Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ultimate Girlie Rainbow Cake

This was my first attempt at making a cake that was not square and in a 9x11 pan. It was also my first try at a cake not from a box. It had it's highs and it's lows but the end product was totally worth it. The rainbow effect was amazingly easy, the frosting so-so, the castle towers were...interesting at times, and the decorating helped pull it all together. My sister and I joked that we were ready for The Food Network Challenge. We also made jokes about the unfinished towers. (I will let you see and make your own jokes)

Let's start with the simple part-rainbow cake. It is a simple way to make a big wow factor. I used neon coloring and a recipe for "Party Cake". If I were to do it again I think I would double the batch of cake to make it taller.
The first step is to equally divide the batter between how ever many colors you want. I did three colors for each 9 in. pan. I wanted very vibrant colors for my niece's cake so I added a lot of coloring. I used these plus regular yellow and blue. Just add and stir until evenly colored.

I did end up buying fancy schmancy cake pans from Wal*Mart because I wanted straight edges for stacking the layers. You can get them here. Once I colored the batter I had to decide which order to put them. I wanted rainbowish so I put pink (for red) first, then orange and yellow.

I spread the first color out to lightly cover the bottom of the pan (this is where I wish I would have doubled the cake recipe). Then I poured that over the first color and very carefully spread it around. I did not get my colors to go all the way to the edge. I did not want to risk ruining the layer effect. If you wanted more tye dyed cake it would not matter so much. Repeat with one more color.
Now for the second pan. I went green, blue, purple. 

Then bake and cool. The exciting part is when I flipped them out of the pans onto a cooling rack after about 15 minutes! The top is all one color and totally conceals the wonder within. Once they were completely cooled a good baker would have leveled the cakes with the handy cake leveler she had bough special for this occasion. And another kind of baker would have skipped that step when she couldn't figure out how to level it without loosing too much cake and just deciding to use lots of frosting between layers to self level....  :)

Once it was cooled completely, I set the purple side of the cake on my cake pedestal and frosted the top of that. Then I put the yellow side of the other cake on that and "crumb coated" the entire cake. A friend taught me to not worry too much about how the first layer of frosting looks. Just get it on and then let it sit in the fridge to harden. Then the top layer will go on smoothly. It's true.

My sister and I used a batch of rice crispy treats to create the three towers. I cut a small half circle out of the cake in three places (12 o'clock, 3 o'clock, and 9 o'clock) and pushed the towers of unfrosted rice treats into the indents, then frosted them. (This is where the off colored jokes came in.) This was also the first glipse we got of the layers-amazing!

oh, dear...

It was at this point I thought we had bitten off more than we could chew. I had no idea hot to make this thing fit for a child's PG party let alone look anything like a castle, but persevere, I did. I put it in the fridge and hoped for a good night's sleep. Nope, cake nightmares all night only to waken to a limp and droopy back tower. See that ledge on the back tower just waiting for a princess to stand on? Umm, well I broke it off trying to straighten the tower. Oh, well.

So I rushed home from school and top coated it with my frosting and it looked a bit better. Then even better with the colored frosting (colored with the same neon gel). I used Wilton tips for all of it. I had never used any of the tips I used on this cake so you do not need to be an expert. (I have to thank my brother-in-law for the windows, door, and vines. I was nervous so he took a stab at it.) The door handles are EM-a-EM's as my niece calls them. Each tower is topped with a sugar cone and a little star of frosting. 

Here is the birthday girl's first look at the cake.

and at the inside...

It was so worth the time!

I will include the recipe I based mine on. I exchanged the lemon flavoring for vanilla and left out the jam layer because I was afraid it would interfere with the color of the cake. I would say you could use any white cake for this cake.

Perfect Party Cake
(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” p. 250)
For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ teaspoon pure lemon extract 
For Finishing  I didn't do this at all
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable 
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut 
Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up 
To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the frosting.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and frosting and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have frosting leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining frosting to frost the sides and top.

A true man can wear a princess crown and look this good-my husband (Love that word)

1 comment:

  1. Amy, this cake turned out SOOO cute! We need to take that cake decorating class soon!