Over the rainbow

Over the rainbow

Hidden fruit and veg cakes

The Birthday Cake Book
Laura Edwards

I always struggled to get my children to eat fruit and veg when they were small. But these bite-sized cakes are packed full of goodness and iced with a delicious cream cheese frosting in a rainbow of colours. I used natural food colours which are now available in some supermarkets, containing beetroot, paprika, turmeric, tomatoes and grape skins (even algae). One word of caution: don’t make the colours too strong as you may then be able to detect some of those flavours! If you would like more than one flavour of cake, make up one cake mix, divide it into two or three, and add 150 g each of two different fruit or vegetables, or 100 g each of three.

For the cakes


Quantity Ingredient
80-90 mini muffin paper cases
or 36 fairy cake cases
350g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
80ml whole milk
120ml sunflower oil
230g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
300g fruit or vegetables, prepared, (see note)

For the frosting

Quantity Ingredient
240g icing sugar, sifted
500g cream cheese
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
natural liquid food colours, such as blue, green, yellow, pink, red


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 160°C. Line as many small-hole baking trays as you have with paper cases. (Or line three fairy cake trays with fairy cake cases.) Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and ginger. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, oil, sugar and eggs. Prepare your chosen vegetables or fruit. Make sure they are very well dried to avoid soggy cakes!
  2. Beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, taking care not to over-mix, then fold in the vegetables or fruit. Spoon into the cases and bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch. You may need to bake them in batches. Cool on a wire rack. (If you are making fairy cakes, they need to be baked for 15–20 minutes.)
  3. To make the frosting, beat the icing sugar into the cream cheese. Gradually add the lemon juice, to taste, then divide into six little bowls. Colour each bowl a different colour of the rainbow, mixing the food colours to achieve the orange and purple tones.
  4. Divide the little cakes into six equal groups. Spread the frosting on to the cakes with a small blunt knife. You will have at least 12 of each colour. These cakes need to be iced on the day they are to be eaten, though the un-iced cakes freeze well, if you need to get ahead.


  • Use fruit and vegetables such as courgette (roughly grated and excess moisture removed); apple (skinned, cored and grated); parsnip (peeled and grated); carrot (peeled and grated); or banana (roughly chopped).
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