It's Tradition! Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
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It’s Tradition! Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake


Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake

I’m a BIG fan of traditions. Big. HUGE! Whether it’s a meal you share every birthday or an activity you do every holiday or a standing Tuesday night date with your BFF for manis + gossip, I just love it. As Jeff and I think about starting a family, I’ve been thinking even more about traditions we’ll continue from our own childhoods, and new ones we’ll start for our future family. I thought it would be fun to start a new column that celebrates such traditions, and I’m hoping to get you all involved to! I want to share and showcase traditions big and small through the Studio DIY lens and celebrate these important moments and how they bring together those who mean the most. What do you say!? Read on to hear the tradition behind this cake, and how you can see some of your traditions showcased here too!

Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake

Ever since I met Jeff, he told me his most favorite dessert (besides pumpkin pie) was Italian rainbow cookies. He just LOVES ’em. So back in 2010, I came across Always Order Dessert’s recipe for an Italian rainbow cookie CAKE (!!) and realized I could basically seal this deal as his future wife if I made it for him. Of course, February 2010 also saw a huge blizzard in Washington, D.C., conveniently on his birthday. While I had planned to make the cake secretly and bring it to his place later to surprise him, Jeff ended up snowed in at my apartment. Now you’d think the surprise would be ruined. But that would mean you didn’t know how oblivious my sweet now-husband can be.

Folks, I made this entire cake in my tiny kitchen a few feet behind him whilst he had NO clue what was going on. Thanks to Entourage reruns and his abuse of nasal sprays (No sense of smell!) for making that possible. When I revealed the final cake, he declared it the BEST CAKE EVER and insisted it become a birthday tradition (after asking how the heck I made it under his nose without him knowing). Every year since, I’ve made the cake on February 5th. We usually hoard it for us two, and hand out maybe one slice to friends who’ve gotten wind of it’s magical deliciousness. We might need to make two of these once we grow this family of ours!

I truly look forward to making this cake each year and he definitely looks forward to eating it. We don’t have the funds to gift each other lavish birthday gifts, so we stick to making each other birthday cakes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’m hoping to continue the tradition with a special cake for each of our little ones some day, too.

For the Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake recipe, click here!
(I made mine in 8″ pans so it was taller. I like my cakes tall, dudes. Just be sure to adjust the baking time accordingly if you do so!)

Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake 
Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake

All Photos by Studio DIY
Cake Stand from Shop Sweet Lulu / Gold Flatware from HORNE

Now, here’s where you come in!! Do you have a tradition with your friends or family that you look forward to each year/month/week? It could be for a birthday, anniversary, holiday or any other reason to celebrate. I want to hear about it! While I have a few traditions up my sleeve to showcase here, I would love to share my own spin on some of your most favorite traditions too! Share your traditions in the comments below and you may just see them in the next installment! What do you say!?


  • Karen Martinez

    Love Traditions! and I think it’s great that you are thinking about passing them on to your kids! In my case, one of my best friends and I get together once a month and have ourselves a “Terrific Lady Day” usually involving a new restaurant we have been wanting to try, followed by coffee and macarons and they usually end in a cute vintage or stationery shop. We have been doing it for almost a year and it is something we both look forward to each month! 🙂

    • Kelly

      Ummm can I be your friend!? That sounds like a dreamy monthly date to me. How fun! I love the name too! 😉

  • Laurel (@abubblylife)

    Omygosh!!!!!!!! I am not a sweets person (dont hate me, ha) but I LOVE italian rainbow cookies, I grew up in Brooklyn and this little italian bakery around the corner from us had the best (italian grandma baker and all)… yummmm… This brings back a million memories of childhood bliss.
    I have to try this, even though I suck at baking…
    Also, happy birthday to your hubby!

  • Katie

    Traditions are so near and dear to my heart. One of my favorites is a Christmas one. Every year, usually the week after Thanksgiving, my entire family (mimi, poppy, aunts and uncles, cousins…everyone) go to pick out our Christmas trees together at a local garden center. Then we go into the store, which is always set up like a winter wonderland complete with hundreds of decorated trees, and each pick out one Christmas tree ornament that we will receive in our stocking that year. Afterwards we go back to my grandmothers house and make a fire in the fireplace and eat something warm together. It is one of my most favorite memories and makes me smile just thinking about it. It’s magical really.

    • Kelly

      That is the BEST, Katie! I know a few people who have Christmas tree traditions and it’s one I hope to incorporate into our future family. I love that you add an ornament each year! So sweet!!

  • Leah / Freutcake

    Love this cake! Most of our family baking traditions revolve around Christmas cookies. I’ll have to give this recipe a try!

