paper; spray with flour spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking spice.
  3. In your stand mixer bowl, beat butter until creamy and fluffy; about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add your sugar to your butter and beat until combined.
  5. Add your eggs and egg yolks; one at a time.
  6. Pour in your extracts; one at a time and mix well.
  7. Alternating, starting and ending with your dry ingredients, add your dry ingredients and milk.
  8. Mix for about 30 seconds and evenly pour into your prepared pans.
  9. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Note In order to make the 6-layer rainbow cake, you will need to triple the recipe and use gel food coloring to color the cakes.
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