Rainbow Sherbet Cake Recipe

What is angelic and colorful with whipped cream all over? We have the answer: rainbow sherbet cake! You may know part of this fancy, frozen dessert as "sher-bert," but it's actually "sher-but," according to Merriam-Webster. And recipe developer Stephanie Rapone has a fantastic way to layer angel food cake with sherbet. Her inspiration for this confection came from her family's food preferences. She told Mashed, "Three out of the four people in my family are not big frosting fans, but we love anything in the ice cream family, and my youngest son adores rainbows. This was a fun and easy way to hit all those notes with a special dessert for him."

Sherbet is a thick and creamy, low-dairy dessert that's very similar to ice cream, but lighter and fruitier in flavor. Imagine how well a kid's party or summer picnic would go over when serving cake and ice cream in one? 

Gather your ingredients for rainbow sherbet cake

This rainbow sherbet cake can be as simple or as creative as you'd like. We started with 1 whole angel food cake, 1½ quarts (or 3 pints) of sherbet — a larger container of rainbow sherbet would do the trick — and 12 ounces of frozen whipped topping. "I [do not] recommend real whipped cream for this, as it [doesn't] hold up as well in the freezer," Rapone told Mashed. Use your family or guest's favorite flavors of cake and sherbet. We started with a plain cake and used three different flavors of sherbet. Our developer told us, "Oh yes, it's a basic white/vanilla angel food cake, but you could definitely do another flavor."

Prep each ingredient separately

Start by prepping each ingredient. Remove the whipped topping from the freezer and place in the fridge to thaw for at least 4 hours. You can also let it defrost overnight. You'll do something similar with the sherbet — you want to allow it to soften in the fridge for 60 to 90 minutes before using it. When asked if the whipped topping used was "light," Rapone told the Mashed team, "I prefer the regular whipped topping (Cool Whip or [the] generic brand), but any whipped topping would work."

Slice the cake into layers

You'll be creating layers of the angel food cake and sherbet, so you need to cut the cake's layers. Grab your best bread-cutter for this. Rapone told Mashed, "To slice the cake, I used a large serrated knife. This is the best kind of knife to cut fluffy angel food cake. For spreading the sherbet and the whipped topping, I just used a large offset spatula, but you could use a simple rubber spatula, too. It's very forgiving!"

Start by cutting your cake in half horizontally. Then cut each half into halves again. When your layers are ready to go, Rapone recommends building this cake from the bottom up. "I like to build this cake 'upside down' with the widest point at the base," she notes.

Set the base, and 'frost' it with sherbet

Set the bottom layer of cake on your decorative serving platter. "I like to use little parchment paper or wax paper squares tucked around the bottom edge to keep the cake platter clean," Rapone says.

Top the cake's bottom layer with your first sherbet color. Use approximately ½ quart (or 1 pint) for each sherbet layer. Add the next cake layer on top of the sherbet. On the second cake layer, spread the next sherbet flavor. Continue with the third cake layer, covering it with the last sherbet flavor. Finally, place the remaining cake layer on top.

Let the cake set and top with whip cream

Loosely wrap the layered cake with plastic wrap. Place it in the freezer to set for at least 1 hour, although you can leave it overnight if you'd like. Once the cake has hardened, remove it from the freezer and spread the whipped topping over the top and sides. This rainbow sherbet cake is now ready to enjoy. Although we know you'll enjoy this anytime, Rapone says, "This is a light and refreshing summer dessert."

Because the cake is delicate, its decadence can only be preserved for a short time. Rapone recommends, "Yes, just store in the freezer. I would recommend only storing it for a couple of days max, and you can just let it sit at room temperature for 10 min before slicing and serving."

Enjoy the celebration with this gorgeously layered dessert. From our kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Rainbow Sherbet Cake Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
When you're looking for a summer dessert that's sure to make your family smile, try this simple rainbow sherbet cake that combines sherbet and angel food cake.
Prep Time
Cook Time
slice of rainbow sherbet cake
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 angel food cake
  • 1½ quarts rainbow sherbet (or 3 separate pints of sherbet)
  • 12 ounces frozen whipped topping
  1. Remove the whipped topping from the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. Allow the sherbet to soften in the fridge for 60-90 minutes before making the cake.
  3. Cut the cake in half horizontally, then cut each half in half again, to get four layers. You'll build the cake "upside down" with the widest point at the base.
  4. Place the bottom layer of cake on your serving platter. Consider tucking parchment paper or wax paper squares around the bottom edge to keep the cake platter clean.
  5. Top the bottom layer with your first sherbet color, using approximately ½ quart (1 pint) of the sherbet.
  6. Add the next cake layer. Spread the second sherbet color on top, again using ½ quart of the sherbet. Continue with the third cake layer, spreading it with the final sherbet color, before topping with the last layer of cake.
  7. Loosely wrap the cake in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer to set for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  8. Spread the whipped topping all over the top and sides of the cake before serving. Store in the freezer for up to 1 day.
Calories per Serving 379
Total Fat 12.0 g
Saturated Fat 7.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 33.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 63.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Total Sugars 30.4 g
Sodium 372.8 mg
Protein 5.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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