  • Lexy | PROPER

    Kel! This is so perfect. We LOVE Italian Rainbow Cookies in my family! My grandma makes those and petitsa cake at almost every family gathering!!!! We have all sorts of random traditions, but one that comes to mind is mine and Logan’s anniversary! We were DIRT poor our first year of marriage so we could only afford to go to Dave & Buster’s and spend $20 on arcade games. We had the most fun that night so we go back every year!

    And every year, I blow all the other kids outta the water with my amazing arcade skills. And win all the tickets. 😉

    • Kelly

      I love your Dave & Buster’s tradition, Lex!And I don’t doubt that you school all the other kids with your skillz. 😉

  • Brittni

    Yum! This looks delicious. I don’t have many family traditions…except for Christmas cookie baking with my husband’s family, which is super fun. And I tried to institute birthday scavenger hunts with Jeff, but we’ve skipped the last few years. So I don’t know if it really counts as a tradition at this point. 🙂

    • Kelly

      Birthday scavenger hunts sound like a BLAST! I’m gonna have to pick your brain on that one!

  • Ronnee

    I am ridiculous about traditions! I also love everything about them! One of my favorite family traditions my parents have always done is pancakes on your birthday. They would make as many silver dollar pancakes as years old we were and us kids would make them for our parents birthdays as well. We STILL do this except when my parents got into their 50s & now 70s we started making the pancakes into the shape of the numbers of their age- making 70 pancakes got a little tricky and we would waste a lot because it was simply too many for us all to eat! haha so instead we went with a BIG 7-0.

    My favorite tradition my fiance and i started 6 years ago is every valentines day we make pizza. No matter what. We have been camping and made it over a camp fire, been in a hotel and made it on english muffins & been home and made it in our smoker. I think half the fun is getting creative every year and trying new recipes! But, there is always pizza and there is always our initials in the toppings 🙂

    I’m really excited to see you share more traditions!

    • Kelly

      Ronnee!! I love the pancake tradition!!! I may have to chat with you about sharing that one here in the future! =) The pizza is great too! Though I’m generally always game for an excuse to eat/make pizza…

  • Megs []

    This looks so yummy! What a cool tradition. I love all your photos as well they’re so stunning! All our family traditions revolve around holiday’s like easter and christmas.. this cake looks amazing though! yum yum yum


  • Leah Klein

    My husband too! I am definitely going to make a dairy free version of this got his Birhhday this year! Love it.

  • Jamie

    Aw another cute story from the Mindells! We’re big on traditions too…especially edible ones. I just made Nick his 3rd red velvet birthday cake. (on Feb 11th!!) My new challenge is to decorate/assemble it a little differently each year.
    (Phoebe: You’d be in competition… with yourself. Monica: That’s my favorite kind!)

  • Dani

    OMG, I just realized that, since my son was born in that exact blizzard in DC, he and Jeff share a birthday….. maybe that qualifies us to get a piece of that cake…..?

  • Leonie @ Ashlee Rae

    I also LOVE traditions! You are going to love adding so many more to your life when little Studio DIYers come along. Some of my favs that we have are… ‘Nachos Sunday’ I mean, why not have nachos every week?!?! For birthdays we always have something fun for breakfast like pancakes or french toast and the birthday girl/boy gets to wear a birthday crown. For our anniversary my hubby and I take turns in organising a whole day of surprises and we try to do at least one adventurous thing that neither of us have done before like flying trapeze lessons, helicopter ride and climbing a 50ft mast of a tall ship on the Sydney Harbour. It is such a fun way to mark each year of marriage.

  • Baby Wear Online

    OMG!!!! That looks amazing!

  • Baby Wear Online

    Hang on, is that actual chocolate on top”?!

  • Pat B

    when I was in college, I went to Fort Hays State in Kansas in 1970. Mother lived with her aunt and uncle after her dad died when she was 5. They had a Christmas tradition of making a heart-shaped cookies called ‘herza’. Mother was too small to keep up the tradition, but when I was in college, I always went over to her cousins. Voila! The cousin’s daughter was making the cookies and were they wonderful. I picked up the tradition and carried on in one way or another. My youngest daughter has been doing since about 2000 since I have had health issues. Now she makes the dough and the 2 children finish it up.The cookies have a hint of cinnamon.

  • Trina and Tina

    This cake is gorgeous! Our tradition is pretty simple. We bake together EVERY Saturday! We look forward to it all week (and so do our families, neighbors, and co-workers)! You can few our treats on our blog We’re adding this cake to our to-bake list for sure! Thanks for your fabulous creative inspiration!

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