To celebrate a good friend’s birthday, I decided to bake a rainbow cake, hoping to put a smile on her face when she cuts into the cake. The irony of it was, I decided to bake this cake the morning after a crazy Friday night out drinking!
I don’t normally share anecdotes as this is my “recipe reference” but this is just too precious. As Murphy’s Law would have it, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Unlike the last few times where I baked 2 cake layers at a time (and had to let the cake layers sit all over the place to cool), I decided to do it layer by layer, wiping the utensils clean in between. And I realised, it is a much more efficient approach, with a lot less washing. And as I had the big bowl of frosting at hand, I was able to cool each layer and layer on the frosting before the next layer was ready. It was proceeding really smooth, up until the last (red) layer. I thought I was all ready. Washed up the utensils as I leave the cake to cool in the tin. Then, as I turn over the tin, the cake fell out. But only half of it! The other half of the cake layer was stuck to the parchment paper, which was stuck to the bottom of the tin!
As I had to rush out, I left the 5 nicely frosted layered cake in the freezer and headed off. When I got home later that night, I divided the original recipe in 6, and started on the last layer, thinking, nothing could possibly go wrong. It is one cake layer. Right. It was one cake layer, no sweat, Got it ready in a jiffy, in and out of the oven, left to cool. And this time, turned out perfectly. Just as I was transferring it to the top of the rest of the cake using my cake lifter, the layer slid off the cake lifter onto the floor! I stared at it in horror. I have always feared that, but, never thought it would happen. Ever. And then it happened to me. I think I laughed out loud hysterically. I mean, what else does the situation call for? Well, I am thankful to report, I set to work on the next layer immediately after, and, finally, I got the red layer ON THE CAKE. When I told my friends the story, they said, “you should have just leave it at 5 layers”. But, how is that a rainbow cake?
Oh well, I leave you now with the recipe, which will stay in my head for a while, adapted from this.
Makes an 8″ round cake
226g unsalted butter, at room temperature
426g granulated sugar
150g egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
426g all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk at room temperature
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple gel paste colouring
1) Preheat your oven to 175C. Butter and line as many 8-inch round pans that you have. I finally bake it one at a time though. Also, weigh your mixer bowl and take down the weight of it. If you are using the Kitchenaid 5 qt Artisan Mixer, it should be 783g.
2) In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Next, using your stand mixer or electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed till light and fluffy. Change the speed to medium-low and mix in the vanilla extract and then slowly add the egg whites and blend till fully incorporated.
3) Switch the speed to low, and using the wet-dry ingredients alternating method, add in one third of the milk and one third of the flour mixture. Keep alternating, ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary and mix it till it all comes together.
4) Using your weighing machine, weigh the mixer bowl again and minus off the initial weight. Divide the weight by 6 and portion the batter in individual bowls accordingly to the weight that you have calculated. Each batter should get around 263g.
5) Using a toothpick or metal teaspoon, tint your batter using the gel paste colourings till you get your desired shades. Pour the batter into the lined pans and bake for 15mins each. One done, let it cool in the pans for about 10mins before removing it and letting it cool completely.
6) I used my go-to cream cheese Swiss Meringue buttercream with lemon curd frosting. For this cake, I used 240g butter and had a little bit of leftovers.
7) To assemble the cake, simply put some frosting in between each layers, frost the entire cake and you’re done! Do note that if you intended to pipe more decorations on the cake, you may need more frosting.
8) For the psychedelic topping, i made a batch of the white chocolate sauce, divide it into 6 glasses and colour each portion using the same gel paste used for the cake. Then, just drizzle the sauce over the cake.
On the hindsight, I should probably add some gelatine to the white chocolate sauce, as it just refused to set. In fact, I was quite worried the border frosting would slide off the top of the cake. Thankfully, it didn’t. Phew. So, maybe, not everything that could go wrong, went wrong. And I am glad to report that the cake was a hit, and it definitely put a smile on my friend’s face.